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Gel Nails at Home? Three Test Drives

Today's at-home gel polish systems offer you a convenient way to get salon-quality nails without leaving your living room. We tried out three of the most popular kits on the market to see how they stack up and if they're really a smart investment.
At-Home Gel Nails
Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit
Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Kit
Sephora by OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System

Sephora by OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System

Pros:


  • Easy to use
  • Starter pack includes several manicures’ worth of removal pads
  • Foolproof instructions make the kit easy to use
  • Works with other brands’ gel polishes


Cons:


  • Official Sephora by OPI gelshine polish selection is limited, and additional polishes are expensive
  • High price makes it a poor option for casual manicurers

gelshine? At-Home Gel Colour System
Brand: OPI
Price: Out of stock
Store: Sephora

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit

Pros:


  • Nails stay shiny and chip-free for at least a week
  • Larger polish selection than other kits
  • Nail art and French manicure kits available for those who want fancier looks
  • Portable LED light is battery-powered, so it can be used anywhere
  • Supplies and accessories widely available at Target, Ulta, Drugstore.com, Duane Reade, and other stores


Cons:


  • Takes a long time—each coat cures in the LED light for two to three minutes, and thumbs must be dried separately

Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Kit

Pros:


  • Cure time under the LED light is short—only 30 seconds
  • Extra polishes are reasonably priced


Cons:


  • Users report that the bulbs in the LED lamp burn out easily
  • LED lamp is powered by AC adapter, limiting where it can be used

Sephora by OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System

Pros:


  • Easy to use
  • Starter pack includes several manicures’ worth of removal pads
  • Foolproof instructions make the kit easy to use
  • Works with other brands’ gel polishes


Cons:


  • Official Sephora by OPI gelshine polish selection is limited, and additional polishes are expensive
  • High price makes it a poor option for casual manicurers

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