Allure Beauty Enthusiast: Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips

Allure Sally Hansen gelI’ve been on a hot streak with Allure Beauty Enthusiasts lately. This was my second trial in the past few months, and I just found out I qualified for a Redken hair product study which I’m VERY excited about.

The Sally Hansen Insta-Gel Strips was a really interesting product to test and review. I’m a fan of the regular Sally Hansen nail polish strips and have used them several times. The Insta-Gel strips are a pumped up, salon-worthy version of the regular nail strips. The set I was sent contained a starter kit (mini UV lamp, set of strips in “Red My Lips” and a second set of strips in a geometric design).

This was a very time consuming process for me – I ran into a similar issue to the regular nail strips I’ve tried in the past – my nail beds are smaller than the “standard” strip sizes. So I spent a lot of time trying to make sure they are positioned correctly and that I’ll be able to trim the excess off my cuticle area.

My usual strategy with nail painting (and with the regular strips) is to not worry too much if excess gets on the sides of my nail, because it will just flake off of my skin in the shower or bath. But once these gel nail strips are set, they are SET. There is no flaking off. I was able to break off the excess, to a certain extent, but was left with ridges along the sides of my nails, which made the entire nail loosen and fall off within a few days. Despite putting in lots of time and being uber careful, I still ended up with some mistakes. Although both the regular strips and the gel strips are pretty forgiving in terms of how they look on your nails.

I’ll be trying these again – the geometric design, which apparently isn’t up on the Sally Hansen website right now – this upcoming week. Now that I’ve learned from my mistakes and have a few new tricks up my sleeve, I’m looking forward to seeing if I can actually get closer to two weeks of wear with these. They really make for a nice looking nail and not having to worry about them chipping really makes the extra money and effort worth it, IMO.

Allure Beauty Box: Summer 2013

I normally don’t blog or link to things that are currently unavailable or that I haven’t tried and tested yet. But I had to share about the Allure Summer 2013 Beauty Box. I just purchased it this morning (it went on sale at 12:01 pm EST) and it looks like it already sold out! The box looks amazing and I’m so glad that I was able to snag it. Now I just have to wait 2-4 weeks for it to get here.

This is the first Allure Beauty Box that I’ve purchased, but as a long-time devotee of Allure magazine, I’m 110% certain that this will be worth my while. It contains 26 full-size products (full list and estimated values below), many of which I was planning on buying anyways, or that I was looking forward to trying. And there are a ton of hair products in this box – I love experimenting with new hair products.

Here’s the scoop:
Total cost: $53.29 ($39.99 + tax + S/H)
Total calculated value: $352.14 (over 6 times what I paid!! And well beyond the “over $250” that the box value is being advertised as)

Beauty Box contents:
BCBGMAXAZRIA | Bon Chic (full size – 3.4 oz – $50.00)
Burt’s Bees | Lip Gloss (full size – $8.99)
Butter London | Nail Lacquer in Bit FakerĀ  (full size – $15.00)
Cetaphil | Daily Facial Cleanser (full size – $10?)
Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy | Shampoo & Conditioner (full size – $6.79 each)
Dickinson’s | Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes (full size – $19.99)
Gkhair | Leave in Spray (full size – $22.00)
Neutrogena | Micromist Sunless Tanning Spray (full size – $11.00)
Neutrogena | Oil-free Moisture SPF 15 (full size – $11.99)
Neutrogena | Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF 20 ($8.99)
Neutrogena | Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser (full size – $8.99)
Nexxus | Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir (full size – $17.99)
Not Your Mother’s | Beach Babe Texturizing Hair Cream (full size – $5.99)
Pixi | Endless Silky Eye Pen ($15.00)
Pureology | Colour Stylist Supreme Control Maximum Hold Zero Dulling Hairspray (full size – $24.00)
Redken | Control Addict 26 High Control Hairspray (full size – $18.99)
Redken | Extreme Anti-Snap Leave in Treatment (full size – $29.99)
Sally Hansen | Complete Salon Manicure in Jaded (full size – $7.99)
Sally Hansen | Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops (full size – $7.99)
Sally Hansen | Zero Bumps Bikini Spray (full size – $5?)
Sation | Nail Lacquer in Love at First Byte (full size – $5.00)
Simple | Kind to Eyes Eye Makeup Remover Pads (full size – $5.99)
Suave Professionals | Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil (full size – $6.99)
Tan Towel | The Original Self-Tanning Towelettes for Face & Body ($15?)
Tresemme | Platinum Strength Strengthening Heat Protectant Spray (full size – $5.69)