Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips in "Walk the Catwalk"

Since Sally Hansen had such great clearance prices on their Insta-Gel Strips, I picked up a pack to try. And since I do reviews on this blog-thing here, I figured I would do a set of reviews on how the strips apply and last on my nails.   I applied these a few days ago, so I'll do my initial review first--then I'll update with how they lasted later on.
I'll probably get better pictures a little bit later, too, but I wanted to get some initial photos on day 1 after I applied them.  So this is my right and left hand:

Just for reference, on my pointer finger I applied OPI Gelcolor "Suzi and the Seven Dusseldorfs" (or "Suzi and the Seven D├╝sseldorfs" if you want to get proper!). And once again, the Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips are in the style "Walk the Catwalk". 

Anyway, I noticed a few things about this product as I opened it up: 

First of all: they are marketed as gel strips, different from the regular nail polish strips.  BUT in practice, I found the only thing different from the normal strips is the included gel top coat.  The strips themselves are just like any other regular nail polish strip--they don't need to be cured in a UV/LED light, and they have a faint nail polish odor.  And just like the regular polish strips, they come air-tight sealed in two individual packets containing eight strips each--one pack is meant for each hand, so you can choose out of the eight the best size for your nails.

Second: That included gel top coat I mentioned?  Well, it seems like a nice generous addition at first, because it comes in the usual Sally Hansen Gel Polish bottle.  But then you read the label closely: the bottle is only about half full, at 4.0 mL/0.14 fl. oz.  instead of the usual 7.0 mL/0.25 fl. oz.  This 4.0 mL size seems like it will be just enough to get 4 usages out of--I used two coats of it to top my nails off this time.

Third: I actually really like the 3-finished file/buffer that comes with this product, even though it's super small.  It works well, and it reminds me that Sally Hansen does indeed make some great nail products!

Now, as for the application...

Well, in short: if your nails are short these may apply easier.  But once your nails get to a certain length, the curve from cuticle to tip becomes more apparent, in addition to the curve from  side-wall to side-wall.  This means that you have to manipulate a flat strip to fit not just one curvature, but two, which may cause wrinkling or even tearing if you're not careful.  Sally Hansen suggests slowly pulling the strip to stretch it out and get a good fit, but the problem with that is that you may stretch out the print on your strip as well.   If you look closely at my pictures, you can see evidence of all three things occurring.

The size selection of strips in each pouch is kind of lacking.  I ended up using one pouch to cover both hands, and cut down some sizes as necessary, since I found that a few were way too big.  Unfortunately, as you can kind of tell by the wonky application on my thumb, sometimes you'll see that neither size strip is a great fit for your nails.  At the same time, though, I am glad I didn't get a wider selection of sizes that would have gotten thrown out and wasted, so I won't complain too much about that.

Lastly, I'm worried about possible wear issues.  Rule #1 of nail painting is pretty much "wrap the tips of your nails"; that's impossible to do with these stickers!  This makes me afraid that I will have chipping and lifting, but you can wrap the tips with the gel top coat, at least. Since the strips apply so close to your side walls and cuticles, it makes it hard to wrap the top coat around them to "encase" the strip in a layer of gel, which leaves an exposed ridge around those areas, as well.

Overall, once you take the time to perfect your nails, the process is not that much faster than applying gel polish from a bottle!  But it's still faster than attempting to free-hand paint a design like this on my own nails...not to mention it looks 100x better.  Hopefully they wear just as well. :)

Edit: Update on how these strips wear has been posted! 

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