The easy gel mani: Sally Hansen Instagel Strips + giveaway

Instagel title

Sally Hansen has done it again.

Just when I thought they couldn’t possibly outdo their Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, they came out with the gel version.

The Salon Instagel Strips were released last year along with the Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit (sold separately), which is essentially the gel version of the strips.  Nail polish strips are still all the rage these days with so many different brands coming out with their own version.  I have tried a handful of them, but my heart still remains with the tried-and-true Sally Hansen ones.  I feel like their version are the easiest to apply, feel the best, and are the longest wearing.  Plus, they always look so fabulous on my nails.  I’ve tried many different designs, but this was my first foray into the gel version.

The original formula claims to last up to 10 days, whereas the gel version lasts up to two weeks, so basically four more days.  Not a huge difference really, especially for the kind of girls who like to switch up their nail polish quite often.  For me, the biggest thing is the gel shine that you get with the pricier version.


You can buy the Instagel Starter Pack, which includes a mini LED light, a pack of the strips, the gel topcoat, and cleanser pads (especially a pad soaked in rubbing alcohol), amongst all the other goodies you would get in a pack of the regular version (nail file, cuticle stick, etc.).  I don’t have the starter pack, but I do have the gel manicure kit, which includes a few more goodies and a full-size lamp, which is much less time consuming than the little one which fits one finger at a time.

You apply these the same way as you would the Salon Effects, where you clean your nails, shape them, find the size that fits your nails the best, apply them, file off the excess, etc.  What makes them gel is the included topcoat, which is a generous size of the product (more than enough for probably 10 gel manis).  Top each nail with the gel topcoat, cure it in the LED lamp for 30 seconds, rub off the tackiness, and voila!  Salon-quality gel nails with a super cute design (if you wish, they also have plain colours as well).


The starter pack comes in three colours, all solids, but if you want to spice it up, there are ones with designs on them that are sold separately.  They do cost a bit more than the regular Salon Effects version ($14.99 compared to $9.99 approx. depending on the store), but I’m assuming that’s because they come with the gel topcoat.  I may be wrong, but honestly I don’t see a difference between these and the strips that are in the regular version.  I’m sure you could coat the regular version with the gel topcoat and be fine, and lawd knows there is more than enough gel topcoat included in one pack of these bad boys.

I tried out the product in Good as Gold, a black manicure with a gold glitter French tip.  You apply the black first and then the gold part is a lot shorter and shaped in a curve so it makes it super simple.  I actually really love this manicure as it’s a nice spin on a classic.

Black Gold tips


I did get two weeks wear out of it but I do have to say that the black did show through a teeny bit at the ends from normal tip wear by day eight (this wasn’t that noticeable though, only if you looked up close). They were still glossy til the bitter end, but I did manage to scratch up a few nails throughout their wear.  Compared to the regular Salon Effects, I would say these do last a bit longer, as I can usually wear those for five to seven days before they start to peel off.  The gel version definitely adhered more to my nails (but that would be because of the gel topcoat). These were also way more glossy than their regular counterparts.

Overall, I love the idea and I do love the product, but I just don’t feel like it’s worth the extra money.  As someone who likes to change her nails up often, I don’t mind that week wear of the regular version and if I want it to be a bit glossy, I can just add a topcoat.  I think both are phenomenal products, I just don’t think a gel version of these are necessary.  Maybe if you are going on a vacation and you want something really eye-catching and very long wearing would these be justifiable.  I understand a regular gel manicure, but I feel like these are too similar to the normal Salon Effects that I just don’t know if its justifiable to buy them.  Just my personal opinion, I have nothing bad to say about the product itself.  I will also be reviewing the Salon Gel Manicure Kit, but give my nails a few weeks ;).


Now because I love Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects so much, I’m holding a giveaway for four packs from their new collection (the regular ones, not the gel), as well as 10 shades from the Sally Hansen Triple Shine line (new year, new nails!).  To enter, fill out the rafflecopter below.  Contest ends on January 15, and sorry for my international readers, Canadians only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Please note, I was sent these products from PR. All opinions are my own., Inc.