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Review: At-home gel polish does OK

FARGO - I've only tried professional gel nail polish once. Although I liked the way it looked and felt, it was difficult to remove and tough on my nails. Since then, I've been sticking to regular polish. Then I started seeing ads for at-home, UV-...

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Color in Malibu Peach and Top Coat after about a week's worth of wear. Nick Wagner / The Forum
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Color in Malibu Peach and Top Coat after about a week's worth of wear. Nick Wagner / The Forum

FARGO – I've only tried professional gel nail polish once. Although I liked the way it looked and felt, it was difficult to remove and tough on my nails. Since then, I've been sticking to regular polish. Then I started seeing ads for at-home, UV-free gel nail polish from Sally Hansen.

Miracle Gel, available in over 45 shades, promises up to 14 days of color and shine and easy removal with regular acetone-based or acetone-free nail polish remover. Sally Hansen's website explains that the Color and Top Coat formulas contain an "oligomer"; the Top Coat also contains a "photoinitiator," which acts as a bond between the Color and Top Coat, "curing" the formula in natural light without the need of a UV/LED lamp.

Wanting to test it for myself, I picked up a set containing the Malibu Peach color and the Top Coat for $14.99 at Target. Individual bottles retail for $7.19.

The polish was fairly easy to apply. I prepped my nails like I would for any other polish (remove old polish, file edges and buff nails). I applied two coats of the Miracle Gel Color, then one coat of the Miracle Gel Top Coat, allowing my nails to dry the recommended five minutes between coats.

The Miracle Gel brushes gave me smooth, even results, but the nails on my left hand looked better than the nails on my right because I'm right-handed. The peachy color was perfect for summer, and the combination of the color and top coat gave me professional-looking shine.

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My manicure held up well the first few days, enduring hours of typing and other daily activities that cause chipping, but over the week, they got roughed up by cleaning, organizing and packing in preparation for a move.

By the end of the week, all the edges were chipped at least a little, especially on my right hand, again, because I'm right-handed. But, even though the tips look ragged, the color and shine on the remaining polish still looked good. I'd definitely use it again and buy more colors to use with my Top Coat.

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