Monday, January 6, 2014

Nailed It: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

We're almost a week into the new year, and I'm definitely itching for some crafty-type projects. I've got a couple up my sleeve, but nothing completed quite yet. So until then, I'll share a different type of DIY "project" - my recent experience with nail polish strips.

It’s amazing to think about the time and money that’s spent on those little blank keratin canvases at the tips of our fingers—from Fench manicures to gel manicures to Shellac to bling and other nail art (have you seen some of those fancy nails on Pinterest?).
Lots of women keep their nails impeccably manicured in some form or another on a regular basis. I am not one of those women. Sure, I’ll paint my own nails every once in awhile, but I’ve only gotten a professional manicure (or pedicure) maybe twice in the past five years. I probably should go more often just to keep my nails in better shape, but it’s just not something I want to spend my money on.

However, I do find myself intrigued by all these DIY nail products on the market today. The at-home gel manicure kits, for instance, promise professional results at a fraction of the cost. But it still seems like a lot of time and effort to me; plus, you can’t just remove them with regular nail polish remover.

On the other hand, what about those nifty nail polish strips? Sally Hansen promises instant salon effects and no dry time with their Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips. Plus, they’re available in more than 30 fun patterns. As I walked down the cosmetics aisle during a trip to Walgreen’s recently and saw they were on sale (buy one get one 50% off), I decided it was the perfect time to try them out for myself. The regular price was $9.99 each, so with this sale it equaled out to about $7.50 each when you buy two. That’s pretty budget-friendly if you ask me.

The instructions on the side of the box merely say: Peel. Apply. Shape. It seemed almost too simple. But don’t fret—there are more detailed instructions on the inside. First I had to prep my nails by cleaning off any old polish and pushing back the cuticles. Then I had to figure out which nail strips best matched the width of my nails. There are 16 strips total, so I guess they include extras in case you mess one up or need to replace one later.

Finally I was ready to take a deep breath and try the first one. The little polish strips themselves are kind of fascinating when you think about the technology that goes into making them. The instructions were pretty clear, and a couple of minutes later my pinky finger was finished. I was actually quite pleased with it.

I forged ahead and after another 30 minutes of peeling, applying, and shaping, all ten nails were decked out in funky purple and silver zebra stripes. I really didn’t have any problems at all during the process, and they were nice and smooth with no wrinkles or tears. (Although I suppose if you didn’t have a steady hand, it could be challenging to apply them.) In my opinion, I would say the results did indeed look professional. The other advantage was that I didn’t have to wait for them to dry, which meant no chances of smudging afterward (something I’m prone to do with regular polish).

Okay, so they looked great. But how long would they last? The box states “Up to 10 days” but we all know that the key words there are “up to.” I had applied them on a Friday evening, and they held up for about five days before I started to see the slightest signs of wearing along the edge of my nails. During that time I had also done lots of laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning. All things considered, I think they held up better than regular nail polish would have.  (It’s probably worth noting that one day I got bored and just started chipping it off myself, but it’s supposed to be removable with regular nail polish remover.)
My birthday was a couple weeks later, so I decided that was a good time to use the second box of strips I had gotten—“Floral Monet.” It went quicker this time around, since I had some practice under my belt. Plus, I also got smart and realized that I could actually get two nails out of one strip—meaning I still have enough left for a second application. (I’m all about getting the most bang for my buck.) This time the strips held up for a good seven days.

I wouldn’t necessarily use the Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips on a regular basis (sometimes you just want a solid color and good ol’ nail polish does the trick; plus it’s cheaper). But for a special occasion, vacation, or holidayabsolutely. They’re easy to use and add some much-needed pizzazz to my often neglected nails. No nail salon appointment required. Kudos to Sally!

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