Sensationail Express Gel Nail – The Weekend Review

This year I decided to stop climbing.

I was really enjoying bouldering but dedicating two evenings a week to it, plus trying to fit in the gym too was getting tricky. It’s also pretty expensive.

One benefit of not climbing anymore is the fact that once again I can do my nails. I dusted off my old Sensationail kit and got straight back into gels.

Normal nail polish does not work for me at all. It’ll generally chip within about 24 hours. I can’t do the whole base and top coat thing because then I just smudge the nail colour, every time.

Gels on the other hand last around 7-10 days on me. It’s still not at long as other people, but I’m obviously very clumsy with my nails. 7-10 days is still good for me though. Any longer and I’d probably get bored with the colour anyway.

Doing gels myself takes a while. It’s around an hour to do it properly. I’m not very neat so I like to go slow. That’s quite a time commitment for someone like me who isn’t good at sitting still.

After just a couple of weeks of no climbing I was look at colours on the Sensationail website and came across the Express Gels. It wasn’t really clear whether you needed a different LED lamp (like the Fuse system) or whether you just used the regular one.

While out in Boots the following week I found the Express Gels in store. Annoyingly, it looks like they only stock the Express Gel colours in store now, not the regular ones. It looked like it would work with my lamp so picked it up.

I wanted a nice light colour for summer and this looked perfect.


Done and dusted in 20 minutes. No prep of the nail required (i.e. gel primer), no base or coat needed and no finishing off of the nail afterwards. It was like using a normal nail varnish, only you cured it for 30 seconds for each layer (two layers in total) so there was no dry time.

One thing I did find though was that I needed to cure it for longer than 30 seconds because my coats were quite thick. This was largely down to how thick and gloopy the gel is. After the second coat the colour was still a little tacky so I went for a final one minute cure on both hands.

This was a dream to use. I wouldn’t say it was quite as shiny as regular gels but it still had a great shine to it. It looked much better than ordinary nail varnish.


Ah it was all going so well. Here’s my nails after 48 hours:

Two huge chips that you can see, and one on the middle finger that you can’t. The odd thing is, this is my left hand and my right hand was perfect despite that being my dominant hand?

I was pretty unimpressed. I could’ve touched up those nails pretty easily but I could tell there was no point. This just would not last. Even though I’d tipped off the edge of my nails.

When I posted a picture of the product on Instagram someone mentioned that they had to use the base and top coat to get this to last long enough. I haven’t tried this yet but I don’t think I’d get the 7-10 days I’d normally get. That’s because when you’re using normal gels each layer is tacky. Using this stuff, the layers are dry and so I think the top coat would struggle to cling onto the colour.

I also need to talk about when this starts chipping. Because there’s no base layer it almost comes off like regular nail varnish. I’m looking at my nails now and they are tinged blue. It also doesn’t flake off cleanly like the regular gel does (yes I pick my gel off instead of removing it properly).

Overall thoughts

This could have been a great purchase. You get a larger bottle for less money 10ml for £10 vs. 7ml for £15 for the regular stuff at Boots. Application is super easy. But it is absolutely no better than using regular nail colour which at £10 makes it expensive for what it is.

I’ll stick to the regular gel in future.