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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Essence Nail Art Stampy Set & Stampy Polish

I bought this kit at my local Ulta store for $1.99 (can you believe that's the retail price?) and it's also available online. I also purchased the Stampy Polish at my local Ulta ($0.99) but as of the time of this post, it's not available online (in-store only).

Now that I've had some time to play around with these products, I'd like to share my thoughts with you!

Essence Nail Art Stampy Set
(retail: $1.99 at Ulta)

The first thing I want to call to your attention is that I only own one other nail stamping kit (click here for my review of the Salon Express nail stamping kit) and I consider myself a serious novice at nail stamping. So these are just my opinions and your experience with this set may vary dramatically depending on your skills.

This set contains three pieces: the stamper, the scraper and one (small) plate that contains seven designs:

The Essence Stampy Polish (which comes in two shades: black and white) is sold separately. As of the time of this post, these polishes are only available in-store:

Essence Nail Art Stampy Polish
(retail: $0.99 at Ulta)

So let's break down the set:

Stamp: I think it works great, although I prefer the smaller, more precise stamper in the Salon Express kit.

Plate: the circumference of the plate itself is smaller than a standard plate, but that doesn't interfere with its use. The designs, to me, are a little "blah" and I certainly wouldn't run out to buy this kit just for the designs. Also, the way the designs are etched into the metal lacks the precision of the designs in the plates in the Salon Express kit. As you'll see in the pics below, the designs aren't very crisp or sharp when on the nail, and some of the flowers look incomplete.

Scraper: Just throw it away the minute you open the box. Seriously, the metal edge is uneven and rough, so it doesn't scrape away the excess all. Also, it scratched my plate the first time I used it. I highly recommend using an old gift card or credit card instead of this scraper.

The one thing that I'd like to add to my assessment of this kit is that I'm thankful for the directions included on the side of the box (image above). This kit specifically states that you need to press the stamp LIGHTLY on the plate when you're picking up the design. Oh how I wish the Salon Express kit stated that as well, because for the first 100 times I used it, I pressed as hard as I could to pick up the design (big mistake). Lighter is better!

Like I mentioned above, the designs on the plate that comes with this set don't seem as crisp or precise as the designs in the Salon Express kit. You can see that there are patches where no polish appears at all within the design, and this is NOT due to the Stampy Polish (I tried the Stampy Polish with the Salon Express kit and it worked just fine).

Now, on to the Stampy Polish: I love it. The bottle is quite small (like all Essence polishes) but of course you only need a little dab of polish per design. After my experience with the Salon Express kit, I can tell you that if you want to use a creme polish for nail stamping (as opposed to a shimmer or metallic), NOT ALL CREME POLISHES WORK FOR STAMPING. I highly recommend using a creme polish that's designed specifically for stamping purposes because I've tried dozens of regular creme polishes in my stash and very few work with a stamper and plate. So if you're looking for a good white creme for your nail stamping needs, I think this is a good choice.

 FINAL VERDICT: If you're a novice nail stamper and just want to play around before you decide if you'd like to invest more money into a better set-up, then I think this kit is for you. Also, if you're a seasoned veteran at nail stamping and you just need a new stamper, then this kit might be a good choice as well since you can buy it right at your local Ulta for under $2. I wouldn't buy this kit for the plate, because I think the designs aren't as meticulously etched into the metal, which leads to what you see above (inconsistent transfers). Also, throw the scraper away and use an old gift card instead, since the scraper in this kit is rough and uneven, which will cause you to scratch your plates. As for the Stampy Polish, it's great. I had no problems getting it to show up on my nails, and it's not too watery or too thick. For $0.99, it's a great buy if you need a white creme for your stamping designs. All in all, in regards to the kit, I think the Salon Express Nail Stamping Kit is a better value for the money, but again, if you're new to stamping or just need a new stamper, this would be worth considering because you just can't beat $1.99 at your local Ulta.

Do you own the Essence Nail Art Stampy Set or any of the Stampy Polishes? What do you think of them?


  1. I have the cheapie Kiss stamper set from WalMart (I think it was $4, maybe $3). Same problems with the scraper and plate. Only two of the designs I've actually been able to get to work (and of those I only actually like one), though since I'm also a novice at stamping I can't guarantee that some of the problems I've had aren't due to my lack of experience.

    This one I think has better designs than the Kiss plate, at least for my tastes, but the designs I've seen and really liked are all on the more expensive plates.

