Salon gel manicures have been big business for the last couple of years and until very recently it was difficult to replicate the look, feel and long-lasting finish of a gel manicure at home. When I heard about a new DIY kit called SensatioNail that promises a salon-quality gel manicure in a mere 20 minutes I was desperate to give it a go. I live close to the city centre and a gel manicure costs anywhere between £20 and £40 (not to mention city centre parking charges on top) so the convenience of DIY-ing it seemed like a real beauty breakthrough.
The SensatioNail starter kit includes everything you need to be able to give yourself an at-home gel manicure. As someone who has never applied gels (or anything much more than a couple of coats of polish) I did worry that it would be difficult to do, however I couldn't have been more wrong. The kit contains an LED lamp, gel primer, gel polish, lint-free wipes and a manicure stick. The starter kit is available in a choice of two different shades and separate colours are available to buy in Boots at £15 each.
The actual starter kit itself costs £69.99 and promises to give 10 salon manicures. When you compare that to the cost of a salon treatment you'll quickly realise that you'll recover back the cost of the kit back after a couple of applications. Although the initial cost is high, the convenience for me makes it worth it - particularly if you fancy going halves with a mum or sister.
The process basically involves painting your nails with a gel base coat, curing for 30 seconds under a special LED lamp and repeating with a coloured gel polish and curing again, for 60 seconds. After applying a second coat of colour and then applying a top coat (with a final cure to flash-harden the polish) the manicure is complete.
What I really love about gel manicures is that you don't need to worry about smudging your nails afterwards and ruining your hard work. The gel is damage-proof, super-shiny and won't crack or chip for up to 14 days.
I've been wearing mine now for a week and it still looks in great shape.
The trick to keeping yours looking neat and professional is to avoid getting the gel polish on your cuticles as it will harden under the lamp and can be tricky to remove.
Because the manicure lasts for around a fortnight, you don't need to paint your nails as often as you would with a regular polish. I used to save gel manicures for special occasions like holidays and weddings but I love that I can now do these all the time at home.
I'm definitely hooked on this kit. If you love nail polish but hate chipping I think you will too!