It’s no secret that I’ve tried my fair share of at-home gel manicure kits.
Although there are a ton of no-UV gel polishes out there, the best gel manicures you can get are the ones that include the light to cure the polish. Sure, you can go to the salon to get this done, but many brands have at-home kits you can buy for around the same price of one salon gel mani that work just as good.
I’ve tried sets from Le Mini Macaron, Red Carpet Manicure, Sally Hansen, and SensatioNail, and although some are definitely better than others, one of my favourites has been the latter. I’ve had the SensatioNail Gel Nail Polish starter kit with UV lamp for years now and it’s one of the ones I recommend to friends when they ask me my opinion on the best at-home gel kit.
Late last year, the brand actually released another version of the popular kit, this time though they took it a step further and enabled you to use any polish and turn it into a gel. The Polish to Gel Transformer starter kit allows you to mix any of your nail polishes with the SensatioNail Polish to Gel solution in order to get the wear and shine of a gel manicure. Typically brands have their own formulation of gel polishes that only set with the help of a UV or LED light, however, you can always do the sandwich method, i.e. use any polish but with their base coat and top coat to cure it.
This set, which retails for C$49.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall, includes their special Polish to Gel transformer. So you mic equal parts Polish to Gel and your own nail polish, then you paint it on, cure it using the LED lamp for 30 seconds, and then repeat for two to three coats. You then seal the colour with the same Polish to Gel transformer and cure for 15 seconds, wipe with the cleanser, and voila! You’re supposed to have a gel manicure.
Key words: supposed to.
I was very excited to try this kit out before my trip as I wanted to have colour on my nails that would last three weeks. So I grabbed the kit, did what it told me to, and put it to work. I chose one of Patrick Starr’s collabs from the Formula X Color Curators collection from last year and mixed equal parts polish with the Polish to Gel transformer, cured it, did it again two more times, then used the cleanser to take away the tackiness. Well, not only did it take away the tackiness, but it also wiped away the entire polish. Basically, this kit did nothing for me. It didn’t cure the polish and it created a big mess (I got pink all over my sink when I went to wash the mixing pot). I also want to note that you’re supposed to use equal drops of each product. Yes, drops, which if you’ve ever sat there and waited for polish to drop, it takes forever.
I ended up packaging this product up and grabbed my Red Carpet Manicure kit, which gave me a fabulous gel manicure that lasted the full three weeks in Asia. With the being said, the original SensatioNail kit also gives you a great gel manicure as well, I just didn’t have it on hand at the moment.
I like the idea of this kit, it just didn’t actually work. But here’s the kicker, as long as you use every other product that these kits come with, you can use any of your nail polishes, just instead of curing the polish, you would just wait for the colour to dry, then apply the special topcoat and cure it. It works the same way, just without the mess that this Polish to Gel transformer gives you.
If you’re looking for an at-home gel manicure kit, skip this one and go with the original, it works way better and retails for a little more than this one.
What’s your favourite at-home gel kit?
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