Adventures in at-home gel manicures: Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips

I feel like I haven’t been completely honest with you. Over the last few weeks, you may have gotten the impression that I’m more artistic than I let on, what with the abundance of DIY nail art and painting party and all. I’m all about the Pinteresting and DIY, but sometimes a girl wants nail art without getting artsy. Also, sometimes a girl just isn’t good at painting her nails (OK, I do this enough that I’m practically a pro, but so many ladies I know are admitted polish amateurs). One of my favourite solutions for this situation over the past year has been the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips - Walk the Catwalk

I’m a huge advocate of these real-polish strips that can give you a salon-quality manicure in 10 easy minutes. To make life even easier, Sally Hansen has come out with a version of these strips that mimics the mega-shiny and long-lasting effect of a gel manicure – minus the salon price and time commitment. Sally Hansen Salon Intsa-Gel Strips are as easy to apply as the original Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips I love so much and the curing process takes only 30 seconds per nail – without UV. The ridiculously easy application process goes a little like this: Clean, file, buff, apply strips to all 10 nails, apply topcoat and cure for 30 seconds on one nail at a time. See it in action:

It actually is as simple as it looks. More than with the original polish strips, I find it’s especially important to push down the edges of the gel polish strips and to smooth out ridges. It’s also really important to wrap the gel topcoat on the free edge of the nail (like you would with a regular manicure) as this helps to set the strips. The Mini LED light is really cool.

Sally Hansen Insta Gel Strips LED - Leopard is a Neutral

As someone who loves the look of a gel polish but really hates the commitment level (the first & only gel manicure I’ve ever had took over an hour – although it was intricate and beautiful), I can really get behind these strips. It also allows me to have my favourite neutral – leopard, of course! – on my nails without the DIY nail art time commitment. For those who love bright polishes but know their hands will look way worse for the wear if they attempt to DIY apply, this is a doubly great option. The strips are mess-free and as long as you don’t apply them to your cuticles they won’t end up there.

Sally Hansen Insta Gel Strips Kit and Refill - Leopard is a Neutral

Sally Hansen Insta Gel Strips Kit - Leopard is a Neutral

The starter kit (above) retails for about $40 and includes a mini-LED light, cuticle stick & nail file/buffer, gel polish strips (18 to ensure you get a perfect fit for each nail), 2 cleansing pads and a gel topcoat. Each additional Insta-Gel Strips set contains everything in this set except for the mini-LED light and retails for about $16.99. The starter kit along with additional polish strips are available at most major drugstores and retailers like WalMart.

I love painting my nails, so I don’t think these will become a regular part of my repertoire, but for weeks where I don’t have time to re-polish the second it chips I think the Sally Hansen Salon Insta-Gel Strips will be a great option to get me through the week (or two!). I’m currently on day 3 of my Insta-Gel Strips manicure and there are no chips or tipwear at all – these just might be magic.

Would you give at-home gel strips a try?

*** Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. I received compensation for sharing the above video, but I purchased the Sally Hansen Insta Gel Strips Starter Kit so I could share an unbiased review along with it!