I love manicures. But two things I don’t like (or didn’t like) was paying to have my nails done, and how quickly they would chip! For that very reason I hardly ever got my nails done at a salon–it just wasn’t worth the price tag to me when I could do my own nails at home. That way, when it did chip, at least I had only spent a few dollars on a bottle of polish rather than half my paycheck on someone else doing it.
Two summers ago before I went to Europe for three weeks, I decided to treat myself and get my nails done. I had heard a lot about shellac manicures, so I splurged, spent a little bit extra, and decided to go for it. It claimed that it wouldn’t chip or peel for two weeks, and I figured if I could have nicely manicured nails for the majority of my trip, it was worth the cost! I had tried acrylic nails around the time of my junior prom and they totally ruined my nails (probably because no one told me how I would need to have them removed) and I didn’t want to venture back down that road. I tried the shellac polish, loved it, and it lasted through my whole trip. I mean, it was super grown out and had begun to chip in the last week or so, but I was sold.
I was not sold on the price tag, though. I started to look into at home systems, which ended up being mostly gel polish. I had heard a lot about the Sally Hansen line that was just coming out at the time and had it in hand, ready to purchase when I saw a system called Sensationail. I put the Sally Hansen one back on the shelf, went home, did quite a bit of research including watching as many YouTube videos as I could find (which wasn’t many at the time because it was so new), and went back to the store to purchase that one instead. I am so glad I did! I could not be more pleased with my investment.
A Sensationail starter kit retails for about $60, depending on where you buy it from. (As a side note, things are always more expensive in Hawaii…so prices may be a bit different on the mainland or internationally, although I imagine it would only be a few dollars difference, if anything.) They offer the starter kit in four different colors, including Pink Chiffon (light pink), Scarlet Red (bright red), Raspberry Wine (a deep wine color), and French Manicure. I personally purchased the Pink Chiffon color. The starter kits include the LED light, a color polish, a base/top coat, the gel cleanser, the gel primer, lint-free wipes, a double-sided nail buffer, a manicure stick, and an instruction booklet. So, while it is kind of an investment up front–the cost of one to two manicures–in the long run it is way cheaper than going to a salon. Individual color polishes retail for about $9-12 dollars (again, depending on what store you buy from and what state/country you live in) and their color selection is amazing! The colors are so nicely pigmented and I can usually achieve the look I want in two coats. In fact, the number of colors they have to choose from is one of the reasons I ultimately decided to go with this system over others.
The process is simple: lightly buff the natural nail and wipe it clean with the lint-free wipes and gel cleanser, and prime the nail. Then apply the base coat and cure with the light for 30 seconds, apply one coat of the color and cure for 60 seconds, apply a second coat of color and cure for 60 seconds, and apply the topcoat and cure for 30 seconds. Wipe the nail with the lint-free wipes and gel cleanser to remove any tackiness, and that’s it! Completely dry, super shiny, ready to go gel nails that last for up to two weeks. On average, mine last for about 10 days before I start to see peeling or chipping, but I have had several manicures last quite a bit longer. Other than the polishes themselves being on the pricey side, I have pretty much no complaints about Sensationail. Overall, I am very impressed and this is the only way I do my nails anymore. Why bother with regular polish and wait for it to dry only to chip a day later?
Here are just a few of the manicures I have done since becoming obsessed (and I really am…just ask my husband). I get most of my inspiration from Pinterest, but I’m working on coming up with more of my own designs. In fact the four pictures on the right are all my designs, and the four on the left are inspiration from Pinterest or other Sensationail lovers that I follow on Instagram. I’m extremely amateur, but not too bad for having almost no artistic skills whatsoever. Haha.
And this one, which is what I am currently wearing. It’s such a happy spring manicure!
PS, this is not a sponsored post and I’m not getting paid to talk about how great Sensationail is. I just found a product I love and couldn’t help but share it! If you have mani/pedi ideas, share the inspiration down below!