I love a fresh mani but I don’t always have the time or patience to clip, file, buff, prime, shine, paint and dry (life’s too short). Usually my nails start chipping in a day or two and it’s a hassle to remove everything and start from scratch.
To solve this issue, SensatioNail has created an express one-step system that provides professional long-lasting manicures without a trip to the salon.
To use the lacquer you need the LED Lamp ($37.97 at Walmart) or the Complete Manicure Kit which comes with 1 color, manicure stick, double-sided buffer and lamp. The polishes retail for $12.99 each and the chrome finishes are $13.00 at Shoppers Drug Mart and beauty.shoppersdrugmart.com.
All of the bottles are black so you can’t see the color without opening them or referring to the sticker swatches which are usually a true match.
The Lamp plugs into the wall and comes with a USB cord which is handy for travel. To preserve the bulbs, the device it will not turn on until you place your hand underneath and the lights are supposed to cure/dry gel polish in just 30 seconds.
There are a variety of shiny shades to choose from (including a few Pantone color trends) and the formula has a built-in base and top coat. The brand also makes Pre-Glued Artificial Nail Sets if those are more your style.
Once you apply the first coat of polish, cure for 30 seconds, apply a second coat and repeat. There is no dry time and the durable pigment lasts up to 10 days without chipping, dulling or fading. I’m not sure if the LED light works with other gel-based brands but logically it should.
I decided to use the SensatioNail Chrome Gel which has a stunning mirrored finish. It is more work to apply this formula and you need white or black polish for a base.
I applied one coat of the dark Bordeaux Gel Polish under the chrome powder but the texture was thick, runny, gloopy and difficult to work with. The color is not opaque and does not apply evenly so you need at least 2 coats for full-coverage. Even when used sparingly, the polish kept pooling around the sides and cuticles. I also noticed a lot of bumps and bubbles even though I prepared my nails by buffing and using acetone as suggested.
It took a while to apply the first coat and after curing for 30 seconds, the surface still felt a bit sticky. For people who have long fingers like me, the depth of the LED machine is a tad short.
The chrome gel powder looks like loose eye shadow. There is a lot of fallout and it is difficult to clean up the excess. After all that work, the finish on my left hand looked totally different than the one on my right because the powder did not blend consistently. My nails ended up looking messy and rough around the edges which was no easy fix. This was my first time using the kit so maybe it takes more practice.
I tried to remove the polish because I was displeased with the results but it would not come off. I guess that’s a good thing if you want your manicure to last a long time but removal is extremely tedious. I tried to dissolve the gel with salon quality 100% acetone and it did not budge or breakdown at all. It took almost 2 hours of continuous soaking and using a sharp kitchen knife to scrape and lift off all the layers. The brand also sells removal pads but they are not included in the kit.
If you have brittle nails, removing this lacquer may be too harsh and damaging. It sets very quickly (which is awesome) but no amount of rubbing will get this stuff off easily. Thankfully I did not damage my nail beds or skin but the entire process is time consuming which kind of defeats the purpose.
Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did so if you’d like to try this system, SensatioNail is available at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart.