I’ve always thought that nothing could ruin even the most perfect outfit faster than half-chipped off nail polish (ugh tacky!). With this in mind, I splurged on a salon-quality gel polish kit a couple years ago when the at-home sets sold in drugstores didn’t exist and most salons hadn’t even offered the service yet. It was well worth the price for glossy, chip-free lacquer and zero dry-time—Hallelujah!—but eventually the huge time commitment for nail prep, precise application and soak-off removal began to drive me INSANE!!
To give myself a break, I picked up a few of the supposedly “easy to apply” nail strips/stickers/wrap and can happily say that the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips have been my favorite so far! They’re so much easier to apply than the Nail Rock Wraps found on ASOS and I wasn’t really interested in any of the prints currently offered by Essie.
I resisted trying these for so long mainly because: 1) a single printed manicure costs as much as buying a whole new bottle of good nail polish and 2) I was skeptical of the 10 day wear time for something advertised as “real nail polish”. Now that I’ve tried them out though, if I had to choose the one product that impressed me most as of recently, it’s these Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips. WOW, the hype around these is completely justified!
These Sally Hansen strips claim to last up to 10 days and fit all nail sizes. Each box contains a cuticle stick, a multi-sided mini file (for shaping, buffing and filing the edge of the strip off) and 16 double-edged nail strips of differing widths. They are “Big 3 Free” (no DBP, Toluene or Formaldehyde!) and boast being easy to use with no dry time—just peel, apply and shape.
I tweaked the instructions a bit since I’m quite familiar with nail strips. I got chip-free nails for TWO WEEKS and was able to get TWO FULL SETS out of each box—with some left over!!
THIS IS HOW I APPLIED THEM:
- Push cuticles back and buff nails
- Remove the excess oil from your nail (I used the nail dehydrator from my gel kit but acetone works too)
- Apply the nail strips starting in the middle and working outwards
- Leave a little space (no larger than half a mm) around the edge of the strip and use a cuticle nipper to trim the strip as needed
- Use the nail file to trim the excess strip off
- Seal with a quick drying clear coat (coincidentally, I used the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in “Clearly Quick”), making sure to wrap the tips and cover the little gap around the edges for a more secure seal
- Let this dry and wrap the tips again with more clear polish
TIPS TO GET 2 FULL SETS OUT OF EACH BOX:
- Note that you can only get 2 applications with shorter nails. I prefer to trim my nails anyway before applying strip-type manicures so that they don’t get too long for the duration of wear and also because I think that prints can look a little overwhelming on longer nails.
- Peel off the clear sheet on top of the strip before using a scissor to cut it in half.
- Don’t open the other package containing the strips for the second hand! Since these are real nail polish strips, they will supposedly dry out.
- You’ll have more than enough strips to work with since the package for each hand contains 8 strips (cut in half = 16 strips) for only 10 fingers. This is made easier because each strip is rounded on both ends to fit different types of cuticles, but any imperfect fits can be easily trimmed with a cuticle nipper.
Despite their claim to last only up to 10 days, the image below shows that with my tweaked application I have gotten 2 weeks of wear with no major chips and only a little fading around the tips. Unfortunately, growth is inevitable! Between constantly typing at work and a long weekend vacation including packing and zipping/unzipping luggage, my nails still look fantastic! Wear-time will depend on the individual, but I am very hard on my nails since I am used to wearing things like Gelish and Shellac.
My only gripe with these strips is that unlike gels, they don’t stay glossy till the very end. But that’s still not too bad considering the fast application and minimal nail damage! Regular nail polish remover takes them off with more effort than I would have liked, so I recommend using 100% acetone, which swipes them off as easily as regular polish.
I’ve been won over and highly recommend giving these a try!! In addition to tweaks allowing longer wear and 2 full applications per box, I love that patterned nails make chips even less noticeable. “Out of Line” is perfect for the summer and although I wouldn’t bother with the glittery ones—stick to regular glitter polish since it already dries super fast—I hope to try “Laced Up” (a black floral lace) once fall rolls around.
What do you think of the Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips? Has anyone else able to get 2 full manicures from a single box?