Beauty Talk: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish

7:00:00 PM


My nail polish addiction is pretty well established, so it probably doesn't come as a shock to hear that I've always wanted to try at-home gel manicures. Still, I was hesitant to splurge on a kit, LED lamp, or supplies when I had no idea what I was doing. Then I found Sally Hansen's Gel Top Coat. I was pretty excited by its promise of 10+ day wear with no lamp or additional steps required. Paint it on, let it dry, and go - I do it once a week already.


I have to admit - I was skeptical: if there was some magical long wearing nail polish, wouldn't people be tripping over themselves to share that information? So I decided to put it to the test - I picked up a bottle of the top coat from Walmart for just shy of $8, about what you would pay for a polish from Essie or OPI. I wanted, first and foremost, to see if this topcoat could extend the wear of a polish I was already familiar with - and, to absolutely no one's surprise, I was already wearing it.

Zoya's nail laquer in Rue is my self-proclaimed every-day-of-my-life nail color. It's that good. I've been wearing it constantly, removing it only to reapply it, so if this top coat was able to extend the wear of what is an already pretty fantastic polish, I was going to be one happy camper. I had applied my nail color the day before, so it was already completely dry when I applied the gel top coat. It applies just like any other nail polish, and has the same wide brush that you'd expect if you're familiar with Sally Hansen polishes.

The first thing I noticed was that the brush immediately began to pick up the existing color, even though, as I said, the polish was completely set. After some googling, I discovered this is something many people experience, even when using the top coat with a Sally Hansen Gel Color. Because I was working with a neutral, it's not a huge deal, but it is something to be aware of if you're using this to set vibrant colors, as the color will eventually bleed into the clear coat if you don't clean the brush.

There are virtually no instructions, except to allow the color to dry via natural light - since I happened to paint my nails on the 87,000th rainy day we've had this year, I tried to expose them to light in the house and give them a few extra minutes to dry - although because of the shininess, it can be difficult to gauge when it has fully set.

Rue + Gel Top Coat - Day 1
I was pretty impressed - it dried streak-free and super shiny, and while I've had difficulty in the past getting Rue to photograph true to color, it photographed better with the top coat on than it had without. Still, I wasn't in it for a "gel look" - although there are polishes out there that offer such a thing - I was looking for extended wear, something I struggle with - it's rare that a polish makes it more than 3 days without showing some major wear and tear. So I took my "before" shot, and went about my day.

It didn't take long for me to notice that the polish wasn't adhering to my nails the way it normally would. By day 2, I could already see the polish separating from my nails at the cuticles and edges, and before I could even take an "after" shot, the polish began peeling off in huge strips, so I went ahead and helped it along. I was disappointed, to be sure, but I also knew that the formula of nail polish might not play well with this particular top coat, so I knew I had to experiment a bit more.

The next nail polish I tried was from the brand Sinful Colors, in one of my favorite shades: Sail La Vie. I didn't experience as much color "pickup" from the brush when I applied the top coat to this color, and I also noticed that while it dried streak-free and shiny, it wasn't nearly as shiny as it appeared on top of the Zoya polish. I hoped this meant I would get a little more longevity out of it, and I was right.

Sail La Vie + Gel Top Coat - Day 1
I applied this color and went about my work week, and I have to say, I was really impressed. It's rare that a polish holds up this well on me, especially when I take into consideration that I put them through the ringer: the week I wore this color, I was overhauling my classroom between semesters - cleaning, moving furniture, pulling staples out of the wall, using a hot glue gun, and all manner of generally destructive actions that I expected to completely destroy my manicure. Until that point, I hadn't experienced any obvious chips/peeling. It was after this workday that I took my Day 5 picture, and even with some pretty noticable wear and tear, I would have been okay to push this a couple more days, well into the 7 day realm - unheard of for me!

Sail La Vie + Gel Top Coat - Day 5
What it ultimately comes down to is this - if you're trying to use this top coat with a polish other than one from the Sally Hansen brand, you're going to have to do a little experimenting to see which polishes you own will work with it, and which won't. I'm interested to see whether this works better with other cheap polishes like Sinful Colors as opposed to higher-end brands. This top coat definitely isn't a "miracle," but I'll definitely be playing around with it more to see exactly how long I can extend the wear of my nail polish.



If you've found a great top coat, help a girl out and let me know what it is down below. If you've tried the Miracle Gel Top Coat, let me know what you thought, and how long you managed to hold on to your manicure!

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