Another busy week with no time for a polish change meant another opportunity for me to use the Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips. This time, I chose one of the limited edition designs they released earlier this year, a navy and white horizontal stripe called Ay, Ay, Captain!
Since I've had good experiences with the allover designs I've tried before, I was unprepared for how much I struggled with these stripes. I thought about not even posting these today because I didn't want to share two not-so-great manis in a row, but the not-so-greatness happened whether I share it or not so I might as well get it out there so I can move on to more successful things starting tomorrow.
I had a couple problems with these strips. First, because the design is linear and high-contrast, it was more important than with other designs to get them on straight with no wrinkles. That's not impossible to do, but it does require extra time and care. With the less finicky designs, I've usually removed both the backing and clear cover from the strips before putting them on my nails, which makes them easier to mold to the curve of my nail. With these, I tried that approach on one nail and realized it wasn't going to work; without the clear cover, the strips were too floppy to place precisely. So for the rest, I kept the cover on while placing the strips, which helped me get them on straight but required me to be very careful not to mess up my hard work when peeling the cover off the strips—it was very easy to pull the strip off my nails at the corners of my tips when pulling off the cover. Second, the navy stripes were noticeably thick on top of the white. That thickness meant that vertical lines formed in them as they had to bend around the curve of my nail. It was not a good look. Also, I had a couple strips rip off right along the navy stripe at the tip of my nail as I was filing off the excess strip material, probably because the white part was so much weaker than the navy.
Based on the photo of my thumb above, perhaps you are thinking I am exaggerating the not-so-greatness. Sure, there's a bigger-than-ideal gap at the base of my nail, but other than that, it looks okay. I agree, it does look okay. That's because I carefully selected that photo of the nail which looked the best; the lighting and angle at which I'm holding my hand in that photo also help minimize the appearance of the flaws.
But now get a good look at these shots:
See those wrinkles in the navy stripes? At first I thought I was really messing up with my application, but then I noticed how the wrinkles didn't continue into the white stripes. No way I could manage to do that; I'm not that talented. It was very disappointing to realize that no matter how careful I was, I couldn't make the navy stripes lay completely flat. I was tempted to take them off and do a conventional manicure with liquid polish, but after taking my hand out of the lightbox I realized the wrinkles weren't that noticeable in normal room light at non-macro lens distances so kept the strips on. I wore them all week, touching up tipwear with a navy Wet 'n' Wild from my stash, and got several compliments on them.
One thing I wish I'd thought to try was using a topcoat; perhaps that would have smoothed out the wrinkles and minimized the tipwear. Maybe next time. I wrapped up the leftovers tightly to keep air away and prevent them from drying out, so perhaps you'll see some striped accent nails from me at some point. I won't stop using these strips; it's just a learning process about which ones work better for me.