Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects

I got back into nail polish in a big way this year, after years of not having the time or the patience to mess with a manicure. I decided one day that I needed more color in my life and went hog wild buying new colors.

Then I remembered all the reasons I gave up nail polish in the first place. The smell is headache inducing. The bottles can spill, and you can’t clean nail polish off of most things. You have to sit around waiting for your nails to dry and if you don’t, they get smudged. After a day [or five minutes] the polish chips. The nail polish remover stinks, and lastly, if you’re not coordinated, one hand looks good and the other one looks like a first-grader painted it.

I ran across Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips at CVS where they cost about $10.00 for a set that will do one manicure. Pricey, but if you compare – there are some bottles of nail polish that cost at least that much, and a trip to a salon for a live manicure would cost even more. I decided to spring for a pack in purple and I tried it out.

The effect is actually pretty cool. You get a very shiny look that stays shiny. You have, as the package says, no dry time, and you get some very cool patterns to choose from as well as nifty, bright solid colors. The set comes with a three-surface emery board and a cuticle stick as well as 16 strips. My favorite part is, once you apply a strip, the nail is done. You can stop in the middle of a manicure and answer the phone, dig the remote out of the couch cushions, pet the cat, whatever and it will have no effect on your nails. No sitting around blowing on your hands or waving them around just so you can go to the bathroom.

Those are the highlights. The con column is a bit more populated.

For the price, you get ONE manicure. A bottle of polish ranging from $1.99 to $9.99 can do multiple manicures and last for years.

You get 16 strips, which seems like a nice amount. In case you screw up the original 10, you have six more to play with. But why not 20? The application of the strips is fairly simple, so it’s hard to screw one up. Both times I’ve used the strips, I’ve had six leftovers.

The leftover strips are useless. You can’t save them. After a time, they become somewhat brittle, you can’t peel them off their backings, and they rip if you try. You could use one of the two packaged sets of 8 – and do an odd nail on each hand to get two manicures out of the pack, but once you open the foil pack they come in, those strips are done.

There is a mess. Once you’ve peeled your polish strips, shaped them to your nails and pulled off the excess, you have thin cellophane strips all over the place and torn pieces of nail strips that are still sticky on the back. Granted they’re not too hard to clean up, but there’s a pile of little pieces that can be a nuisance.

The polish does chip, just like regular polish. And of course, with no bottle of that color, you can’t do a touch up. I solved the chip problem by cutting my nails after a couple of days, which made the manicure last another week, but don’t be fooled. You’d be hard pressed to get 10 days out of the manicure as the package promises.

There is a faint smell. It’s nothing like when you open a bottle of polish, but there is some mild chemical odor. Not enough to be a deterrent, but it’s there.

Removal still requires regular nail polish remover [which stinks] and the strips come off in layers, first the color, then the white base, so it takes some work to get your nails completely clean, more so than with most liquid polish.

Overall, I’d give Sally Hansen Salon Effects a C+ - they’re fun to work with, it’s a different process than applying nail polish that circumvents some of the nuisance of liquid polish, but the price and the chipping problem take away from the idea that this is a perfectly convenient alternative to liquid polish.

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