Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Sugar Fix, Top Coat review, swatches | A look at lampless gel polishes

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel no lamp nail polish review

The product: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish in Sugar Fix and Top Coat

The promise: This summer, Sally Hansen announced that they had solved the Big Question — of the nail world, that is. How do you get the wear time and look of gel nails, but without a trip to the salon?

The new Miracle Gel system promises to be the answer, delivering up to 14 days of wear and a gel that cures using natural light (there’s a photoinitiator in the top coat), no lamp necessary. It’s a two-step polish-and-top-coat process, but the polishes are available in a whopping 45 shades, and the system promises soak-free removal with acetone-based or even acetone-free nail polish remover.

So now the question is… does it work?

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Sugar Fix

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish – Sugar Fix review

The polish: I tested Sugar Fix for this review, a milky, vibrant light blue. It’s a cream finish shade (and unfortunately I haven’t tried any metallics or shimmers from the line), but even considering this, it was pretty underwhelming. The formula is extremely thin, needing four coats to even come close to opacity, and even then I find that it goes a bit streaky unless you’re careful.

The top coat: Despite this, though, I actually really enjoyed using the Miracle Gel Top Coat! It applies smoothly and quite thickly, immediately giving a very “gel” look to the nail. I find that it goes on without disturbing the polish at all, but like any good top coat, it also makes your colour look instantly smoother — which is perfect for someone who gives as shoddy a manicure as I do.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Sugar Fix review swatches

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish in Sugar Fix swatch (four coats)

Sally Hansen OMGel nail polish review

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel polish in Sugar Fix: 1, 2, 3, and 4 coats (L-R)

The wear: I actually tested these twice: first, I had a friend try out the system for me, and then I repeated it on my own. She saw barely 24 hours of wear before her polish began to form little cracks throughout, but I’m told that this could be because she used a base coat — so, if you give this system a try, NO BASE COAT! None!

When I used this set, however, I saw about 2 1/2 weeks of wear on my pedicure with no chipping, wearing, or cracking… in either the Miracle Gel polish or my control group nails. Once they did wear, I noticed the following things:

(1) There was no difference in wear between Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel polish and their Complete Salon Manicure polish,

(2) The Miracle Gel Top Coat presented no chipping over three weeks (dude) but did develop tip wear near the end,

(3) The Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Top Coat nails lasted the longer than the Miracle Gel Top Coat nails by a day, but then showed major chipping.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat review

The verdict?

This is the most rigorously I have ever tested a product (what? I really wanted it to work), so it is with reasonable confidence that I can say: don’t buy into marketing hype. The Miracle Gel system is, in my opinion, not worth investing in at $20/duo… but that includes the polishes.

The Miracle Gel Top Coat, however, is a different story. It delivered on its promise of durability and a gel-like look, and though I did see tip wear, it came with zero chipping and super easy removal. If you do like the look of gel nails and want a top coat that will wear well (caveat: but not as well as a true gel manicure), I’d say get the Miracle Gel Top Coat, but skip the polishes. 

Availability: $8.95 USD/$10.95 CAD each, for both the polishes and top coat.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat review

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel review - Sugar Fix

Sugar Fix — see how it’s kind of uneven without a topcoat?

Sally Hansen gel polish review

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  • This shade is just freaking stunning but I can't do it with 3-4 coats for opacity…that's too much for me! I like to stick to etude house with one coat for the same finish!

  • ahahah i love how you had a control group. brilliant and A+ for proper methodology!


  • Jaa

    I like how you did 1, 2, 3, and 4 coats on each finger! Very useful. The top coat only then! ;D

    • Glad you found it helpful, Jaa!! I had to, after seeing how thin one coat was and D: facing super hard.

  • I love you for your rigorous testing methods. Super intrigued by that topcoat (too bad it's not quick-dry, or is it?), but a definite NO to any four-coater, no matter how pretty the color.
    My recent post Perfect, Reveal, Lift

    • Noooooo to the quick-dry. This one takes some time to set, but I feel like it dries pretty quickly considering how thickly it goes on!

  • BooBooNinja

    A little ninja wants to know how the Miracle Gel Top Coat works over regular, non-Sally Hansen polishes. Who's the ninja? No clue. He/She came and left like a wisp of smoke.

    • I don't know, little ninja! But I don't find that the Complete Salon Manicure polishes wear for a super long time, so I'd use that as my control. (Plus, the Miracle Gel Top Coat wasn't made to work with non-miracle-gel Sally polishes, so I'd take that into consideration too!)

      • BooBooNinja

        Ahhhh. Sneaky Sally Hansen wants us to buy only Sally Hansen products.
        I will tell the little ninja.

