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Beauty Throwdown: Battle DIY Nail Overlays

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I get impatient at the nail salon and almost always leave too quickly, which inevitably results in at least one smudged nail. So, when Sally Hansen launched its revolutionary no-mess Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips back in January, I was clearly intrigued. Minutes after opening the box, I had a full set of (smudge-free!) leopard-print tips—and they stayed perfectly intact for over a week. I’ve been hooked on at-home overlays ever since, which is why I was excited to learn that Brit beauty vet Zoe Pocock’s new Nail Rock Designer Nail Wraps just landed stateside at Nordstrom this week. Faced with a very rainy Wednesday night, I decided to spend my time indoors productively, conducting a side-by-side comparison between both brands. Let the beauty throwdown begin.



The Original: Sally Hansen

While Sally Hansen’s life-changing strips come in solid colors like the electric pink It Girl and the bright blue Teal With It, the sparkly patterns and animal prints are the way to go here. And the process couldn’t be easier: You literally just stick them on, fold them over your natural length, and then use the handy wooden tool included with purchase to push off the excess and smooth out the nail bed. The results are so professional in appearance, I’ve actually had several women stop me on the street to ask me where I got them done!

The Newcomer: Nail Rock

The name “designer” nail wrap is 100 percent warranted here. Pocock counts Adele, Fergie, and Keri Hilson as clients and has collaborated with the likes of Meadham Kirchhoff and Mulberry on limited-edition nail patterns. Available in everything from python to dalmation print, there are some seriously covetable colors to choose from here that, as far as we’re concerned, were previously unavailable on the market. But there’s a drawback: The Nail Rock strips are a bit of a hassle to put on. After pressing them onto my nail, I struggled with the excess—which I ultimately had to trim with a nail clipper. Then, once the wrap was affixed to my nail, it took a lot of effort to smooth out the rough edges.

The Bottom Line: Sally Hansen gets a few extra points for doing the ground breaking—and for creating a product that’s so easy to put on you don’t really even need to read the instructions. Nail Rock’s prints are superior, albeit slightly more difficult to secure. If you have the patience and want truly unique designs, go with the latter. But if speed and ease are your objectives, Sally Hansen still can’t be beat.

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