Yesterday, I finally removed the Sally Hansen strips I've been wear testing, so today I have my review of them. As I mentioned when I posted a picture of the display, I was intrigued by the idea but resistant to spending nearly $10 on color for one manicure, so I didn't immediately grab any of these. They did go on sale at CVS just before I left on vacation, and I decided to satisfy my curiousity. I got several of the more elaborate designs—ones I couldn't see recreating myself with liquid polish. Because my trip overlapped with the first day of spring, I packed the very spring-like Girl Flower design with me to try when I got some downtime (the ski slopes are only open so many hours a day, after all).
These are packaged in a small box which contains the strips (16 of them in various sizes in a blister pack), a mini orange stick, a mini file/buffer, and instructions.
The instructions were good, and definitely necessary as without them I'm not sure I would have realized that there's a clear protective top sheet that needs to be peeled off in addition to the backing on the strips. I was able to find pretty close fits for most of my nails; not all were a perfect match for the curve and width but neither is my application of liquid polish a lot of the time. I got a few wrinkles in the tips of some of the nails, got a couple strips on crooked, and in one case pressed too hard with the orange stick when smoothing around the edges and gouged some of the strip off, but all in all it was pretty easy to do and didn't take very long, especially since this was the first time I'd used them. One of the best parts was I was able to apply them in the same room as Mr. Karen; he hates the smell of polish, so I never get to hang out with him when I'm doing my nails, but these didn't bother him. They do have a very slight odor, probably nothing I would have noticed if I hadn't been hyper sensitive about the issue.
The strips are plenty long. With my fairly short nails, I felt like I was wasting a lot of product, filing almost half of the strip off the end. I'm tempted to try cutting them closer to size the next time and seeing if I can get more than one mani out of a box (or maybe a mani and matching pedi—can't remember the last time I sported that look). I'm not sure how I'd seal them back up to keep air off the strips for later use, though; I'll have to ponder that.
I definitely felt fancy by the time I was done with all ten nails, and I wasn't the only one who found the design eye catching—I got more comments and compliments on this mani than anything I've worn recently, including ones from the kind of people that don't generally say anything about my nails, like food service cashiers, flight attendants, and even a guy at work. One thing I hadn't planned but which delighted me was how well the flowers coordinated with my very girly powder skis—sure I was wearing gloves most of the time when I had the skis on but I still knew.
Ski trips tend to be hard on my hands, so I wasn't surprised to see some signs of wear by Day 6. I was pleased to see how well the strips were holding up, actually. I lost some bits on the tips where I'd gotten the wrinkles when I'd applied (I'll remember to be more careful next time), and a few more at the base of my nails, which I evidently hadn't smoothed down as firmly as the sides and tips (another note to myself for next time). The flower design is busy enough that the missing bits weren't very noticeable, so I was happy. (Day 6 photo below.)
By Day 10, the last day I wore them, there was a noticeable gap at the base of my nails even on the ones that weren't missing bits (I'll put them closer to the base to start with next time), some very minor tipwear, and a chunk out of both the strip and my nail on my ring finger thanks to jamming it on my suitcase handle on the trip home. I was impressed. My conventional manis don't last this well on trips, even with touch ups, which of course I couldn't do with these since I don't have flower polish. (Day 10 photo below.)
Before I took them off, I felt compelled to answer one of the burning questions in the nail polish community these days, namely "what would that look like with crack on top?" Here's the answer:
OPI Black Shatter worked just fine on top of the strips and camouflaged the imperfections that had shown up with wear. I'd been a tiny bit worried that the adhesive in the strips would damage my nails, especially since I didn't use my normal treatment and protective basecoats, but when I removed them (they came off with regular remover same as conventional polish) if anything my nails looked better than they have been lately, probably because they'd gotten a ten-day vacation from acetone. I have to say I'm sold on these strips. I still think they're expensive, but they do last a long time. I liked seeing them on my tips and so did other people. I'll definitely use them again for special occasions or when I have a long stretch when I can see I won't have time to change polish. Good job, Sally; could you not discontinue these for a while, please?