I've posted display photos of Essie's entry into the nail strip category, Sleek Sticks, but it took me a long time actually buy any because unlike other brands, they don't seem to go on sale. Then one day I was wandering through Kohl's and saw them there; I guess I sort of knew Kohl's had Essie but there's so much else to attract my attention there (costume jewelry on clearance especially) that it didn't really register that I could use my Kohl's coupons to get the Sleek Sticks. They didn't have the largest selection there, or any of the newest designs, but since I hadn't tried any that didn't matter to me.
I chose Glam It On for my maiden voyage with these strips. This design has raised silver dots on a peach background.
The outside of the package touts that these nail appliqués are "UV cured" and that this "provides a long lasting wear with a high gloss finish".
The package contains a sheet with 18 stickers, a small file, and a clear plastic cuticle stick. There is also an instruction sheet (not pictured).
Application of these was similar to other nail strips, though these are the thickest and most textured I've used. They felt (and smelled) a little rubbery. Due to the thickness, it was a little harder to remove the excess at my tips and along the sides but also meant they were a little easier to handle when putting them in place because they weren't as floppy as some of the thin strips made from nail polish can be. I wasn't sure which way these were supposed to go on: with the bare peach section at the base of the nail like a straight half moon? or was that part a sort of handle to grab the strip by when applying? I held the strips up to my nails and saw the dots would cover them if I used the plain part as a handle instead of putting by the base of my nail, so I went with that. I was impressed with how shiny the silver dots were; the overall effect was classy bling.
The curve at the end of the strips was too square to be a good match for the curve at the base of my nails, so there are some oddly shaped gaps here in my first go round with these.
I was sad when the dots started to wear off at the tips of my nails. Here's how they looked on day 3:
Here's day 4:
I got a wrinkle in the sticker on my right thumb when I applied them and couldn't smooth it down (the thickness of the strip conspired against me here). Along the high spot of that wrinkle, the dots not only disappeared but the strip wore through (it probably didn't help that the wrinkle felt weird so I kept poking at it).
The next time I tried Sleek Sticks, a couple weeks later, I chose Embrace the Lace, which has a textured white lace design on a shimmery peach background.
I got these to fit my nails better at the base; they had a plain background on both ends of the strip, so I think that helped since it was easier to stretch that part, and I also did a bit of trimming to make them rounder. I was happy I didn't end up making weird and lopsided shapes, then having to trim more, then ending up with a sticker entirely too short for my nail.
Here's the wear on day 4 (I'm not sure what the red dust is on some of my nails or why I didn't notice it when I was taking photos):
Because these are stickers, not nail polish, they peel right off and don't need remover. I wore them over a treatment base to protect my nails, but I didn't notice any instances of that base peeling off with the sticker. If anything, they left a slight adhesive residue on the nail, which is far better than pulling up parts of the nail with the sticker.
Also because they are sticker and not nail polish, they don't dry out. A couple weeks after I wore Embrace the Lace (so at least a month after I wore Glam It On), I combined the leftovers from both of my first two Sleek Sticks experiences into one look that alternated the two designs. I put the Glam It On ones the other way round this time.
I peeled off the left hand to do some swatching and was was surprised that the stickers on my right hand held up quite well through holding remover saturated cotton pads as I changed colors on my left hand multiple times. When it was time to go out the next day, I used the last of the Sleek Sticks to redo my left hand (filling in with OPI Liquid Sand Solitaire when I ran out).
Actually the place I went out to wearing this frankenmani was the lunch I mentioned in my last entry. Talking about our nails, Tracey mentioned that she'd tried using topcoat on these Essie strips and it did not go well, so there goes my idea for getting them to wear longer.
I think these stickers will be nice as a change of pace when I want something easy that I know I won't need to wear for a full week (for that I'll use actual nail polish strips). The texture on them can be a bit distracting, in that I'm tempted to rub my fingertips over them, similar to when I wear textured polish. I am easily distracted, though. Since they don't dry out, they'll make good accent nails, too.