At Bra in a Box we are all about creating easy, time-saving beauty solutions for the modern working woman and mother. I identify with this population as I AM a working woman and mother and am searching for my own beauty solutions. This led me down a frantic path of searching for a quality alternative to the salon gel manicure. I LOVE the results of getting a gel manicure, but HATE going to the salon and sitting there FOREVER. I tried three alternatives to the salon manicure, Colorstreet, Lily and Fox and ImPress Manicures. Here are my conclusions:
1. Basic explanation of the three products I tried:
a. Colorstreet Colorstreet Website: Colorstreet was a revelation for me! This was the first manicure alternative I was introduced to and it opened my eyes to the idea that I could get a salon-quality manicure at home. Colorstreet sells nail polish strips that adhere to your nails and are made of real nail polish. They smell like nail polish and look like it once applied!
b. Lily and Fox Lily and Fox Website : My next stop after Googling led me to Lily and Fox nail wraps. These wraps come in SO many cute designs and are applied in a similar fashion to the Colorstreet product. The material is a bit more “plastic-y”, but in my opinion this is a good thing, more on that later . . .
c. ImPress Manicure by Kiss ImPress Manicure Website :This manicure alternative is very different than the other two. Basically, it is press-on nails. I had used press on nails as a child and they were the worst! 20 years later, press on nails have advanced spectacularly!
2. Look and feel of the product:
a. Colorstreet: As mentioned, Colorstreet is made from real nail polish and looks like it once applied! It comes with 16 nail wraps to ensure the best fit for each individual’s nails. I also loved that the strips were very long, which allowed me to use one strip for two nails! I do keep my nails fairly short, so this works for me, but for those with very long nails they would probably have to use one strip per nail. Colorstreet has a nice variety of options from solid colors to cute basic designs.
b. Lily and Fox: The company claims these nail wraps are made from polish, but they do feel thicker and more plastic-y than Colorstreet. I like this consistency! The plastic feel allows you to stretch them over your nails without them ripping, which you cannot do with Colorstreet. I did find that one wrap could only be used per nail, so I could not double down on my usage like I can with Colorstreet (booooo). Lily and Fox wraps also come with 16 nail wraps in different sizes to ensure each customer can find the right fit for their nails. They also come in a larger variety of patterns. Some are super cute, but some (in my opinion) look a bit cheesy. They also have a very impressive selection of holiday designs. I cannot wait to try the blood spatter nail wraps . . . . although that may not go over well in the hospital . . . haha (I’m a nurse.) I loved some of them, but some I tried with more intricate and busy patterns on them had a striated look, where you could see the pixilated rows of the printed pattern once they were stretched over my nail.
c. Impress Manicure: This product is a whole other beast. These are hard, plastic press on nails that are adhered on top of your own nails. Of all three applications, this product most closely resembles salon gel or acrylic nails. They are much thicker than the wraps and have the feel of an acrylic salon application. The other two companies’ products are much thinner and have a more natural feeling on the nail.
3. Application and removal of the product:
a. Colorstreet: These are applied easily. I filed my nails to the desired length, sanded the tops of them and used the prep pad provided in the Colorstreet pack. You must line up the edge of the wrap so that it is close to your cuticle but does not lay on top of it. You then file off the end of the strip around the top of your nail. I did find that after I filed it off there was a small gap between the end of my nail and strip. Probably not noticeable to others, but it bothered me. Also, if I was not super gentle, I would snag the nail wrap while filing, causing imperfections towards the tip. These strips are made out of nail polish so they are easily removed with nail polish remover.
b. Lily and Fox: This application is basically the same as Colorstreet except I did find they filed off much easier. Due to the nail wrap consistency I did not find it snagged like Colorstreet. When ready to remove you simply peel these off your nails. They did leave behind a small amount of sticky residue that I was able to remove easily with nail polish remover.
c. ImPress Manicure: These nails literally press on, on top of your nails. There is a small strip you peel off which reveals the adhesive and you stick it right on! I did file down the tops of my nails to create some surface texture and used the prep pad to clean off oils. The instructions also said the harder you press the nails on the longer they last, so I made sure to press them on SUPER tight. They were a bit long for my liking, but I was able to file them down, once they were on, with a normal nail file. Removing these nails was a hassle. They are SO sticky which is a plus, but after peeling them off they left a TON of chunky sticky adhesive on my nails that was difficult to remove. I did get it off using nail polish remover and by scraping them with a wooden tool that they provide in their package, but it took me much longer to remove than the other two.
4. Duration and cost of the product:
a. Colorstreet: These looked wonderful after first applied (once I got the application down), but after 3-4 days they got worn and looked a bit ratty to me. The bottom edges started to lift, even though I made sure not to adhere them on top of my cuticles. At about $13.00 a pair these are the most expensive. But one must keep in mind, one pack is able to be used for two applications if you have medium to short nails; so the true cost per manicure is around $6.50. They also have deals like Buy 3 Get One Free on their website which cuts down the cost some if you’re going to buy multiples.
b. Lily and Fox: These have about the same lifespan of Colorstreet. After about 4 days they started peeling up and I wanted to replace them. Something I love about these is their price point. On the Lily and Fox website each set is only $2.99! Although they didn’t last as long as a salon gel manicure, I do not mind paying this price for 3-4 days of super cute nails.
c. ImPress Manicure: I was skeptical of these and thought they would pop off easily. These lasted a full 7 days looking as fabulous as the day of application! That being said, I am a nurse so use and wash my hands constantly. They also endured a trip to the beach and a week of chasing after my 2-year-old. I am very impressed with their durability and the lack of wear and tear on them over the 7 days I wore them. On day seven they have started to lift off the nail at the edge but are still firmly on and I think I could get a few more days out of them! I purchased my first set at Target for $5.99, but on their website after promo codes and a free manicure offer my price per set came down to about $4.50!!
5. My final opinion:
While I loved all three of these options more than sitting at the salon, I have to say the Impress Manicure won my business! These were the easiest to apply, fell in mid-range pricing wise and lasted the longest!!! I am super excited that one set can last me at least a week and have the look of a salon gel or acrylic manicure. While these were difficult to remove, I don’t care because they look and feel so great on. I do think I will still use the Lily and Fox wraps from time to time especially during the holidays for all their cute festive patterns!