I’ve always done my own nails, it’s been a hobby of sorts (I have too much time on my hands).
I just find it oh-so therapeutic to sit and pick out a colour from my 100+ collection, remove the old colour and then glide the brush over my nails, watching a tiny transformation. My nails change with my mood –- I love a fresh, tomato red when I’m feeling bright and excited about life and a dark, inky blue when I want to feel elegant. I love a glitter, like Marianne’s immense gradient she showed off here, and I heart a half moon mani when I want to feel like a Burlesque superstar (it’s that easy to feel sexy! Try it!)
Nail art is something of an obsession for me, and when I’m not actually doing it to myself with my WAH pens –- the precision nib at one end and long, skinny brush at the other are unrivalled in my opinion -– I love to trawl through Instagram checking out different nail accounts for inspiration.
Lately, I’ve been really busy travelling and seeing family (it’s a hard life!) and my nails have paid the price. My nails were chipped to fuck yesterday and I thought NO. NO NATALIE. THIS IS NOT YOU. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS. YOU OWE IT TO YOUR FINGERS TO GIVE THEM SOMETHING GOOD.
My first evening at home last night gave me the ideal opportunity to veg out and do nothing, but instead I decided to try out one of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips packs that I was gifted in NY by the lovelies in the xo office.
I’ve tried nail strips before and they’ve always looked really naff. I have teensy tiny nail beds which is fucking ridiculous because I’m not exactly a Lilliputian, but hey -– we all have our crosses to bear. I tried some leopard print ones before and honestly, they were so not worth the effort -– they were hard and inflexible, I had to trim them with scissors and generally looked like a sack of shite.
Because of this, I’ve swerved them for a couple of years, but luckily for me, brands have upped their game because of you know, technology and stuff, so they are WAY easier to apply and actually look GOOD!
These Sally Hansen ones –- I’ve gone for the "Tri-bal it On" variation -- come in a pack with 16 different nail shapes with a peelable backing so you can size up your nail beds and choose the strips that fit your nail best. Before you do this, you READ THE INSTRUCTIONS like a good boy/girl, which tells you to push back your cuticles with the supplied wooden orange stick, and buff your nails with one side of the supplied emery board. Don’t over buff, as your nails will go all thin and spindly and BREAK. And we can’t have that.
When your nails are buffed and filed and looking nice and natural, you’re going to cover it all up, because natural is horrible. The stickers peel off and you place them on the nail (sorry if this is all very obvious, but I thought some people might like a walk-through) and streeeeeetttcccchh the stickers over and firmly press them down onto your nail. There’ll be a huge overhang, but it’s fine!
You just take the designated part of the emery board and file that shit right off. And it actually does file off! I was sceptical, after my previous nail scissor experience, but they do. You can use the end you’ve filed off to do another nail of the same size. Super!
They’re a little fiddly, but no more so than if you were trying to create the same look with actual nail pens -– and obviously there is zero dry time. After doing both hands, I covered my designs with a slathering of Orly’s SEC 'N DRY Multi-Layer Quick-Dry Topcoat which has now overtaken Seche Vite for #1 topcoat in my heart. I was sure to swipe the topcoat horizontally over the tips of my nails as well as up and down the nail, so as to seal the nail tips.
The whole process took me little over half an hour, and I am really chuffed with the results. I’ve been typing at my desk today for over four hours and there is zero tip-wear and no lifting at the sides, which was something I was expecting from stickers. Because they are made of real polish, they are mega-thin so they don’t lift.
I’m impressed and I’m going to order a selection of the other designs – let me know if you have them and what you think in the comments!
Typing with no tipwear on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM