Skeptical of nail polishes that claim to last as long as 10 days or more. How about nail stickers that make the same claim? I recently took the plunge and gave the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips (that was a mouthful, wasn’t it?) a try.
Available in a wide range of interesting patterns, like leopard, zebra, butterfly, plaid, stripes, and a selection of solid colors, too, they usually retail for about $10, or thereabouts, at stores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Wal-Mart, Target and CVS. These strips, which are made out of real nail polish, are supposed to look more real than other stickers, and most of the time, when I spot one of the displays, it’s usually empty.
I hope that means they’re pretty good!
The pattern I chose is called Fly With Me. Let’s see how it works…
Here’s what I found inside the package: a note with semi-vague directions (in three languages), a small cuticle/orange stick, a small pink file/buffer with two different grits and 16 nail strips. Pulling away the tab at the end of the strips exposes the adhesive side.
So, 16 strips? But we only have 10 fingers. I suppose 16 is an amount that both ensures that each box is suitable for a single manicure, while also providing some extra strips to accommodate mistakes and different sizes of nails.
Honestly, I think I’d prefer getting 12 strips per box instead of 16 if it meant being able to lower the price by a few bucks. As these are now, they aren’t very kind to a college student’s budget. A polish bottle at a drugstore costs a few dollars less and can last for dozens of manicures, but, of course, these come in some very cool patterns.
See how I think? Haha! Not to worry. Stay tuned for a way to make these strips last for TWO manicures, which certainly helps.
Before we begin…
Let’s buff down the ridges on our nails. The directions suggest using the dark pink half of the included buffer, but I find it way too rough on my nails and and use my own buffing block instead.
Ensure that you’ve created a smooth canvas upon which to work. Not a requirement, but these strips are thin and extremely unforgiving to ridges, exaggerating and emphasizing every bump. While we’re at it, let’s also even out the length of our nails.
Next, let’s wash our hands and nails. From what I’ve read, we needn’t apply a base coat here because it can reduce the longevity of the stickers.
It’s very, very important that our hands are warm when we apply. I know it might sound silly, but I tried to apply another set of nail strips once in a room with a fan on high. My hands were cold at the time, and the adhesive on the stickers refused to activate. They just kept falling off. From my experience, warm fingers and nails give the best results.
How to apply
Look through the box and select a strip that best fits the bed of your first nail. Pull the tab, and peel the strip away from the backing.
Carefully, align and press it onto each nail, one by one, cutting away any excess, like so…
Smooth each sticker down a bit, and ensure that it’s securely affixed to the nail.
Now, peel off the invisible plastic topper. NOTE: The directions say absolutely nothing about this, and the first time when I tried to file down the excess, I couldn’t! Don’t be like me, and remember this crucial step.
Next, using the cuticle stick, go over each nail, getting rid of any air bubbles that might have popped up. Be sure to pay special attention to the edges of the stickers, and be careful, because if you’re too vigorous with the stick, you could poke holes in the stickers (which I did once).
Gently file away any excess, curling each strip under the nail. The directions say to use the light pink half of the file for this step, but I find that it’s just too weak. It feels like the side of a pen or something! Instead, I use the rougher half to tear at the stickers slightly, and then use the light pink side to finish the job.
Well, we’re done! And if we stopped at this step, we’d have have a bunch of extra, unused strips going straight to the trash. Waste makes me sad, so let’s try something out.
You may notice that some of the strips are extremely long…
I suppose this trick may not work for someone with very long fingernails, but it should for someone with shorter nails. My nails are short enough that I can cover two of my nails with a single strip.
This time, I cut the strips much closer to my free edge, which I find also makes the strips easier to buff. If you’re lucky, the other edge will fit perfectly in the bottom curves of your nail bed on your other hand or on another finger. If not, then you might have to do a bit of trimming.
Like this. This strip doesn’t quite fit like a dream on my nail, so I’ll trim down the edges with a pair of small scissors. I use a cuticle scissors because it’s curved, but I think next time I may just use a small straight scissors.
Here’s an example showing the second half of a cut strip that should fit my other pinky. Pretty good, if I don’t say so myself.
Lastly, I’ll put the excess strips back in the box, and save them for a future manicure.
Not bad. That’s two for the price of one!