Success with Sally Hansen Hard As Nails

S&M Sally Hansen Hard as NailsI’ve been wearing Sally Hansen Hard As Nails (I’ll call it HAN for short) Hardener for over a week now, and I’m ready to share some thoughts on the product.

Overall, this product gets two thumbs up from me because it does what it promises, quickly, easily and inexpensively. Here are the details:

  • As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s easy to find in grocery, department, or drug stores, and very affordable.
  • You apply and remove it just like traditional nail polish – easy!
  • You get the choice of clear or pink-tinted (you probably won’t notice the pink once it’s applied).
  • You can use multiple coats. The first two times I used it I applied two, and the third time I went with three. It’s also suggested that you apply on the underside of the natural nail, if your free edge is long enough.
  • Your nails will probably feel a little stronger, especially if you already have strong, easy-to-grow nails.

I recommend this product for home use if you…

  • are in the process of growing out your natural nails.
  • are opposed to the use of enhancement products such as acrylic or gel.
  • would like a strengthening base coat without a thick or unnatural-feeling enhancement.

I don’t recommend this product…

  • if you prefer long nails. HAN likely won’t be enough protection for longer natural nails. My free edges are about 3/16″ long and, at this length, I would prefer to have more protection against breakage than this product provides.
  • for use as a ridge-filler. You’ll need to purchase additional products for a smooth look under polish, as this product does not fill ridges in the nail.
  • for professional use. There are professional products that will provide better, long-lasting result in a salon setting.
  • if you prefer a matte look.  HAN comes in two tints, but no matte option.  However, you can apply two or even three coats of this and buff the top layer for a flat, more natural finish.
  • as a top coat. It was intended for use alone or as a base coat, and may not protect the color coat or give the shine a top coat would.

Some things to know before you try this product:

  • It takes awhile to dry, just like traditional nail polish. It is not UV/LED cured.
  • This is a hardener, but only that. It won’t make your nail thicker or break-resistant like a gel or acrylic overlay.
  • I’ve tested HAN with Gelish on top and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Gelish lasted about 5 days before it began to peel at the tips.  If you want to try this, just apply two or three coats of HAN, allow to dry completely, and buff with a 100 grit file to remove shine so that the Gelish will be able to adhere to the nail.

yhst-88462588038071_2563_2240617376Just to be clear – Hard As Nails is an entire product line. The product I’ve tested is the Hardener; I can’t vouch for any other treatments available from Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails line.

Have you tried this product? What did you think? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Testing Sally Hansen Hard as Nails

Contains an affiliate link.

It’s pretty rare these days for me not to have a Gelish enhancement product on my nails but when I don’t, I like to try new products.  Last year I tried out Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, since that seemed like the hot product at the time. This time I’m testing an older product that gets great reviews online – Sally Hansen Hard as Nails® Hardener.

yhst-88462588038071_2563_2240617376
Image from SallyHansen.com

This product is a signature product from the Sally Hansen brand, created by the founder Sally herself back in the 1950’s. I’d not tried it myself, even back in my early DIY days, so why not now?

A couple weeks ago I trimmed my nails back, so I’m working with fairly short nails. I’ve applied two coats to my natural nails.  They results are a nice, clean look, and the product applied easily, just like polish.

My plan is to test how well this product protects the natural nails, as well as how it can work under gel polish. I’m using the natural tint hardener for my testing, which cost $2.59 (including tax) at my local Walmart.  So far, the product gets high marks for being readily available, affordable, and easy to apply. (If you can’t find it near you or hate analog shopping, you can get it for about $5 online.)

This post is just an intro to my series about Hard as Nails hardener. Stay tuned for the results of my 1 week test soon!

Salon Manicure Choices – What’s the Difference? Some Final Thoughts

There are so many wonderful nail treatments available now in salons and for home use. In this series we’ve reviewed the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails, and with this post we conclude the series on selecting the best system for your needs, wrapping up with a comparison of some available systems.

When deciding which system is right for you or a client there a few lifestyle aspects to consider, such as how long you like wearing a nail color or design, your preferred nail length, product removal time, or how long the manicure needs to last.natural nail manicure product spectrum

sm-31-december-2016

The graphic above (© Smoke &Mirrors) details what you can expect from the systems we reviewed in the last four posts in terms of wear time.

