Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips: Take Two

Hello again!

So last time, I posted some initial photos and an initial review of the Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips I applied to my nails recently.  Now that they've been on my nails a little while, I'm going to do a review on the lasting power of these things!

First of all, though, I want to mention something disconcerting: the smell.  These things smell for while after you apply them to your nails,  and I could sense the chemical-like nail polish smell up to 48 hours later.  Even later on, when I get a chip, the smell comes back full-force.  Normally, gel polish cures instantly and there is no smell afterwards, so this is a smell I associate with regular polish.  I get the impression, then, that the strips underneath are not totally dried or cured or what-have-you, and possibly the cured gel on top is keeping them from drying like they should.  I'm not sure what's at work here, but it's a little bothersome.

Now, everyone's probably most concerned with chipping: Do these things last chip-free as long as normal gel polish?  Definitely not!  

FYI: The purple color in these pictures is OPI Gelcolor "Suzi and the Seven Dusseldorfs"

I had miniscule chips at the tips of my thumb nails by day 3, and larger chips starting at day 5 (while I was crocheting!)  By day 7, I had at least small, miniscule chips on about half of my nails.  There are areas along the free-edges of some nails that have not chipped, but have definitely lifted a little bit, which makes me worry about keeping these on my nails too much longer.  These lifted areas, even if they don't chip off and look unsightly, still create the perfect space to harbor bacteria that can be hard to wash away. 

I noticed two main problems with these: First, since you apply the Insta-Gel Strips in a sheet rather than by painting, it is much easier to trap miniscule amounts of air  between the layers of your manicure.  These miniscule pockets of air will expand when your hands warm up drastically (like when you wash them in hot water), and can eventually spread--cause lifting and shortening the life of your manicure.  Second, since the Insta-Gel Strips cover 99% of your nail bed, it is hard to encase the strips with the gel top coat to create a good seal--the gel top coat in effect seals the strips, but does not create a sealed barrier between the strip and the nail bed underneath it.  This lead to threads getting caught on the strips by the cuticles of my nails  and creating some lifting there, too. 

The Insta-Gel Strips still aren't as strong as a regular gel manicure, either.  I applied these to my nails and applied TWO coats of top coat--to strengthen and even out some wrinkles from the strips--and still my nails felt more bendable than they usually do with gel polish.  As you can see if you compare the first picture to my last post, I even tore one nail on my third day of wearing these!

The color/pattern of the strips themselves are still something unique and interesting: the metallic finish (with a multitude of cool and warm gold sparkles) as well as the intricate pattern help to hide minor application flaws and even minor chipping.  Not to mention they give you the ability to wear nail art you wouldn't have the skill to do yourself!

Lastly, I want to mention something about removal:  These things were a major nuisance to remove!  And I remove gel polish bi-weekly, so I'm used to long and sometimes tedious removal processes. I soaked pads in acetone and covered them with tin foil as usual--and as Sally Hansen recommends.  The Insta-Gel Strips didn't take a long time to soak off, but they left a sticky residue on my nails that traveled around to my fingers, and that I had to wipe down twice with towels soaked in acetone to remove.  It was yucky, trust me.

No comments:

Post a Comment