Achieving the look of nail art with minimal mess, time, and fuss seems too good to be true, but that's exactly what adhesive nail strips promise. You may have seen them in beauty boutiques and drugstores. These patterned, nail-shaped stick-ons are supposedly made of real polish and behave just like the real thing, except that they're easier to apply. Simply press onto clean nails and file away the excess--no waiting required.
I had a chance to try appliques recently when Nail Polish Canada sent me their China Glaze Real Nail Polish Appliques in 'Jane Loves Tarzan' ($11). My nail strips came packaged in airtight plastic along with an orange stick (for pushing back cuticles), a nail file (for prepping nails and filing off the excess length), and clear-cut instructions. Not wanting to do a full set of giraffe-print nails, I opted to do giraffe-print accent nails with a deep red mani instead. If you decide to do the same with your appliques, make sure you seal the packet well as air will dry out any unused ones.
As promised, the appliques were easy to use and took no time to dry. In fact, they were probably the easiest part of my manicure (adhere, file, apply top coat, done). Over the course of the week, the accent nails didn't chip while the red nails did. However, I never quite shook the feeling that I had stickers on my ring fingers. At about the one-week mark, the adhesive started losing its stickiness and the appliques began peeling. Each applique came off in one piece, just like a sticker. It was a fun experiment while it lasted and I'm open to another giraffe accent nail mani. But appliques won't ever be a substitute for real nail polish, especially given my propensity for solid colours over patterns.
To see the full selection of nail appliques on Nail Polish Canada, check out their website.