So, if you love changing your nail color frequently, you’ll probably want to focus on products to the left side of the scale, like traditional or hybrid nail polishes.  On the other hand, if you’re super busy (who isn’t?!?!) and don’t have time for frequent color changes, you may want to try a gel polish or even dip powder nails.SM dip family

The time you’ll spend removing the product also increases as you move right on the scale. Fittingly, the longer the wear time of the product generally, the longer a removal time it will require.  However, if long wear time is your priority, you’ll likely find the increased removal time to be worth it!

So, what are your thoughts on these systems? Do you alternate between systems depending on the season? Does your salon offer all these options? Have you had better results with any particular system? Leave a comment or question below!

Salon Manicure Choices – What’s the Difference? Hybrid Nail Polish

Contains affiliate links

There are so many amazing nail treatments out there! In this series we’ll review the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails on the market today. Here we continue our series on selecting the perfect natural nail manicure system for your needs, looking at “hybrid” nail polish.

Hybrid Nail Polish

Hybrid nail polish is also called long-lasting or long-wear nail polish, and it attempts “borrow some of the best qualities from both gel and lacquer without needing to be cured” .  It seems the goal in developing hybrid polish was to create a polish that would last as long as UV-cured gel polishes, but applies easily and could be removed as quickly as traditional nail polish. Some brands take this a step further by incorporating oligomers into their top coats that cure in ambient UV light, and become harder over the course of a day or so.

Hybrid polishes were introduced a few years ago, after the gel polish craze evened out, and seem to have been going steady ever since. Like traditional polish, they’re easy to apply in the salon or at home. Some brands make it even easier by requiring no base coat for their systems. However, it’s important to use the correct base (if required) and top coat for the system to achieve the result for these polishes.

Image from Amazon.com

 

Ready to try for yourself?

Some professional brands are:

 

 

Image from Amazon.com

 

Easy-to-find drug and beauty store brands are:

 

 

 

 

I tested the Sally Hansen brand earlier this year. Here’s one of my manis with a color called Shock Wave.

S&M 25 March 2018

From my perspective, these hybrid polishes felt like a wannabe gel polish – they fell short on delivering on their promises and, overall, my experience with these was a non-starter.  Leave a comment below with your experience! Is this your go-to natural nail product?

Salon Manicure Choices – What’s the Difference? Traditional Nail Polish

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On this blog I post a lot about gel polish and occasionally about traditional polish, but did you know there are other systems available that may meet your natural nails manicure needs and fit your lifestyle? There’s also the latest craze – dipped nails, which isn’t nail polish like we usually think about it.  There are so many amazing treatments out there! In this series we’ll review the professional manicure systems for use on natural nails in the market today.

Traditional Nail Polish

Traditional nail polish is also sometimes called lacquer. This is the system that most people are familiar with, as it has been around for decades, can be found at most department or drug stores, and is easy to apply (but surprisingly difficult to apply well).

Image from Amazon.com

 

The technology that traditional nail polish uses typically includes nitrocellulose, film-forming agents, resins, solvents, and, of course, colorants. Professional systems usually include at least a base and top coat formulated to work with their lacquer colors, as well as other nail treatments such as strengtheners, finishers and drying agents.
One of the most-trusted (and my personal favorite) traditional polish brands is OPI. I also recommend Morgan Taylor.

Is traditional nail polish for you?

If you enjoy self-care time for getting weekly nail services and love trying new, on-trend colors, then traditional polish might be perfect for you. Traditional polish is a quick treatment that is perfect for combining with other pampering salon services.

Is this your polish of choice? What do you love about it? Leave us a comment!

Everyday Nail Art #1: “Bling the Ring” + Glitter Ombre

With this post I’m kicking of a new series on simple and fun nail art that can be done easily at home and quickly at the salon. I’m not sure how many entries there will be in this series, but I’ve made a list of about 30 ideas so far.  Most would look great on long or short nails, so they’re great for designing on natural nails or enhancements. Many will be wearable, everyday looks but I’ll also experiment with trendy nail art ideas now and then, too. I hope you’ll find some of them useful, whether you’re looking for ideas to DIY at home, to ask your nail tech to try, or as a nail tech ready to try out client and clock-friendly nail art in the salon.S&M 9 September 2018 A

The base color for this design is Gelish Hidden Identity. After the base coat, I applied two coats to all fingers except the ring finger, which just got one. Then I swiped a small amount of the Gelish glitter polish My Jewels Keep Me Warm, brushing upwards from the base, to all the nails except the ring, on which I applied two coats for full coverage.

S&M 9 September 2018 B

In this close-up you can see the slight glitter effect:

What do you think of this look? Would you wear this? let me know in the comments!

