Yep, that’s nail polish strips for you – stickers for grown-ups we put on our nails as opposed to inside a photo album. And because they come in generously-sized, multi-use packs, you can even trade them with your friends – hey, wanna swap your pink heart camos for my polka dotted reindeer? (Parenthetically, here inside these very parentheses, I friggin’ loved sticker-collecting when I was a kid! And my collection was THE SHIT – fuzzies and holos and googly eyes and puffies and smelly stickers for DAYS, and all of it housed in an officially licensed Sandy Lion hardcover binder with custom photo pages…and I might have just legitimately drifted off for a few minutes there as I remembered how much I loved that book and my entire sticker collection.) 😉
So it’s no surprise that I love these stickers, too, a lovely gift from the wife of one of my husband’s online gamer buddies (they’re like penpals who communicate through swapped boxes of Canadian and American foodstuffs, and midnight games of Ghost Recon.) She’s a nail art aficionado like I am, and she’s into these nail polish strips from Color Street that she was kind enough to send along in one of the guys’ boxes.
Here I’m sporting Color Street‘s very Valentine’s Day-appropriate Crush Hour, a glittery pink camo design that, upon closer inspection, is actually made up of overlapping hearts.
These double-ended nail strips are made from nuthin’ but nail polish, so they’re thin, flexible and dead easy to apply – simply peel, pat down and then file off the excess. And if you’re really careful and your nails are quite short, like mine, you can absolutely get away with using one strip for two nails, as the designs are printed on both ends of the strip. That leaves some of these fun beauty stickers to swap with friends – now, you were saying something about a trade for a polka dotted reindeer? 😉
These Incoco nail strips in Brilliant Burst, a “Hey, I didn’t know I had these!” find, look just like a delicate, pastel watercolour. It’s a very pretty look for what’s shaping up to be a warm Victoria Day long weekend.
But nail strips are a funny animal – a product I was really super into when I first started dabbling about in this nail art business. Incoco’s nail appliques were a particular favourite – criminally easy to apply, made from real nail polish and available in an absolute ton of fun shades and finishes. But as I started getting handier with a detail brush, I began phasing out the nail strips. Why buy that which I can probably create better myself?
But for newbies, hesitant amateurs or anyone else who just doesn’t want to spend two hours on a single nail art design? You can’t beat ’em. Nail strips are available from all sorts of companies, but I really like Incoco’s – the quality is excellent (they adhere to your nails very well without pulling up too much at the edges) and the design choices are thoughtful and current without being needlessly trendy. If you’re interested in a truly no-fuss, set-it-and-forget-it mani, I’d try Incoco’s fun offerings – and you can find them here. 🙂
Like, say, these skeleton nail strips from Incoco that have been sitting in my closet for the past three years? Pretty sure those aren’t the kind of skeletons the expression is referring to, but I’ll take potentially-useless nail strips over repressed secrets any day. 😉
But somehow, wonder of wonders, these nail strips were still in perfect condition, applying cleanly and easily, adhering well and giving off the craziest glow-in-the-dark effect I’ve ever seen in a polish product. Praise Jack, it’s a Halloween miracle!
This design, long since out of production, is called Bone Rattling, and features cute little black skulls on a glow-in-the-dark white background. And I needn’t have worried that these nail strips would be dried out – safely tucked away in their unopened package, they were in perfect working order, adhering to my nails neatly, with no rough or raggedy edges. The chubby, three-toothed skull design is also so adorable – a cute alternative to the more realistic skull designs that tend to dominate at this time of year.
And how about that super cool glow-in-the-dark effect? It’s bananas! So bananas, my camera could hardly capture it. Or maybe it captured…something else? Those little streaks sure do look like ghosties, do they not? Although, actually, that would mean my hand is haunted, and that never works out well for anyone – just ask Ash (or Anton of Idle Hands, my favourite possessed-limb flick.)
Also known as “Use it or lose it.” So last year, annoyed at the sheer amount of actual AND mental to-dos I had piling up (shelves of unread books, boards full of to-be-made recipes on Pinterest, drawers stuffed with beauty products I was either hoarding or – more likely – had just totally forgotten about, reams of nail polish I was saving for a special occasion) I decided it was time for less talk, more rock. As in, stop talking about the things I wanted to do (or make or read or apply to my hands and face) and actually rock them.
