Sensationail Starter Kit Review – How I do Gel Nails at Home

Pictured: My nails using Sally Hanson gel polish: “Shell We Dance”

Every time I paint my nails they look perfect for a few days, sometimes a few hours- then start chipping and flaking off like crazy.
I don’t know about you, but when the rest of my nails look like I just stepped out of the salon, that one little chip will drive me insane.

I know, I know… I could just suck it up and spend the money on actually going to the salon, but this chica is on a college student’s budget. I’ve embarked on a quest to find the perfect formula to keep my nails strong, long and looking shiny all while staying in one piece.

My current system was getting a little out of hand- first I would apply OPI’s chip skip. Then OPI ridge filler. After that I would use Orly’s rubberized base coat. Apply 2 or 3 coats of color polish. Then top it off with my trusty Seche Vite topcoat. I flip-flopped around with these products and many others but my record for long-lasting polish was still under a week.

After a bit of “research I decided to invest $35 dollars in the Sensationail Gel Polish Starter Kit and enter the magical world of gel polish (I wasn’t kidding about being on a budget!).

It turns out that at an at home gel manicure wasn’t quite the beast I thought it was, and that I probably should have started using gel polish years ago.

Sensationail Starter Kit Review

Although the results aren’t perfect they are extremely impressive for a DIY manicure that was only $35.

Out of the box I received an LED lamp, lint-free wipes, gel cleanser, gel primer, gel base and top coat, a nail file with buffer, an orange stick, instructions, and the gel polish color “pink chiffon.”

my nails after my gel manicure
my nails after using the gel manicure kit for the first time

It was very easy to do my nails but took slightly longer than I expected. The color polish is cured under the light for 60 seconds and the top and base coats for only 30.

This doesn’t sound like a long time, but the pink color was somewhat sheer so I had to use three coats. That’s one minute for each hand, and I did my thumbs separately, so that’s 9 minutes of curing time just for the color, which was still not completely opaque.

In my mind the waiting time is justified by the instant dryness you get with gel nails. As soon as you are done painting you are ready to wash your hands, shampoo your hair or even scratch off some lottery tickets.

The pink color was not as Barbie pink as it appears on the box but still not quite pastel enough for my taste.

A week and a half later my manicure was still looking pretty fresh. They were still super shiny with zero chip anywhere else. My nails seemed stronger than usual and much more durable than they would with regular polish.


  • Nail polish that lasts over a week.
  • Affordable kit and good prices for more polish colors on Amazon
  • I noticed that the nail polish seemed very liquidy (in a good way!) and seemed to stay away from the cuticle when wet
  • I can use the regular nail polish I have and make a “gelly sandwich” using gel base and top coat with regular polish
  • Super shiny nails!
  • Instantly dry with no soft kinda-dryish phase
  • Lamp beeps at 30 seconds and shuts off at 60
  • Can use any brand of gel polish with this lamp


  • REMOVAL. It stays put but you have to really soak your nails to get these babies off
  • The color included was more sheer than I expected
  • Lack of color variety with the starter kits
  • Gel nails polishes were $12 at the drug store! Thank goodness for Amazon! (More like $5 – $10)
  • Still some chipping/ peeling if you are extremely hard on your nails

Overall, I am super satisfied with my gel nail experience! I can’t wait to purchase more colors and perfect my gel nail skills. Everyone is always shocked to hear that I did them myself!

1 Comment

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