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.
I tested the Sally Hansen brand earlier this year. Here’s one of my manis with a color called Shock Wave.
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?
Last week I tested Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SHMG) over acrylic overlays, and the results were much better than my previous results with SHMG over natural nails. This photo was taken after four days of wear. You can see that the tip of the free edge is worn away and that there are some dents and dings (which is to be expected), but they’re still shiny and look pretty good overall!
Bottom line: Wear time for SHMG over acrylic is similar to what you’d get with a traditional polish with a good top coat.
My results show that SHMG is a essentially glorified traditional polish. It’s not a gel and it’s most certainly not a miracle. You won’t get salon results from it, but you’re also not paying salon prices – that’s the trade off. If you love doing your nails at home, this may be a solid option for you. Just keep your expectations realistic!
Once again I’m late posting this photo, but these are my nails at the end of the week 4 natural nail refresh. By the time this photo was taken I’d had Gelish Dip on them for three or four days, to protect them from breakage. I’m glad I did that, because whatever I did to injure my fingers (I really have no idea) could have broken the nails, too.
As a follow-up to my previous post about possibly using Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SHMG) for a pedicure – I have been wearing ShockWave on my toes for over a week and it’s holding up just fine. There’s a bit of wear on the tip of my big toe from wearing socks, so I imagine the polish would hold up even better during sandal season. Based on this I can recommend SHMG for pedicures!
Stay tuned for next week’s post to see what the Gelish Dip looks like after about two weeks!
I’m on week 3 of my #naturalnailrefresh, and this week my nails have started to look like themselves again.
After my disappointing test results with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SH MG) in the color ShockWave, I decided to try again with another color. For this test I applied three coats of a bright purple color called Hunger Flames.
This time around I decided to apply three coats of the color polish, in order to make the color more even. The idea backfired however, because the orange peel issue I had reported on a couple weeks ago became twice as bad with extra color coats. The results were so bad that I removed the polish after only a couple days and didn’t bother taking a photo. When I removed the color I was disheartened to find out that the color had stained my nails. I’m not sure if you can tell in the photo above, but in person I could see it very clearly. Why isn’t there a base coat for this system?!?!
Using traditional polish (I know that Sally Hansen calls this product a gel, but it is not) again for the first time in a while reminds me that it has some issues you wouldn’t have with gel polish:
staining of the natural nail, especially with darker colors
visible ridges in the nails
small amounts of residual polish in the lateral nail fold (and even under the free edge) that can be difficult to remove
This week I plan to protect my nails with Gelish Dip, and then I’ll be documenting not only how Gelish Dip can help you grow long natural nails, but also how well SH MG will work on top of an acrylic overlay. I have a hunch that it will show better results over the acrylic and on longer nails! Have you tried SH MG on acrylic or gel overlays or enhancements? If so, did it work well? Please leave a comment below!
This week you can definitely see some growth! I’m a little late posting this photo, but this is about two weeks of growth. My nails are getting long enough that soon I’ll want to apply some Gelish Dip to protect them from breakage.
As you saw in the photo in my last post, I used the color called Shock Wave, a perfect spring color. I had heard good things about this product and had high expectations for it. However, my results weren’t so good. Here are my nails after three days, right before I couldn’t stand it any longer and removed the polish.
I had really bad chipping and cracking on my nails, and I wasn’t even that hard on them! Take a look at the cracking close up:
Here are answers to some more questions often asked about SH MG:
Does it last two weeks like a gel polish? No, not on natural nails. (I have a hunch that it will be great for pedicures, but that remains to be seen.)
Is it like getting a gel polish manicure at the salon? No. This is a resounding no. If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure, this is not the product for you. It lasts no longer than a professional manicure done with traditional polish.
How do you remove it? This is essentially a traditional polish, and it is easily removed with regular nail polish remover (acetone-based polish remover will be faster).
Does it damage the natural nail? No, this polish does not damage the natural nail. It will, however, stain your nails, as there is no base coat for this system.
At my local Walmart I found both the color polish and top coat for $7.49 each plus tax, and there were plenty of colors to choose from. I’ve also ordered two more color polishes online for $3.96 each. The color to the right and pictured on my nails below is a bright pink called Shock Wave. There is a color band at the bottom of the lid, which is a nice touch because it’s somewhat grippy and allows for easier opening of the bottle. But the color of the band isn’t entirely accurate and seems unnecessary seeing as how it’s directly on top of the actual polish color seen through the clear bottle.
