For Christmas, I received a two pack of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips (in leopard and zebra prints). I had previously used the Incoco strips from my Birchbox, and had really pretty results so I was excited to see how the Sally Hansen version would compare.
The Sally Hansen box comes with a mini nail buffer, a wooden cuticle stick thingy, and the strips separated into two sealed packets. The strips are sealed because they dry out quickly, so don’t open the package until you’re ready to use them. I like that they are in two packets, one for each hand, so if your manicure didn’t require the whole set you could save the rest. If you’re only doing one accent nail on each hand, you will still waste a few unless you use them on your toes too. (You could probably cut them and have enough for accent nails plus a pedicure).
Before applying these, I cut and filed my nails, pushed back my cuticles with the included stick, and buffed them lightly with the mini buffer. Basically, these strips aren’t cheap so you want to get your nails in good shape before applying them, so that they will last as long as possible. Follow the directions carefully, especially the first time you attempt this. Thankfully there are a few extra strips in case you ruin one or two.
The strips come in various sizes, and you’re supposed to pick the one that best fits each nail. Even so, it’s probably not going to be exactly perfect, (and this annoys me to no end). The strips are supposed to be able to stretch slightly to cover the sides of each nail, but I still ended up with some gaps here and there on the sides. It’s only noticeable if you look really closely, though. It’s also important to get the strip really close to the cuticle. (You can see on one of mine where I didn’t and there’s a slight gap). If you don’t get them really close to the cuticle, you’ll be able to feel a slight ridge where the strip starts, and when you do something like run your hand through your hair you’ll be able to feel it. This is also a problem when your nails start to grow out. I considered putting a topcoat over it to even them out, but I wanted to see how long they last on their own.
The strips are slightly tricky, but not terribly difficult to apply. The application was very similar to the Incoco strips, however the Sally Hansen strips seemed to wrinkle more when I tried to put them on. Some websites suggest warming the strips in your hands a little before applying, and that might help with the wrinkling. Also, the Incoco strips I used were glitter, and a bit thicker so that could have made a difference too. As you apply each strip, you fold over the end and remove the excess with the included buffer/file. On some of my nails, I had it bent over the tip of my nail too much, so that a little of the excess stuck to the back of my nail. You do not want to do this! Those were the first nails to chip, so make sure that you file each strip cleanly off at the end of the nail.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with these strips. I’ve had them on for around two weeks now with minimal chipping. I’m going to remove them soon simply because my nails grow quickly and the ridges at the bottom of the strips are getting annoying. I wasn’t sure if I would like the leopard print, but it turned out really pretty and I’ve enjoyed having it on. With the price being about $8 – $10 per box, this isn’t something I would buy all of the time, but it’s a nice treat now and then. I would not buy these in solid colors, but for complicated prints that would be difficult or time consuming to replicate with Konad, I think the strips are a great choice. If I had to choose, I would say I preferred the Incoco strips, but only by a little.
If you’re interested in these strips and would like to see more detailed pictures of the application process, check out these blogs that I looked up for you because I’m nice like that 😉 All Lacquered Up and Lush Angel. The latter even includes a video showing the application. Enjoy!