Gel nail polish is a product mostly available at salons that lets you get your nails painted and keep the color on for as long as a few weeks. The companies that market nail polish to home users have tried to create long-lasting products that wear for weeks and resist chips but work differently, but an ad watchdog has determined that the Sally Hansen brand is making claims that go too far.
The brand Sally Hansen is not named after a real person, and makes a popular product that you can find in any drugstore or big box store called Miracle Gel. It’s advertised as lasting “up to” 14 days.
Real gel nails require curing under an ultraviolet or LED lamp. While some fans invest in their own lamp for home manicures, that’s a limited market. That’s why nail polish brands now market their own gel-like products, which use a polymer or oligomer top coat to create a slightly squishy surface that’s harder to chip and can last longer than standard nail polish.
Competitor Revlon complained to the National Ad Division, a self-regulation organization for the ad industry that’s run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The NAD found that Sally Hansen wasn’t able to back up all of its claims, and concluded that the company should be careful not to give customers the impression that the Miracle Gel line of products are equal to gels, since they’re not the same.
Specifically, NAD found that the company’s claim that the Miracle Gel polish gave customers a manicure that was more chip-resistant than standard polishes was valid and could be backed up. However, the product isn’t equal to gels in longevity, and the NAD concluded that advertisements equating the product to salon gels should be discontinued in ads.
After this decision came out, Revlon filed an appeal, still objecting to the brand name “Miracle Gel.” Sally Hansen, meanwhile, appealed the ruling that the company shouldn’t call its products “gel without the light” when it’s not a salon gel polish.
The NAD did determine, however, that since the polishes cure using ambient light (which is why they’re sold in opaque bottles) and are similar to gel polishes in other ways, the name “Miracle Gel” is acceptable.
In a statement, Coty, parent company of Sally Hansen, said that it “disagrees with the NARB’s conclusion and strongly believes that its consumer-based testing substantiates all express and implied claims in the advertising under review, it will take the NARB’s recommendations into account for any future advertising for Miracle Gel.”