Note that all the information I share here is my research and the opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with Sally Hansen and I personally purchased these products for testing.
While shopping for these polishes the first thing I noticed was that there is no base coat for this product line. The application instructions are to, basically, wash your hands and then wipe them with polish remover before applying two coats of color. Weird…
In the interest of giving the product an accurate test, I followed the application instructions exactly. After rolling the bottle of polish in my hands for a few seconds I applied the first coat of color polish. I noticed immediately that the brush is flat and curved, similar to the way many professional brands are designing their brushes now. However, the brush didn’t make application as easy as I had hoped. (I definitely prefer the new Gelish brush.) The first coat was very uneven and streaky. After a couple minutes dry time I applied a second coat, which did help even out the color quite a bit, but you can still see the uneven color in the photo below.
I very much wanted to apply a third color coat, but left it at two in the interest of following instructions exactly for my first application. After 5 minutes drying time for the two color coats, per the instructions, I applied a coat of the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel (SH MG) Top Coat. The top coat is thick like most actual gel top coats, which I believe may the reason for the success of this product line. Over the next few days I’ll see how this polish wears and will record when the chipping begins in my next post.
Here are the answers to some questions often asked regarding the purchase and application of the SH MG nail polish:
Is this gel polish? No. Gel polish requires a UV/LED light to cure. This is regular nail polish with a thick top coat that has a gel-like feel and finish. You must wait for SH MG to dry, for at least a half hour, like any other traditional nail polish.
Is it cheaper than gel polish? Yes, one bottle of the SH MG costs less than the professional brands of gel polish (like Shellac, Gelish and OPI). In upcoming posts I’ll compare the wear time of SH MG and Gelish to help determine which is the best bang for your buck!
Is it dry instantly? No. This is a traditional nail polish and therefore takes quite some time to dry (Unlike get polish, which cures or “dries” instantly in the UV lamp).
How does it work? From the SH MG press release: “The advanced Color Coat and Top Coat formulas contain an oligomer, and the Top Coat also contains a photoinitiator. The photoinitiator in the Top Coat formula reticulates with the oligomer contained in the Color Coat, thus curing the formula without the need of an LED/UV light. As the manicure cures over time, it becomes more durable due to the increased hardness of the film. So LED/UV lamp curing is not necessary, only natural light.” According to the back of the bottle, the Top Coat “activates” ingredients in the color coats.
What is the finished texture? As noted above, two thin coats of color plus top coat produces a smooth yet unevenly colored finish (see nails on top hand in the photo above). Two medium-thick coats of color plus top coat create a more evenly-colored nail but an orange peel finish (nails on the bottom hand above).
Is the Top Coat necessary? Yes. The color coat alone dries to a thin finish and will not last as long without the Top Coat. (Well, technically it is not necessary if you want terrible results…)
Have you tried to Miracle Gel? What are your thoughts on this product? Please leave a comment below!
This week Smoke & Mirrors is joining the movement promoting the beauty of natural nails! I decided it was time for a fresh start, and so cut my free edge away, down to the nail bed about a week ago. Here’s a photo of the growth so far.
As you can see, my natural nails are healthy overall but dinged, even pitted, in a couple spots from filing enhancements. And, thanks to the resurgence of winter, my cuticles are dry and ragged this week.
I’ll be taking advantage of this re-growing time by reviewing a new-to-me line of products called Miracle Gel by Sally Hansen.
The Sally Hansen brand offers a ton of interesting products for home users that I would love to test, but I’m not made of money so I chose to test the product that I’ve heard the most buzz about amongst DIYers over the past year or two. Sally Hansen calls this “life-proof polish”, a gel polish with “No UV lamp required.” They say it’s “The next best thing to a salon gel manicure that you can do at home.” I say, let’s find out! I’ll be comparing Miracle Gel to my tried-and-true Gelish, in an effort to help you decide which is the best bang for your buck.
There are several Miracle Gel reviews available online, but here at Smoke & Mirrors you’ll find different information – I’ll not only test the product application and results from the perspective of a professional nail tech, but also analyze how well the product will protect natural nails as they grow out. Because long, healthy natural nails are what we want, right?
I’d also like to answer any questions you have about this product. So please leave me a comment or a question you’d like answered!