Cheap vs. Pricey Gel Nail Varnish

Following on from my most recent blog post reviewing my SensatioNail gel starter kit, I decided to compare a few of my favourite colours from different brands, in order to let you know whether a higher price does bring a higher quality.


Top to bottom gel colours as shown above:

  1. R.S. Nail 239 
  2. SensatioNail ‘Silver Glitter’
  3. SensatioNail ‘Tag Me Taupe’
  4. SensatioNail ‘Purple Orchid’
  5. R.S. Nail 139 
  6. SensatioNail ‘French Manicure – Babydoll Pink’
  7. SensatioNail ‘French Manicure – White’

Pricey: The SensatioNail Range

The quality of SensatioNail is so fantastic as every set of gels I’ve had, have lasted two weeks or longer. Their choice of colours is huge and the colours are all so gorgeous that it becomes a challenge selecting which ones to buy. They recommend two coats of the gel which gives a lovely even coverage and a great finish to all nails. I use my french manicure set regularly, as it looks very professional and neat on. The ‘Purple Orchid’ is a deep purple and has a subtle shimmer which is great for when you want sparkle, but not wanting it to be too ‘in your face’. Although I do admit, that I was expecting it to have more of a shimmer than it gives once it’s painted on. The ‘Tag Me Taupe’ is probably my most used colour, as being a neutral shade compliments practically any outfit.


My favourite varnish I’ve purchased from this range is the ‘Silver Glitter’. Silver and shimmery colours are really in style at the moment, which has meant I’ve been using it SO often (maybe even too often, if that’s even possible?). The reason why I love this colour so much is because it works perfectly on it’s own, but also looks fabby over the top of another colour which you can see below! Here I used one coat of ‘Silver Glitter’ over the top of one coat of ‘Purple Orchid’, but excuse the state of my nails – this is gel that has been on for roughly 10 days now and they’ve began growing out.


Another bonus for the SensatioNail range is that the colours match exactly how they are marketed on the box. The quality is great, the colours are exactly what you expected them to be, and the price is… where they fall down slightly (or with a tight budget like mine, a lot).

All the SensatioNail colours I’ve shown you, are £15 each. Yes, they last a long time and yes, the colours all looks so great on… but £15 per bottle was starting to cost me a small fortune. The french manicure set I got in my starter kit (with the UV lamp etc – £49.99 from Boots) are shown below. To purchase the two french manicure colours alone costs £22, but on the plus side you do get bigger bottles than you do in the starter kit.


I wanted more colours, but I just couldn’t justify continuing to spend that much on each colour. So I started investigating other brands so see if I could get some pretty colours for less money.


Cheap: R.S. Nails

I was really fancying a sparkly gold rose colour, so searching through eBay I found a brand called R.S. Nails that sold both the gold rose I was looking for, together with a pretty looking pink colour which also included free postage! It was listed as costing only £3.89 for both bottles, what?! The price was so low compared to the ones I’d been buying from SensatioNail that I decided to risk it and give them a go.

IMG_9472 (1)

Firstly, this brand of nail varnish take a pretty long time to get them delivered, I presume it’s partially because the company ships the products from China. You are warned of the far away delivery date when purchasing, so if you need a specific gel colour reasonably soon I advise you to look elsewhere.

The range of colours they provide is huge, so you definitely aren’t limited on choice. However, whilst the rose gold colour (239) is so pretty and is very similar to the picture displayed on eBay, I found that the other bottle that came with it was more of a purple than the light pink I was expecting. The picture displayed on eBay below on the left and the ‘actual colours’ on the right (239 shown first from the left, 139 shown third from the right.)

The colours weren’t bang on, but with the price difference to SensatioNail I can’t really complain. I was sceptical as to how long they would last on my nails, but I was happily surprised. They last a pretty similar time to SensatioNail on my fingers and for ages on my toes (currently had my toes the same colour for over three weeks)! For the price of these gels, I would definitely recommend opting to try a cheaper brand such as R.S. Nails, rather than spending far more than is necessary.

I will definitely continue to stick to cheaper brands from now on, unless I want a specific colour that I don’t want to risk being a slightly different shade!

Love Siân xo



SensatioNail Gel Starter Kit – A Review

All of you girls know how satisfying it is to put aside a few hours to catch up on your missed TV episodes and do your nails, especially after a super busy week. I’ve always enjoyed keeping my nails looking fresh and neat, as I personally feel like your nails can often be the cherry on the cake for any well put together outfit. I used to stick to normal nail varnish day to day, but before a holiday I have always treated myself to a full set of acrylics with gel! It usually comes to £25 for the acrylics and £30 with gel too (10% off with student discount) in my favourite local salon, so too pricey for to have regularly.


This past Christmas my wonderful Mummy bought me a Sensationail Gel Starter Kit from Boots and I can now afford to have gel nails whenever I fancy them and as a student with very little money it has been a complete game changer.

I want to give you my review of this set and how having it has made my life easier and far cheaper when it comes to keeping my nails looking fab.


Inside the box: 


  • 3 Nail Varnishes: 1 white, 1 babydoll pink, 1 base & top coat
  • Gel cleanser, gel primer & lint-free wipes
  • Double-sided nail buffer & Manicure stick
  • 22 nail shields & 100 white tips
  • UV LED gel lamp


Easy to use?

