How-To/Review Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips

Hey guys! I’m actually blogging this as I’m doing this! So this is almost a live blog but I will schedule this for later on in the month of March. The day I’m writing this is 2/22/15 and will do a small edit at the end of the post to show how long the manicure lasted. The box claims a 2 week wear so we shall see.


I got this kit at Big Lots for around $9 which isn’t that bad. Inside you get a mini LED light and plug (this is supposed to set the gel manicure), a mini nail file and cuticle pusher/orange stick, the gel strips (the color I chose was Wine Out but there are others avaliable), a bottle of gel top coat, nail cleansing pads, and instructions.

I had some left over nail polish so I started off with removing the color. The color was called Prissy Chrissy from elf. Then I used the mini nail file (the dark pink side) to shape my nails. My nail lengths aren’t all even and with filing still won’t all be equal but that’s ok. I don’t mind. Also I prefer a more rounded nail rather than square so that’s how I’m filing them. Using the light pink side of the nail file smooth out any rough edges of the nail. Flip the nail file over and you will find a white side. This is the buffer. Gently buff your nails to create a smooth surface.

20150222_195745 20150222_200106

I already had my cuticles cut but I’m just going to push back what I didn’t cut with the orange stick provided. The I used the Nail Cleanser Pad which is literally a 1×2 wet wipe to cleaned the dust/debris off the nail. Fun fact: I opened the little package and the liquid that’s on the wet wipe flew into my eye. It was no where near my eye and in fact by my lap and somehow managed to fly past my glasses into my eye. That hurt.

Bastard wipe

Anyway it’s time to choose the gel strip that best fits your nail. Do your thumbs last. There’s a clear film on top of gel strip that you peel off. There’s a back part that you remove as well. Pull the actual color strip away and line it up with your cuticles. Pres it onto the nail bed and use the smooth flat end of the cuticle stick to smooth everything out. Add the gel top coat all over the nail and be sure to clean up any that may have got onto the skin before you put it under the LED light. I did each nail one at a time. Once you have the top coat one and have cleared the skin of excess top coat put it under the LED light and press the button. It’s on an automatic timer so it will go off on it’s own after 30 seconds. Once you’re done with that wipe with another nail cleansing wipe or a gentle makeup remover wipe or baby wipe to get rid of the tacky residue.

what the strips look like
LED time

The verdict?

Well this takes too long. I’m pretty sure this took me about 1.5-2 hours. I don’t even think manicures in a salon that that long. The color is really nice. The gel coat gives it a shiny finish. There’s less mess since you don’t have to clean up excess nail polish color on your skin and around your nails. But it you don’t smooth out the gel nail strip perfectly it creates ridges and bumps that don’t look that good.. Also the kit only gives you enough nail strips for 1 manicure but I have the LED light still and the gel coat. What am i supposed to do with that? With some research I’ve only seen the starter kits available. These are actually running around $15 bucks so I got a decent deal at Big Lots. We’ll see how long these last as well.  To be honest I’d rather use nail decorative stickers on my nails then do this again, Overall I think i’d give it around 5/10. I just don’t see the payoff for having this extra useless stuff laying around and how time consuming it is. I mean could i give any nail polish the shellac treatment with the rest of the top coat I have and the LED light? That might be something I test out.

Though I should add the color is really nice and pretty haha.

Complete Manicure

Update: 3/1/15

After the 2nd day or so the gel strip on my right index finger came right off. I haven’t put forth much effort to replace it. The rest of the nails are chipping like regular nail polish. Some of the strips are holding up well, longer than any regular nail polish I think but still not feeling anything fancy. When they say that the manicure would last 2 weeks, for some reason I thought it would stay perfect for two weeks. Right now it’s just seeming like regular nail polish to me that chips just like anything else. The strips will lift up at the edges and if you do something like run your fingers through your hair, the strips will catch on your hair and tug on it as well as lift up some more. I’ve chipped away at the strips just because the lifting was annoying me. I’ll wait another week and see how much more damage is done then take it off completely. Still not really sold on this product yet even if it does last longer than regular nail polish

UPDATE 2: (3/7/15) so i didnt last a second week with the gel strips on. they chipped just like any other polish on a nail and in the end i took them off. i chipped whatever i could with my nails then soaked the slanted end of the cuticle stick in nail polish remover and ran it under the gel strip to chip the rest off. Overall i dont think these strips are worth it. They’re not really time saving, they chip like normal nail polish and you’re stuck with the LED light and the top coat that you won’t really use. So this ones a dud. I would say save you’re money or go to a salon.


2 thoughts on “How-To/Review Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips

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