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Pursuit of it All

My Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish Fail

I’m going to start this post off by saying that I’m a huge Sally Hansen nail polish fan. That’s important to get out up front since, obviously, the title of this post might imply otherwise. And, I’ll point out that the use of “My” in the title was, most certainly, intentional.

Of all the affordable nail polish options I’ve tried, Sally Hansen is by far the best when it comes to lasting, chip-free color.

My go-tos are Insta-Dri®, Complete Salon Manicure™, and Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear® because they’re inexpensive (between $4 and $8 a bottle at the local CVS), and because they stand up to a few days’ wear before things start going downhill.

If you couldn’t guess, I’m kind of a serial typist, clickity-clacking for at least 12 or 13 hours a day between my regular job, and all my freelance/blog writing.

Nail polish doesn’t like extreme typing. Not even a little.

Or, maybe it’s just me.

My Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish Fail!

I keep my nails short. A “sporty” length as some call it. Anything too far beyond my finger-tip and I start to twitch as the letters tic-tic-tic when I type. The only way I can describe it is like a claustrophobic feeling that makes me squirmy—I get that way when I’ve worn a hat (especially one with a bill) for too long, too. Two cheers for idiosyncrasies!

Not sure if it’s that sporty length (I’d imagine having longer nails would encourage this, too), but after a day or two, the very top edge of paint on my index and middle finger nails starts wearing away. Shortly after, it’s my right thumb who (because of some sort of learning-to-type snafu) does all the space bar work for all the words. Clickity-click-click

The left thumb, it just gets to hang out and watch. And, as a result, stays beautifully, unchippedly, polished for twice as long as the rest of my actively typing fingernails.

And yet, I have plenty of friends who type just as much as I do, and manage to keep their gel polished finger nails chip free for a week, or even longer. So, I’ve been wondering if that’s the ticket: GEL POLISH.

Used to be you had to visit a salon for gel manicure, and—quite frankly—I don’t have the time or the money to be doing that on the regular. Sometime within the past five years DIY gel polish systems popped up, complete with the lamp and other accessories you need to create the same gel manicured process at home. Nope. Nope. Nope. That’s way too much work.

And THEN, Sally Hansen came up with the magical idea of gel polish that doesn’t require anything fancy to work, aside from a specially formulated polish and a specific “must use” top coat.

At $9.99 a bottle, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel™ is a bit more expensive than my usual Sally Hansen fare, but it’s also a heck of a lot less expensive than visiting a salon every other week, especially when the bottle touts, “Up to 14 Days of Color & Shine!!!!!” and it lasts for lots and lots of applications.

Okay, it doesn’t actually have all (or any) of the exclamation points, but that’s how my mind read it. The thought of polish lasting even a week and looking fabulous is extraordinary.

So, I invested $20 in “Slate-r Girl” and the special top coat and prepared myself to be awed by the staying power of my new gel nail polish friends.

First, I watched a video (because I’m kind of geeky and I wanted to make sure I did it right).

Seems simple enough. Clean nails, two coats polish (dry five minutes between each), one coat top coat, let it dry for 15 minutes “before digging around in your purse,” and then done.

That’s my kind of manicure.

And for the first two days, my “Slate-r Girl” nails looked fab.

It was day three when I noticed my usual index finger wear and tear. And by day four things started to go downhill quickly.

Day five? Let’s just say I put the “Removes like regular nail polish” statement to the test. And it works, the regular non-acetone nail polish remover I use for everything else.

My Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish fail!

I shared my hopeless gel polish story with some girlfriends.

It appears they don’t see the same pathetic showing that I do. Their Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polished nails (in “All Chalked Up” and “Smartease”) look unblemished at day five.


I feel like the “nailed it” poster child for Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish, instead of Pinterest.

I’ve reverted back to my Insta-Dri “Cocoa A Go Go” with an Xtreme Wear “Disco Ball” glitter top coat because that combo seems to harden well enough that chips are thwarted AND because when it does chip, the glitter seems to do a nice job of hiding it. Touch ups, for when it’s not so camouflaged, are pretty simple when shimmer’s involved.

