The first time we got a gel manicure, we felt like we'd opened the Pandora's box of beauty: Unlike traditional polish, gel formulas require zero dry time and guarantee perfectly-groomed tips for up to two weeks. But then there’s the cost involved—depending on where you live, a gel mani can run upwards of $60. So when we discovered Sensationail Polish to Gel Transformer Starter Kit ($24; target.com), a system said to recreate salon-quality gels at home by way of regular polishes we already own, we took it as a sign that our deepest beauty wish had been granted.
When you open the Starter Kit, you’ll find a palm-sized LED lamp, a “transformer” polish, gel topcoat, and extras like a mixing pot and orange sticks. Following the directions, you’ll use the mixing pot to combine one part transformer with one part regular nail polish, and the LED lamp to cure each coat. To finish, swipe on the included gel topcoat before one final go ‘round with the LED lamp.
It’s been more than a week since our little experiment, and we're please to report the polish has only just begun to chip. And now that we can turn any of our regular nail polishes into long-lasting gel, our rather expansive collection suddenly feels a whole lot more justified. Talk about a win.