Sensationail, gel nails at home – 14 days later…

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 10 - 2012

Fourteen days, that’s approximately 336 hours, or 20,160 minutes.  In other words, a fair amount of time.  In the world of long-lasting manicures, just what you do with that time is almost as important as the duration spent doing it.  For me, that time was spent typing, packing, cooking, swimming, running, playing at Butlins, and chasing ants in the dark.  I like to think that this manicure has been put through its paces over the last fortnight.  The question is, did it survive?

See for yourself…

I think that it’s coped fairly admirably no?  There is a small chip on my index finger but that was it for the tips… across the entire manicure – spending that extra time to ensure that I had capped all my nails really paid off in this instance.  Infact, you can see that most of the ‘damage’ actually comes from the other end of the nail bed where I’ll happily admit that I didn’t do quite so well at applying with the kind of precision one needs.

I suffered some pooling in the cuticles with the base coat and on a couple of nails this led to a small amount being cured over the cuticle so I wasn’t particularly surprised when I experienced a little bit of lifting after a few days in those areas.  What I was surprised at though is that despite the lifting, I was able to gently clip those areas off without causing any further damage to the manicure.  Most of what you see in the photo above is actually new growth at the base of the colour.

Now, whilst this is a glowing report so far, I do have one issue that I’d like to talk about… removal.

Damn, this stuff is a bitch to remove without damaging your nails.  I lightly buffed the surface of my nails firstly to remove the shine and create a penetrable layer for the remover to do its work before soaking pre-cut cotton pads in acetone remover (where acetone is the primary ingredient) and laying them down over the nails.  Wrapping the tips in foil, I gave it a full 10-12 minutes before sliding the foil tips off my fingers, expecting to see the gel slide off with them.  Uh, not a chance.  The surface had bubbled and warped and the edges had further lifted but it wasn’t giving up without a fight.  I ended up using an orange stick to (as gently as I could) scrape off the gel polish before buffing the surface of the nail to remove the residue.

My nails are definitely in worse condition post Sensationail but seemingly nothing that a hefty dose of almond oil (thanks Squarrell) can’t sort out – I’d say that they’re halfway back to feeling “normal” within a day of diligent oiling.

Hopefully that’s provided an indepth (enough) review for you from application, to pricing, to wear and finally removal.  I’d be really interested to find out what you think about the product in terms of value, I’m confident that it provides the kind of long-lasting, salon-quality manicure that we pay £20+ a time for – but despite knowing that, I’m curious if the initial price tag would still put you off?  I think that this is probably a great bit of kit for a group of friends to pool together and purchase, otherwise – you’ve got to be a very dedicated nailista – know any of those?

The Sensationail starter kit is available to buy online from Boots, priced at £85, additional shades are available at £15 each.  You can get more tips and tricks from the brand’s facebook and twitter pages.


Sensationail DIY Gel Nails Review (Part 1)

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 1 - 2012

Remember my post a couple of weeks ago about bringing salon-style beauty to the comfort of your own home? I wasn’t convinced that DIY options generally lived up to the expectations or convenience of salon service. Well, the people at Sensationail rose to the challenge and sent me the Sensationail Starter Kit* to give it a whirl for myself. I’ll do the review in two-parts, today is the application and initial results and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to let you know how the manicure lasted.

I should also preface this by saying that I’ve had two gelish/shellac-type exeriences in a salon and both were poor, with lifting after only a few days. That’s Groupon on for you I guess? Basically, I’ll admit that my expectations aren’t all that high.

The kit is frankly over-priced at £85 in the UK. Over-priced? I hear you say. Yes, not because it’s lacking in quality (although the bottles I received did have the writing peeling off them and the labels weren’t fully stuck down which didn’t give the best impression of quality) but because in the U.S., our neighbours across the pond are charged $59.99 for the same kit. That’s around £35.

Cross-border rip-offs aside, in theory – you should still be able to break even fairly easily with this kit against the cost of getting your nails done in a salon. The average price in my area for shellac/gelish nails is around £22 – so you’re looking at around 5 manicures before you get your money’s worth. Which is all well and good, providing the kit lives up to its name and actually provides a good quality gel nail that lasts the course.

I’ll admit that application was indeed, very simple and didn’t cause a single problem for me. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, the lamp worked just as it should (although I did wonder how I was going to fit all five fingers and thumbs inside until I read that you er, don’t).

In the starter kit, you receive: an LED curing lamp, gel cleanser (basically an alcohol solution), gel primer (nail dehydrator/bonder), gel base/top coat, gel colour, and some lint-free swabs.

Following the instructions, from start-to-finish, I was completed in around 30-minutes and the nails were completely bone dry at the end of it. The beauty of the UV-activated gel is that you have ample time to get your manicure applied neatly, my biggest tip would be to keep the coats as thin as possible. The base/top coat in particular had a tendency to pool in my cuticles while I was completing the other nails, not really a fault of the system… simply a sign that my coats were not thin enough.

If you do get some gel on your skin, make sure you wipe it off before curing…. not only will it feel pretty uncomfortable with this hard resin stuck to your skin but it will also cause your manicure to prematurely lift at the edges.

Here’s my finished result… basically, it looks and feels great.

I’m going to embed a tutorial video which I found on the Boots website, you may notice that she hasn’t capped the tips of her nails with the polish (you can see this at the end) – this is a pretty crucial step when it comes to making gel nails last. If you want them to stay the distance, you need to take a little more time to ensure that you’ve bullet-proofed your manicure.

I haven’t been able to fault the application process but the bottles in the starter kit are tiny and feel/look cheap. The UK price hike is outrageous. Ultimately, my final thoughts on Sensationail’s worth will come down to how long this manicure lasts on me. I’ll be back with an update soon, but hopefully not too soon eh?

Check out the brand’s UK Facebook page for more information, they’re also active on Twitter (something this Twitter-addict always likes to see!)

You can purchase the Sensationail Starter Kit instore and online at Boots.com, priced at £85.00 (individual colour gels are priced at £15.00 each)

* press sample

“Have a go hero” or leave it to the professionals?

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 17 - 2012

Many professions dread the general public encroaching on their skills.  Whether it’s traditional makeup artists having their hackles raised by You Tube gurus and beauty bloggers, professional photographers glaring across the wedding party at uncle Bob with his £2k Nikon kit, or long-established nail technicians bristling at professional-only products being sold to the mass market.  Financially, it’s a tough world out there, and for people who have poured often not-insignificant sums into years of training and equipment, I get that it can be galling to see your profession ‘diluted’ in this way.

This was brought to mind recently when I received a press release for a new DIY gel nail system called Sensationail, which has just gone online at Boots priced at £85.00.  It promises salon-quality gel nails at a fraction of the cost when compared to regular salon visits.

From my regular brow-threading trips to the brilliant Eastern Arts Beauty, I know how much these small enterprises rely on return business from their most loyal customers and I wonder just how threatened these establishments must feel when the latest DIY products come on the market.  Sure, in the past most of them have been gimmicky and in reality, rarely give the best results… but there are always newer technologies waiting in the wings, ready to superceded and threaten.

From my own personal experience with DIY beauty, there’s still very much a place for the salon and this is coming from someone who’s been fortunate enough to try some of the most cutting-edge DIY devices.  On the surface, at-home beauty tools seem to provide total convenience but after just a few sessions with my ILP device (for example)… I was ready to go back to the professionals, even if it meant paying through the nose, and I’m still coughing up the pennies today.

What do you think about at-home solutions for the kind of services you’d usually visit a professional?  Interested in doing your own gel nails at home?

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