A few months ago, a commenter asked if I had tried Sensationail Express Gel ($6) At the time, I had not yet heard of the product and was left baffled.
About Express Gel
Express Gel, which first launched in the UK, seems similar in concept to their ill-received Fuse product. Sensationail Express Gel claims to be a base coat and top coat free product featuring no cleansing. It supposedly requires less application effort than China Glaze’s Gelaze product.
Sensationail Express Gel may be cured with their old or new LED lamp and cure times are similar to their classic product. Cure times may vary slightly from color to color, so be sure to check the packaging. Sensationail suggests that darker colors may take longer to cure.
Getting my Hands on Sensationail Express Gel
I was surprised to see that Sensationail Express Gel has such mediocre reviews; after all, their original line is pretty solid. It was my first gel polish product and although I wouldn’t call it the best ever, it is reliable and I repurchase. I endeavored to try and judge Sensationail Express Gel myself; I eventually picked up a bottle with the few dollars I had remaining on a Target gift card.
So far, I’ve only seen the product in Target.
Like every gel polish, I prepped my nails with a quick buff and wash. Next, I applied the dehydrating primer to each nail. Then, I applied the colored gel polish to each nail and cured.
The color I chose, My Cherry Amour, was nearly opaque in two coats. I could have stopped there but decided on doing three for super-full coverage. It applied easily and without a fuss.
Applied as-intended, I got six days of wear without any chips. It isn’t bad, per se, but I have higher expectations when it comes to gel manicures. I removed and reapplied with a single coat of Sensationail’s top coat – and got 12 days!
Twelve days of wear is definitely acceptable for a gel polish by my terms. I was satisfied.
Application was easy, but removal was another story. Unlike most other gel nail polishes, including Sensationail Classic and Gelaze, this required some work to remove.
I’m a bit of a punk and don’t remove my gel the intended way. For the most part I can get it to pop right off (yes, without damage – otherwise I wouldn’t do it) without soaking.
Express Gel, however, required the whole nine yards; buffing the top layer. Soaking. Scraping away with their metal removal tool (though an orangewood stick would do just fine).
The Bottom Line
Even though removal was annoying to me, I think Sensationail Express gel is a nice addition to the line. Apparently, there are colors that are full-coverage in 1-2 coats. I personally wouldn’t wear without a top coat, but a total of only 2-3 coats vs. the conventional 4-5 makes the process much faster.
At this time, I’m uncertain as to whether or not I would buy more colors in this formula. I think if the color were unique to me, I would – but otherwise I might pass because the extra steps don’t bother me.