Try Nail Strips for a Lasting Chip-resistant Manicure

Do you want dazzling nails without paying salon prices? Nail polish strips to the rescue

Credit: Claudia Chan

Nail polish strips are a great alternative to expensive salon manicures

Say adieu to smudges, drying time and touch-ups. Nail polish strips offer a hassle-free way to glamourize your nails

Whoever invented nail strips is an absolute genius. Durable, fast-drying and aesthetically pleasing, this wondrous innovation allows you to have professional-looking nails without the scary salon price. Whether you prefer the one-tone look or fancy a more elaborate design, the strips are suitable for every occasion.

Admittedly, applying the strips can be difficult for first-timers. Initially, you’ll be too concerned about misaligning the nail strips to actually enjoy the process. It’s best to have a friend around to lend a hand if necessary. But rest assured, by the time you finish the first five digits you’ll be a pro.

Popular Nail Polish Strips

  • Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips: Available in drug stores like Shoppers Drug Mart or London Drugs, these strips are sold for around $9 per set. Although the box says “Lasts up to 10 days,” with a little care they can last for two weeks or more. Your nails will grow out before the strips have a chance to chip!
  • Incoco’s Nail Polish Strips: While nail strips are a seemingly recent trend, Incoco has been developing non-liquid nail polish since 1988. Compared to Sally Hansen, Incoco has a larger selection of colours and patterns. Plus, its designs are less flamboyant and flashy. The only drawback? For most Canadians, Incoco products are only available online. Its prices are approximately the same as Sally Hansen’s, but the costs can add up when you factor in extra shipping fees.

Sally Hansen’s new High-Fashion Patterns: “Tri-bal It On,” “Aflorable,” and “Brattlesnake” (Images: Sally Hansen)

Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips Tutorial

Each set includes:

  • 16 nail polish strips
  • 1 mini nail file – includes three different sides for different purposes
  • 1 cuticle stick


  1. Wash and dry your hands before you begin.
  2. Use the wooden stick to push back cuticles.
  3. Shape nails with file using the hot pink side.
  4. Smooth the top of your nails with the white side.
  5. Select the appropriately sized strip for each finger – sometimes you can use one strip for two nails. Cut them in half if necessary.
  6. Peel off the clear plastic cover and the white back paper and break off the silver tab.
  7. Lay the strip against your cuticle line and press it against the nail. Be careful not to create wrinkles since it’s relatively difficult to realign the strip afterward.
  8. Carefully smooth strips with fingers.
  9. Use the light pink side of the nail file and the cuticle stick to remove excess.
  10. Apply a topcoat and you’re good to go!

Although the process can be daunting at first, you’ll quickly get the hang of putting on the strips (Images: Monica Choy)

Make sure you use all the strips once you’ve opened the package. The instant the strips are exposed to air, they lose their stickiness!

As soon as you get the hang of it, you can play around with nail pens and polish to build on the existing designs. To remove, just use regular nail polish remover.