Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Peel and Stick Nail Polish

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Ok, so I'm not 100% sure this counts as a Pinterest DIY, buy I am always in awe of the cool nail art I see on there and have tried in vain many time to recreate them.

I can draw, paint, sculpt and more, but when it comes to nail art I am THEE worst. I think it has a lot to do with patience- I cannot wait long enough without touching anything for my nails to completely dry. Honestly though, even without the drying time issue, I am crap at polishing them.

Imagine how intrigued I was when I saw this new press on nail polish stuff!
(I can't wait to try the houndstooth!)
Its been a while since my last DIY so I figured, why not? If you haven't tried them out, feel free to read through my experience with them and decide to save or splurge and spend that $8 on the insta-manicure.

Intrigued and Overexcited
I'm a visual kinda gal (could ya guess?) So I could barely wait until I got home to open the package and see what these things were all about. They come in 2 of these little packages with all of the different sizes to fit your nails, kind of like sets of press on nails. I made sure to follow all their directions to prep my nails exactly as suggested- so, after filing (not specifically suggested, but what the hey?) I dealt with my out of control cuticles and buffed my nails with the little file/buffer they included in the kit. A quick swipe with some nail polish remover (as suggested) and I was ready to go... And THIS is where my attention to the directions must have faltered a bit. I think I was way too excited to get my hands on the magic, stretchy polish...

"Peel Off"
As you can see there is a tab at the bottom of the polish strip that tells you where to peel. There is also an image and directions included. When I did this, somehow I only pulled the white backing off the polish, then broke the tab off the bottom (so much for paying extra special attention to the directions.) My overexcitement led me astray and I ended up thinking that this whole press on nail polish thing was total crap. SO not true- in fact, there is a clear layer on top of the polish and a white backing behind it. I forgot to peel off the clear layer and it wasn't molding to my fingernail correctly. Lesson learned, and first little speed bump diverted; Peel the top clear layer off, then the white backing strip and snap off the tab. Then you are ready to apply.

Applying the polish to my (short) thumbnail.
You can see the excess polish hanging over the nail before filing.

Applying the Magic, Stretchy Polish
Once you're all peeled and ready to go you CAN handle the polish without worrying about it losing its sticky, so to speak. The warmth of your hands make it stretchy and, as long as you cleaned and prepped your nails appropriately, you should have no problem. It's just like applying a sticker: pick the size tab that matches your nail shape, (both ends of the individual tabs are shaped a bit differently) center it on your nail against your cuticle and press firmly down. I found that pressing down in the center and then gently pulling the sides worked best for me. I then slightly pulled the polish over the tops of my nails and pushed down on the tip of my nail where I wanted the polish strip to separate.

Once the strip is covering your nail bed as desired, you're ready to file off excess (see pic.) I found that filing front to back and away from the polish helped prevent any unwanted peeling, instead of back and forth in the way that we usual shape and file our nails.

And that's really it! The first nail might not be your best and it takes a bit of getting used to (mine first was a little rough and peely, but the pattern was so busy you could barely tell.) By the time I switched to my other hand I was a pro.

Some Pointers
I am by no means a pro at this, but since I was documenting my experience I made mental notes of a few things that might be good to know...

Like I said above, the filing technique is important and DON'T just try to rip the excess off. You will end up ripping some of the polish along with it. Also, I was extremely dubious of the staying power of these things, so I used the flat side of the angled part of the included cuticle pusher to smooth them down around the edges etc. and it seemed to do the trick. If you have any short nails that don't rise beyond your fingertip you might have trouble creasing and filing the excess polish, but it is still possible. I had a metal, double sided cuticle pusher with a pointy edge that I was able to use to actually slice the extra material off. This was also helpful for the instances where I may have stretched the polish too long around the edges- I imagine a metal nail file might work well for this, but again- it's trial by error. My goal is to eliminate a bit of that error for you through my own experience, but unfortunately I can't guarentee that you won't have a few minor hiccups. Still, they are fairly easy to apply.

The Results and Review

Ta da!!! Seriously, I am in love with this product. I already know that I will be stocking up on them the next time I come across them in the store (I originally found them at Target.) Still, the real test is staying power which has yet to be determined, but I will say that I put them on 2 nights ago and aside from a little wear at the tips, they still look great. As the mother of an energetic toddler and a middle school art teacher I am really hard on my hands and so far they have survived hot glue, paint, and multiple washings. I've heard that a top coat can also be applied for extra protection, which I may try in the future- I think I can handle clear polish as long as it's of the quick dry variety!

Hope you get a chance to try these out too! I'd love to see your results


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