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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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!