Sally Hansen

Sally Hansen At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; provides complete ingredient lists on the Web site; some fun lip products; a handful of worthwhile cuticle moisturizers; Airbrush Legs is an intriguing alternative to body makeup and hosiery; one good lip gloss.

Weaknesses: An abundance of mediocre to poor lip products loaded with irritants; most of the hand creams lack sun protection; several foot creams with irritating fragrant oils; no well-formulated exfoliants for managing dry, cracked skin and calluses on feet; spray-on self-tanner contains a lot of alcohol.

Sally Hansen, having long been synonymous with affordable, well-distributed manicure products, without question is a well-recognized staple on drugstore shelves around the country. Owned by global beauty brand conglomerate Coty, Inc., Sally Hansen has now dipped its perfectly polished toes into selling makeup and a broad selection of body-care products, most focused on hand and foot care. This range of lip, hand, foot, and novelty body-care products extends well beyond this brand’s bread-and-butter nail polish and dubious "nail strengthening" products, giving Sally Hansen even more visibility.

Sally Hansen's new lip product selection is so large that in many stores it occupies a display that is entirely separate from their vast selection of nail products. Dubbed the Lip Lab, this section of the Sally Hansen display is where you'll find an assortment of lip plumpers, lip moisturizers, and so-called lip treatments, nearly all of which claim to make lips look fuller and younger. Of course the sculpting, lifting, and plumping claims are outrageous and deceptive, but what's worse is the ingredients in almost every one of these products end up doing just the opposite of the claims because they include irritants like rosemary and peppermint extracts, which actually break down collagen and impair the lips' protective barrier. Not surprisingly, the lip plumpers are the worst offenders; with ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, they deliver some of the most acutely painful experience we've endured from applying a lip product. None of these products come close to professionally administered lip injections, although the claims are certainly intended to lead you to believe otherwise.

Hansen's makeup range extends beyond the lips, with a few spray-on tan and shimmer products, although we're not sure why they added these ancillary products. Regrettably, most of the makeup products are a disappointment and poorly formulated. There are a handful of reasonably priced lip products that make lips look lovely without making them hurt, too. As if copied straight from the department store brand trends, two of Sally Hansen’s best products are veritable knock-offs of Smashbox and M.A.C. lip glosses—at less than half the price! Also worth noting is Sally Hansen's unique Airbrush Legs spray-on body makeup, which looks, feels, and wears better than expected.

If you're shopping this brand for hand and nail care, prepare to be overwhelmed. The selection of hand creams and cuticle products is daunting, and frustrating, too. Why frustrating? Mostly because the formulas are repetitive, but they have different claims, which makes no sense. As for the claims themselves, prepare to read about everything, from oils stimulating nail growth to minerals making nails stronger to vitamin E being the cure-all for ragged cuticles. The company can't make up their mind about what works.

None of this is legitimate, but when you're offering as many hand and cuticle options as Sally Hansen does, you have to have product-specific hooks or consumers may be tempted to look elsewhere. Overall, there is nothing spectacular about most of these hand and cuticle products, although there are a couple of inexpensive options worth your attention.

When it comes to foot care, Sally Hansen offers several creams, balms, and odor-fighting products. Most are gimmicky and have average formulas and some contain irritating ingredients that no one's feet truly need. Perhaps most disappointing is the company's limited offerings for dry, cracked skin on the feet. They offer only thick moisturizers, but those aren't enough to handle the problem. Those help, but if you're not taking steps to remove the thickened layers of unsightly dead skin, you'll see little improvement. What you need is an exfoliant before the moisturizer, but there is not such an option in this line. That's to your detriment, because skipping the exfoliation step is like covering acne with a layer of makeup rather than taking steps to treat the blemish and encourage healing.

For more information about Sally Hansen, call (800) 953-5080 or visit www.sallyhansen.com.

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