Tough As Nails

I almost never get manicures. When I do, I wish I did more. Then I get home, chip it doing dishes, and I am annoyed. It just doesn’t seem worth it. I’ve been known to do the occasional one coat of Essie’s “Sugar Daddy” just prior to a big night out, but that really is it. Until now…

I am a sucker for a well placed item when perusing the products strategically placed in the cosmetics lane at CVS. Yes, I actually did buy a curling iron and a straightening iron on the same visit. Ironic, I know. This handsome package was my latest beauty splurge.


Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Kit $64.99

I know what you are thinking – $64.99 seems kind of pricey for an at-home manicure kit. The thing is, it is really worth it.┬áInside the box I found all sorts of goodies. A precious little LED lamp (no batteries needed because you plug it in), 3 bottles of polish, 10 nail cleanser pads, 1 bottle of remover, 1 cuticle stick, and 1 small nail file.

I was eager to give it a try, but I kept my expectations low. I had some time on my hands (pun intended) and decided to set up shop once the girls were in bed. The bright orange LED lamp would have been WAY too tempting for my minis. And besides, if they said it dried instantly I wanted to try the old “right before bed” technique. I, for one, have woken with smudged nails every other time I have gotten a manicure after 5pm. Back to the gel kit – with nails that were cut and filed, I started with a cleanser pad.

A few swipes on each nail and they were ready for polish. The instructions could not have been more clear. Each step was so quick that I feared I was doing something wrong.

You paint with primer, hit the lamp for 30 seconds, and then move on. During “step 2” you add the color, and once again it is under the light.

I opted for the subtle nude color called “Shell We Dance”. You only get one color with your kit but you can buy single bottles of different colors for $11.99. After the color you are on to the top coat, lights again, and then you are done.

The bottles have colored caps to clearly indicate their differences.

One more swipe over each nail at the very end with the same cleansing pad you used at the beginning and your nails are smooth, dry, and hard as – well “nails”. I kid you not when I say the whole thing took less than 15 minutes and my nails were ready to rumble the minute I was finished.

Tell me they don’t look like they were done in a salon?!?

Since my at-home gel mani I have done 3 loads of dishes and not a chip in sight. The kicker might be when I try to get this shellac off my nails two weeks from now. I’ve heard it is a little challenging to do – you need more than a cotton ball and some remover. For now I am just enjoying the beauty of polished nails. I’ll get back to you in two weeks on the other part.

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