Sally Hansen Miracle Gel: how long will it really last?

Sally Hansen’s new Miracle Gel line of nail polishes is a gel hybrid that doesn’t require a special UV light. Instead, it cures using a little bit of chemistry between color and top coat, and a little bit of natural sunlight as you go about your day. It bills itself as lasting “up to 14 days”. Awesome, right? No fancy lamp, but just as much wear time? Well, I was skeptical. Even real salon baked-in-the-UV-oven gels don’t last that long on me; they start peeling from the bottom after about a week. But Sally produced some really cool colors in this line, and I found myself picking some of them up hopefully. The worst that could happen, I figured, would be it lasts as long as a not-particularly-special normal polish (on me, usually 4 days) and I get some cool colors into the bargain.

My first attempt with Hunger Flames, a metallic fuchsia, ended in sadness as I managed to scuff, gash, and ding half my nails into oblivion within the first hour (though each coat goes on thin and dries quickly, and the top coat will dry multiple coats to the touch in a few minutes, the finished manicure remained soft and harm-able on me for about 30-40 minutes. whoops.). I’m lazy, though, so I wore that for about five days, because who looks that closely at my hands?

Still, I wanted to give this stuff a serious road test to find out what it could do. So after I cleaned Hunger Flames off my nails, I decided to try again, with an accent nail and perhaps a bit less klutziness. So I grabbed Dig Fig, which is a red sort of in between strawberry and burgundy, my dotting tool, and two other polishes, and went to town. Freshly painted, I ended up with this:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Dig Fig (red), Avol Gel Finish in Mudslide (brown), Piggy Polish in Yellow There (yellow)
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Dig Fig (red), Avon Gel Finish in Mudslide (brown), Piggy Polish in Yellow There (yellow). In my head this looked more like mod dots and less like googly eyes.

Each nail got three layers of Dig Fig, then a layer of the Miracle Gel top coat. Then I wandered outside and stood around for about five minutes to let the sun get at my hands. This isn’t strictly necessary – it’s not in the instructions or anything – but it seemed like a good idea. Sunlight = UV = more curing! When I came back inside after that, I added the dots on top of an accent nail on each hand, and then topped those nails only with NYC Grand Central Station top coat. I gave myself about an hour off doing anything heavy with my nails, to make sure everything was good and set, and then carried on with my life.

How did it last? Well, Day 5 was the first day I noticed tip wear; here’s my left hand that day:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel manicure, Day 5
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel manicure, Day 5

On day 7, I noticed some tiny chips on my thumb and index finger on my right hand, but forgot to take a picture. Here’s how my right hand (I’m right-handed) looks today, on Day 9:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Day 9
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Day 9

It looks pretty noticeable from that angle, especially on my index finger, but here’s the same hand a few minutes later, at a more realistic angle:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Day 9
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Day 9

Tip wear? Sure. Edge of my thumb looking a bit worse for the wear? Yep. But the polish is still almost as glossy as it was on day 1, and I could definitely get at least a day or two more out of this before it got so bad that anyone but me noticed the wear. And I have had zero of the peeling-from-the-bottom problems I have with “real” gel that lasts less time.

I’m going to take this off today, because I want fresh nails for tomorrow, but I’m calling it: Sally’s 14-day wear time is more or less confirmed. Obviously everyone’s nails are different, but for me, where a typical manicure lasts 4 days and a salon gel lasts 6, 9+ days of wear from Sally is about as good as it gets.

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