    Kiss set comes with a mini white polish, but mine was all gummy around the cap and made a huge mess when I opened it.

  2. I have been searching for this for forever! I can never find them in stores! I really want the stampy polish, I think if I found them in stores, I would buy them all up. lol

    Is the display large, or is it an endcap? and where was the stamping plate set located? because I looked all around and I still could not find this set at the 2 ulta's I have been to in South Carolina.

    1. At my Ulta, these are located in the regular core collection display, right below the regular Essence nail polishes.

    2. I've been looking for it too..I think maybe only certain Ulta stores sell it I guess.

  3. so cute! i will need to look for this

  4. For those like me who are unfortunate enough to live no where near an Ulta, another good stampable white polish is Finger Paints Papier Mache-also Sally Hansen Insta-dri Whirlwind white. Infact many of the Insta-dri cremes are awesome for stamping-ditto with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear cremes. The key to assessing a polish's stamping potential is opacity. If it's completely or nearly opaque in only 1 coat, it will most likely be stampable.

  5. I have the Fing'rs Flirt stamping starter kit and their bonus plates. I really like them, although the designs on the images plates are mostly just flowers, that's the only downside. :( I'd like to get the Salon Express kit eventually!

  6. Just an FYI, our Fred Meyer stores up here in the PNW, has a double wide Essence display with lots of products including this and extra stamping plates. Its a much better selection than our small Ulta displays have.

  7. I've had this set for a while. I've used Konad and Bundle Monster, respectively. I actually LOVE the plate that comes with this set. I have not had any problems with mine being patchy when stamped. It's a great extra plate. I agree that the scraper is crap. I don't even use my Konad one, I stick to using a plastic card. And I actually hated this stamper. I find it's not as soft or "sticky" as my Konad one and it doesn't transfer well at all. So overall, I say it's def worth it for the plate. But, like all scrapers, the scraper is junk and I still would suggest just getting a Konad stamper. They're pretty cheap on Amazon. I also agree that it is a nice starter set. You can't beat the price!!

  8. I don't use my Salon Express set very often, but I find that rapid drying creme formula nail polish work very well. Also I use a phony credit card that I got from some junk mail as my scaper. This way I get a clean scrape and no scratches on the plates. I will remember that this polish itself is worth the price. Too bad there is only black and white

  9. I lol'ed at your "just throw it away the minute you open the box". :)

  10. Glad to know I wasnt the only new stamper to think I was doing something terribly wrong lol. That is exactly how my stamps looked using that same design using OPI Alpine Snow.. I was always going to buy a konad but this one was right there at Ulta and too cheap to pass up. I also bought the extra plate with the animal prints and had better luck using Sinful Colors Black on Black, except the giraffe print which came out wonky every time.

  11. I tried this out and hated it. Someone told me to try Konad before I completely gave up. OH MY, what a difference! BTW, I got the double stamper/scraper set and 6 plates for $19 at the Konad mall kiosk. I told the girl how much I could get them for on Amazon and told her I'd buy from there instead. She gave me a "super secret shhh" deal and promised me not to mention it if I ever came back to the kiosk. LOL I figured after all that, I'd get them from her rather than Amazon.

  12. I used a straight-edge razor (with plastic handle) as my 'scraper' and it worked pretty well. The designs all worked fairly precisely for me, but I may have been lucky. I live in Boise, ID and got my set from Fred Meyer. I've gotten three of the plates because they were about $1.50 each, so they're fun to dink around with. :3

  13. I have picked up that little stamping kit by Essence numerous times in the store and almost bought it since it was only $2. But seeing as I already have Konad, Cheeky, Winstonia, Pueen and Salon Express I stopped myself but curiosity makes me pick this up every time I am in the store. I am glad now that I didn't get it since I wasn't impressed with Salon Express and this seems to be an inferior product. I am glad that you mentioned to press lightly when picking up the image from the plate as that is where I was messing up for a long time and the instructions don't tell you that. Same thing when you scrape the excess polish away, too much pressure and you scrape away polish from the grooves and then the transfer is going to come up weak or missing parts. Great tip G and it makes all the difference in the world!

  14. I love the art of nail stamping and one of the best "non stamp" polishes I can recommend is the Sally Hansen Insta Dri collection. I just figured I'd share :)

    I bought one of the nail stampy kits here in Canada and I am very disappointed with it. It isn't etched deep enough and half the images won't stamp. I've emailed them to see what they say *fingers crossed* as some of the designs on the plate I have (different than the one here) are really cute!


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