Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips Review

I've done a review of some Revlon nail "stickers" a while back, which you can check out here (Please excuse the even worse picture quality!) and just recently included a Kiss version in some Halloween nail art (here), so including trying other brands in the past I've never posted, I am quite familiar with nail strips and they have always left much to be desired.
I know this Sally Hansen version has been around a long time, but the price tag always turned me off. During a trip to Target I found some sets on clearance, so I decided to finally give one a try, and see if I could finally find some nail strips that actually looked good closer than a distance of ten feet, and would actually have some staying power. I can safely say I was pleasantly surprised!

I bought the pattern Crowd Surfer, a very sparkly silver and blue gradient.

Now, a problem I have with most nail polish strips is that they are nothing more than glorified stickers. They cannot form to your nail smoothly, leaving you with puckering, gaps, and folding, and since they are nothing more than a sticker, the adhesive is terrible, and will either peel or wash off in a very short amount of time. One thing I gravitated to with this version is that it is actually nail polish, so it is very pliable and can bend and flex to mesh with your nail shape.
Another bonus being real polish is the designs are much more believable, and don't look like they were printed off an ink jet printer like some of the sticker versions. Only super up close can you tell the Sally Hansen ones aren't legit hand made, but unless you throw your hands against other people's eyeballs regularly, I don't think it is very noticeable.


The little kit comes with an instruction booklet, a cuticle stick, small file, and the strips themselves.

To use these strips you start with clean, dry nails, then push back your cuticles -did not do this, had no issues- file your free-edges, and smooth the surface of your nails. I used my own nail file, because I am a nail snob at times and like my glass one, but if you do not have your own, the included file will do the job. The file has two sides for filing and buffing.

Once you have done the grunt work of making sure your nails don't look like a hot mess, you then have to give your nails a swipe with nail polish remover to remove any excess oil and snack crumbs, and then find the best fitting strip for each nail.

Once you've found your matches they suggest making sure your hands are warm for maximum flexibility and stretch of the strips, but I have ice cold living dead hands at all times, so this wasn't happening. This didn't seem to affect my outcome however, so if you're also a literally cold person, never fear!

To apply, you peel the strip off the plastic, then starting at the cuticle line gently press and tug until it is completely covering your nail. I would suggest doing this as gently and methodically as possible, because it is made with real nail polish it is super fragile, and my first go led to some tearing around my free-edge. I was able to move the strip around to hide it a bit, but it is still visible in my pictures. Once the strip covers the whole nail, you just press the excess polish around your free-edges, then file away the left over.

It says nothing about needing any sort of top coat, so I skipped it. I just have it in my photos because I felt weird not holding a nail polish bottle while taking pictures! Haha.




For some complaints, the box states there is "No Dry Time", but this is not true. My nails were definitely not wet, but they were tacky, like the first couple minutes after applying a regular nail polish. I even smudged a nail during this time, but was able to press it back into shape. I would suggest being very careful for a few minutes while the tackiness fades, it really doesn't take long, but you can ruin it if you're a klutz like me.

Another complaint is with the filing of the free-edges during application. Sally Hansen really has no control over this, so it's not me blaming them, but because the polish strips are fragile, when you file off the excess it is very easy to tear the polish and leave bare spots. You can see around some of my nails free-edges there are empty patches, not terribly noticeable, but just another note to be very careful when filing.

As for wear time, the box also states these strips will last up to 10 days. I do a lot of polish swatching and nail art so I really can't wear a single polish for that long, but I did get to wear them for a few days and they held together very well! Much better than the sticker versions do. They were not weakened by water, and didn't really chip very much. Once I needed to take them off, removing the polish was just like removing any super glittery shade, lots of nail polish remover and elbow grease.

My gripes so far have been just little things, my only real complaint would have to be the price. These nail strips usually go for $10 at my local stores, which while I do buy nail polishes for around this price, it is for a whole bottle which usually lasts me a long time. One Salon Effects kit comes with 16 strips, and they are obviously not reusable, once they are on your nail they are only coming off with nail polish remover. I also do not think you can use the other left over strips either, as they appear to be sealed up tight when you first get them, leading me to believe they dry out and cannot be used later once they are opened. I haven't tried my leftover ones yet, but seeing as I only have 6 left, it's not like I can make a complete manicure again anyway. I would only be able to use them for accent nails if they even are usable. So frankly, $10 for a one use product seems a bit pricey for me. I only tried this pattern out because it was on clearance for $5.
However, if you are looking for a really pretty quickie manicure for a special occasion where the re-use factor and price doesn't matter to you, then I would for sure recommend these because they work really well. I just do not see it being very practical, or budget friendly, for a regular nail look.

Sally Hansen Salon Effects strips are very easy to find, they are pretty much everywhere Sally Hansen products are sold, which is basically everywhere.

Thanks for reading! To check out more reviews I've done click here.
-Brittany

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