Fact: Not all nail sticker / nail patch / nail applique products are created equal. Just check out my previous post on Chic Prints by OPI to see what I mean.
I've tried the Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips before and really, really loved them. That's why, when I was doing my annual self-indulgent birthday shopping spree at Sephora back in September, I had to try Sephora's version. What I immediately noticed was that the patterns were more fashion-forward than what Sally Hansen was offering. Oh, and also the price. Quite a bit more expen$ive. In the name of research, I succumbed.
First of all, the pattern in real life is awesome. It's not pixilated at all; it looks like a work of art on your nails. Some called the print "wallpaper-like" but I think they meant that in the very best way possible. Ahem. I did get tons of compliments, for what it's worth!
Despite the name "Chinese Blossom," the pattern did not strike me as overtly Asian. When I hear "chinese blossom," I think "cherry blossom," which are very distinctive flowers. Sephora's Chinese Blossom Nail Patch Art looks more Victorian to me. You be the judge!
And now, some pictures of my experience.
And now onto the nitty gritty.
- Application — Relatively easy.
- These seemed slightly thicker than the Sally Hansen Salon Effects, so they weren't as flexible and easy to stretch. A friend of mine recommended blasting each strip with a hair dryer for a few seconds to warm it up, and then it'll be more pliable. (Thanks for the tip, Kelsey!)
- Shapes & Shaping — Not too good, not that bad.
- The sizing seemed a little off on these. I think Sally Hansen offers a better array of pre-cut sizes. I found myself making Franken-nails by creating thin strips out of the excess of the patches I'd already applied, so that I could literally "fill the gap" on the sides of a few nails. With a busy pattern like this, it wasn't too noticeable. Still a bit of a hassle, though.
- The shaping of the nails was a little troublesome, too. The directions read, "Remove surplus by folding nail sticker under the nail: the excess tears away easily." But it's just not that easy. I ended up using nail clippers to trim away the overhang of the patch, so there was no extra material and it lined up exactly with my already-filed nail. Then I gently filed & smoothed away any weird angles...
- To Top Coat or Not to Top Coat? — Oh, you know it. But beware.
- I love a glossy finish. I used a top coat when I tried out the Check It Out (houndstooth) Sally Hansen Salon Effects, and it took the look to a whole new level. When I used a top coat on the Girl Flower Sally Hansens, it ate away the pattern a little bit and turned what were once bright flowers into a pastel bouquet. I knew I was playing with fire when I decided to add a top coat to these Sephora Nail Patches.
- But I did it anyway, and I payed the price. The top coat shrunk my perfectly trimmed patches, leaving a thin white line (my real nail) at the tips. Grrr.
- S.O.S. (N.P.A)!! — In case of emergency!
- This called for an emergency tactic. I used my trusty Sally Hansen Black Heart and carefully sealed the tips of my nails, covering the exposed white. The black polish blended perfectly with the black background of the pattern. Problem solved!
- Wear & Tear — Typical for a nail polish sticker.
- I wore these for a week with minimal chipping. Keep in mind, these were my Thanksgiving Nailz, so I was helping out with lots of cooking & cleaning. They began to get little chips on the seventh day, but considering what they'd been through, I was impressed.
- The one thing that drives me crazy — and this is an issue with nail polish strips / stickers in general, not specifically Sephora's — is that you quickly develop a "ridge" between the top of the patch and your cuticle as soon as your nails begin to grow. And what's worse than looking at that ever-growing space? Washing your hair and feeling individual strands get stuck in (or worse, UNDER the) ridge. It's... eugh, omg, I can't even talk about it. Chills. Chills down my spine. Gah.
- Recommend? I think so.
- I would advise using the Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips if it's your first time, since they're easier to use, have more of an assortment of sizes, and are less expensive. I'll stick with Sally Hansen for my nail polish strip needs... unless Sephora comes out with a new, gorgeous pattern like Chinese Blossom that I can't get anywhere else, in which case, game on.
- BONUS! The package is genius in that Sephora provides a piece of magic silver tape so that you can reseal your leftovers! One of the biggest bummers about the Sally Hansen Salon Effects is that it feels like such a waste; you throw so many away! I am sure the sooner you use the Sephora strips you're able to save, the better, but it was still a nice gesture of them to provide some way to at least tryto entertain the possibility of using them up completely.
P.S. I was in St. Louis for Thanksgiving, hence the pic of the Gateway Arch. Livin' large!