When I found Sally Hansen Miracle Gel during a recent grocery outing, I was intrigued. No UV-lights? No going to the nail salon and breathing a roomful of toxic fumes? $7.94 per bottle? Ok, I’ll try it.
We read all these raving reviews on blogs all the time. Personally, the most helpful reviews are the ones where the person was not impressed with the product. I was very surprised at the outcome.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve noticed that a different type of picture has been filling my feed. Normally, I have pictures of my dogs, but with all of the home-buying drama and stress that’s unfortunately accompanying it I realized I needed some pampering. So I treated myself to a cut + color and a gel mani last week.
I don’t know about you, but I rarely ever bother doing my nails because the color always chips in a few days, and I’m left feeling regret at ever spending the
time money for such a short-lived manicure. When I pay more for a gel manicure, the results last 14 days but I hate how the manicure wreaks havoc on my nails. I have weak nails to begin with and I rarely indulge in that luxury.
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel doesn’t require a lamp with UV lights. Instead, it uses natural light —sunlight, if you were wondering, not our incandescent light bulbs— so there’s no upfront cost in that little UV-light box with other at-home gel manicure systems. I’ve always hated putting my hands under UV bulbs. Isn’t that the same no-no as going to a tanning bed, but for your hands?
Friends and family were very interested in my photo updates, and I told them I’d write a review on day 14. Well, this manicure didn’t last 14 days. It didn’t even last 7.
I was extremely pleased at how easy this gel manicure was to apply. Two coats of color, then one coat of the gel top coat. (I did 3 coats of color, as this shade was a bit translucent).
I had one minor chip on my middle finger. I had only showered and done minor dishes, so it’s not like I did and heavy housework for that chip to appear, but it still looked good. At this point I wasn’t sure whether it was user-error or the product.
Still no more chips, but I had also been very occupied with web design and had not tinkered with too much housework or packing up the house. There was some slight wearing-away of the polish at the nail beds, but this happens with gel manicures as well. At this point I thought that the gel manicure was good, as I only had one chip.
The last day of the manicure as I was too angry to keep my nails looking as they did. This is the first picture of my right hand, as the only chip was on my left hand before. I now had a chip on my right pinky nail. Also, my right index fingernail’s polish was visibly lifting at the nail bed. The polish had erroded more at the nail beds and it was clear that I had to take it all off.
Some of my Instagram followers mentioned that they peeled their Miracle Gel manicure after day six. My manicure didn’t even last that long. I was really hopeful this product lived up to its promises, but I am extremely disappointed. I’m sure that sunlight’s UV rays don’t line up to the salon’s UV light bulbs, but this was a huge letdown.
I think it’s important to note that I have extremely thin nails, so they get soft very quickly when I do dishes or take a shower. I think this contributes a lot to my nail polish chipping faster. So, if this doesn’t apply to you, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish may work just fine for you.
I think I’m missing something. I think your nails in day 5 look awesome!!!! I’ve tried Miracle Gel and absolutely love it. My nails typically chip after 1 day and although this doesn’t last nearly as long as a real gel manicure, it doesn’t cost nearly as much either. And like you said – it doesn’t ruin your nails like a real gel manicure. Although I will say – I just got my gel manicure removed at the salon and it makes a world of a difference in how it affects your nails when you do that! instead of peel it off yourself.
I totally recommend giving this another shot!
I agree that this costs less and is less damaging to the nails. Absolutely. But I had two chips and the polish was coming up (as in, lifting up) at the nail beds. I’m glad it works for you!
