I love nail art. I have a massive nail polish collection, I can’t stop buying polish (who can resist all the pretty colours and sparkly glitter and special effects?), I spend hours looking at nail art blogs or Pinterest on my iPhone while trying to get my little boy to sleep.. imagining how nice my nails would look, all the pretty colours I could put on them..
Actually finding the time to do my nails is a completely different matter. Unfortunately there is never enough hours in a day to sit down and wait for layers of polish to dry when you have a 1 year-old – something would always come up and I’d end up with dented, smudged polish. Unless the trashed-nails look ever comes into fashion (can someone please start that trend?), having amazingly unique nails will be a dream for now.
This is why the nail applique trend has appealed to me so much. The idea of being able to have stunning nail art on my nails in a matter of minutes (especially on those rare occasions that I get to dress up and go out) and that can be done while the baby is having his nap is just mind-blowing. No, it doesn’t take much to blow my mind these days.
I’ve purchased many different brands of nail appliques so far that have just sat in my box of nail polish; my first actual attempt at application was while I was on holiday in Bali last month with some Chi Chi Real Metallic Nail Strips that I purchased at Myer. Spectacular fail – the foils were thick and I couldn’t get them to shape and stick to my nail no matter now hard I tried. So it was with much trepidation that I attempted to use my Sephora Collection Nail Patch Art Nail Appliques which I purchased whilst in Singapore last year.
“Give nail art a try with this collection of patches that adds fun patterns and shine to fingertips and toes! Each set of 18 patches were specifically designed to fit all nail sizes. They apply ultra-easily and provide long wear—with zero drying time or smudging! Each patch is made of three layers of film for extreme shine and long wear: the base coat film ensures long wear, the color film provides intense color, and the top coat creates 100-percent shine.” – sephora.com
The design that I purchased was “A08 Pretty Miss” which is a cute pink and white gingham. DH took one look at my nails after I had done them and said that it looked like our tea towels. Hmmm.. not quite the effect I was after!
The Sephora appliques were sealed in an airtight foil packet which smelt very much like nail polish when I tore open the packet. I had read somewhere that some brands actually made their strips out of nail polish, which is a major difference between these and the Chi Chi ones. The instructions seemed clear and easy but, after my failure with the Chi Chi appliques, I decided to do a little research online on the best method of putting these babies on successfully.
One review suggested using a base and top coat to ensure a longer-lasting finish, which I decided to try on my thumb. You may not be able to make out the instructions in the picture above, but Step 4 says “Note: You can pull off and reposition without damaging the nail sticker”. That is, unless you are using base coat (I didn’t allow long for the base coat to dry). Oops, disaster on the thumb – and I don’t have access to any nail polish remover (we have just moved house and all my nail stuff is in a box somewhere). Lesson learnt here – unless you allow the base coat to dry thoroughly or you are an expert at nail applique application and can get it right on the first go, do not use base coat.
The rest of the appliques went on slightly more easily and I even managed to get some on the first go. Then I got a bit complacent and messed up on a couple of nails – luckily each pack contains 18 patches in various sizes so there is a little bit of room for error, you can just unpeel them from your nails and try again.
Sephora doesn’t include a nail file or cuticle stick in their pack unlike other brands as the instructions state that you should be able to “remove surplus by folding nail sticker under the nail; excess tears away easily”. I do have wider nails and the nail strips fit perfectly on most of my nails although I do feel that a cuticle stick would have been handy to help press down and trim the edges as “tearing” can be a bit brutal and you may rip or stretch the delicate sticker (yes, I did both as evident in the picture below).
I then sealed everything with O.P.I. Top Coat, even though the pack said you didn’t need to. I read another review which found that applying top coat caused shrinkage of the applique which led to lifting/curling of the nail applique around the cuticles. I did have some lifting of the applique around my cuticles on a couple of fingers, however I wasn’t sure if that was due to my amateur application, or because of the top coat.
Here is the finished look – what do you think?
Please pardon my cuticles – I cannot believe what bad condition they are in and I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photos! We have been so busy moving house and I’ve been cleaning and unpacking boxes, so my nails and cuticles are in terrible shape.
Overall, I do really like these Sephora nail appliques – plus I have never had so many compliments about my nails before 🙂 They were relatively easy to apply (I’m sure my technique will improve with time) and I may even give the top coat a miss next time. They lasted for about the same amount of time as a normal manicure, it was 3 days before they started to chip but I do use my hands a lot doing housework, washing dishes, etc. They are expensive when you consider that the cost of one pack of appliques is the same as purchasing a bottle of polish, but they are definitely worth it if you are time-poor and need a quick way of getting something nice onto your nails.
Unfortunately Sephora doesn’t currently ship to Australia (my credit card would be in serious trouble if they did) so if you like this look you would need to either order through a freight-forwarder, find a good friend in the USA / Singapore / other Sephora location or try your luck on eBay. I am planning a trip to Singapore later in the year, so will stock up on these and perhaps even do a little giveaway so you can also try these Sephora nail appliques for yourself 🙂
In the meantime, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips appears to be the best product on the market in Australia from all the reviews I have read – I have purchased a few of these, amongst other brands (did I say I was addicted to buy nail stuff?), so will be trying and reviewing them in the coming weeks.
Have you used nail appliques? Which ones have you tried and what did you think of them?