Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips Starter Kit, Red My Lips

Salon insta-gel strips. 2 easy steps. Up to 2 week wear. Chip resistant. Mirror shine. Must use with mini LED lamp – sold separately . Will not damage nails. Apply color. Apply top coat. Cure under mini LED lamp which is included.

Key features

  • Easy 2 Step Gel Manicure in a Strip!
  • Up to 2 week wear, Chip resistant, Mirror shine
  • Strips fit all nails
  • Will not damage nails
  • No dry time & removes easily with acetone polish remover
  • 1 watt mini LED lamp with auto-timer
  • 16 gel polish strips, Gel top coat (0.14 fl oz / 4.0 ml)
  • 2 nail cleanser pads, Cuticle stick, file & buffer, Instruction sheet
  • No DBP, Toluene or Formaldehyde

Honest reviews


More Convenient Than Past Gels But Falls Short

I saw this product advertised in a magazine and got very excited. I used to do the whole messy gel process at home (mixing the powder alone was a pain). I was a bit shocked when I learned the price of the kit but I had a $2.00 coupon so that made it more palatable to purchase.The kit is available in a few color choices (one color per kit). Then you buy individual Insta gel color strips at 14.99 per box. I chose the kit with the Shell We Dance color strips and also purchased a separate box of strips in the Punch Drunk color.I was surprised to see how small the LED curing gadget was. I figured it was going to be battery operated but was happy to see it had a power adapter.The instructions are fairly easy to follow. I read through them all thoroughly however before starting.The kit includes two alcohol prep pads, an orange stick, a double grit file, gel top coat and 16 color strips of various widths. I thought 16 was a strange amount. I mean, most of us have 10 fingers. So why not 10 for a lower price or include an extra 4 for an even 20. That would allow for two applications right? I was kind of irritated to know I paid for an orange stick, a file and two alcohol pads because those are things that I (and I think most of us) already have in our nail care kit.I started by filing my nails to the desired length and shape. I softened and pushed my cuticles back (this is important in order to place the color strip evenly at the base of your nail). I washed my hands, dried completely and then swabbed my nails with the alcohol pad.I examined the color strips and selected the needed sizes for each nail. The strips are fairly long (over an inch) with a tab at the ends. You peel the plastic cover off and then peel the strip from its backing. You then position the color strip evenly on your nail starting at the nail bed. The instructions say to do this with warm hands. Once the strip is on the nail you want to smooth it out. The instructions say to use the orange sticks’ flat side to smooth along the cuticle and sides of nail bed. I did that but first I used the heat from my fingers to smooth out the color strip. I then gently pulled the excess strip out and off my nail. In my opinion, there is a LOT of waste with the color strip. Most of us wear our nails in an active length. I didn’t pay that amount of money for half the color strip to be thrown in the trash.You need to use the pale pink grit of the included file to get the excess color plastic off of the edge of the nails. The instructions don’t mention this but I found that using regular sharp edge tweezers is the best way to pull the excess from underneath the nail tip.After applying all the color strips it was time to brush with the curing gel topcoat. You apply the topcoat and then put your nail immediately underneath the LED light for 30 seconds. The light turns off automatically after 30 seconds. The instructions say at this point your manicure is done. It is NOT. Your nails will still be tacky (sticky) for at least 10 more minutes. So, don’t do anything with them until they are completely dry.I was impressed with the overall shine of the nails once they were completely dry. The next day I noticed they weren’t as shiny AND there were two that had been chipped. Not just a small chip but a noticeable chunk was missing. I figured out the reason for the extra 6 color chips in the kit…REPLACEMENT. The problem is I had already used the size needed for that nail so that size was not in the remaining 6 extras.The time it took to apply these gel strips is greatly reduced from the time of the traditional gel process. But it still took time. More time than a traditional manicure of a bottle of polish and topcoat.The instructions for removing the gel strips are: Soak each nail in nail polish remover (acetone) and then cover with foil. The strips should dissolve easily. I have an easier way. Scrape your nail with another nail or any sharp object and just PEEL the darn thing off. Easy Peasy.Because of the time it takes to apply these correctly and the lackluster result, I have to say that I am NOT impressed. I am going to return the extra color strip pack I purchased. I will just use the remaining gel topcoat on a traditional polish job and see if the LED light works with that.EDIT 1/25/13: Today I polished my nails with a regular (albeit higher end) nail polish brand. I let them dry for 20 minutes and them applied the Gel Cure that was included in the kit. I put each nail under the LED light gadget twice. The Gel cured fine and my nails are glossier than with the Insta-color strips. So, if you are not happy with the kit itself keep the light and the Gel Cure and use it in conjunction with your regular polish.

Luisa Marathon, TX

Why buy this?

Not sure why you would buy this for $30 when you can go to a nail salon and pay $20-25 and get a real legit shellac manicure instead of having to do it yourself and having it peel off..not worth it!

