I had previously purchased a box of Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish strips, but had never gotten around to using them, until I received another set from Influenster. Figuring this was a sign, or some such, I decided to use them straight away, and put them through the harsh test of surviving on my nails.
I tested the design “Zebra” for two full weeks – four days beyond the suggested wear-time on the front of the box, and followed that up with an application of the design “Denim” to compare results. With that in mind, let’s get crackin’.
In the box we have a full set of instructions (which I greatly appreciate – I’ve found other nail strips to be lacking in this area), a mini buffer with three grit ratings, an orange stick, and sixteen little strips. This is the most complete kit I have ever come across. The only thing I can think would make it more complete is a prep-pad of nail polish remover, since the instructions call for nails to be cleaned with polish remover before applying the strips.
As for the claim that these strips are “real nail polish”, I was skeptical until I opened the blister packages containing the strips. Take a whiff! They smell just like the real thing!
Buff your nails with the included nail file, and push back your cuticles with the orange stick. You can nip your cuticles if that’s your fancy, but I didn’t, because I just don’t like the look or feel of nipped cuticles. Using your own nail polish remover and felt pad/cotton, clean the surface of your nails. Size the strips against your nails, and apply them from your pinky to your thumb. To apply, remove the clear plastic cover from the front of the strip, then lift the silver tab away from the white backing piece. Carefully remove the tab from the polish strip, and stick straight on to your nail. File away the excess from the tops of the nails, and you’re done! They’re completely dry and ready to rock and roll.
A few things I should mention about this process: the strips are very thin, and very fragile. You do have a little bit of give to stretch the strip over your nail, but not much. Stretching is easier when the strips are warm, so you may want to heat your nails/strips with your breath at the very least. Otherwise, you risk unsightly bunching (which can be seen in the above photo of ‘Denim’), as well as ripping. I ripped two in the process of applying each manicure. Considering you only have sixteen strips per kit and not much size variety, you definitely want to avoid rips at all costs.
If you can’t find the correct size, go a size larger and trim it to fit. This can actually be done after application: I simply applied the strip, pressed it down fully, and used my orange stick to trim down the sides, like a knife slicing bread. Do this very carefully so you don’t rip the strip or puncture any serious gaps, but it does work very well.
As strips do harden with air exposure, nail strips must be kept sealed in their blister packs until ready to use. Otherwise, they will harden and will not adhere to the nail surface.
Once the strips are applied and set, they will harden slightly and will not peel away like “sticker” style strips. There is no fraying at the edges or sides, but you will have the average edge-wear as with regular nail polish. My edges started to wear at day four, which is actually a bit better than average for me. By the end of day ten, there was significant edge wear, but no chipping. On day fourteen, chipping had started to occur.
These strips only claim to last ten days, but whether or not they successfully met that claim is objective. They lasted three full days in perfect condition, and well beyond ten days in fair condition. Personally, I would consider the “10-day” claim to be true, as I fully expect and don’t mind edge wear. Your personal opinion may vary.
They are definitely attention-getting – in the two weeks I’ve been wearing mine, I must have had twenty-five to thirty people ask me about my manicure. This, with no real effort or dry-time involved? I’m down with that.
Removal was easy in comparison to sticker-style nail strips, but more difficult than average nail polish. While these are “real” nail polish, they are quite thick, so you may need to soak your nails for a few minutes in order for the remover to penetrate the bottommost layer. Foiling only slightly improves removal time. For easiest removal, you may want to apply a thick coat of wet nail polish in an abhorrent shade, allow a minute for penetration, then wipe off your nails with a cotton pad.
These strips definitely have their pros and cons, which will make them worth the effort for some, but not others. If you’re in the market for a complete nail kit, this has it with the exception of the nail polish remover. These strips also come in a beautiful variety of colors and patterns – 40 different styles, currently – so you’re very likely to find the perfect pattern for any occasion. There’s no fraying at the edges as with nail stickers, and they’re also relatively easy to remove once you’re done with them.
However, they can be somewhat fiddly to apply, since they are ‘real’ nail polish. Strips are fragile and easy to rip, which can be very frustrating to people who are heavy-handed. They’re also quite pricey – I’ve seen them going as high as $9.50USD a per single-use box in my area, whereas other manicure strips sell for about two bucks less, and you can squeeze two manis and a pedi out of one box if you get creative. Finally, the size variety is somewhat lacking. While this can be worked around by trimming larger strips down to size, but the lack of good fitting sizes may be a dealbreaker for some.
All in all, I would recommend these strips – just be aware of your own expectations, and compare those expectations to the actual results you find online.
FTC DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Some products for this review were sent free of charge for consideration. All opinions expressed above are my own.