And so I did. And can I tell you guys, it has really been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. Stuff is actually getting done! The mental clutter has been tidied! Actual physical clutter has been tidied! And I’ve been enjoying all sorts of fun new experiences, simply by finally doing the things I’ve been putting off for so long, whether it’s trying out a new recipe, burning through – some might say enjoying – my wax collection, testing new beauty products, watching a new-to-me TV show or working on a fun crafting project.
But perhaps my favourite thing of all is that all this hopeful productivity is downright contagious. Doing stuff apparently begets other stuff, because I suddenly have quite the fire lit under my arse, one encouraging me to put to bed all of the little home renovations my husband and I have been putting off for far, far, far too long. It’s actually a really pleasant feeling. I love going to bed knowing that I did something with my day, even if those somethings were tiny and seemingly inconsequential – to me, crossing those items off my mental to-do list make all the difference.
So in the spirit of my not-so new-found philosophy of “If you’ve got it, use it,” I thought I’d dig out these glittery Incoco nail strips in Sweet Sundae I bought some years ago. Pale pink and speckled with rainbow-hued bar glitter, I was not only hoarding these strips for a special occasion, but I had also forgotten they even existed – a double whammy against the “Use it or lose it” approach. I had a bit of difficulty with some other Incoco nail strips last month (they were nearly completely dried up) and I worried that I might be running into the same problem with Sweet Sundae, but there were no issues – they applied beautifully. My good luck. Next time, hopefully still with my positive philosophy in mind, I’ll use them long before I’ve ever been given the chance to forget about them!
Yes, I do wish you a most lovely and peaceful Valentine’s Day, friends, but there’s a far less warm and fuzzy reason for the two-finger V-Day salute – chiefly that the three-year-old nail strips I had intended to use in this manicure, Incoco’s Love is in the Air, were completely dried out and I was lucky to get the two fingers’ worth of mani that I did. So what’s the lesson we’ve learned this Valentine’s Day, class? That most beauty products have some wiggle room in terms of their best-by dates, just not years of wiggle. Use it when you got it, folks – hoarding (or simply forgetting a thing exists) never pays!
Well, I’d say it’s a good thing I’m darn near comatose after my mother’s gargantuan Easter dinner, because I’ve run out of lame Easter puns. I’m feeling like one blah bunny (nope, wait, looks like I had one final one in reserve!)
This is the manicure I wore to dinner this evening, Incoco’s Easter Basket nail appliques. This is maybe the fifth or sixth manicure I’ve done using Incoco’s fabulous peel-and-stick nail strips, and like all the others, it took next to no time and yielded terrific results. I also feel like I’m really beginning to get the hang of application, an ultra easy affair (buff, stick, pat down and file off) I’ve tweaked for maximum efficiency and wearability. Plus, how cute is this (upside down) bunny-and-chevron design? There were also a few fingers’ worth of a pastel polka dot design in the pack, but the bunnies won by a hare (*mic drop*).
That would be Sealed With a Candy Kiss, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, too! I’ve been hoarding these conversation heart nail strips from Incoco in anticipation of this Valentine’s Day, and now that they’re adorning my fingernails, I’m delighted, both because the printed design is so, so cute (and how about that lovely pearlescent shimmer?) but also because I kind of wasn’t expecting them to still be functional. These strips are well over a year old, and as the nail polish urban legend goes, nail appliques left unattended will most assuredly shrivel into tiny, dried-up wads of noxious chemicals, too bad, so sad. But these nail strips, safely ensconced in their sealed pack, fared perfectly well in my super casual storage setup for 365 days and then some, so great on Incoco for promising and delivering on a really beautiful, and beautifully made, product.
This particular conversation heart print is unfortunately no longer available (don’t know why they didn’t keep it around, because it’s adorable!) but Incoco has hundreds of other beautiful designs and lacquer colours appropriate for V-Day and beyond, for fingertips and tootsies. You can find their products, made from real nail polish, here. Happy Valentine’s Day, friends – kiss kiss!
