I'm following up on my review of the SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish Starter Kit today with a solution to the one of the things that puts many people (myself included) off trying a system like this. I have been 'collecting' (I like to call it that, it makes it sound more acceptable...) nail polish now for almost four years, and in that time have amassed over 800 polishes (851 to be exact. Yes, I have a spreadsheet...) I have cremes, shimmers, glitters, holos, magnetics, foils, textures...there's no way I could replace them all with gel polish. Don't get me wrong, SensatioNail does do a fab range of gel polishes, easy to find at Boots, Tesco and Asda (and I plan on building a stash of those too, shhh don't tell Mr NN) but even if they did duplicate every polish in my collection it wouldn't be financially viable for me to replace it all. So I wondered if I could use my regular nail polish with the SensatioNail Gel base and top coat for a longer lasting manicure, and it turns out you can!
I started off by prepping my nails as you would for a gel manicure. I took off my previous manicure, cleaned and shaped my nails and pushed back my cuticles. It is important to do this as any gel polish you might get on the cuticle will cause the gel to lift and not last as long. Once that was done I lightly buffed my nails with the pink side of the file in the SensatioNail kit, wiped them with the cleanser and a lint free wipe and then applied the primer in a circle around the edge of my nails, all following the instructions in the kit. Next, I applied a thin even coat of the gel base and top coat, making sure to cap the tips of my nails (very important!) and cured for 30 seconds under the lamp. SensatioNail recommends in the instructions that you cure the fingers on each hand separately and the thumbs together for ease. You need to make sure no gel gets on your skin or cuticles too, otherwise it will set rock hard! If you do get any where it shouldn't be, you can just wipe it away before curing.
Now this is where you'd normally apply two coats of your gel colour and cure each coat, but using regular nail polish is different. Usually you'd leave the sticky layer left on your nails after curing until the last coat, but I wiped it off now using a lint free wipe and cleanser. You're left with a smooth surface to apply your polish onto, and I used two coats of Zoya Storm. Make sure the tips are capped again and leave to dry. Unfortunately, you can't cure regular nail polish so you have to wait for it to completely dry before moving on. You can use a quick drying topcoat to speed this process up if you need to (and protect your manicure if you're leaving a longer gap between adding the gel top coat), but I didn't. I would also recommend using gel colour "undies" if the polish you've chosen is sheer or needs more than two coats - chose a gel colour that is close to your regular polish colour, or even a neutral nude and cure it before adding the regular polish. That way you don't need as many coats of polish and you're cutting the dry time a little. I'm going to treat myself to SensatioNail La Creme for this purpose! I left Storm to dry for 45 minutes before moving onto the top coat.
Apply a thin layer of gel top coat on top of your regular nail polish, again making sure the tips are wrapped and no gel gets on your skin. You need to also make sure the polish underneath is covered completely otherwise your gel could lift and not last as long. Cure for 30 seconds, wipe off the sticky layer and you're done!
It's really as easy as a normal manicure, and for very little extra effort you should (hopefully) have a manicure that lasts so much longer. I did this for a weekend away, on the Friday evening before I went and it meant I didn't have to worry about taking any polish/remover etc with me or it chipping before my night out on the Saturday.
*UPDATE* It lasted about a week before it started showing signs of wear. It probably would have lasted a few days longer if I hadn't got bored of it! I'd say if you're careful you could get 8-10 days from it.
Now, the only other thing that put me off switching to gel polish full time is how much I like to change my polish. I've not attempted removing a gel mani yet (the pedi you saw in my first impressions post is still going strong after almost 3 weeks!) but I know its not going to be a case of wiping it with polish remover! Also, I usually change my nails 3-4 times a week for various reasons - chipping being the major one but I also love doing my nails and creating nail art. Also I need stuff to post for you guys on the blog! So, in my next SensatioNail post I'll tackle that issue - removal, nail art and changing it up a bit! I'm looking forward to it already ;)
And great news if you're in the UK - until 5pm on Monday you can get £20 off the SensatioNail Invincible Gel Polish starter kit at Sensationail.co.uk, making it just £49.99. It would make a fab Christmas present (if you're feeling organised!) or just treat yourself :)
The product featured was a PR sample provided to me for free for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own and 100% honest. Please see my disclaimer in the tab above for further details.