I've tried nail wraps before at a salon and have to say I was distinctly underwhelmed. The brand was Minx, and the therapist who did them had only ever seen them applied at a trade show, so I was something of a guinea-pig. She had to do a lot of trimming of the sides to get them to fit my small nails, they absolutely did NOT allow you to 'file away the excess at the ends' as suggested, the heat she applied to my nails from a lamp to help adhesion was really uncomfortable, and whilst the end result looked ok from a distance, I didn't like how ragged they felt on my nails. [She was a great manicurist generally, and didn't charge me for the experiment, so it was worth giving it a go].
Anyway, despite being aware of the new 'do it yourself' products available at Boots etc, the above experience had rather put me off, so I probably wouldn't have bothered buying any to try out myself at home. However, I'd been religiously entering Glamour's daily 'month of beauty' giveaways in May, so when a packet of Elegant Touch nail wraps arrived for free, I had nothing to lose.
I won a design called 'scrunched almuminium' which is supposed to give a crumpled foil effect, and there are 24 wraps in the pack, so sufficient for two manicures - or a mani/pedi - with a few over for disasters.
You need to apply a base coat first (not included) and are then ready to get to grips with the wraps. I was able to find the right size for each of my nails fairly easily (although I have now been left with the wider sizes which would need the edges cutting if I did it again) but as they're relatively short at the moment I was left with quite a lot of excess at the ends. Rather than attempting to file all this away with the enclosed emery board, I used small sharp embroidery scissors to trim it to shape - and this worked pretty well. Unless you're ambidextrous it's obviously a little harder to do one hand than the other, but it's no more difficult than it is to paint your nails with your 'wrong' hand. You rub each wrap firmly once it's in place, and the instructions suggest using a hair-dryer on low heat for a few seconds to help them stick if necessary. I found they adhered well though and there was no need for any extra heat. Applying topcoat seals the design and helps prevent damage.
Here are my thoughts on the product as a whole:
- I did use the file a little to finish off and whilst it seemed to work for a very small amount of smoothing I would definitely not rely on it to remove all the excess. However they worked a lot better than the minx ones I'd tried previously!
- I don't think I did too bad a job of applying them, but I could feel a few wrinkles and bumps, which I think the pattern helped to disguise. I'm not sure a plainer colour or design would have been quite as forgiving.
- The 'foil' effect is not as good as I'd have liked. You can see in the promo photo that they look like they have a metallic finish. They don't, it's more like a photograph of a metallic finish. On my nails it looked more like a graphic black and white pattern. They may look better on a slightly longer nail.
- The tips did begin to wear a little and the sides started to lift after a couple of days. They survived showers/washing up etc but I don't honestly think they'd still be looking good after the 5 days the pack suggests they'll last. I must admit I got bored of them and peeled them off early though.
- They're easy to remove, but do leave a sticky residue which you need a good scrub with nail varnish remover to get rid of.
- More expensive per manicure than even the most expensive polish, but far cheaper than going and getting a nail art design applied, so they'd be worth it for a one-off event, and you don't have to worry about chips.
To be honest, I think my problem with nail wraps is that they've been sold as something that they're not. Basically, they're stickers. You're putting stickers on your nails - like the ones you enjoyed when you were a kid - just with a particularly hardcore glue. Do you remember when hair mascara was the latest big thing? Do we all still buy it now? Er, no. Coloured gloop in your hair didn't feel luxurious, and nail wraps don't either - not compared to a really good polish manicure. They feel a little bit cheap. That said, I'd give these 7/10, for being better than I'd expected. I'm still a polish fan though.
Have you tried nail wraps? What did you think?