Absolutely. You begin by using the nail buffer to shape your nail using the grey side, then lightly buff the surface of your nail using the pink side. The gel cleanser is used to clean the nails, then the primer is painted and left to dry for 30 seconds. The gel base/top coat is painted on first, followed by two coats of your chosen gel colour and another layer of the gel base/top coat. With each gel layer painted, the UV lamp is to be used for a recommended 30 seconds, however I’ve noticed the gel lasts longer when leaving them under for 60 seconds instead. You have to be careful not to get the gel over the edges of your nails or touching your cuticles, as the gel won’t last as long.



This set is currently on sale in Boots for £49.99 (It used to be more expensive!!) and can be purchased in store and online. I was bought the french manicure set, however there are so many other colours to choose from. I would personally recommend choosing this set and then purchasing additional colours you fancy (you can buy them individually), as I’ve loved having that sophisticated manicure option for professional events. It’s taken me until last week to run out of any of the components of this kit and I’ve been using many of them continually since December (6 months-ish). I firmly believe that you get your money’s worth from this set and it has worked out far cheaper than what the equivalent price would be to get it done professionally, it also saved me the hassle of getting there too.

Replacing parts


I purchased the SensatioNail Gel Polish Essential Kit (shown above) for £25 as I decided I’d like to have replacements of everything for when they do run out. This kit has all the items the starter kit has but without the gel varnish and the lamp (& the nail shields and white tips – but I don’t use these anyway). First thing to run out for me was the gel cleanser, however I tried using Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water before I’d had the chance to buy a replacement gel cleanser and it did the job fine – and being £1 to purchase, is far cheaper. The essential kit also gives much bigger volume of the gel cleanser than the starter kit, with the starter kit you’re essentially paying the big bucks for the UV lamp and gel nail varnish. Personally I think it is worth buying the essential kit as everything will run out eventually. You can also buy replacement parts individually if you want to get them one at a time, as and when they begin running out. I’ve listed the different prices below for you to see.

Replacement options:

Does it damage your nails?

Personally I feel like it does make your nails weaker after having gel on them. However, when the gel is on them they feel stronger than they do naturally. The most damage can be done when removing the gel, as just picking the varnish off (guilty!) completely ruins the surface of the nail. I’ve often picked the gel off out of laziness, but buffing the surface of the nail afterwards does make the nail smooth again. If the gel is removed properly this can be completely avoided. There are multiple removal tools available, as well as nail shields which can be applied to protect the nail.


In the past I’ve poured normal nail varnish remover into a bowl and left my nails to soak, before picking all the gel off. It doesn’t work very well at all as it takes a long time for it to begin removing the gel and also smells awful. BUT I checked in boots last week to see if they had any new removal tools and they do!! I haven’t used any of them to tell you if they’re worth buying yet, but I’ll list them below incase you want to try them yourself. Please do let me know if you’ve tried any of these in the comments, I’d love to hear your opinions so I know which ones are worth buying!


Nail shields


Nail shields are provided in the starter kit, which have been designed to protect the nail from being damaged by the gel. The shield sticks to the nail and the gel is applied as it normally would be, then when you are ready to take the gel off you can peel the shield away from each nail. I DO NOT LIKE THEM! When I applied these to my nails they didn’t stick down flat, which made the shield have a ripple texture and I haven’t used them again since. I think this is partly due to my tiny little fingers as I’m pretty sure that bigger and flatter nails would enable these to work perfectly. Admittedly though, they did the job of protecting my nails well and were really easy to peel off. If you have flattish nails rather than rounded like me, these will be a winner for you.


White tips


These tips (pictured above on the right) have been designed to use instead of using the white gel. The aim of them is to get a cleaner finish than you would using the white gel ‘free hand’. They are very thin layers of white varnish that stick right on to the nail. I’ve always applied my tips using the gel provided in the kit, as going through the sheets to select the right size tip and then cutting it down to size, seems more time consuming. I think I’ll test these out next time I’m going for a french manicure though!

Manicure set


The pink and white gel that comes with this kit creates a beautiful french manicure. I have used them both repeatedly since receiving my kit and always have a great end result. I’m planning to use the white gel for my upcoming trip to Ibiza, as both look great used independently too.



Since I received my kit, SensatioNail have made so many cool new additions to their gel range.

  1. You can now buy UV gel starter kits that are ‘Express’ for £34.99, the nail varnish that is included in the set, is a new formula that prevents you having to use a primer and base/top coat. This means it takes a lot less time to get your gel nails looking perfect. I’ve used my Mum’s Express gel and it is very convenient!! BUT, the downside is they only last up to ten days, whereas the normal gels lasts up to two weeks.
  2. The most funky thing they’ve created is the Polish to Gel Starter Kits for £49.99, which turns normal nail varnish into gel! This is pretty cool!! Perfect for anyone who already has a wide selection of normal nail varnishes.
  3. They’ve also introduced a Matte Top Coat for £10, I’m a massive fan of matte finishes on things. In the past I’ve often requested a matte finish on my nails when I get them done in the salon. This will very likely be my next gel nail purchase.



That concludes my first review! I absolutely adore this product and I have recommended buying these kits to all my friends. I hope this has been informative and if you have any questions I haven’t answered please do let me know!

Each gel varnish from SensatioNail is pretty pricey so I’ve experimented with cheaper brands to see how they compare. I’m planning to do a cheap vs. pricey comparison of my favourite colours in the next few days which will hopefully help you when deciding where to put your money.

Love Siân xo