Let me start by saying that I'm heading off to Chicago on Tuesday and I had this moment of sheer panic when I realized that I probably won't be able to do my nails in the five days that I'm there. Oh. My. God. True I'm sure the BF and his family couldn't care less if I had raggedy, chipped, or even worse - bare nails, but the thought simply horrified me. And then, as if a moment of divine intervention, there in the beauty aisle of Walgreens, Sally Hansen and her beacon of light shined down on me: THE NAIL STRIPS.
I'd read about these before on other blogs but had yet to find them. The $9.99 price tag was awful steep, but when I bought them they were BOGO 50% off and they had a tear pad for $1 off, so I paid about $14 for two of these. However they claim to last 10 days plus they're a Minx knockoff and it certainly beats the $40 salon price for a real Minx. Since they were BOGO I bought Kitty Kitty, which is the leopard, and Misbehaved, which is a shimmery light gold with a fishnet pattern on top.
Basically they're like glorified nail stickers, you put 'em on and file the excess off and then you have a really sweet manicure. The kit comes with a cuticle stick, a little file which has a buffing side and two different fine grit files, and 14 strips.
|Even my eczema cuticles are slain by this stuff|
Super important with these is to push back your cuticle and really take care of those little suckers. You want to place the sticker pretty close to your cuticle, especially to accommodate grow-out. I prepped my nails with this Sally Hansen gel cuticle remover with kiwi, which I think was around $5 at Rite Aid. It worked really nicely, I just let it set and then pushed it back and I really don't think my cuticles have ever looked this good before.
Since the sticker adheres directly to your nail, buffing your nails is imperative. Although I liked the provided file, I also used my own file since my nails are quite ridged naturally. After all of this the directions recommend swiping your nails with remover one last time, which I did.
Then comes the tricky part, which is the actual application. First, the kit comes with 16 stickers - really, Sally? Really? I'm sure polydactyls the world over will be thrilled that they too can have beautiful nails, but the number to me was odd. Why not just add in another 4 so that theoretically I could get two manicures out of this instead of just one? What am I supposed to do with the extras? SUPER COOL FACE TATTOOS!! I guess it gives room for screw ups so you can throw another one on, but I kind of wish she'd just made it 22 or 24. OH, SALLY! You're so silly.
The stickers are double ended with slightly different shapes to fit different cuticles. I was impressed by how well these fit my nails, I always thought I had mutant nail beds but apparently they're pretty standard. The stickers have a little give so you can stretch them to fit a wider nail bed, or if you messed up on applying the sticker. They're pretty easy to apply, and they're super long so that you can fold the excess over and file it off. You want to file them off in one direction so as to avoid raggedy edges, and obviously you want to have filed nails to begin with to ensure a clean, even edge.
|Look at those cuticles!|
I'd say overall the process was pretty pain free, though it did take me about an episode or two of Boardwalk Empire, or approximately an hour and a half in real people time. Even though there wasn't any dry time with these I'd say it took about just as long as a regular manicure because of the precision needed.
Overall I think they provide a really neat effect and I can't stop looking at how fly my nails are. However they're not as shiny as I'd like, and although not required I added a top coat of my own. I think it did add a tiny bit of bubbling, but hopefully this will also help with the wear of it, particularly on the edge of my nail.
Final Ruling - Special occasion use only. The price point makes them a little steep for more frequent usage, and they do require a lot of patience. Their extended wear time makes them a good option for traveling, and I'll let you know how they wear. There are some pretty neat designs that would be difficult to recreate freehand (houndstooth, animal prints, fishnet), and if you can find them on sale, they're worth it. Apparently Broadway Nails also has a cheaper version of them which Nouveau Cheap reviewed here, which I have yet to spot.
As to what to do with those extras - I suppose they'd make really cool accent nails with a black polish or something. Or you know, face tattoos.
Sally's really stepped up her game this year and there are a lot of cool new releases for 2011, including these, another mint polish part of the Xtreme wear line, treatment gels, and a whole new line of implements. Oh, Sally! Ruv you, girrl!