A representative of Sally Hanson was kind enough to provide me with some Salon Effects "Real Nail Polish Strips" for review last week...and I was really excited to try them, especially since I seem to be on this nail wrap kick. I had to take one of the Jamberry shields off (one of the wrinkled ones was just getting dirt stuck under the edges...not good), and conveniently enough, the Salon Effects showed up the day before. So I replaced the Jamberry shield with the Sally Hanson strip (which took me about 5 minutes). I used the same style of pattern on my right hand as the Jamberry strip still on my left hand, for comparison:
You can tell the Jamberry strip by the lifted edge and pixellated design...the Salon Effects has a much smoother look (and it's far lighter too - my nail bed hurt when I took the Jamberry off due to the pressure release). Compared to several minutes per nail for the Jamberry application, the Salon Effects took me about 2 minutes after I removed the Jamberry and prepped the nail bed.
The most disturbing thing though was when I removed the remaining Jamberry shields. I heated them up a couple of times with the blow dryer, lifting a little, then heating, then lifting, then heating so I didn't have to pull too hard on the strip. Even so, the adhesive on the strip took patches of material off the top of my nails, leaving me with depressions and thinning on each nail. I could tap my nail on the underside of the shield, and it was hard nail material there. Here's a photo - my index and ring fingers had the Jamberry on them:
It's entirely possible, I guess, that I simply didn't heat the strips enough (though I repeated it several times). In any case, despite last week's enthusiasm, I won't be using these on my nails again. It took awhile to buff out the depressions, and now those two nails will be more prone to breakage when they grow out.
Incidentally, the Salon Effects nail came clean with nail polish remover, very quickly and left a clean nail bed.
So this week I grabbed my "Kitty Kitty" sample of Salon effects strips, prepped my nails by filing and buffing, and then applied according to the instructions. There are 16 strips included, which is enough to do all ten fingers, two big toes, and cut up a few to do the rest of your toes. I was too lazy to do my toes (and I have a sprained ankle that would make it difficult), so I just did my fingers. Application is super-easy, no special tools required. The only really important thing is to make sure the nail bed is free of oils.
The strips are pre-cut...I'd suggest choosing one slightly larger than you need, as it can be trimmed carefully with the orange wood stick after it's on. These do stretch, as they're real nail polish, but you don't want to stretch the patterns too much. When you have the right size, you peel off the clear protective coating, take off the backing, snap off the silver tab (you can grasp these in the center), and press onto the nail, cuticle edge first.
One thing I really like about these is that due to the stretch and because they're very thin, I was able to work out any wrinkles so they lay smoothly across the nail. Once you get it all smoothed out, fold the excess over the edge of the nail, and use the file they provide with a downward motion to trim it off.
It took me about 10-15 minutes to apply all 10 nails, and afterward there's no drying time...they're just done. Super simple and quick. So far they've had great staying power - I wore the black and white one for 4 days with no visible signs of wear, and the kitty nails are doing great so far even with all the showering & cleaning and such, so I'm confident they'll wear for at least seven days.
The Salon Effects strips cost $9.99 retail at my local drugstore...it's a bit pricy for just one manicure, but for a special occasion, vacation or whatever, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these. Excellent product, in my opinion.
I have some Broadway Nails full wrap stickers to try as well, but the Sally Hanson rep sent some crackle polish I'm dying to play with, so next week, something a little less sleek. ;-)
Until then, happy polishing!