And as a small note, I’d just like to thank my cats for their sweet V-Day contributions of a cat fur in every. single. photo I took of this manicure. I’d brush them off and they’d reappear on another finger. So thank you, girls – it wouldn’t be a Finger Candy manicure without your furs making it into the shot. 🙂
I recently wore these Incoco nail strips to lunch (at Swiss Chalet!) with my grandmother, a woman whose lifelong love of nail polish (but only those shades from the brown-pink-mauve side of the colour wheel, thankyouverymuch) I’ve documented previously on this blog. She finds my not brown-pink-mauve manicures endlessly amusing, but when I told her that this particular manicure was accomplished by putting stickers! Made of nail polish! On my fingers!? Mind. BLOWN.
It’s so patronizing to say, “Oh, silly grandmother, what a golden age we live in, in-deed!” but her reaction’s actually the right one – we do live in a golden age of nail art, and there are some mighty cool and inventive products out there that we tend to take for granted, like these amazing nail appliques. Seriously, I’d like to know what dark sorcery brought these delightful things into the world. Because y’know what? They just plain work. Incoco has both lovely, on-trend designs for nail art lovers and beautiful colours for those who want to keep it a touch simpler, and as the lovely, fluffy icing on the cake, they also apply lightning fast (my lunchtime manicure took me 20 minutes, including my oft-neglected right hand) and wear like iron.
And pretty? SO pretty! Here I’ve shown After Dark, a festive glittery gradient from last year’s Halloween collection and a real showstopper, if my grandmother’s reaction was any indication (she stopped thinking about rotisserie chicken for half a minute IN the rotisserie chicken restaurant – that’s how you know they impressed the heck out of her.) As with all of the Incoco products I’ve tried to date, these nail strips are simply good stuff – beautiful designs and colours, decent prices (and if your nails are small like mine and you wrap the extra appliques up well so they don’t dry out, you can get two manicures out of a pack of 16 strips) and best of all, you don’t have to possess a technician’s skill level to create an amazing looking manicure – just peel and stick!
Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canuks! True, the observable holiday is not actually until tomorrow, but most of the people I know have their meals tonight, a strategic manoeuvre that puts roughly 24 hours between that third piece of pumpkin pie and the first day of the work week. It’s important to plan ahead, you know. And take a big, long walk once you’ve regained feeling in your brain, a walk on which you might see some pretty fall leaves like these ones? For this seasonally festive manicure, I painted a few burnished, bronzed leaves over top of Incoco’s glittery gradient nail appliques in After Dark for a rich look perfect for post-turkey cool-downs. A simple and effective bit of nail art that works with the beautiful nail strips and doesn’t obliterate their fall-perfect design.
Groan all you want, it’s still funny. 😉 Here I took punny inspiration from the red plaid nail strips I used on my index, middle and pinkie fingers, a punky yet sophisticated design by Incoco, and added a little pop culture twist in the form of one beamed up Scottie dog. It should be noted that this fella is the first canine to grace my nails (I’m one furry pink bathrobe away from being a crazy cat lady) and most likely the first AND last appearance of a Star Trek joke, because despite my husband’s better efforts (like downloading “Learn to Speak Conversational Klingon” to my iPod), Star Trek just ain’t my bag. Sorry, Trekkies – I like the concept, but none of the series have ever really spoken to me.
A note on Incoco nail strips: They’re awesome! Not only are they ridiculously easy to apply (lightly buff your nails, apply the strip just like a sticker, smooth down the edges to ensure a good bond and then buff off the excess) but they’ve got longevity on their side (they only began to show wear and tear after about five days of hard livin’) AND they come in a wide range of fun designs and trendy colours. So have I shilled hard enough? Apparently not, because I forgot to tell you that this weekend, Incoco is offering its usual free shipping with a $50 purchase AND a free set of nail appliques with a $30 purchase. So go make it rain and get creative with some of Incoco’s offerings, and you too can come up with horrible, groany puns about your nail art that would make even your grandpa roll his eyes.