Gel Nails Tutorial With Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips

Saturday, May 06, 2017
Gel nails are a fairly popular nail trend these days. You may be wondering how you can achieve gel nails at home in a way that is simple, yet affordable. I wanted to share my gel nails tutorial so that you can take part in this trend and enjoy nails that seriously do not chip. The kit that I use is the Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips kit. This kit and strips are hard to find in stores since Sally Hansen did away with them and replaced them with a similar gel polish kit, but you can easily purchase them online. I got my starter kit, in the shade "Shell We Dance," from Big Lots for around $7. I get my strips from 5 Below because they are usually two for $5. There is also a larger starter kit available, which includes a light that can fit five fingers at a time under it.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips Kit Shell We Dance
Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips in Kit Shell We Dance

Step 1- Cleanse nails

Each package of strips comes with two cleansing pads, one for cleansing your unpolished fingers, and one for after the UV light session. Go ahead and cleanse each nail with one of the pads, saving the other for later. This will ensure there is no dirt or oils on your nails, which could affect the longevity of your manicure.

Pro-tip: If, for whatever reason, you do not have any of the cleansing pads on hand, do not waste your money on a replacement box from Sally Hansen! They are just cotton pads soaked in rubbing alcohol. Odds are that you already have cotton balls and rubbing alcohol at home, which you can use instead.

Step 2- Open up the strips packages

I find it helpful to lay all of the strips out on my desk so that I can begin the process of selecting the strips that best fit each of my nails.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips Walk the Catwalk

Step 3- Lay out selected strips

After I have selected all 10 strips that closely match the size of my nails, I like to lay them out in order. I find this helpful for when it comes time to start applying them.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips Walk the Catwalk

Step 4- Peel strip off of paper backing

Next, you want to carefully peel one of the strips off of the paper backing. They provide a blue "peel off" area to make this easy. Just be sure to be gentle while doing this. You do not want to touch the sticky underside if you can help it.

step 4 peel gel strip off of backing

step 4 peel gel strip off of backing

Step 5- Place strip on nail

Now, carefully place the sticky side of the strip on your nail, just above the cuticle. Try your best to not overlap the strip on your skin and to avoid creases and air bubbles. This is the time to smooth out any creases and air bubbles that you may have. Also note that if you have small nails like me, you may have excess strip overlapping onto your skin, which is ok.

step 5 apply gel polish strip to nail

Step 6- Fold strip over

Now you will want to fold the excess length of the strip over the tip of your nail. This prepares you for Step 7.

step 6 fold excess gel strip over nail tip

Step 7- File excess

Now that the strip is folded over the tip of your nail, go ahead and file the excess away with the provided nail file. A few passes of the nail file should be enough to cleanly remove the excess.

step 7 file excess gel strip

step 7 file excess gel strip

Step 8- Remove excess from skin

Being as that my hands (and nails) are very small, not all of the strips will fit me perfectly. If you are like me, I have a few solutions to this problem, but they must all be done very carefully to ensure that you do not mess up the edges of the strip. While I was doing this particular manicure I was able to take the flat edge of the provided cuticle stick and push it in the crease between my nail and my skin. This actually cut the strip, and then I was able to peel it off of my skin. I suspect it was that easy due to the age of the strips. If this does not work for you, I also like to cut the excess away using a cuticle cutter (pictured below).

step 8 remove excess gel strip from skin

cuticle cutter

Step 9- Admire your work so far

Repeat steps 4-8 for each nail, until you have strips on all 10 nails. Feel free to take a moment to admire your work so far.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips Walk the Catwalk manicure

Step 10- Shake topcoat

Be sure to shake the gel top coat well before you use it.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips gel topcoat
Gel topcoat

Step 11- Apply topcoat and cure

You will want to work with one nail at a time for this step. Apply a generous layer of topcoat to ONE nail, and then place your nail under the light. There is a small bump on the base that you can feel, which is where your finger should be centered. Press the button to turn the light on. The light has an automatic timer, which turns the light off when the curing is done. No counting required!

Note that you should apply the topcoat to ONE nail, and then cure that SAME nail before moving on to the next nail. Always work with one nail at a time.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips UV light

Step 12- Remove tacky residue

After you have completed Step 11 for each nail, use the second cleansing pad to wipe each nail. The curing process leaves behind a sticky residue, and the pad will easily remove it.

step 11 remove tacky residue from gel strips

Step 13- Admire your gel nails

You are all done! Take a look at that shine. I have never had these strips chip yet.

Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel strips Walk the Catwalk manicure

I think the Sally Hansen Salon Insta Gel Strips kit is very easy and dummy-proof to use. They are the only true gel nails that I have tried out at home, and I am always pleased with the results. They even remove easily with nail polish remover. I believe this kit works similarly to other UV light kits on the market. Have you ever done gel nails at home? Will you be trying out this kit? Until next time, continue to let your true beauty shine.

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