Jackie Wyandotte, MI


The strips don’t stick to the nails. And yes. I buffered, and cleansed my nails first. I’ve been giving myself all kinds of mani’s since i was 12 years old, so I don’t think it was my fault this didn’t work. I tried warming the strips after they wouldn’t stick, but it didn’t work. I had to keep pressing them down. Then I added the gel and cured. The result was a horrible lump. And no, it wasn’t my fault; I only used a thin layer of gel. It was a waste of time and money! Whithin an hour my nails were chipping. The next day five of my nails were very chipped.BUT!!! I found another review were the lady said that the gel alone was very good, so I tried it with regular polish. Tada!!!! Don’t buy the whole set. Just the lamp and the gel. I believe some stores sell these separately. And I’m sure everyone has some regular rubbing alcohol in their house. The cleansing pads that the kit brings contains exactly that: rubbing alcohol. So just apply one layer of a good base ( I prefer clear ones), then paint your nails in the desired color (two or three layers), LET THEM DRY THOROUGHLY, and finally apply a THIN layer of the gel. Cure them for a minute under the LED lamp (press twice; 2 sets of 30 seconds), and finally use some rubbing alcohol with a cotton ball and rub your nails gently with it. THERE YOU GO!!! your nails are bounds to last at least 5 days to a week. Some people claim they last up to 2 weeks. I’ve tries it with dark colors, now I’ll try a light one. I’ll keep updating!

Anna Enderlin, ND

Beautiful… for the five minutes they last

This system seems easy enough…1) trim, file, and clean nails well.2) apply gel strips to each nail and use the provided wooden stick to smooth down edges3) apply gel top coat to each nail4) cure each nail under mini-LED lamp5) cleanse each nail with the provided cleansing pads (which are just isopropyl alcohol)Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.1) The gel strips are thick and DO NOT apply neatly. I’ve now tried four packs of them (light pink, tan tiger stripes, wine, and red) and had the same results with each. They are difficult to apply and do not smooth down to the nail well at all.2) The gel doesn’t thicken the way most gel does. Therefore, the "gel manicure" isn’t much different than regular, normal nail polish.3) The nails peel off (completely!) within about five minutes of applying.I have followed the directions PRECISELY each time I’ve used this kit, but have had the same results every time. I do not believe this is user error; I believe that this is a faulty product.

Nelly Sioux City, IA

Best Nail Product ever!

I saw reviews saying this was a wonderful product and reviews saying it was a rip off. I am in the wonderful category. Day 4 and my nails still look like I did them 5 minutes ago, and I am very hard on my nails and not careful about protecting them. Not so much as a teensy lift on any of them. I agree that you want the strip slightly thinner than the nails as it becomes apparent that you want the gel on a bit of bare nail on each side. I think that is the key. Also, keep the gel top coat thin! I love “Wine Not” color and usually I don’t wear bright or dark colors because they look so bad by day 2 or 3. I will update as the days go on, but right now I am totally sold on this!UPDATE: Day 5 and after cleaning all cupboards and moving boxes and extensive cleaning. Almost imperceptible wear on the tips but other than that, it is still literally perfect. Not one chip, no lifting anywhere.Day 8: Slight, very slight wear on the tips of 4 nails, other than that no chips and as glossy as when I first put it on. Beyond impressed and I have done all sorts of things that would have previously totally trashed red nails.Day 11: One teensy chip on side of one index finger. One teensy chip near cuticle of pinky. Filed off minimal tip wear. Still as glossy as day one. I expect to make the 2 full weeks or longer before there is any need to even begin to consider a new manicure. I am 100% pleased with this and won’t ever go back to the old method. My nails also feel thicker and stronger than ever. Good protection from breaking! These are my natural nails.

Kimberley Medical Lake, WA

Buy it for the lamp, not the strips

I bought this for the lamp which works great.Just looking at the strips and polish, I have a feeling that I will just stick to using the whole kit for the lamp.The lamp is for 1 to 2 fingers at a time and has a long cord to plug into the wall. Helps to dry and seal in the shine.

Kendra Creston, NC

Great but pricey!

I’m familiar with the non-gel Sally Hansen polish strips and have used them on several occassions. This is exactly the same process except once you’re done fitting your nails with the strips you add a top coat of the gel and stick each individual finger under the light for 30 seconds, wipe with the alcohol cloth and you’re done. Finished result is a high gloss polish strip. I’ve had a lot of practice with those things and my application is never quite perfect. If you get too close to the skin, nail bed or neglect to file down the top edge IT IS GOING TO CHIP. Careful application should take you almost 1 hour and 20 minutes, you cannot rush any of the steps. For me, this lasts much longer than a standard polish job and you don’t have to wait for anything to dry, which is great. I’m going to attempt to use the top coat and the light on regular SH strips or standard polish to see if I get the same results for less money. I’m satisfied with the results for an at-home gel mani solution.

Ella Trenton, IL