But seriously, I refuse to give up on the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish when it seems to work brilliantly for every other fingernail on the planet.

A girlfriend helped out with a few tips:

Swipe your nails with vinegar first to remove oils, then try using a base. Soak your nails in ice water when you’re done.

So I’m gonna try those tips, along with a double top coat, I think.

But, what say you? Have you tried gel polish at home, and was it a long-lasting success?!?

Liza is a self-proclaimed #wordnerd who loves getting sucked into whimsical novels and epic movies, frequently flying under the coolness radar with her laid-back, practical attitude towards life. A foodie at heart, Liza relishes the chance to both cook and eat. (She's not picky.) She’s on the hunt for the perfect mojito, inspiration for a third tattoo, and world peace. You can also find Liza sharpening her knives over at (a)Musing Foodie.

Comments (16)

  • Stacy Decossas

    It’s terrible. By day two or three ku tips are chipping. I’m not doing anything crazy like mining for coal with my hands. I wish it worked.

    • Rita Braddock

      I had the same problem. Gonna use it one more time. Maybe I put it on to thick. If it chips again, back to the store it goes!!!!

  • Lee Keech

    Mine is like paint on plastic. It looks good, but if you scrape your nail it comes right off. I wish I’d read reviews or something before I spent $20..

  • Samantha

    Just bought it last night and applied it at 7am this morning on my nails and toe nails before my job interview at 9. I let dry between each coat and let the top coat dry an hour before I put shoes on. Went to my interview 9, grabbed a few groceries on the way home and at 12:00, immediately after I carried the groceries in, I noticed massive smudges and lines in all of my nails that were not there on my ride home. Took my shoes off and they’re all smudged too. I’m incredibly disappointed and pretty annoyed. You’d think they’d be pretty solid 4-5hrs later.

  • Staci

    I’m also frustrated with this polish. “Let dry 5 minutes in between coats,” say the directions on the bottle…. 5 minutes is nearly not long enough. It seems like I need to wait 60 minutes in between each base coat!

    I was also hoping for a cheaper gel option to do at home without having to go to the salon or get a gel UV lamp. I’m so disappointed. I might just break down a buy a lamp. They’re only about $30 on Amazon and my nails will cure in 10 minutes with all three coats so… worth it!

  • Paula

    Enjoyed this post. Thank You!!
    Does anyone know how to thin the new miracle gel?

    • Suzy

      I would like to know this also. My topcoat has gotten thick. Any ideas anyone? Love the miracle gel… lasts me 7-10 days without chipping. After removing polish, I wash nails with soap & water, dry, swipe with cotton ball moistened with a alcohol, apply 2 coats of color, 1 topcoat.

  • Katherine Brown

    It’s so strange to me to read about people having trouble with, and not liking, this polish. I love it, and I rarely even use the top coat. I do a semi- thick coat, wait a 2-3 minutes (I’m impatient, so I quickly found out that I don’t need 5), add another coat, then I actually give it about 5, then I’m careful for about another 10 minutes (which is about the amount of time it takes me to forget to be careful), and then I’m good to go for about a week before having to do some minor touch-ups.
    I’m am active, outdoorsy person who can destroy a professional manicure in half a day, but it’s rare for me to get a chip before 5 days when I’m wearing this polish.
    I wonder if the color might have something to do with it?

  • Rhonda

    I have the same problem and I’ve tried thinner coats and more air time between coats and still no good through dry experience. Also what I hate is the pin holes you see about 45 min after you put the gel coat on top so your finish look is flawed with pinholes and peeling off.

  • Carmen

    I’ve tried waiting several minutes in between coats, tried swiping my nails with rubbing alcohol before painting, and let them dry a full hour after applying the top coat. Unfortunately, I keep having the same issue, the polish won’t fully dry. I end of with dings and impressions from my blanket (usually paint my nails a few hours before I go to bed). It’s like the outer layer will dry but the inner layers are still tacky. Very frustrating!!!


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