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Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips

Over the past year or so, I've probably mentioned Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips dozens of times on this blog. I've been obsessed with their designs (especially the limited edition holiday designs) and  I honestly don't know why it's taken me this long to actually try them. The only thing I can think of is that I'm more of a nail polish person, but thankfully I was sent two designs from the core collection for review recently, so I finally got a chance to put these to the test and see exactly why so many of you love this product.

  Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Laced Up (left) and Kitty Kitty (right)
(retail: $9.99 each)

Unlike other brands of nail stickers that use a vinyl-like material, these are actually made of REAL nail polish. I'm pretty good at applying the vinyl nail stickers, but I have never used strips that are made of real polish before, so I was super excited to see what they were like.

The contents of the box:

You get two air-tight pouches that contain eight strips each for a total of 16 strips per box. Since these are made of real polish, once you open a pouch you can't really save them--they will dry out. So it's recommened on the box that you dispose of the remaining strips after you open the pouch.

Inside the plastic bag:

A nail file with three specific textures (each has its own purpose), a wooden stick and directions.

Here's a closer look at the directions:

Honestly, these instructions are so thorough that I can't really think of anything else to add here. If you read through the directions carefully and follow them to a "T", I don't think you'll have any issues whatsoever during application. Just be sure to select the best-fitting strip for each nail before you start.

A note about the sizes: I think that unless you have extremely small nail beds or extremely large nail beds, you won't have any problems finding strips that fit your nails perfectly. I would say that my nail beds fall on the larger end of the scale, and I didn't have a problem finding strips that fit my nails beautifully. Every strip I selected fit almost like a glove, with no overhang on the sides.

For the purposes of this review, I used the Kitty Kitty design on my left hand and the Laced Up design on my right hand. Here are some photos taken moments after application and then five days into my manicure.

NOTE: After applying these strips, I applied one coat of Sally Hansen Mega Shine Top Coat as "insurance" to all of my nails.



Oops! I realized after I took the above picture that you couldn't see the edge of my nail on my ring finger. So here's a (blurry) pic to you show you my ring finger:



Pretty incredible, right? And I didn't even follow the instructions about smoothing the excess strip over the nail edge (see step #5). I found that hard to do since my nails are so short, so I ended up just filing the nail edge, which I HOPED wouldn't cause the strips to peel prematurely. The great news is that it didn't--at all.

I was so impressed with the staying power of these strips--in particular my middle finger in the image above. If you look closely, you'll see that that strip in particular isn't perfectly centered, and you can see that there's some nail showing on the right side of my finger. I was concerned that the strip would start to lift and peel in that area, but it didn't at all!

In the five days I wore these strips, I was not gentle with my hands. I did dishes, I cleaned the bathroom, I cleaned out my car, did grocery shopping; all the things we normally do with our hands. I actually was probably a bit rougher with my hands than usual just because, after three days in, these didn't budge. I almost became obsessed with making them peel. But they never did.

In fact, the only reason I didn't test these for longer than five days was because I get bored with ANY nail color after five days. I seriously just wanted to wear something else, and that's the only reason I removed them. 

Speaking of removal, it was a snap. My polish remover is 100% acetone, and these removed just as easily as a standard manicure would, using my polish remover. I would say that it felt like I was removing a manicure of base coat, two layers of standard polish and one layer of clear top coat. Hopefully that gives you an idea how it felt to remove these strips.

FINAL VERDICT: I now completely understand the hype surrounding Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, and I can confirm that the hype is 100% justifiable. I honestly can't think of a thing I dislike about these, other than the price tag. I do think $9.99 per box is a bit steep for a drugstore nail product, but when you consider that you're getting designs that you probably couldn't execute on your own using regular nail polish, and then factor in the staying-power of these strips, I'd say it's worth the cost if you want something extra-special to wear on your nails. And of course it doesn't hurt that these often go on sale at the drugstores, so if you can't afford the regular retail price, just wait for a good sale and stock up.

 Have you tried Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips? If so, what do you think of them? Do you have any favorite designs?

A sample of this product was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. All reviews on are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews.



  1. LOVE these! Kitty Kitty is by far my favorite design. I actually just put some on my nails, and it is the first time I have ever used a different design- I used the red and black holiday plaid ones (not sure of the name) and I love them as well!

    Here is something I usually do (I especially did it a lot in the summer)- I can get one full application on my fingers and toes out of one box. The kitty kitty looks great on the toes too, and it makes the price tag seem a little better when you consider that you are getting a full manicure AND pedicure out of it!

  2. I love them too! I have short nails, so by cutting them in half I got a full application out of just one packet, yay! So, two manicures for $10 isn't bad at all :)

  3. I'm with appletwo. I also cut these in half and get two uses out of them because my nails are so short. I love them though!

