NOTE: Before purchasing this kit at my local Rite Aid, I was a nail stamping virgin. I don't own the Konad or any faux-nads, etc. and I've always been intimidated by the entire process. So this review is from the perspective of a complete newbie. If you already have experience with nail stamping, your opinion of this kit could be quite different from mine.
I have never posted a review of a product after owning it for less than 24 hours, but I'm breaking my own rules here today! After Caitlin shared the news that there is now a DRUGSTORE nail stamping kit available at Rite Aid for $9.99 (according to some of you this kit is also available at Sally Beauty and CVS but perhaps with different plates), I pretty much jumped in my car and raced to my Rite Aid last night to get it. In retrospect, I'm glad I rushed to get it because it was the last one left in the As Seen On TV aisle!
The retail price of this kit is like almost all other As Seen On TV products: $9.99. But because I'm a Rite Aid Wellness+ Gold Member, I got it for $8 (yay!).
As Seen On TV Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit
There are six steps to this process (actually, there are more steps that they don't list but I'll get to that later):
Note the plate designs on the packaging (these are NOT the plates that I received, but more on that in a bit):
Tucked away in the bottom of the kit on a little piece of paper (that I did NOT see until after I spent hours using this kit), are some VERY valuable tips:
The contents of the kit:
Clockwise from the top: dual-ended stamper, scraper, plate holder
(apologies for the messy condition of these items; I took these pictures after I had used the kit)
the small end of the stamper
the large end of the stamper
You get five plates in this kit, and they come with a peel-able protective blue coating. After using the plates, I instinctively replaced the blue film because I figured it would keep the plates from getting scratched. I'm not sure if you're supposed to do this, but that's what I did.
NOTE: these plates are made of metal (silver in color) but I photographed them at an angle that makes them look black. I did this because it was easier to see the designs at this angle.
NOTE #2: You'll soon see that the plates I received are NOT the same designs as indicated on the packaging of the kit. I actually prefer the designs I received, with the exception of the seahorse. I really wish I would have gotten the seahorse in this kit!
NOTE #3: I have heard from a few of you that the plates in this kit vary, and if you buy this kit at CVS or Sally Beauty, your plates may be different than what I received.
NOTE #4: Apparently some of these plates are also available from other manufacturers. For instance, the plate with the graduated dots (plate SE12 in my kit) is identical to the plate that Erika used in this post.
And here's how the plate fits into the holder. This is where the magic happens!
Like I mentioned at the top of this post, I never post a review after having owned a product for less than 24 hours, but I honestly feel like I'm a old pro at using this kit after having spent the entire night obsessing over perfecting my technique (it's far from perfect now, but I'm getting SO much better!). I started playing around with this kit while Mr. G and I sat down to watch Boardwalk Empire, followed The Walking Dead, followed by The Amazing Race, followed by the movie Meatballs. So my estimation is that I spent about five continuous hours using this kit, and I really feel confident writing this review and sharing my insights with you. After all, it's not rocket science, right?
Funny story: when I sat down at the couch and started to open this kit, here's the dialogue I had with Mr. G:
Mr. G: What's that?
Me: Oh, it's a nail thing. I could explain but it would totally bore you.
Mr. G: But that doesn't look like your normal "nail stuff". What IS it?
Me: It's a Konad-type of thingy. Nevermind. Watch the show.
Mr. G: A GONAD? What the hell???
Me: (uncontrollable laughter) No, not a GONAD, a KONAD! Seriously? If I explained, it would take too long and your eyes would glaze over. It's a thing to make pretty designs on my nails.
Mr. G: Oh. You're right. I don't wanna know.
So let's jump ahead and show you the end result of my
gonad konad fauxnad nail stamping kit experiment:
After MUCH trial and error, I settled on a combination of LA Girls Metal polish in Antique Gold (base color) and Wet n Wild Craze polish in Gray's Anatomy (this is the original Gray's Anatomy, which was a limited edition release from a few years ago), which I used on stamping plate SE11 to create the leopard spot design.
Not too bad, right? Obviously on some of my nails I applied the stamp too close (or to far away) from my cuticle, but overall I think the design itself is crisp and clear with no smudging or blurring. I'm also very happy with the color combo I ultimately settled on! (If you'd like to see an awesome mani using this design--different plate manufacturer but same design--click here.)
I'm not going to walk you through the entire process since the instructions on the packaging are clear and concise. However, I am going to share with you some valuable info that I discovered during this process. If you're a nail stamping newbie and you decide to try this kit, I hope this will make your experience A LOT easier.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR NEWBIES:
- Before you start, check out Erika's post that contains her "set-up" for nail stamping. I'm so glad I remembered this post before I started, because there's one KEY item that you need to have on hand: a cotton pad/ball soaked in acetone (or many, if you're messy like me). This is essential because you'll need to clean off your scraper, stamper and plate in between each use. So just make sure you have acetone (I use Rite Aid Renewal Extra Strength remover which is my Holy Grail remover--it's 100% acetone) and lots and lots of cotton pads on hand.
- Protect whatever surface you're working on before you start. I was doing this at my coffee table, so I took some Trader Joe's paper grocery bags (they're nice and thick) and covered the surface first. There's a lot of potential for spilled acetone, polish drippings, etc. so cover your work surface well!
- YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE NAIL POLISH YOU'RE USING. I learned this the hard way, my lovelies. I wish I would have seen that little tip about using a "thicker polish" in the directions before I embarked on this journey. I won't bore you with the list of different polishes I tried before I settled on that metallic silver Wet n Wild polish. What I didn't realize was that none of the polishes I was using at first (unsuccessfully) were THICK enough to adhere to the rubber stamper. So I'd apply the polish to the plate, scrape as directed, and when I'd press the stamper to the plate, there was LITERALLY NO POLISH ON THE STAMP. I think I must have done this 100 times with dozens of different polishes until I realized that thicker metallic and shimmery polishes work best. I know that there are polishes (cremes, etc.) that are designed specifically for nail stamping, but I obviously don't own any. So if you don't own nail-stamping-polishes, I HIGHLY suggest using polishes with a thicker consistency that are shimmery or metallic in nature. I really feel that these yield the best results with this particular kit. (The directions say that you can lightly file the rubber stamper to make the polish adhere better, but I'm scared to try this. If you have filed your stamper, please leave a comment and let me know if it worked? Thank you!)
- The first time you try this, it's not going to work. I promise you that. But don't give up, because once you get the technique down, it's EASY. Just remember to use a rolling motion with the stamper. Aligning the design on the nail is the hardest part for me (I botched it with crooked designs so many times it wasn't even funny), but it DOES get easier. Just take your time, use a fluid rolling motion from one side of your nail bed to the other, and with a little practice you'll have fabulous looking nails in a few hours (or less if you're more skilled than I am at this).
FINAL VERDICT: Totally worth the $9.99. It takes some time to get the technique down, but if you follow the tips above, YOU CAN DO THIS. I"m so thrilled that there's a drugstore kit for nail stamping that actually works! How awesome is that?
Thanks so much for reading this, and I hope that this helps other nail-stamping-virgins out there! It's far less intimidating than I thought it would be but you have to be willing to put in some time to get the technique down. I built nail stamping up in my mind as this scary, highly technical process which is why, in addition to the price, I stayed away from it for years. But now that there's an accessible, affordable kit at the drugstore, we can all give it a shot!