Why Are You Not Using These Drugstore Nail Wraps?!


I first tried Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips in the summer of 2012 and it was because I was dating a guy at the time who had a houndstooth fetish. I'm disappointed in myself, really, because your most sacred beliefs shouldn't be compromised for some guy, and up until that point I'd always been scrupulously faithful to my utter contempt for houndstooth. It's so...repetitive! With too many corners. But guy had a weird thing for it, so any time I saw something houndstooth that I could probably make fit into my situation, I bit. First, it was the Turkish throw pillows—they were more of an abstract, woven houndstooth, and in royal blue and a dusty tan, which made them more palatable. Then, it was the 5 for $25 panties, two of which were houndstooth, but I didn't have to really see those, anyway. Still, the whole thing felt gross and forced, like when you're eating chicken and you bite down on something hard but swallow it anyway because you're around other people.

Then I saw the Sally Hansen "Puppy Tooth" strips at HEB and figured I'd tear off the point-of-purchase coupon and go for it. While guy loved his dumb print, he hated feet, so I thought I'd throw some houndstooth on mine before I flew across the country to visit him—then maybe he wouldn't shriek if my toenail rubbed against his calf in bed. It might have been a bad thing that my first experience with nail wraps was with Sally Hansen, because I had high expectations for all that followed. I tried the trendy, photo-real prints, those collaborations with PYT nail artists, the stuff on Etsy...compared to Sally's, they felt like I was slapping sheet stickers on the tips of my fingers and calling it a manicure. The thing about the Real Nail Polish Strips is that they're real nail polish. I discussed this casually with a third-party cosmetic formulator, as one does, and she enthusiastically underscored the fact that they're not just plastic-y paper with adhesive backing—and also that they're awesome. They mold to and really wrap the nail, stretching like just-dried polish would, if you were to forcibly peel it off.

Maybe their 2011-ish release makes them old news, but for those of you who might have overlooked the Sally Hansen variety amongst the many others released over the past few years, give them a try. Be warned, though, that you should apply fresh out of their packaging. Don't let the little guys sit around collecting air for more time than it takes to file your nails because they will quickly become less pliable and thus less stick-able. Also, it takes a bit to get the size-stick-stretch-press process down, but don't feel discouraged—that is, unless you've gone through seven attempts with no luck, as each set only comes with 16 single-nail applications. I like to use the included orange stick or a soft Q-tip to press down around the edges. And when you've adhered the strip firmly to the nail bed, be sure to file off the excess polish strip length beneath the edge of the nail, not straight across. This will wrap the tip, just like when your manicurist swipes polish across the edge to seal it from chipping. I like to finish with a generous helping of top coat, because why not?

I choose them over polish for my toes, especially for summer, when toes become a thing again. Polish chips and smudges in close-toed shoes, whereas these wraps cling on until you're forced to remove them because of way-too-obvious nail growth. I guess that was the only drawback—I had freaking houndstooth on my feet for an entire month.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by Lydia Carron.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • A.J. Thompson Zielike

    Was your beau an Alabama football fan? We do love our houndstooth. Here it is at its tackiest, on our own Miss Alabama.

    • Robin Sparkles

      sweet jesus. This can never be unseen.

    • kate


    • http://intothegloss.com/ ITG Annie

      no, he lived in a van though

    • thatreadinggrl1111


  • lillylilacs

    What type of top coat do you use? I tried with whatever top coat I had lying around on my Sally Hansen nail wraps and it made the wraps all crinkly and wrinkled.

    Otherwise I love them. They are surprisingly easy, certainly as easy as painting your own nails, and super cute and long lasting. Good to know other brands don't seem to work as well!

    • deannad

      I swore by Seche Vite's quick dry top coat for ages but found the polish lifted off faster for me (not sure why - others adore it). Now I'm using Formula X's Shine top coat. It's great. Never got the crinkles/wrinkles with either.

  • tera

    puppy tooth!! That is the best nail polish name I ever heard. So adorable, and could only be surpassed by "puppy belly" or "puppy breath" which conjure the cutest images on earth. I think belly could be a soft white or grey, while breath would likely be either pink or kibble-color tan. You're welcome, Essie.