I think that the person who thought your nails looked on day 5 must not have very high standards for how a manicure should look. I myself had bought several colors of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and the topcoat. I was so looking forward to this. Well,I had results similar to yours. Terrible chipping almost right away. And it really didn’t seem that the top coat was really solidifying as quickly as I had hoped, using only sunlight. I had been, and have returned to GIVING MYSELF a gel manicure. The current systems use LED light instead ofUV, so they’re so much safer. In your post, you mention the upfront cost of the lamp. Yes, it might cost a bit, but when compared with the cost of salon gel manicures, or the frustration of traditional manicures with regular polish that chips or smudges rights away, I felt the cost of the lamp, actually the whole system, to be worth it. I initially invested in Mally Roncal’s gel manicure system, which she originally sold on QVC as well as on her own website. I bought it when she first came out with it, a few years ago, and it was quite pricy then. It has since dropped in price. With her system, I have successfully used color gel polishes from her own system, from SensatioNail, from Gelish, from Red Carpet. They all work with her LED lamp. I’ve consistently used her base and top coat, but I’m open to trying other brands that have had good reviews. Amazingly, I am still using the same bottles of nail prep, base and top coat from Mally’s system! It seems to last forever. I did have to get a second bottle of nail primer (not all systems use the primer, but I’m glad Mally has it; it helps with adhesion). As for results, I have to tell you that I have manicures that last 3-4 WEEKS! I’m not kidding. I will admit to putting on 2 coats of top coats when I first do the manicure, even though only one is required. Sometimes, but not always, I’ll even add on another coat of topcoat a week or so in for added wear, especially if the polish that I had placed over the nail edge and slightly on the underside has come off — this does have a tendency to happen just from having hands in water a lot. But only the underside comes off and doesn’t affect the top of the nails. So anyway, I’ll add on another coat of topcoat and at the same time reseal the nail edge. To do this mid-manicure, I just wipe the nails with 91% alcohol to make sure there’s no dirt or skin oils, put on the coat of topcoat and cure it in my LED lamp. It truly takes maybe five minutes total to do both hands, and I’m sure this helps to prolong the manicure. As far as being damaging to the nails, I am not experiencing any, and I don’t have great nails. The key is breaking the seal on the gel polish before trying to go through the removal process. You do this by using a file to dull the surface, indicating you’ve gotten through the finish. I actually use my Emjoi Micro-Pedi to do this — very carefully; it wasn’t intended for use on the nails, but this makes it faster to break the seal on the polish than regular filing would take. I then soak just my fingertips in acetone (Mally’s system included a great molded bowl that supports your hand and provides for a moat-like area for your fingertips — this minimizes the amount of acetone you need to use and minimizes how much of your fingers are exposed to the acetone. I do sit for at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove the gel. I know that other use acetone-soaked cottonballs placed directly on the nails and then wrap with aluminum foil. I just have found that awkward, so I use the bowl. Anyway, I am very gentle when using the included metal tool to remove the polish. I get off as much as I can. If necessary, I’ll soak for another 10 minutes for what hasn’t come off, and then gently scrape more. I am very careful not to gouge the nail itself. I admit, I learned this with experience. I did initially have a heavier hand and did gouge one nail bed early on. My point is that it is possible to do this without harming your nails. When you consider that I only do this every 3-4 weeks (and the only reason why I have to do it then is because of the amount of nail growth that has occurred, so that there’s so much bare nail showing at the base of the nail! There still is NO CHIPPING), you’re only doing this 13-17 times per year! Not so bad! And to put this into perspective pricewise, if you assume a cost of only $25 for a salon gel manicure (and I know that most charge more than that), and a total of 15 manicures per year, that would cost $375. When I purchased my system, at that time it cost me just under $170 for everything I needed (and most systems today can be purchased in total for under $100) in the spring of 2012!!, and that I’m using most of the same product from then, more than 3 YEARS later. That’s pretty amazing. The only costs I’ve had since then are for acetone (which I get very reasonably at Wal-Mart) and for the occasional new color of polish I want to splurge on. I feel I’ve come out way ahead. My nails always look great, they’re growing better than they ever did before, and I’ve saved a ton of money.
Picky Colors says
I do the same thing and have no problems, I wanted try miracle gel because of the colors. I’m always looking for fun colors and the uv gel colors can be somewhat limited at times as my skin tone does not support robins egg blue or neon blue. But agree my manicure last for 3 to 4 weeks and only change it because of nail growth. No damage to nails at all.
I go for natural nails as well because my nails are naturally weak too so I don’t want to abuse them with shellac or gel nails and I’m lucky if my nails don’t chip within the first day of a manicure.
Jessica Rose says
Some people’s nail are more prone to chipping than others regardless of what they use…sounds like the search isn’t over for you yet!!
I had an acrylic set for way too long (several months) as I was breaking myself of a nail-biting habit. While that worked, it also ruined my already fragile nails (shocker). I started using the Sally Hansen Complete Care treatment (http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod2870077), and 1) it did some crazy strengthening to my nails themselves. After only a few weeks, they’d gone from paper-thin to strong and healthy. I use two coats of this as a base, two coats of color, and one more of the CC as a topcoat. I’ve found that having this as a base keeps the color adhered to my nails better, and it doesn’t generally chip unless I jam my hand on something. For color brands, I’m all over the place… basic Ulta, OPI, Revlon, essie, you name it. For me the brand of the color doesn’t make a big difference so long as I have a really great base coat! (Sorry for the novel!)
I use the Essie Rapid dry & shine top coat, and it lasts about 5 days with normal Essie polish. This is the best at-home I have found, even compared to the at-home gel UV light polish
Kalyn V says
Thanks for the review! I use Sally Hansen quik dry top coat and Essie bottom coat with 2 layers of regular polish and I have better results than this, and I have a very hands-on job (I’m a nurse), constantly removing and putting on gloves and washing my hands 20+ times a day. Then again, I rarely paint my nails as it is.
