Friday, August 15, 2014

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Color & Top Coat Review

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up one bottle of the new Sally Hansen Miracle Gel color & top coat. The premise is that it's more of a hybrid of gel and regular polish – the high shine staying power of gel, with the easy application (no uv/led lamp required) and removal of a regular polish.

The color I chose was the "Get Mod", a standard white creme.

First things first: Instructions. Or the total lack thereof. I don't know if you purchase one of the starter duos if there is more instruction provided or not, but I didn't take that route simply because the starter duos did not come in the color I wanted, and they were only about a dollar cheaper than buying the color and top coat separately anyway. So I got the color I wanted. And the only instructions provided – the same on both bottles – are to “apply 2 coats of color, apply top coat to activate curing.” That is it. There is no instruction on if/how long to wait between coats of color or between color and top coat. Not a word about how long it takes the top coat to cure/set.

So I had to experiment a little. On my first application, I didn't give any wait time between coats of color or color and top coat. The results? Not pretty. The top coat pulled the color big time, and it took 30 minutes to feel remotely cured, and even then I wasn't really too confident in going about my day. It took a full hour before I felt like it was ok to do anything without worrying about my nails.

On the next application, I waited between coats of color. Longer than I intended. I applied a coat of color then sat down to read for a few minutes. As tends to happen for me, “a few minutes” of reading turned into almost an hour before I knew it. And you know what happened in that time? The nail color – which they claim will not set and will remain wet/tacky until you apply top coat – had totally dried. As in 100%, could press on them, bump them against stuff, wash dishes, cook etc. dry. I put on a second coat, and paid more attention this time to how long it took to dry. Within about 6-8 minutes, the second coat was 100% dry as well. Encouraged to expand my experimenting, I put the gel top coat on half my nails, and a standard top coat (Seche Vite) on the rest. The Miracle Gel top coat once again pulled the color badly when applying it. How this happened when the color was absolutely dry I have no idea, but it did. The Seche Vite did NOT pull the color when I applied it to the remaining nails. The nails with the Seche were set faster than those with the Miracle Gel, but all were set to where I was comfortable going about my day within about 15 minutes.

Two coats of color + top coat. Pictured outdoors in natural overcast light without flash. Can you tell which nails have Miracle Gel top coat and which have Seche Vite top coat?
The color was streaky to apply, and required two coats to even it out. But then the top coat pulling the color leaves it streaky again anyway.

As for staying power? Meh. On that first application, where I did not allow any wait time between coats of color or before applying top coat, it had chipped before the end of the day and thus did not even last 24 hours. (It didn't even make it 12 hours.) I was not particularly hard on my nails during that time either – no typing, one small load of dishes (hand washed) and some minimal/light everyday type cleaning. (Wiping off tables and counters and such – no heavy cleaning like mopping.) On the second application, the tips did start to show some wear within 24 hours, despite having capped the free edge in application. The wear was minimal, at least. But by the end of day 3, there was significant chipping and it was time to remove it. A far cry from the “up to 14 days” of wear this promises. Remember that the second application I had only applied the gel top coat to half my nails, and Seche Vite on the rest. They held up equally for me – both beginning to show wear and chip in about the same time frame, with neither lasting significantly better than the other.

I also tried the Miracle Gel top coat (in comparison to Seche Vite) over other colors from my stash – Dr.'s Remedy and Milani colors – and had the same experience. The Miracle Gel top coat pulled the color, even though it was totally dry before applying top coat. And it held up for roughly 3 days, about on par with the Seche Vite.

The top picture above is my right hand after three days and the bottom picture is my left hand after three days. Being right handed my right hand tends to show more wear/ show wear sooner. Both pictures were taken outdoors in natural shaded light without flash. Again, can you tell which nails have the Miracle Gel top coat and which have Seche Vite top coat? I will reveal the answer at the end of this post.

It does remove easily with standard polish remover, including non-acetone.

This is basically the Sally Hansen version of Julep Freedom Polymer Topcoat, though I did have slightly better results from this than the Julep, which if y'all have read long enough you know that no matter what I did with that one it never managed to survive a full 24 hours for me.

Overall I have to say that based on my experience, the colors from the Miracle Gel line are nothing more than standard polish. I suppose it's possible I got a funky bottle, but I have read several other reviews that claimed the same results and conclusion about the colors so I am inclined to believe my assessment is correct, since others have had the same experience. If you're curious about this line, I'd suggest only trying the top coat as that is the only product from the line that is truly any different, in my opinion. Even then, I'd recommend going into it aware that you have to be very careful in applying it to try to minimize pulling the color, and know that it may only last a couple of days. If your nail polish lasts only a day or so with a standard top coat, you might be pleased enough with an extra day or two of wear to be happy with this. I have read some folks claim they do get a full week – 2 weeks out of this, so maybe you'll be among those this works well for. It just did not work out well for me, and I can't say I feel it's worth the price based on the results I personally got from it, when it works about as well as Seche Vite, which is cheaper.

Final note for this post: I applied the Miracle Gel to my index and middle fingers and Seche Vite to ring and pinky fingers for all of the pictures in this post that show the color on my nails. Were you able to correctly tell the difference?

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