        • Tsk tsk, sneaky Sally Hansen! If you wanted us to use only your polishes, you should have made them easier to apply!

          I hope you're having an ok winter so far, little ninja! Don't get caught in any snow drifts! ;)

  • glambunctious

    2.5 WEEKS! Wow, that's pretty delicious. However, I draw the line at 2 coats. If I have to go 3, I'm annoyed. 4? I'm yelling. The top coat sounds well worth the investment! Thanks for the informative and well-tested post, Rae!
    My recent post WIMB | Arizona Trip Essentials Edition ✈

    • On my toes, though! It wore better than regular topcoat, but not TONS better. I don't think you'd get 2.5 weeks on your nails… though, seriously, why would anyone even want to? :p

      Thank you, lovely! <3

  • scoo06

    That blue is so pretty.. so so pretty wish the formula didn't suck so bad! I have a special fondness for Sally Hansen nail colors and top coats! I really like the fast dry top coat the one in the rd tinted bottle… its pretty good!
    My recent post Makeup For November

    • I know!! Considering Sally's regular line, I was really surprised by how thin Sugar Fix is.

      I will check out that top coat! I need a fast drying one for next summer ;)

  • Angela

    ALL the admiring for your dedication! I can't keep nail polish on me for a week, let alone 2.5! I've been curious but not enough to drop $11 for a bottle, especially since the whole long-wearing gel-thing is not something I'm interested in. Glad to know I'm not missing out on too much. PS your application is fantastic!

    • YAY thank you. I want extra super bonus points because I HATE alternating-colour nails… looking down at my toes killed me for those 2.5 weeks! :P :P

      (And double thank you for not thinking my nails were a mess, because I am crap at nail polish. My hands aren't steady and delicate like yours are!)

      • Angela

        Yes I will give you super bonus points! /o/

        Nonsense, your hands are lovely and your nails are def not a mess! For someone that doesn't play around with polish much, your polish skillz are quite good :D
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  • I've been debating buying these but now I think I'll just stick to regular gel polish.
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    • Heh. I don't have the patience (or the smell-tolerance) for nail salons, so it's easy, at-home light-less manis for me!

  • Katherine

    Maybe Sally Hansen doesn't agree with your friend's nails? I've tried 3 or 4 (I think?) of their polishes, and every single one does the crackly-after-24-hours thing to me. I don't use a base coat. OPI, Essie, China Glaze, Sinful Colors, and Wet 'n Wild have never gone crackly on me. I wonder what does it?

    • Oh man, really? That's SO weird — thank you for the comment, Katherine!

      Are your nails particularly thin or flexible? I know hers are like, creepy flexible, so maybe that's it :P :P (Mine, on the other hand, are creepy hard. I don't know which one of us is better off.)

      • Katherine

        I wouldn't say super creepy flexible, but they aren't hard. You'd think more polishes would have the problem though if it was just flexibility?

  • sylirael

    T_T I am so behind on comments! I blame the thesis (the one thing they're good for?) – my apologies for that, bit I am here to rectify things!! :-D

    The top coat sounds excellent – I'm always on the lookout for a topcoat that's shiny and hard wearing (you know, picking locks and disarming traps is *murder* on a manicure). The one I currently use is Sally Hansen, actually, so I was hoping this would turnout well too!
    My recent post Adventures with the Ballet Monster – Lancôme Lip Lover in #321 Rose Contretemps (Plus Full Set Swatches!)

    • It's okay!! Sometimes I am literally MONTHS behind (and wow, isn't that embarrassing to admit). I like getting your comment-dumps every now and again! :) :)

      Big props to this topcoat. I love their Hard as Nails one as well, but I find it's a bit difficult to put on compared to some of my other ones — the brush is really awkward. (It's one of those round-cylinder ones). My favourite topcoat to apply is probably the L'Oreal one (I love their thin, wide-ish brushes), but I think Sally products hold up a little better.

  • Oh i dislike these, this color especially.. TOO sheer!
    Also your hands/nails look like Temptalias lol, at least that's what I thought the first thing I saw the pics

    • LOL oh my god that's the weirdest compliment ever but YES I AM TAKING IT AS ONE. Her hands are pretty! (Unlike mine -.-)

      xD xD

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  • Charlene

    I'm really late to comment, but I love Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel line. I have 4 bottles so far. However, I wish I had read your review before I bought the Sugar Fix one. I just got it today. I'd highly suggest you give these a try again. Game of Chromes and Mad Women are good colors. Generally,I've noticed that the darker colors or metallics are not as streaky/uneven.

    • Only by… 67 weeks? :P

      Thanks for the tip, Charlene! I might have to give some of their darker shades a try :)