I’ve only had a pro gel mani once, but been curious to try the SensatioNail Starter Kit since its launch earlier this year. I think this home gel mani kit is a genius idea and makes always immaculate nails accessible to a lot more people. Naturally there will always be those who prefer to be pampered by the pros, but for those who have neither the time nor cash to spare, Nailene’s SensatioNail kit is a genius invention.
Straight after a Sunday roast (washed down with several white wines), in soft lamplight probably wasn’t the best timing for my first attempt, but hey… I was curious to try it and I’m pretty pleased with how I got on!
The kit and its contents (see caption in first pic) come in a very compact box - the whole thing is much smaller than I expected. I should have photographed the lamp in my hand to give you an idea of perspective, but it’s very lightweight and fits in my palm, which made it much less daunting to use - and easy to store.
The Starter Kit is available with a Scarlet or Raspberry Wine polish… despite photographing the Scarlet, I actually used Raspberry Wine on my nails, just incase any of you were sharp enough to notice that!
I expected the whole thing to be a lot trickier… it comes with very detailed directions and a simple set with big pictures for lazy bones like me who can’t be bothered with complex instructions. In a nutshell it goes like this:
- Clean nails with gel cleanser
- Apply primer & basecoat (cure)
- Add 2 coats of colour & topcoat (curing after each coat)
- Cleanse again. That’s it!
In all honesty, if you can paint your nails neatly, you can use this. The actual curing takes 30-60 seconds, depending on which stage you’re at. The lamp beeps after 30 seconds and switches off after 60, so it’s impossible to go overcook your nails or go too far wrong. Here’s some pics of how I got on…
You get some idea of the size of the LED lamp here, as it’s not much wider than my hand. The instructions suggest curing two thumbs together, then four fingers of each hand.
I completed one hand before starting the other - I just wanted to make sure one was properly fixed and ‘unsmudgeable’ - plus I couldn’t wait to see how it looked!
It’s important to ‘wrap’ the nail with colour for a secure finish, by making sure the edges are painted. My nails are quite short at the moment so this wasn’t easy! If you look at my index finger on the hand holding the brush, you can see how the colour pooled a bit at the cuticle. Top tip: don’t go too close to the edges! I was more careful with the second hand…
Isn’t the Raspberry Wine shade pretty? It’s a lovely deep pink toned red with an iridescence that pulls purple in direct light.
I love how smooth and glossy the finish is - and that I don’t need to worry about chips or smudges. As you can see above, there was a little shrinkage after curing, despite me painting the tips… I’m not sure why but will hopefully find out and master this on my second attempt!
From a distance and close up, both in natural light.
I’m really hard on my nail polishes so it will be interesting to see how this wears - I will of course report back to let you know how it looks after two weeks. I can’t deny I was twitchy at the thought of wearing the same colour for so long, but have just been told you can paint over this gel (use acetone free remover & the mani will remain intact below). I probably won’t bother, but still nice to know!
SensatioNail Starter Kit* costs £69.99 exclusively at Boots in the UK, where you can also pick up the coloured gel polishes for £15.99 each. An expensive initial outlay, but claims to be enough for 10 manis, so not bad at almost £7 a pop! A great way to do it would be to share a kit with a friend - and you could share colours too! Ocean Sparkle (teal), Blue Yonder (navy), Sugar Plum & Espresso (dark chocolate brown) are on my wish list.
Would you try a home gel mani kit or do you prefer to go pro?