You’ve probably seen those pretty gel polish manicures on Instagram, Youtube, blogs, or in magazines. Gel manicures are not only gorgeous and super glossy, but also extremely long-lasting compared to regular nail polishes.
Having never gotten a gel manicure before myself, the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel ‘system’ seemed liked the perfect solution – it’s relatively inexpensive (compared to salon prices), doesn’t require any special lamps or lighting equipment, and is much gentler on the nails.
How it Works
The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes work as an at-home method for achieving a gel manicure. Here are some of the features of the Miracle Gel process:
- Involves 2 Steps (1st step: color coat(s), 2nd step: the ‘gel’ top coat)
- Up to 14 Days of Color & Shine
- Easy Removal (Just use your usual polish remover + some cotton pads)
- No Light Needed
- Over 61 shades available
It’s quite simple – all you have to do is apply your polish as you normally would, only you finish with the Miracle Gel top coat. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Apply 2 coats of Miracle Gel Color (You may need more since the colors can be quite sheer). Allow color to dry for 5 minutes
Step 2: Apply 1 coat of Miracle Gel Top Coat
Then you’re done! (Takes about 15-20 minutes total.)
My First Go…
As you can tell from the above photos, I’ve started my own little collection of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes. 🙂 The very first time I visited CVS to pick up one of these polishes, I didn’t realize there was ‘Step 2’ bottle (i.e., the top coat that seals in the color and adds the extra shine) and left the store without it – very disappointing! So I soon returned to CVS where I picked up a convenient little value kit that came with both Step 1 and Step 2 (saves you a few extra bucks, too, on the two polishes).
Here’s the kit, which includes the nude shade ‘Birthday Suit‘, and the top coat (in the black bottle):
I was so excited to finally try out the full Miracle Gel polish 2-step system that I applied it as soon as I got home. Here’s the finished result (you can see the pretty shine and gel-like finish):
After wearing the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes for a few weeks, and experimenting with several other shades, I put together my thoughts on the whole process. Here’s my review…
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Review
The application: First off, I love the brush that comes with these Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes. It’s quite large (fits over half my nail!), and also flat which makes it incredibly easy (and super quick) to apply. Out of the four polishes I’ve tried, they all glide on super smoothly.
Drying time: The drying time takes longer than OPI and Essie polishes, but shorter than Julep polishes. I’d say about 2-4 minutes between coats (plus the 5 minutes between the last color coat and the top coat). Fortunately, I found the final step (the ‘Step 2’ top coat) takes the least amount of time to dry (about 2 minutes).
Coats needed: The only drawback is that the color polishes require a few extra coats to build up. The shade ‘Birthday Suit’ (the nude shade) for example, is a bit on the sheerer side, and so it took four coats to build up an opaque finish. The two medium shades I tried – ‘Rosey Riviter’ and ‘Fish-teal Braid’ – took three coats, and finally, the pastel shade ‘All Chalked Up’ took only two coats. So as you can tell, it really varies depending on the shade. Unfortunately, the more coats you have to add, the shorter the lifespan of the polish after it’s applied (a heavier layer is much easier to chip away than a thinner coat).
Longevity: Without any crazy amount of wear from dish washing, cleaning, and handi-‘woman’ work, you can easily get through 7 days without seeing a chip. Does it really last up to 14 days? It really depends on how many coats you apply.
For example, the shade ‘All Chalked Up’ (the one that took only 2 coats to build up) lasted the longest. On the other hand, the nude shade ‘Birthday Suit’ started to chip around the tips after 3-4 days, but then again, I had a pretty heavy coat built up (5 coats if you count the top coat!), which made it all the more easier to chip away.
Regardless, the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes all lasted considerably longer than my OPI and Essie polishes, and slightly longer than my Julep polishes.
What I liked most: Where the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes beat out all my other polishes is in their glossy shine. The polish really looks beautiful once the top coat is applied. I’ll also apply a second top coat 5-7 days down the road to restore the shine (which seems to wear away gradually over time), as well as to seal in the polish a little more.
Secondly, I love how these don’t damage my nails (I’ve heard too many stories about all the scraping involved in getting rid of ‘real’ gel nails), plus they also don’t take forever to remove – just use regular remover, some cotton pads, and get to scrubbing!
A Few More Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Shades…
Since becoming a big fan of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes for their shiny finish and longevity, I decided to check out the other colors available – and there are SO many great shades to choose from, including dark Fall and Winter shades, shimmery shades, nudes, brights, and pastel shades.
Here is the shade ‘All Chalked Up‘, a pretty purple-grey.
Another one of my favorites is this super cute pinky-peachy shade called ‘Rosey Riviter‘.
And finally a bolder shade that’s great for Fall/Winter – ‘Beatnik‘.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polishes retail for between $7 and $9.99, and are available at your local drugstores, and online at Target and Amazon.
Have you tried salon or at-home gel manicures?