SensatioNail Gel Polish: My Less Expensive Alternative to Shellac

SensatioNail Manicure Kit

One thing that I do for myself? I get manicures and pedicures. Yup, that’s right. I do. It’s totally worth it, as it’s “my time,” and it’s about an hour every month. Yeah, I said it, A MONTH. How’s that possible? I normally get Shellac manicures every month, with a regular pedicure thrown in every couple of months (for some reason my toenails last a lot longer, and do not grow as fast.) However, at $28 per session for the Shellac (which, on me, lasts 4 weeks because I normally use cuticle oil to help keep the nails hydrated under the Shellac AND I don’t really clean a lot, HAHAAAAAA, plus when it chips a little bit, no one around here cares) it is a bit of an expense I’m not super sure is of great value anymore.

As a blogger, I don’t really have to interact much with professionals “in person.” Most of my interactions are over the phone, through emails, on forums….you get the idea. My nails don’t have to look top notch for my Isagenix clients, they could care less, and the fellow moms in my mom groups. I’m one of the few that actually does manicures, and pedicures, on a regular basis. However, recently, it seems that the world has taken notice of my blog (was it the re-design and logo?) NOW, I can’t show up to professional events with jacked up nails, and toes. I don’t wear make up, I don’t do my hair, and I dress for comfort. The only thing “pretty” about me? My nails and toes.

So what’s a chick to do? Test out a new product, that’s what! I purchased this one all on my own at CVS. I read about SensatioNail a few months ago, and thought it was a great idea, for other women. Why? Because I liked leaving my home for an hour each month, and being taken care of by someone else. Like I stated before, it was my time. An hour. Every month. Of course, with the issue of companies requesting to see me, live and in person, on a more regular basis……..it looks like “my time” each month has to be spent in some other way, because now Mama’s doing her own nails!

I purchased the items at CVS. The Starter Kit, normally $59.99, I got for $44.99. Saved $15.00. I then decided to purchase an additional color polish, because I figured I wouldn’t like the one that came with the kit (which I ended up liking after all,) for $9.99. Normally, the additional colors are $11.99. SCORE for me. I saved $2.00. I was enrolled into the “beauty club” at CVS, so now, for every $50 I spend at CVS on beauty stuff, I get $5 in extrabucks rewards. AND, when I opened the kit up, it had coupons in there to help with my next purchase! Pure awesome.

Refreshing memories here : My Shellac manicures are $28. I go once per month, as I have learned to extend the Shellac manicure to last me at least 3 weeks before it starts to chip off, and then I take it an extra week. Right now, with this kit, I will be able to save a ton of money. The starter kit gets you 10 manicures in one, plus it comes with the lamp. Once you run out of the various products in the kit, you can purchase the Essentials Kit, which gives you another 10 manicures. You just have to buy yourself a color, too. If you buy the essentials kit at CVS, it can cost you $24.99, but look for a sale and you’ll get it cheaper. Buy another color for $11.99. Total that up, and for 10 manicures, which last over 2 weeks at a time, you are paying under $40.00. It’s less than getting a manicure every week at the nail place, even a regular manicure!

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SensatioNail Product Boxes

It’s easy to put on, just a few steps.

  • You start with buffing the nails, then using a little Gel Cleanser on a square of cottony something or other (it comes with the kit), you wipe off your nails to prep them for the “procedure.”
  • You slap on some of the gel primer.
  •  After the primer, you put your Gel Base Coat (which is also your Gel Top Coat) on.
  • Then you stick your hand in the LED lamp for 30 seconds. The lamp makes a little chirp when it hits 30 seconds. My entire hand doesn’t fit into the lamp at one time, so I do the thumb for 30 seconds, then finish up with the rest of my hand for the remaining 30 seconds.
  • Following the base coat, you put your gel polish on (the Raspberry Wine color comes with the kit, or you can get pink – all other colors are sold separately.)
  • Once the polish is on, you put your hands in the LED lamp for 60 seconds. I suggest doing your thumbs on both hands first, hit them with 60 seconds. Then do each of your hands, 60 seconds for each hand.
  • Follow that up with a second coat of the polish, along with more time in the lamp.
  • Finish with the Gel Top Coat (remember, the same as the Base Coat.)
  • Stick those pretty hands in the LED lamp for 30 seconds.
  • FINALLY, you put more of that Gel Cleanser on the little cottony thing, wipe your nails clean, and you are DONE.

Here’s the bitch part: Taking the polish off after 14 days…….it took me FOREVER. Why? Because I can’t find the removal kit ANYWHERE in my local stores. I soaked my fingers in polish remover for a loooooooong time, then used the wooden stick that comes with the kit, to try and push the polish off. DANG IT, that took forever. Soaking, pushing, soaking, pushing. I have to research ways to get this stuff off faster, I don’t have that kind of time to devote to soaking the polish off.

The other thing? If you aren’t steady with your hand, it’s going to look terrible – just like any other self-done polish job. My left hand always looks better, since I’m a righty. But hey, I can deal with the “less than stellar” manicure on the right hand, it’s all good. I’ll just get better the more often I do it, right?!!!

My favorite part? I can do my toes. My toes fit into that little lamp well, and since I can do all of them with my right hand, they look decent! When I’m more brave about showing off my ugly feet, I will post pix of them someday……..for now, enjoy all the photos of the manicure!

SensatioNail Nails

At the top are the before shots, at the bottom are the after shots done with Raspberry Wine polish that comes with the starter kit. The middle is after 14 days. Held up rather well!

UPDATE: After spending about 45 minutes taking the polish off, I have now put on the Purple color I purchased with a coupon. LOVE IT.

***I also purchased this product with my own money. The brand didn’t sponsor this write up!


By | 2016-08-30T13:27:25-04:00 October 10, 2012|Lifestyle, Reviews|2 Comments

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Staci loves to write, and loves to share her "take" on everything thrown her way. Movies, entertainment, food, fashion, shopping, money, travel and family. There's nothing off limits at NovemberSunflower.com, and Staci's always telling it like it is: good, bad, and all that lies in between!


  1. Nicole October 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Suggestion for shellaq removal: soak cotton balls in acetone. Cut up aluminum foil into 5 or 6 inch squares (10 of them, unless you don’t have all your fingers :). Center a little piece of cotton ball on your nail and wrap it up tight with a piece of foil. I do one hand at a time because I can’t stand to sit and do nothing with my hands for 15 minutes. WAIT – patiently – for about 15 minutes before checking. It’s tempting to check after 5 minutes, or 10….but it’s almost always not ready to scrape off. However, if it CAN be scraped after 5 minutes, just save the cotton and foil and reapply to let it soak into the deeper layers of the polish. Repeat on the other hand. Works so much better than soaking because it doesn’t damage your skin or allow as much acetone to soak into your nails. And you can be more gentle with the wooden stick to scrape it off when the polish has had a chance to soften. Good luck and thanks for the CVS tips!

    • November Sunflower October 16, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      The Shellac is never hard for me to get off, it’s the SensatioNail polish I had a REALLY difficult time with. But that trick you gave for Shellac should work for SensatioNail. I think the removal kit they sell is basically that concept!
      I’ll have to try it the next time I have to remove the polish. Still rocking the purple I put on after I took the Raspberry Wine color off.

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