This month, Birchbox came with a really cool product that I had never tried before, the Incoco Nail Polish Appliques. Rather than write about this with the rest of my review of the box (which will be posted soon), I decided to give them their own post and include a few pictures. As you may have noticed from the preview of my box, I received the nail strips in blue glitter. I didn’t notice a specific color name on these, although it may have been somewhere on the packaging.
They came packaged like this, inside a little cardboard flap. They looked pretty, but not overly amazing or anything. When I opened up the package, I had two strips like this:These are made of actual nailpolish, not vinyl or stickers, and you can definitely smell the nailpolish as soon as you open them. I noticed that once out of the plastic, they looked a bit more sparkly. Cool. So I sat down to get to work. At this point, it was around 4 in the morning, and I probably should’ve been doing things like sleeping rather than skimming the directions on a nail product I’ve never tried. Did you notice I said skimming? Because, as you may have suspected with the whole 4am reference, I screwed the first one up. I started with my thumbnail, and I thought I had the general idea of what to do, but I was wrong. So very wrong. You are supposed to remove a clear film off the top, THEN peel off the backing, break the tab at the end, and apply it to your nail – stretching it slightly if needed. Instead, I peeled off the backing first, and the tab, and generally made a mess because at that point, it was on my nail and I just couldn’t get the clear film off. So I peeled that one off completely and scrapped it. At this point, I had not counted the strips. I did not realize that they had given us two extras to account for this very possibility. (Shutup. Four am. I have math skills… kind of). So I skipped the thumb nail, and used the excess from the other nails to piece together the one I messed up. I know, not my smartest plan, but it worked fine. One of my nieces had a really good laugh about this explanation. Luckily, since the pattern they sent me was glitter, the seam from my little patch job is virtually undetectable. (I’m not sure if a print would’ve been this forgiving, so keep that in mind when you are picking out colors for the first time). When I got to the end of the row, I counted the strips again.. and smacked myself in the forehead. But, I digress.
Each strip is longer than your nail… unless you have some serious claws, and you’re supposed to fold over the end and file off the excess. I found it easiest for me to just trim it close with manicure scissors and then fold and file the ends. As you’re probably guessing, these are not 100% dry as you’re applying them. More like 85-90%, so they are tacky enough to stick to your nails, and flexible enough to work with. As you get more nails done, it becomes a little trickier because the ones you’ve done are still slightly tacky, making polish bits and papers and whatnot occasionally stick, but nothing unmanageable or that would ruin your manicure. You’re meant to line these up at the cuticle first, and I started off trying to center them at the cuticle and then stretch it a bit. I soon realized that it worked better to line it up at the cuticle and start pressing down from one side rather than the center. (Hope I’m explaining that right). Before I figured this out, I ended up with a slight gap on one edge on one or two nails, but nothing that anyone would notice. I’m just a little ocd about these things. I also went a little too far over the cuticle or nail edge in some spots, and was afraid to pick at it too much. Like normal polish, the excess on my skin came off in a day or two, but it’s noticeable in the pic, sorry for that. I could photoshop it out, but then it wouldn’t be a realistic review so we’ll just pretend that nobody minds, ok? Just trust me when I say that by the next day they looked great.I’ve now had these strips on for about a week, and let me just say.. they are gorgeous. Once I got them on, I immediately started looking online for a polish that could duplicate this look. (Zoya and China Glaze had some of the closest, but I still haven’t found an exact match). The color is a bright tropical blue with aqua and maybe some darker blue sparkles. It looks and feels like regular nailpolish, only slightly less coarse than typical glitter polishes. I had one slight wrinkle in one, near the tip, but it’s only noticeable in pictures. After a week of wear, the tips are still in really good shape, with only a few of the tiniest little chips. At a glance they still look perfect. For regular nailpolish, it would have easily taken two, more likely three coats and possibly a top coat for this kind of coverage. I absolutely love these strips and have gotten lots of compliments. The color is exactly what I would have chosen for myself, (thanks Birchbox!), the finished look is so pretty, and the application wasn’t TOO difficult. I think now that I know what to expect, I could do a faster and neater application. In the packs that you purchase, I believe you get 16 strips, so you’ll have plenty of extras in case you make mistakes, and could probably manage to do both your nails and toes if you cut the strips right. These are available in alot of colors and patterns, ranging from french manicures to zebra stripes. I probably would not purchase these in solid colors just due to the price; one pack ranges from $8-$11, so they don’t make alot of sense for a basic manicure. But for patterns that are too time consuming or complicated to do with stamping, or if you don’t have a steady enough hand for french manicures, these are definitely a great option. I could see these being perfect for someone with small kids who doesn’t have the time to wait for multiple coats of polish to dry. They are cheaper than a visit to a nail salon and the claim that they last up to two weeks doesn’t seem unreasonable at all. Even up close, these look exactly like regular nailpolish, no one believes me when I say they were appliques. Overall, even though the application is a little tricky, these are pretty fantastic and I will definitely be using them again.