As I mentioned when I got back from my recent holiday, I used my time away to do another wear test of the Sally Hansen gel strips. Today I'm finally ready to do a review. I'd been very happy with the gel strips when I tried them the first time, in a very light pink called Shell We Dance. This time, since I was pretty confident they wouldn't chip, I chose a dark color, a charcoal glitter called Take the Stage. (These look quite a lot like the regular strips of the same name that came out with the limited edition Avril Lavigne collection early last year.)
With my nails still being short, I was easily able to get a full mani out of only one of the two packs of strips in the box. Rather than open up the bottle of get top coat that came with them, I used the one from the starter kit and there was plenty left to do this mani. I had no issues with the strips; they apply just like the regular ones, and I've used those so many times by now that I don't even think about it. I do wish I'd taken more care to get them really, really close to my cuticle; usually I change my nails so often that the gap isn't a big deal but I really should have thought ahead this time about how long I'd have these on. (We'll get to that a few paragraphs from now.)
I continue to find the mini LED lamp just adorable.
A full seven days later, the strips were still looking pretty good, with minimal tipwear.
I did manage to chip a few nails; below is my left thumb. I don't blame the strips for this, though, since I was a bad Karen and used my ungloved hands to scrape slush out of the track of our sliding glass doors at the ski condo. I am ashamed to admit I did this more than once. I touched the chips up with a polish that was close in color (Milani 2.0). I had to touch up my touch ups later because the polish was wearing off, but the strips held firm.
Here they are a few days later, so ten days in (you can see my skis blurred out in the background; this was at the end of our last day of skiing for the trip). There is some tipwear and the gap at my base is getting a bit wide; overall, things are looking really good for this many days, including more dishwashing and snow shoveling than usual.
A full two weeks after I'd applied them, the strips looked like this:
Normally, I'd file to get rid of the tipwear, but the directions for these say don't file, and I actually followed directions this time. Next time, maybe I won't and see what happens.
Because that gap at the base was really sort of horrible at this point, I experimented with turning this into a Ruffian with the help of a Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen in Hot Pink. I filled the gap with the pen, then topped the whole thing off with some clear Nails Inc. polish I had stuffed in my topcoat box. The beauty of using the Nail Art Pen for this is I could clean up stray pink that got on the strips with water, which didn't affect the strips in the least.
Since I was just messing around before taking the strips off, I didn't try to lay down a base coat in the gap under the Nail Art Pen. If I were planning to wear the look for a while, I would have, as the pen is really pigmented and I could see it staining (also the strips have a thickness and filling the gap with base would help even that out under the Ruffian accent color).
Next time I have a chunk of time when I think I won't want to change my nails, I want to try the gel topcoat and lamp with regular Salon Effects strips and see how that works. I do usually get more than decent wear from the strips on their own, but if the gel topcoat works with them that'd be even better.