Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine Review

I've got another review for you! It's very unusual for me to pick up a brand new product without looking for reviews, but recently I was desperately low on my favorite topcoats, so I picked up a bottle of Sally Hansen 3D Gel Shine Top Coat completely sight unseen. In a fit of buyers' remorse, I went digging through the blogosphere for reviews the minute I got home, and was surprised to find none. Zero. While I will most surely read all of the reviews to come, I was beyond thrilled to have the jump on a product that hasn't already been reviewed to death, even though it's a mystery to me why there's so little buzz.

According to Sally Hansen, "Top coat goes on thick, dries quick. Unique Vinyl & Gel Tech formula combines with nail color to create multi-dimensional shine & volume. Transform your regular shine into spectacularly gel-like brilliance with no UV light!" I've never had a gel manicure before, and I know "gel shine" is kind of a buzzword right now (All Lacquered Up has a great breakdown of the different types categories of "gel" manicure). Over the course of a few days, I tried the topcoat to see if it holds up those claims. 

Day 1 

For this mani, I wore two coats of Nicole By OPI in Goodbye Shoes with an accent nail of one coat of Revlon Copper Penny with Goodbye Shoes and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Tulle Kit for my freehand scale print design (easier to do than I expected, by the way). I wanted to see how the topcoat performed over both a regular mani and a layered nail art look, and over several different finishes. I was glad to see that the topcoat did dry fairly quickly. It was a little slower than Julep Freedom Polymer Topcoat, another "gel finish" topcoat that doesn't require an LED lamp. However, within 20 minutes, it was dry enough that I had to press on it to disturb the finish, and was easily able to smooth the fine lines from pressing down with my thumb. By an hour later, it had dried hard-no visible disturbance, even when I tapped on one nail with another. The accent nail wasn't smooth, but I resisted the urge to add a second coat (didn't want to skew my highly scientific results). The final mani had a gorgeous wet shine.

Day 2 

Disclaimer-The chipping on the middle finger is my fault!
I had a break that led to massive chipping on my middle finger, so please disregard the carnage there. Across the rest of my nails, I mostly just had the minor tip wear you see on the other fingers. I tend to have tip wear within a day or two anyway and chip easily, so I would say 3D Top Coat was comparable to others that I've used in terms of lasting power. I tried it again that night over a plain colored mani that required several coats (Julep Harlow, for the curious), and the dry time seemed to be a little slower than the previous mani-faster than most, but not fast enough to keep the smudge queen here from getting polish wrinkles. I have a habit of doing my nails right before bed, so lightning fast dry time is important to me.

The Verdict

I like it, but for me, Sally Hansen 3D Shine is more of a backup than a go-to. I'd compare this to Sally Hansen Mega Shine in dry speed and shine. In fact, it's very similar across the board in performance, the texture's just a little thicker and the brush is flat rather than round. I didn't notice any distinguishable level of "plushy" gel look. The closest I got was with Sinful Colors Dream On (the picture at the top with the bottle), and it's a jelly type formula that looked pretty plushy pre-topcoat, too.The shine level was impressive, but much more obvious on cremes than metallics. Maybe Julep and HK Girl have ruined me for other topcoats, but this one didn't have quiiiite the speed I need for an everyday topcoat. That being said, compared to other topcoats, it's still pretty fast, and I do have to acknowledge that while it says it's quick drying (true), the dry time wasn't the focus of the advertised benefits- the "plump" look and high shine were the main selling points on their end. Thing is, I didn't think my nails looked much plumper than with any other topcoat when following the instructions on the box to use just one coat. If you're in love with your Mega Shine (which is also a few dollars cheaper), you probably don't need this one. If you're slightly more patient than I am and strongly prefer a flat brush, give this one a shot.