Two NEW Gelish Mini Colors

After a bit of a drought, except for new collections, Gelish has introduced two new colors to the core Mini lineup. Note that, as far as I know, these polishes are available in Mini only*.

mini bottles

The names are Creme De La Femme (left above) and French Kiss and Tell (right above).  These colors are great foundation colors for french manicures and other nail art, and make excellent neutrals for times when you don’t want flashy nails.

*By chance I discovered that Creme De La Femme seemed very close in color (though not formulation) to the new Gelish Structure Gel in Cover Pink.

S&M Gelish Structure B

Comparing new Gelish brush-on Structure gel to the previous formulation in a pot.

This happened because around the time I bought these 2 new Minis from Sally Beauty, I was wearing plain nails overlaid with PolyGel and then capped with Structure Gel in Cover Pink.  I compared the two and immediately noticed how similar they are.  When looking at French Kiss and Tell, I noticed that the color seemed very close the the shade of Structure Gel in Translucent Pink.  My theory is that Gelish used the pigmentation they had created for the Structure Gels to produce two new colors for the Mini lineup.

Whether or not that’s the case, these are 2 beautiful and useful colors to add to your offerings. I wore the Cover Pink color for a couple weeks and got good reviews on it. The nails looked simple and clean, and the color stayed true for those two weeks.

Check out the live swatches and my comparison in the new video on the Smoke & Mirrors YouTube channel, and let me know what you think!

Summer Purples and Holo Success!

S&M 27 May 2018 A

Using Gelish One Piece or Two? (from the new Make a Splash collection) and Tahiti Hottie (from the summer 2014 Colors of Paradise collection), this is my take on trendy mis-match nails. The beautiful holo nail is OPI Chrome Effects in Mixed Metals. Here’s a macro shot of the holo nail:

S&M 27 May 2018 B

As you can see, the Chrome Effects powder worked really well. I had no trouble using it with Gelish Top It Off (rather than the suggested OPI top coat). In sunlight or interior light, these nails look great!

I was so happy to find the Chrome Effects line because the other products I’d tried have not performed very well for me – either I had application issues or they didn’t wear well. And, unfortunately, Gelish does not make a product like this.  Have you tried Chrome Effects? What did you think of it?

Review: New Gelish Structure in Cover Pink

A few years ago Gelish introduced Structure gel, a soak-off clear gel intended for use as an overlay, typically under Gelish gel polish, to give the natural nail a bit of extra strength and smoothness while maintaining a natural look. The original product came in a small pot, like this:

S&M Gelish Structure C

Fast forward to a few years and Gelish has not only updated to brush-in-bottle applications, but in 2018 added two new products to the Clear version to the complete the lineup – Cover Pink (pictured below) and Translucent Pink.S&M Gelish Structure B

In my pursuit of the perfect natural nail overlay, I just had to try the new version of this product.  My natural nails are not especially in need of a cover-up but the idea of a neutral pink as a base for Gelish colors, particularly those that show have a visible nail line otherwise, is very appealing.

I bought the last bottle in stock at my local CosmoProf. The bottle is the same size as the full-size Gelish polish, so you get many uses out of it.  The application was so easy and I got full coverage in one coat. With the Structure Gel in the pot I used to have some shrinkage issues, but they seem to be resolved with this product. The product is smooth yet obviously natural nails. I was really impressed with how good they looked!

Here’s a photo of my nails with just one coat of Cover Pink Structure gel:S&M 20 May 2018 A

I kept my nails like this for 3-4 days, but felt that the overlay wasn’t quite enough to protect my nails in rough situations. As my nails get longer I’ll want more coverage, so the Structure would be perfect for a natural nail refresh, or maybe under Gelish for shorter nails.

This product is great, so I might try layering it with my recent go-to, Gelish Dip. I really like it so far!

Have tried the new Structure Gel? What did you think of it?

 

 

 

#NakedNails – Week 6

S&M naked nails week 6

Here’s my final natural nail refresh progress photo, taken at week 6.  This is a good length for most people – long enough for nail art but short enough that they’re not in the way.

Removal of the polish I was testing damaged the acrylic a little, and you can see some leftover bits of red polish at the edges… That’s the down side to using traditional polish on acrylic.

All in all, 6 weeks of regrowth flew by. I spent the weeks testing some products on short natural nails, which made it worthwhile. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series! If you have any questions or opinions to share about Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, maintaining short natural nails, or a natural nail refresh, please leave a comment below!