By Velia Tarnoff Special to Published Feb 16, 2018 at 3:16 PM

After about 30 years of doing my own at-home manicures, I’ve found a miracle product: the Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Starter Kit.

As I indicated in the first installment of this story and review, I would not render a final verdict until the gel removal process. Would it tear up my nails? Would it be a cumbersome mess? Would it negate the ease and convenience of the DIY application?

Around Day 10 of this at-home manicure, I was just starting to think that maybe I should consider removal. Overall, the color was still shiny and pretty much intact, but there were a couple of small chips. On Day 11, a couple of small edges started to lift. I took that as my sign to let go and to reach for the acetone. (Also, truth be told, I was getting a little tired of the color – something I never expected or experienced before, given my use of products that chipped within two to three days and "required" removal shortly thereafter.)

The kit provides the acetone remover and a wooden implement to lift the polish; you supply the cotton and the aluminum foil.

I followed the instructions, and after 15 minutes of wrapping each nail with acetone-soaked cotton and wrapping in foil (to help prevent the acetone from evaporating), the gel color lifted off almost perfectly with minimal effort. (I did find and use this handy-dandy little tool for the wee bit of scrapping I had to do.)

So, I’m in love. I wanted to give my nails more of a break than a few hours, but I couldn’t resist. I rubbed in some nail and cuticle oil, let my nails "breathe" for a few hours, then went another round of DIY gel.

I should point out that the tips of my naked nails did seem a little weak, but no more so than after a regular manicure – especially in the winter, when my hands tend to be dry and my nails a little brittle.

The dramatic conclusion to this nail saga? I give the Sally Hansen Gel Manicure Starter Kit two perfectly polished thumbs up.

Velia Tarnoff Special to

Velia Tarnoff counts among the loves of her life her daughter, her husband, her friends, writing, developing theories, dancing, live music, Southern California, black coffee and red wine. She's happiest when she can put as many of those together as possible. WWith more than 20 years of experience as a radio reporter and public relations professional, Velia is a natural communicator who loves to hear stories, to share stories and to tell it like it is.

Velia earned her B.A. from the UW School of Journalism and is thankful for every moment she spent on that wonderfully wacky campus.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, Velia is the wife of Publisher Andy Tarnoff.