Putting At-Home Gel Manicure Kits To The Test

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Kristine Sorensen
Kristine Sorensen joined KDKA-TV as a reporter/anchor in April 2...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Have you tried the new gel manicure at the salon that dries instantly and lasts for two weeks without chipping? It’s great, but it’s pricey — usually starting at $40.

Now there are new polishes and kits for you to give yourself a gel manicure at home for a lot less money than going to the salon every other week.

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen and some local women tried them out to see how they work.

Arleen Miller of Ross Township tried the Sally Hansen at-home gel polish kit — the cheapest at $69 and easy to find at drug stores.

The instructions are right on the box — apply the base coat, then cure under the UV light for 30 seconds. Time’s up when the light goes out.

Then, apply the nail color and cure again for 30 seconds. Repeat the second step. Then, apply the top coat and cure. Finally, wipe with an enclosed pad, and that’s it.

It took 10 minutes in all and it looked great. We discovered it wasn’t instantly dry; it smudged when we touched it. But when Arleen started cooking dinner a few minutes later, it was fine.

Arleen’s daughter, Bridget, tried a similar kit by “Red Carpet Manicure” that was $79.

It included more helpful directions and had one more step, a cleanser to start. The curing time was 45 seconds instead of 30. Bridget said there was a quick burning feeling, but it didn’t hurt after that.

Overall, it took about 15 minutes, and it dried quickly. In fact, she was texting within minutes with no smudging.

Kristine tried the new “Sephora X Collection” polish. Sephora says it contains “anti-chip technology that is water- and detergent-resistant.”

South Hills Village is one of 50 stores nationwide testing it out.

The clerk told KDKA it’s supposed to be like a gel polish, but during the test, Kristine quickly discovered it doesn’t dry quickly like gel nails. The polish smudged when she got the keys out of her purse.

Two weeks after they tried the at-home kits, KDKA checked back to see how long the polish lasted.

Arleen’s started chipping in 10 days, but she said it was easy to re-do.

“Two weeks — I didn’t get two weeks, but I was washing the car, pulling gloves off. I wasn’t babying them,” Arleen said.

Bridget loved how her nails looked.

“My friends were asking, ‘Oh, did you get your nails done?’ And I said, ‘No, I did them myself,’” she said.

Hers also lasted about a week and a half and then started peeling off in big chunks.

The Sephora X polish Kristine tried lasted a lot less time. It started chipping just two days after she applied it, not much longer than a regular polish.

As for the at-home gel polish kits, Bridget and Arleen agreed they would use them for special occasions but not all the time.

“I think there are pros and cons,” Bridget said. “It’s nice that it stays on for a while, but once it starts coming off, it really comes off. I would say it depends if want to take time to do nails and stuff. It’s kind of like tedious, but if you like to do that, it’s good.”

So, is it worth the price if you’re not using it all the time?

It will pay for itself in two uses, so if you think you’d go to the salon twice for a gel manicure, it’s probably worth it to buy a kit for $70 or $80.

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