Weak nails is an understatement in my case.
I can’t leave the house without an emery board as I’m sure to break a nail just by breathing.
I have emery boards stashed all over the house, in my car and handbag. I never leave home without one.
Having asked a few manicurists over the years why my nails break so much, they look at them and tell me that they are unusually thin which makes them weak.
They tear off right down in the quick, it’s not fun. Not pleasant.
I’ve had a variety of different nail options, acrylic nails, gel nails, prescription nails. They all work, but then they make my natural nails even weaker, so either I have to commit forever, or suffer the pain.
In the past year or two I moved away from getting my nails done, budgets being tightened due to renovating the house.
So recently when I spotted Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel nail kit that promised up to 14 days colour without needing a UV lamp to cure or special gel nail polish remover to take it off, I thought I’d give it a go. Now I know with my thin and bendy fingernails and that I spend hours a day whacking my nails on a computer keyboard (plus washing up, cooking dinner etc) that 2 weeks is never going to be me… but would I get more than a day (which is about all I get with regular nail polish) before the cracks and chips started appearing?
How Well did it Apply?
It applies easily, I really like the brush shape, it holds a decent amount of polish and spreads well over the nails. I let each coat dry for 5 minutes before applying the next. They recommend after your Gel topcoat to then wait 15 minutes to let it dry properly. You have to apply both the colour coat and the top coat for the system to work.
What are the Colours Like?
The colours go on solidly, not patchy. There are lots of colours to choose from. The colours I have are:
640 – In My Suitcase (universal grey)
370 – Sugar Fix (cool light blue)
310 – Shock Wave (cool light pink)
500 – Mad Woman (cool plum)
101 – Top Coat (clear)
How Long Did It Last?
What’s the result? Well I get around 4-5 days on my fingernails of a really good looking manicure and up to a week with a little chipping. On my toes, 14 days is definitely possible.
I find that after 5 days it’s started chipping on some of (not all) my most used fingers (index and thumb) and that it needs a refresh.
How to Remove it?
What I love is that it’s easily removed by regular nail polish remover and doesn’t trash my nails underneath.
Are My Nails Still Breaking?
It does seem to be thicker than regular polish and I’m finding that I’m not getting anywhere near the nail breakage that I usually experience. The polish is adding a thicker coat to my nails so that they are a little less bendy and breaky than normal.
The instructions say 2 coats of polish before the special gel topcoat (that dries in regular light, no need for UV lamps), but I have found that 3 coats makes my polish last a day longer and makes my nails just that little bit stronger.
You need to use both the colour polish of your choice as well as the Miracle Gel topcoat.
Of any nailpolish system I’ve used, this lasts longer than any other that doesn’t involve getting gel or acrylic nails at a salon, and is super easy to do at home.
My dermatologist gave me a sample of a product to strengthen nails…can’t recall the name, but it worked amazingly well! However, it was pricey, and the label showed the active ingredient (indeed the only ingredient) was 2500 mcg of biotin. I bought some at the health food store (in the vitamin aisle) and have never looked back. Incredibly stronger nails. If you’re uncomfortable taking unsolicited advice from a stranger, check with your dermatologist for the original product.
Hi Jeanette, it seems that my nails are just very thin, so they bend and break more easily, i’ve tried many hardeners which don’t particularly help, as it’s not about hardness, but thickness. I will have a look though!
Thanks for posting this! I had given up on nail polish since I also usally only last for one day! I have pretty strong nails but am one of those people using them as tools!
I’ve never been much of a nail polish wearer, because the polish always seems to chip within a day or two. I recently tried the Rimmel London two-step gel nail polish in a sheer light pink and loved it. Then Aldi had a similar option on sale there a few weeks back. The only neutral colour was a taupe, so I tried that too, and loved it.
In both cases I got 7 days of wear. On day 5-7 it started to look a little bit dodgy around the edges if you looked hard. So I noticed, but other people wouldn’t have. When I went to remove the Aldi version I tried to see if it would chip or peel, as the edges seemed to look a little less secure – that little section came away, but I couldn’t budge any more without remover. And standard non-acetate remover from Aldi worked just fine. This two-step gel thing is a keeper for me.
Great to know there are other similar options around – it’s great that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get nicer looking nails these days
Always liked Sally Hansen Nail Polish. The brush shape works really well for me.I haven’t tried the gel but Revlon has had one for years that works really well and the other day I found that Essence also does one that worked fairly well.
Thanks for your recommendations Lindi
Hi, Imogen. I also have very thin, weak nails, and I too have had good results with the new Sally Hansen miracle gel system. My have several colors, but my favorites are Stilettos and Studs (a frosty dark gray) and Midnight Mod (a dark navy blue that looks darker on my nails than in the bottle).
I just wanted to mention that I also recently tried Sally Hansen’s argon-oil based Color Therapy in Re-Nude, which I love! I put a top coat of the gel over it, but it still seems to last much better than any regular polish.
Thanks for the tips Natalie!
Hi Imogen, thank you for this very helpful information. Your readers may be interested to know that Sally Hansen has a ManiMatch mobile app! It generates personalised-for-your-skin-tone colour suggestions. The app senses and analyses the pigments in your hand, then gives you polish shade suggestions. It can be downloaded free from Apple and android stores. (I haven’t used it myself, so I can’t vouch for its accuracy).
I like this polish too, but I find that after a couple of days there are a million little crackles in every nail- less noticeable with darker colors. Did you have this problem?
No I’ve not had that as a problem. One thing they say is to wipe the nails with polish remover before you apply, it could be something to do with anything on your nail surface.
AS we have discussed before we suffer similar nail problems and I am DELIGHTED to hear about such a good outcome!!
Can’t wait for my nails to grow enough to do them! I wonder if I could not use my fingers for a week and have them grow! Yeah That’d happen! NOT!
I share your nail history, and finally gave up on regularly polishing my nails (acetone based removers were my downfall).
My best results came from using a glass nail file and applying a second topcoat after two days (before chipping set in).
I once had a polish last 7 days using this method. Success! 🙂
All the best,
Thank you for your site, I find it invaluable.
I absolutely love the smallest too! The only thing that I’ve noticed is after I removed it, my nails start chipping and peeling. Something I’ve never had before. I didn’t usually keep my nails polished till I started using this so I’m not sure what would be causing them to chip and be all the way they do after college. But I agree, definitely last and holds up!
I love how honest and detailed your review. I like gel nail polish but I’m more of an Essie girl.
Love Sally Hanson gel and have been using for over a year. Salon gel wrecked my nails but this formula while not quite as long lasting on my hands is so much gentler. Plus much easier on my budget. I easily get 14 days wear for my toes. Great selection of colors, no streaks and that lovely shine! Glad your experience was positive as well.
It’s way nicer to your nails than gel or acrylic (which trash my nails).