With little to no aptitude for intricate nail art, nor the patience for that matter, I’ve always found the new wave of nail appliques/stickers out on the market to be an appealing idea. With Sally Hansen leading the trend a few years ago, there’s now more options to choose from than ever with offerings from drugstore and high end brands. For my inaugural nail strips experience, here’s the OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps.
Product: Pure Lacquer Nail Apps
Variation: 10-12 designs
Size: 8 sizes, 2 pieces per size (16 total)
Availability: Drugstores nationwide, select salons
Would I repurchase: Not a full price, possibly for special occasions.
OPI offers their nail lacquer apps (that’s short for “appliques”) in a variety of intricate prints and designs ranging from cream finishes to metallics. I picked up “Reptile” who’s nude and pink colour scheme was both fierce yet feminine. Each package comes with 2 rows of 8 sizes, sealed in it’s own airtight wrapper. For the most part each nail seems to be a freestyle print with not specific order though other designs were more standardized. Putting my hand next to them for reference, you’d be surprise how large these appliques were but I do assume this was done to accommodate false nail wearers as well.
The strips themselves are advertised to be made of real nail polish and upon opening the air sealed packaged, my nose confirms it to be true. While not quite so terribly pungent as regular liquid polish, I’d still recommend you ventilate while putting these on if you’re sensitive to strong scents.
Each pre-cut nail piece is perforated for easy separation and is sandwiched between a protective top sheet and bottom sheet. I had the hardest time separating the three layers at first but found a little twist at the base helped to peel them away from each other.
The instructions made application sound extremely simple and in a way it is…if you have very nicely uniform and perfectly shaped nails. Line up one edge to your cuticle, smooth into place, pull down and tear away the extra strip then file the free edge. Unfortunately I had to trim almost every single piece to fit the curvature of my nails and sometimes the width as well, not a deal breaker but a bit more hassle than I anticipated. But hey, one size fits all is probably not an idea I should have counted on to begin with.
Application tip: Apply these on dry, none base coated nails for best adhesion. Before removing the bottom backing, measure it against your cuticle curve to check the shape and trim with scissors if needed before peeling the applique. Always smooth the strip from the cuticle side down to the free edge of the nail in order to avoid bubbles or wrinkles.
Once they were on, I admired my handy work and was delighted at how shiny they looked in person. While you may want to add an extra topcoat for shine and durability, I didn’t find this an necessity at all. However while these are marketed as “instant dry”, they did seem to need a few hours to really set onto my nails the way liquid polish would so while the surface is completely dry immediately, I wouldn’t subject them to water or harsh tasks right away. Also, do keep your fresh nails away from heat as I learned the hard way and slightly melted/smudged the polish off the tip of my thumbnail when I was curling my hair.
Wear time for these appliques were somewhat similar to regular liquid polish for me, lasting for the most part of 4 days before I noticed significant wear. If you are a nail perfectionist, I’d mention that the edges of these appliques tend to peel and chip slightly and have a hard time sticking on.
Altogether I loved the design, the dry touch finish and the surprising shine that came from these OPI Pure Lacquer Nail Apps. For the novice or time rushed nail lover this is a quick way to dress to impress but these are not something I’d use on a regular basis. The time saved on drying my nail polish was spent here on trimming each individual piece, not to mention the price tag is high for a single use application so save them for your fancy dates!