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Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit (Review)

Charu Suri is a freelance beauty and travel writer and has her own travel blog, Butterflydiary.com. She loves innovative skin care and makeup finds, and also writes for Makeup.com.

An at-home gel manicure that works

Innovations are always welcome, especially in the beauty department, which produces several Mensa-worthy ideas yearly. The spotlight right now is on nail lacquers, which have upped the ante in a pretty big way. See if Sally Hansen's latest Gel Manicure Starter Kit lives up to the claims.

Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Starter Kit (Review)

The Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Polish and Strips ($70 for Polish; $30 for Strips) are a game changing introduction by the brand in its effort to give you the opportunity to create gel nails at home.

If you're a fan of gel nail polish, then these new kids on the nail lacquer block will have you squealing. The at-home alternative to getting a gel manicure has finally hit the shelves. The shine is high and real, and the starter kit is the best $70 you'll ever spend for long-lasting nails. There are two versions: the strips and polish. The starter kit aims to replicate the state of the art salon gel manicure, complete with LED lights and curing time. The kit also comes with everything you need, including base coat, nail polish, top coat and an acetone nail polish remover. The nail polish version includes 30 seconds of curing time in between base and top coats.

The Insta Gel strips use UV-cured real nail polish appliques and the process is a two-step manicure, unlike the nail polish which involves several (easy) steps. The Insta Gel strips and nail polish come in eight designs and 16 solid colors and are truly a good gift for those who love their manicures and longevity.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Polish and Strips swatch

Once you buy one starter kit (which is primarily for the LED light), then you only have to get the refill polishes and remover as you need to. The best part? You can find them at your local drug stores, food stores and mass retailers nationally. The starter kit contains a base coat, nail polish, top coat, the LED light, acetone polish remover, a nail file and orange stick and alcohol cleaning pads: pretty much everything you need to get the perfect mani at home.

The only caveat with the nail polish gel is that you must cure your nails after each step or else the gel polish will run over. The LED light will automatically shut off once the time is up, but I found this to be the only cumbersome step in the entire process. But needless to say, my manicure stayed beautifully glossy well past two weeks, and there is nothing like this on the market that gives you this kind of at-home capability for this price.

Where to buy?

Nail HQ Kiosk at CVS

Your local drugstore has grown up quite a bit, in the nail department at any rate. CVS Beauty has a brand new Nail HQ Kiosk, which carries both the items detailed above and more. The special in-store kiosk for nail accessories and nail lacquers is an island in the store with colorful bottles and smart tools, including nail polish removers specifically designed for the nail junkie — which means hunting down that nail polish shade and the orange stick and nail file doesn't have to be a needle in a haystack issue anymore.

In addition to Sally Hansen, COVERGIRL and other popular name brands, CVS will debut a 32-piece nail lacquer collection in the Nuance by Salma Hayek Line. Follow the CVS Beauty Club's Facebook page and Twitter account for more nail intel and inspiration!

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