Soak-Off Gel Polish

Sensationail Gel Polish Lamp
This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift. Enjoy!

UV gel polish has been pretty trendy for a while now – probably a year and a half, give or take? Though there are many players on the field and the products are more accessible than ever, there remains skepticism regarding the efficacy of the products as compared to their claims – if I blamed anyone for that, I’d be a jerk.

How I Learned to Love the Gel

Here’s some backstory, for you – holiday season 2012 – a friend expressed curiosity in the Sensationail gel system. Her roommate had one of the kits and seemed happy with it, but my friend and I craved a bit more than this flaky roommate’s thumbs-up. We did some research on it and found the promises of:

  • low-odor application
  • zero dry-time
  • up to two weeks of wear
  • a finish that does not wind up dull after a few days
  • and relatively easy removal appealing.

She bit, got a kit, and liked it. After seeing her results, I pined for one, and my partner got me a kit that Christmas.

Most kits consist of steps involving prepping the nail, applying color gel polish in between a base and top coat, and curing after each layer. I find the process takes me about 30-45 minutes, but I’m a perfectionist about it (nails are my thing). While applying gel polish differs slightly, it is no more difficult than applying traditional polish – the major thing is that you must clean up any “oops” areas before you cure, but it is easy enough. There really is no dry time, just a minute or so of cure time per layer (brands may differ).

The real question is does it really hold up?

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Manicure Monday – 1/14/19 – Nina Ultra Pro Caribbean Blue

Manicure Monday - Nina Ultra Pro Caribbean Blue

I wrote the previous Manicure Monday post the Saturday prior to publish. Then, on Sunday, I got rid of the Nude Mood manicure and started anew. So this, really, should’ve gone live Monday. We’re catching up from a lag!

I’ve been doing a lot of neutrals on my fingers and reds on my toes. And I love both – they’re classic, professional, effortless.

A Polish to Gel Manicure

But I wanted some color in my life, so I reached for Nina Ultra Pro in Caribbean Blue and my Sensationail Polish to Gel kit.

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Manicure Monday – 1/7/19 – Sensationail Nude Mood

It took me writing this post to realize that I didn’t publish any manicure details in December. After my 11/26 post with Icelanded a Bottle of OPI in the Infinite Shine formula (haaate), the following week I did a nice China Glaze Gelaze manicure in Swing Baby. It’s a nice, champagne-y gold that I’ve featured on Favorites posts before. Unfortunately, I took no pictures because I am an ass…and because I was gearing up for a business trip that week.

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Manicure Monday – 11/5 – China Glaze Gelaze Recycle

China Glaze Gelaze RecycleManicure Monday – 11/5 – China Glaze Gelaze Recycle

Anyone watching V for Vendetta today? I will be! Does anyone actually paint their nails on Mani Monday? I don’t! I don’t tend to do much exciting nail art these days, but my nails are almost always painted. I usually paint over the weekend so they’re fresh for the work week. It follows that I’d start a Manicure Monday series; the content basically creates itself!


The Friday before Halloween, I did a simple black set with Sensationail Midnight Rendezvous (which I used in my glitter gel nail tutorial) On my ring fingers, I slapped a coat of Essie Matte About You topcoat for a nearly-no-effort accent nail. I don’t wear black often, and was initially like, “Ah! This is so stark,” but by the end of the ninth day, I found myself rather fond. Yesterday, though, I decided it was time for a different color.

Surprisingly had a devil of a time removing that set. Usually, I can pop my gel polish off fairly easily, but this took coaxing and inspired a bit of swearing. Anyway, after I removed the black gel, I slapped on some Solar Oil and let my nails rest for a while, lacquer-free, while I got some stuff done around the house.

Picking a Color

I found myself torn between the new-to-me nude shade I wore before Midnight Rendezvous (posted on Insta on 10/14), China Glaze Gelaze Awakening, and what I ultimately chose, China Glaze Gelaze Recycle.

I’ve written about my love of Recycle before. Grey is fantastic for Autumn, absolutely counts as a neutral, and isn’t as harsh as black but is still on the edgy side.

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New Sensationail USB LED Lamp

Happy Mani Monday! Yesterday, I did a gel set of Sensationail Nude Mood, which I used for the first time. Check it out:

new Sensationail LED lampSensationail USB LED Lamp

This is a legacy post that has been given a facelift. Content has been updated for clarity, but opinions are the same!

Back in 2016, I went shopping for the Sensationail Polish to Gel. There, I was faced with two options: just the Polish to Gel, $7.99, or a Starter Kit with the new Sensationail USB LED Lamp, $23.99. I was like, “Wait, NEW lamp?!”

I bought the starter kit. Yes, I already have a lamp – but I wanted to see what was so, “new and improved,” (or if it was indeed, ‘improved’) about the new lamp.


The new lamp is powered via an included micro-USB cable, and comes with an AC adapter.

My desk is also where I usually do my nails, so it being USB-powered is perfect for me. If I choose to do them at my vanity, I just bring a power bank over there with me. USB power makes it way better for travel, should you need to bring it with you – it (generally) means you can travel with fewer cables, fewer things to need adapters for. Less competition for AC outlets, too.

Lamp Features

Instead of an annoying switch-and-button combo, the new Sensationail LED lamp has a motion sensor. The lamp detects when something is placed within and automatically comes on, as well as powers off when nothing is inside. This is awesome for flash-curing any colors that may be fussy about shrinkage.

Additionally, the new Sensationail LED Lamp’s base is magnetic and pops off to support easier use for pedicures. Some professional lamps are bottomless for this precise reason; it’s really nice to see this in a small, home-use lamp. I don’t do gel pedicures very often, but it is SO CONVENIENT to have this option. It’s great for when you’re dabbling in messy manicures (like embedding glitter in gel), too.

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