Nail polish hates to stay on me (I blame my nails for being “weird”), so I’m interested in trying this for myself
Meg O. says
I have been trying this stuff from Sally Beauty called “Gelous” and applying it as a base coat and before my top coat (I swear by Out the Door – also can be found at Sally’s). It seems to help prolong my manicure, but nothing I’ve tried at home, even the “shellac hack” really worked all that well. I honestly don’t mind painting my nails once a week, even if I have to go bare-nailed for a day or two.
Kelly @ Kelly's Kinda Crazy says
I have been wondering about these at home gel polishes that don’t require the UV light. I saw Revlon Gel Envy the other day and was wondering if anyone had used it. If you’re up for another review, it might be worth a try.
Glad to see your thoughts on this. I saw a commercial for it over the weekend and thought about giving it a try. I’ll stick with just going to the salon and I’ll be sure to put SPF on my hands before I go.
Andreia Leote says
I need those, my nails typically chip after 1 day :S
Aly Bubbles says
I LOVE this nail polish. For me, it definitely passed the chip test. I’m currently wearing this very brand of polish, in shade “purplexed.” :)
ugh that sucks! i feel like if i don’t pick at my nails, my regular maincures usually last reasonably long. you probably already know i’m a big manicure fan and my fave thing ever is the julep freedom polymer top coat. it’s supposed to be gel like and you are just supposed to put your nails near a regular lightbulb to get more of a gel finish. it doesn’t last as long as a gel but it works pretty well and comes off easily. and make sure you do a base coat! ok super long manicure comment done :)
Dang, I was really hoping this review would be glowing and then I could find the perfect polish!
Kelly Daniel says
I was really hoping that your review would be glowing since I, too, suffer from thin nails that require nail polish made of cement in order to last past a few days. I remember being in Target when I saw this gel manicure set for the first time and got really excited. Whenever I get my nails done I typically get the Shellac since it seems to be the only thing that lasts. I’m still on the lookout!
I tried the press on colors with the top coat and light by sally Hansen and it was horrible. But I am going to try this and seal with the lamp I got from the other SH product and see if lasts better.
I love the miracle gel polish. It’s truly a miracle. I’ve never had a regular nail polish last as long as this stuff does. It only lasts a week for me but usually I’m lucky if I get a full 24 hours out of any other polish. I’m confused as to why you weren’t happy with it, the only thing I can see wrong with the day five photo is that your nails grew. Other than that it looks good to me.
I am so disappointed with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel. I bought the combination pack with a pink color and the top coat. It was fairly pricey and took 3 coats to cover. It was a Tuesday when I put it on and by Thursday my nails were all cracked and chipped. I was looking forward to trying some of their pretty colors but I will certainly not waste my money on this product. I know how to properly apply nail polish so I didn’t do anything wrong and read the instructions anyway. Do not buy this. You will just throw it in the garbage where it belongs.
Mary Smith says
I have to give this stuff a rating of 3 on scale to 10. They say apply thin but give you a brush that is impossible to do. Then after 2nd coat and waiting forever to dry the top coat takes the color coat with it when applied. I am already sock of it and still trying to clean up the mess. Waste of money and time
Diana Lee says
Ironically, I’m on day 5 and just took it off because my nails looks so horribly, embarassingly busted. Pretty sure I’m returning this stuff to Ulta. It was cheap, but it doesn’t last at all. I get way better results using Orly Bonder as a base coat and then a good top coat over the color.
I adore my gel manis, but never make it to the salon since I had my daughter two years ago.
I was so excited to see the Sally Hanse Miracle Gel at Foshcini. It was pricey but I was in search of a nailpolish that would last so I did’nt mind the cost. I had to put on 3 coats and noticed that after each application it would take forever to dry. As women we cannot not use our hands for too long so my painted nails ended up gettinh messed up eventually. I waited longer the second time I used it and eventually got it to dry completely. I must say it is an effort and it should not be that way. My nails are strong. They do not chip or break easily. The “Miracle” gel polish started to chip on day one. What a waste of money, effort and time. I will never purchase another Sally Hansen product ever again.
I love the SH Miracle Gel polish. I do not shake it. I use two coats of the color and one coat of the number 101 topcoat. I wait 15 minutes between the coats and another 15 minutes for the top coat to dry (45) minutes in all. It is a long time but it lasts two to three weeks without chipping or peeling. It removes easily in about five minutes with 96 percent acetone remover.