  • Vanessa Reyes

    These were my very first Sally Hansen nail wraps and I loved them.I tried the ones from Essie but they were not as good. As for the top coat, I did it once and my nail strips "shrank". Now I don't even bother.

  • billyidol929

    I love these! they stay on forever and dont chip. But beware they are VERY difficult to remove.

    • http://intothegloss.com/ ITG Annie

      really!? i just use acetone nail polish remover and they seemed to come off fine. easier than glitter polish i thought!

  • unvanquished

    I like the idea of the nail strips but I don't like designs on my nails and glitter has to be super subtle. I wish they had ones that looked more like regular nail polishes.

    • http://intothegloss.com/ ITG Annie

      they have solid colors! or they did at one point...

      • unvanquished

        Must be my crappy local drugstores then :(

        • Katy

          To eBay my friend! Or Amazon.

  • Misia Galka

    I have this exact pattern that you're wearing Annie, I bought them circa their release and have never bothered with them. I think this post may change that.

  • llama

    obsessed with these. here is a tip - if you have small nails, you can get away with using only one of the packs. don't cut them down to size first as it's hard to peel the wrap off the plastic without the little tab thing, so i just peel the whole thing off, hold it in the center with tweezers, and trim the edges with a manicure scissors. then i apply to 1 nail, cut off the excess and apply to the other nail.

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    I really love these nail wraps I've been using them for a couple of years! I love the solid neon colors a ton because neons barely comes out even when I paint my nails, plus it doesn't chip for awhile.

  • Jenna

    "Still, the whole thing felt gross and forced, like when you're eating chicken and you bite down on something hard but swallow it anyway because you're around other people." Perfect analogy.

  • Lauren Isbell

    Coco Rocha uses these too she said so in an interview a few years back :-)

  • heyyy_gurl

    Man I used to paint my nails solid white and draw on them with fine point sharpies a la this print in middle school. Need!

  • http://BikePretty.com/ Bike Pretty

    When I added nail wraps to glue-on fake nails, everything became amazing. A perfect manicure that lasted for 10 days. I'm never going back to natural anything.

    • ITGLacey

      A woman after my own heart!

  • thatreadinggrl1111

    I just tried these strips recently, and they- while being amazingly long lasting- made my nails super weak. Don`t try these if your nails are prone to peelig!

    • dannie

      I sell jamberrys tell all my clients to soak there nails in olive oil or coconut oil and use a floss pick to get under the wrap and slowlu work it off your nail!

  • Thelu66

    I am totally mad about nail wraps and I do totally understand you! I put them on and then I use a UV top coat. They last perfect for 10 days!!

  • deannad

    I adore these nail strips from Sally Hansen. They're the best for fitting my nails (but they have two versions of strips -- the special editions were too narrow for may nails and have fewer strips in the package, which is flat, not like a rectangular cube).

    Also recommend the Revlon strips too (the version with real nail polish - they had a great Marcesa edition that were utterly gorgeous but they were made of plastic, not nail polish, and hard to apply/keep on). Also enjoyed the OPI strips - excellent quality. Not a fan of the Essie but only tried one set and might have gotten a bad batch.

  • Melinda Flint

    This article and discussion board has been very enlightening. I have learned a lot: ie: why I can't get a good seal on the tips of my nails, other brands. (some brands I didn't even know had Nail wraps). Top Coat vs no top coat.
    One of the brands recommends "heating/warming the wraps for optimal wear. I didn't see anything about Sally Hansens needed to be warmed.
    I march to the beat of a different drummer, and like my nails to stand out. 40+ years and never gone without some type of polish. So the nail wraps work and I always get compliments.
    Back in the day when I had more time, I used to draw things on my nails, and do designs, but who has the time anymore. Wraps solve the problem

    • Lindsey

      Hey Melinda! Just saw your comment and wondered if you had tried Jamberry Nail Wraps? They do require heat to properly apply but they last on hands for up to 2 weeks and toes for up to 8 weeks. If you'd like a free sample, I'd be happy to send some your way! I couldn't help appreciate another girl's desire to have her nails stand out, because I always get compliments on mine as well!


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