We’ve all seen the different nail polish or manicure strips popping up in our Facebook feeds. Get a great manicure in just minutes! It looks perfect and you can have elaborate nail art otherwise only seen on Pinterest! Sounds great, right?
I have to admit that I’ve tried a few of them and they’ve been fine, but never great enough to make me use them more than once or twice. I am a girl that once owned almost 3000 bottles of nail polish (I had a bit of a hoarding issue, I’ve since pared my collection down a lot). Any nail polish strip would need to be amazing for me to use a strip instead of a regular polish. Fast, perfect application and amazing wear.
Recently a blogger I know started selling Color Street, and I was intrigued. The customers on her page were raving about them, and they definitely sounded better than the other nail strips. For starters, Color Street strips are actual nail polish, instead of a vinyl sheet. Somehow the vinyl sheets are difficult for me to work with, and I haven’t had great wear.
Why Try Color Street Nail Polish?
I decided I wanted to try out Color Street nail polish for myself, so I ordered 4 colors (there was a buy 3 get 1 free sale, I’m a sucker for sales). I bought from top to bottom London Calling, Tokyo Lights, Giza Sands and Miami Beach.
Note that in this picture it looks a bit like they don’t match within each pack, but that’s because the strips are facing slightly different ways, the top coat is pretty shiny so they’re reflecting the light a bit differently. The strips within each pack do match each other!
What is Included with Color Street Nail Polish?
Here’s a peek at what comes inside each pack. You get 16 strips to fit nails, a small emory board and 2 “nail prep pads” which are alcohol swabs.
Note that the nail polish strips are actual polish that is about 95% dry. It contains base coat, color and top coat all within the strip. You shouldn’t need other nail products when using Color Street, though you could definitely use a top coat if you want. The strips stretch a little bit, but not a ton. This helps to get the right fit, but you won’t be able to make up for big size difference between a strip and your nail bed for example.
How to Apply Color Street Nail Polish
Overall Color Street Nail Polish Strips are pretty easy to apply. I didn’t do much to prepare my nails for this manicure. I had recently filed my nails down, so I just pushed back my cuticles and used the alcohol swabs to super clean the nail bed. I compared each nail strip to my actual nail beds to decide which strips to use. I have fairly small hands but long nail beds, they’re somewhat narrow though. I ended up using the 4 biggest strips, skipped 1 strip size and used the next one for my pinkie. They all fit pretty well except for my middle finger, it could have used the same size strip as my index finger.
There’s a clear plastic coating to remove from the strips and then you can remove the nail polish strip from the backing. It is a little sticky, but it isn’t difficult to work with. Once you’ve removed the tab at the end, you can apply the polish on to your nail. There are 2 ends you could put near your cuticle, and my nails are a little more of a squoval so I used that end at the base of my nail. I push down in the middle first and lay the polish down flat, stretching as I need to.
Once I’ve positioned the polish in the right spot I pull it down over my nail and pull, the polish will rip over the nail in just the right spot. You can then file down the excess.
Once I’m done, the polish looks pretty good, though note it isn’t perfect, especially on my slightly wide middle finger. I’m hoping that with practice I can stretch those strips a bit more so the coverage is better, but currently the best I can do still leave a pretty big gap.
How Long do Color Street Nail Polish Strips Last?
I’ve now gone through 3 packages of Color Streets, and I can already get them to last a minimum of 10 days chip free, but with a few tricks they last me 2 weeks. I removed my last set at 2 weeks because of regrowth, not due to tip wear, so I think that’s the upper limit of how long a manicure can last me anyways.
Tips for a Longer Lasting Color Street Manicure
First, you’ll need to really prep your nails very well. Most of this manicure is in the prep, you can’t just apply them and be done. I spend a lot of time now preparing my cuticles for the application, especially since the regrowth is my limiting factor. I push my cuticles back, I use cuticle remover, then I hydrate them and push them back a little more. During application, I try to apply as close to my cuticle as I possibly can. It makes a difference!
Next, make sure you really work that nail prep alcohol pad. Remove every last bit of lotion, soap, anything you could possibly have on your nails!
Once I have the Color Streets on, I apply a layer of a thicker top coat. You can skip this step if you want, the strips already include top coat in them. It also negates one of the biggest benefits of Color Streets, namely you don’t have to wait for them to dry. However, since I can’t get them to be 100% perfect, and the strip has base coat, color and top coats, the result is polish with an edge on it, maybe not 100% to the edge of my nail. You can see that in the very top picture of this post, that was my first Color Street manicure (Giza Sands). It’s a chipped nail waiting to happen! So, I apply a top coat (I use Seche Vite for this) that will smooth those edges. I think that’s why there’s a big difference in between the 1 week pictures in the result picture. The top is Giza Sands 1 week out, no top coat used. The middle picture is London Calling 1 week out. The tip wear is much less with London Calling, that had Seche Vite on top. (Please excuse my super dry cuticles and scrape there, I was gardening and then came in and took pics!)
Finally, my biggest tip for longer wear with Color Street nail polish strips is one I discovered by accident. Cut your nails in them. I took pictures of London Calling at 1 week because I thought for sure I was going to remove the polish. I had broken a nail, just a little edge under the polish. But my daughters needed me and I was in a rush, so I quickly clipped that nail about 2 mm shorter and went to make dinner. The next day I remembered that I had done this, but the nail looked great! I clipped all of the others, removing the little bit of tip wear. My manicure looked new, except for the bit of regrowth at the cuticle. I probably should have reapplied my top coat, but I left it as it was. It still looked pretty great a full week later when I finally removed London Calling because 2 weeks of regrowth was just too much!
Nail Polish or Color Street Nail Strips?
Overall, I am very impressed with Color Street! I am a self admitted nail polish addict, and I’ll be stocking up on Color Street Nail Polish Strips. I don’t think I’ll be using them all the time, but they’ll be finding a place in my regular manicure rotation. Given how well they have held up already, I can’t wait to try them out when I’m swimming in the pool every day this summer!
Pros: • These are very long lasting, despite activities like working in a hospital, washing dishes and gardening. • They’re perfect for travel, no more carting along a collection of bottles! Just a small envelope of Color Streets and a polish remover wipe is all you need! • No waiting for them to dry. The strips are 95% dry already. I wouldn’t go wash my hair or put on gloves right after application, but you won’t be able to smudge these. • They take me roughly the same time as a regular polish manicure, but I’m very fast with regular polish. I think they would be a bit faster and with less clean up for most people. • Nail art designs are available.
Cons: • They’re not perfect. I still haven’t mastered getting a wide enough fit on my middle finger and it is never 100% perfect at the tips. I would do a better job with regular polish. However, I’ve also had a lot practice and usually don’t need to clean up at all. I’m abnormal. This might do better for some people than regular polish. • Limited shade range. Now that I’ve tried them, I want allll the colors. But I’m kind of boring and just want solids. But I’d love to have at least 20-30 more to pick from. I currently have a cart with 3 Charleston Blush and 1 New York Minute. Maybe I’ll add in a Giza Sands. But really… I’m hoping they release more solid colors soon.