A long time ago, when I had time for Pinterest, I pinned the following photo onto my wedding board with the caption, “Love this look for wedding nails!”
Image via Nature Nails by Tenshi no Hana
When full-nail applique kits started becoming popular, I looked for the lacy look I had pinned and couldn’t get out of my mind. Imagine my excitement when Essie introduced their new line of Sleek Stick Nail Appliques, one of which was aptly titled “Embrace the Lace”!
I found mine at Target for $10 / Personal photo
We had our love story video shoot this past weekend, so I figured it would be a good time to test out these babies.
Cue the epic fail music (does that even exist? Someone should get on that).
Installing the appliques proved to be a little tricky. The package comes with 18 appliques total, so you can choose the one that best fits your nails. The instructions tell you to clean your nail with alcohol and push back the cuticle using the little plastic tool that is also included (I used my metal cuticle tool, since the plastic one was basically worthless).
The next step is to oh-so carefully apply the applique so that it is straight on your fingernail. It was difficult to get the applique to line up with all sides of my nail, and the “universal” shape of the appliques mostly didn’t apply to my fingers — I was left with empty space on the sides on my nail and excess applique near the base of my nail.
Once you have the applique on your nail, you use a little file in downward strokes to detach the extra applique from the tips of your nail. The file was very rough and left me with some pretty jagged nails that I filed down with a personal file.
I applied the appliques on Saturday. By Sunday they were a mess. (All photos personal.)
Here you can see the fraying corner from the file that I used. It is not precise enough to remove the top of the applique cleanly, so I was left with little pieces in the corners of my nail.
Very soon after applying the applique, I had bubbling at the base of my nails. This became worse the longer I had them on, and was especially noticeable after washing my hands, because moisture would sneak under the loose edges.
This photo shows the excess applique at the base on my nail. Definitely was not the shape my nail bed needed.
I noticed the chipping very soon after I applied the appliques. I felt like I couldn’t really do anything with them on, because they started to wear so quickly after application. I tried to peel a sticker off of a hand mirror I had just purchased, and the applique popped right up. These things definitely do not get points for longevity.
There was also an issue of little folds (which you can see on my ring finger in this photo) because the appliques didn’t account for the natural curvature of my nails. Am I the only one with curvy fingernails? I don’t think I am.
By the end of the day Sunday, I was so irritated with looking at the bubbling and chipping that I removed all of the appliques, less than 24 hours after I installed them. They were also strangely heavy, more so than any nail polish I had ever worn.
Points for easy removal.
Although I had been debating doing something special for the wedding day, I think I am just going to stick with a gel manicure (applied by a professional!). Maybe some of the issues I had were caused user error, but I would not waste another penny on appliques. Essie, stick to nail polish — I know I’m going to.
Have you experimented with DIY nail appliques? Any tips or tricks that might inspire me to try them again?