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IMG_7922Nail polish is getting to be like dating was in my 20s. I meet a new prospect and get all excited about the possibilities, only to realize that the flaws are too great to ignore. Thankfully, the dating part of that is far behind me, now that I’m married to my favorite person ever. If only I could settle down with a nail polish brand and stop playing the field, I could avoid the inevitable disappointment.

I’ve seen tons of ads for Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel Nail Polish. Did I actually believe that I would get gel-like wear out of a drugstore brand with no UV curing? No. I did not. But I did expect more than what I got.

The way the ads paint it, you get a “gel-like shine” and “up to 14 days” of wear. Let’s get one thing straight right now, Sally. The biggest draw to a gel manicure isn’t the shine. It’s the wear time. With the right top coat, any nail polish can have a “gel-like shine.” But a gel manicure is hardy. It’s the Mack truck of manicures. No matter what you do, you CANNOT CHIP a gel manicure. And it lasts – two weeks for sure, sometimes more, depending on how fast your nails grow.

If I had gotten two weeks of wear out of my Miracle Gel manicure, I would have been impressed and amazed. I would have been happy with 10 days. What I did get didn’t even come close though.IMG_7923

Things started off well enough. The Miracle Gel brush is firm and rounded at the tip, making it easy to get coverage all the way down to your cuticle without ending up with polish all over your skin. And Sally Hansen is 5-free, which is always a plus.

I was a little concerned about not using a base coat, especially because the nail color was vibrant blue. But the “system” consists only of two coats of color followed by one coat of the special top coat. So I stuck to the system, not wanting to compromise my results.

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Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Tidal Wave.

The manicure looked great when I was done. I didn’t have problems with streaking or leveling. The consistency of the polish is very easy to work with. The top coat is designed to harden over time with exposure to natural light, which is why it comes in a black bottle – you need to keep it away from daylight until it’s on your nails.

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Chip on Day Five.

My problems began on day five after painting my nails. I got a big chip in one nail. I filled it in with color and put on another coat of top coat, hoping it would hold up for at least a few days. It mostly did, but my other nails were a complete shambles by the time I got to day eight. There’s no way in hell this manicure would have made it 14 days.

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Complete disaster by Day Eight.

Careful readers of advertising will note that the Sally Hansen ads say “up to” 14 days of wear, but I call bullshit. Every nail polish could technically last “up to” 14 days if you don’t care how terrible it looks by day 14, including this one. If someone is claiming gel-like qualities and “up to 14 days” of wear, I expect to get closer to 14 days than 8.

Despite all my negativity, I may buy more Miracle Gel, if only because I have this special top coat now, and I might get bored just having the one blue to use with it. At $7.19 (Target price), it’s certainly not expensive. The color selection available at Target wasn’t all that impressive (and they didn’t have the top coat – I got that at Amazon.com), but it comes in a total of 47 colors, so I’m sure I can find some interesting ones elsewhere.

I will say that Miracle Gel has one advantage over a real gel manicure, and that is removal time. It came off like a breeze, and it didn’t even stain my fingers, like I thought it would.

Bottom line: if you see a color in the Miracle Gel line that you like, and don’t mind having to buy a dedicated top coat, it’s a very serviceable nail polish. But if you’re expecting extended wear time and durability, this is not the polish for you.

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