  4. I absolutely LOVE these! I can get at least two uses out of a package, or I put the left overs on my toes!

  5. WOW, ladies, what a fantastic tip! I would have never thought to cut them in half and use one packet for both hands--that's a TERRIFIC idea, especially if you have short nails! That definitely doubles the value of a box, which is awesome. Thanks SO much for sharing that tip!

    And I LOVE that some of you use the other half for your toes. I'm so stealing that idea next time I use these. ;)

  6. I have exactly those two...I actually have plenty left for nail after using it for the tips of my nail, it came out really beautiful

  7. i tried these and fell in LOVE!
    i actually found some at my local Five Below (kinda like a Dollar Store, but things cost up to $5) and i snatched them up, since i knew i was getting them at half price!

    after falling in love with them, i decided to pick up some cheaper, no-name brands, which i havent tried yet. if they work even half as well, i will be happy!

  8. Oh wow! I have wondered about these. I'm so excited to try them out now! They look incredible!

  9. I tried these and thought they were great! I would use them more often if they were a bit cheaper!!! I think by seeing the post it renews my interest and perhaps a holiday design will be in my future!

  10. I really want to try these! I'm so bad at nail polish application. They're probably more expensive here in Canada, so I'll be on the lookout for sales. Great review!

  11. I like these, though I have really just been getting fun holiday designs, because otherwise, I can't justify paying that much for something with limited use.

    The first two designs came off without much hassle, but I had a heck of a time getting off the design with the orange and white ghosts from the halloween set.

  12. Dang it! Now I'm going to have to go buy some..I was looking at them today at Target and again resisted picking them up!

    (funny my word verification on this post is drool ha)and I'm drooling over how nice your nails look!

  13. I love these. I tried Kitty Kitty, even though I can do leopard spots freehand on my own. I do agree that it's worth it for designs you can't typically do on your own, but I also find that there aren't a lot of options. Whenever I go look at what's on a shelf in any given store, there's a lot of plain colours and glittery ones. I hope there are more permanent patterns and designs coming out.

  14. I've been wearing Kitty Kitty for 8 days now. The longest I've gone with the SH Salon Effects strips was 9 days. I kept telling myself that I'd wear them until they showed signs of chipping or peeling, but after 9 days of not so much as a scratch, I got bored and changed my still perfect manicure. That was also the first time I'd ever complained about how damage-proof a manicure was! The strips are amazing, I really like them.

  15. I just recently tried out the "Bling it On!" color (sparkly pink glitter). It was my first time using these strips.
    I wonder if the glitter strips don't last as long as the non-glittery ones (like the lace)? It barely lasted 3 days on me before chipping, and then starting to flake off like mad. I did use a top-coat over it, the Sally Hansen Acrylic top coat.

    I also have the lace pattern to try out for the holidays, so hopefully that one lasts longer?

  16. I've used the Laced-Up pattern and the Misbehaved pattern, and I really liked them! They both lasted well after the 10-day mark...though, I did use a top coat every 3-4 days just to seal it in. I have small nails, so I only needed one pack for both hands, so I ended up getting two applications per box.

  17. I just bought some of these today and I would not recommend them for people (like me) with nails that are very curved. By curved, I mean if you look at the top of the tips of my fingers, my nails are very curved as opposed to flat. Hopefully that makes sense! Anyways, since my nails are not remotely flat its hard to get the strips to lay flat.

  18. LOVE THESE! Tried them for the first time last night and they were so much easier to put on than I expected. I am wearing "laced up" and got so any compliments on hthem and was asked what salon I got them done at. I definitely agree with putting on a top coat after as that gives them the extra security.

  19. Omggggggg, I'm glad I checked out your review! I have actually never wore nail polish strips before. The designs are cool, but I rarely wear nail polish on my hands because the colors are usually not work-appropriate.

    So I just passed on this product whenever I'm at the drugstores. But I like the ease and lasting power of these strips! I heard there nail polish strips for toes now, which I'm more interested in. ^^

  20. I found some at Ross for $2.99 in solid colors (one creme and one shimmer) and have some Revlon Brand I haven't tried yet in metallic patterns. Sally had some other brand on sale for $2.50 but I wanted to try these because I'm terrible about applying red/coral colors on my nails, and I would actually use them. (the crazy patterned ones are still sitting unused in my nail supplies box, mostly because I didn't know what the deal was with them. I got a few packs in a nail mail swap way back in November.

    Have you tried using top coat with them? I want to use some nail caviar on them for an accent nail. I love the lace pattern - hopefully I can find some of those at another Ross.

  21. Hey I have found these at Dollar Tree which is a lot less expensive than any other place that I have seen them.


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