Nail Fail: Sensational Express Gels

Last Christmas (I gave you my h- no, brain, stop it!) I received a gel nail kit, and my life was changed. Okay, big claim, but I was amazed to find that I really did have shiny, chip free nails for a whole 3 weeks, with my only issue being regrowth gaps at the cuticles. Until I came to remove it, that was.

I took off the top layer, I fiddled with foil wraps, and I soaked for so long I thought my fingers would fall off! But still, this gel persisted, and it took a lot of filing, picking, and scraping to finally remove it, by which point my nails were a flaky wreck and my fingers were feeling tender. 

The polish I had used came with the kit, which was from Academy Of Colour. I decided to purchase some more gel polishes in order to test whether it was their formula that was super strong, or if my removal game was weak. I felt that Sensationail were the top, most trustworthy brand, so I picked up 2 of their Express polishes from Boots, where they retail for £10 each. The shades I chose were Papa Don't Peach and Make Him Blush. I love the punny names, and they had some really classic shades as well as some bolds and even glitters.


I did wince at the price, but the selling point of the Express formula is that base and top coats are optional, making it much quicker to get a lasting manicure, and cheaper, too. Perhaps it is because of the lack of the base and topcoats, but the box claims that these gels last for days rather than weeks. In all honesty I would not have bought them had I seen that, as a regular polish could last for days. I definitely won't buy them again, as they didn't even live up to that claim, and chipped within hours!

I had cleaned and lightly buffed my nails, applied the polish in thin coats, and cured them for 90 seconds, but the chips quickly appeared, which was a huge disappointment. I had also found the polish to be streaky and nowhere near as shiny as other gels. I honestly felt that I had bought a regular nail polish in gel packaging, until I began to soak them off.

Most of the polish came off easily in large sheets, which was a huge improvement on the Academy Of Colour ones, but there were sections in the middle and front of each nail which were absolutely cemented on. This could be because those areas were more porous or I had buffed them better, but it meant that I still had to soak and scrape for over an hour to remove every trace.


A very positive point of the Sensationail polishes is that the colour you see is what will appear on your nails. The box itself has blocks of colour to show the shade, as well as two nail swatch pictures. I had heard good things about BlueSky nail polishes but didn't trust the digital swatches on their site, and I really appreciated Sensationail making their colours clear. The 'Papa Don't Peach' is pink when wet, but after curing it is exactly the same colour as the box. Magic!

I always bear in mind that nail polish is subjective, and what chips off me in hours could last weeks on you. I will keep experimenting with these polishes and see how they perform with a base and top coat, and in future I would like to try Sensationail's standard gel polishes. I still think of the brand as the market leader, and I already have my eye on the rose gold glitter!

Have you tried gels at home?

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