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Sticker Happy: How to Apply (and Remove) Revlon by Marchesa Nail Strips

appliqué nail strips can be a bit tricky to get into place, so we asked a pro to show us how it's done
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Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel nail strips

Our Cranky Beauty Pants had a fail of a time trying the new, limited-edition Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliqué nail strips (see the range here). But I'm hoping she'll try again now that we've got how-to help on video from Revlon nail expert Leeanne Colley, owner of Tips Nail Bar in Toronto.

a lesson before trying

If, like Cranky was, you're a nail-strip novice, you'll get 101 instruction from the first part of the video below. Removal is addressed as well -- turns out the Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliqués are sticky, and can be tricky to take off. Solution: nail polish remover and a cotton pad.

The rest of the how-to offers two application options for the Revlon by Marchesa Jewelled Noir strips (above far right), cut-out fun with the Crown Jewels appliqués (third from left; Leeanne applied them over my gel mani -- with a protective layer of top coat, they lasted a week), and how to use one strip for more than one nail.

Revlon by Marchesa nail strips: now that's an accent nail.

Revlon by Marchesa nail strips: now that's an accent nail.

Once you get the hang of the Revlon by Marchesa nail appliqués (or whatever nail strips you like), you'll find they're a snap for giving new life to a less-than-fresh mani, whether you go the accent-nail route, use them to disguise chips, or want to dress up your tips for a holiday shindig.

These are not nail polish strips, by the way, so they won't shrink and shrivel in the package if you hoard them away. They're UV-cured adhesive strips; the "jewels" are baked securely onto the surface.

leeanne's nail appliqué tips

  • Whether you apply the nail strips over bare nails or polished (lacquer or UV gel), swipe the surface with acetone or rubbing alcohol to remove any oils.
  • Choose a strip size one size larger than you think you need so you have enough to cover the nail entirely.
  • Decide which end of the nail strip is going to be the front tip; from there carefully peel the appliqué from the backing.
  • Position the base of the strip on the nail surface at the cuticle. Once you've centered it, press the base edge onto the nail at the cuticle, then gently pull the length of the appliqué down over the tip of the nail. Press it into the sides and smooth with a fingertip.
  • Use the enclosed mini plastic cuticle stick to ensure the appliqué is firmly adhered down the sides of the nail.
  • Use the enclosed nail file with a feather-light touch, almost flat to rim of the nail, working from the outer edge to the centre of the tip. Any pressure is too much, and see-sawing is a no-no (you might get raggedy edges as our Cranky did). Be gentle, as though you're merely using the file to fold the excess bit under the tip of your nail. A few strokes should be all you need to allow you to separate the excess.
  • You can trim strips before application so you have less excess to pull away. You can also customize their shapes as you like.

Like Cranky B. Pants, before the Revlon by Marchesa 3D Jewel Appliqués ($8.95/18 strips, drugstores), I'd never tried nail stickers. Unlike Cranky, I had the benefit of watching Leeanne at work, so my first attempt turned out very well.

Now you try. Or are you a nail-strip veteran?

Crabtree & Evelyn Nail Polish Remover Wipes -- they're ODOUR-free!

Crabtree & Evelyn Nail Polish Remover Wipes -- they're ODOUR-free!

Oh, one more thing: if, like I was (natch), you happen to be in the back of a cab when comes time to remove the appliqués from your nails, you'll want to have Crabtree & Evelyn Nail Polish Remover Wipes ($4.95/8 wipes, Crabtree & Evelyn) on hand. They're acetone-free, and odour-free, too, so you won't offend any noses in the vicinity. As well, they're infused with natural oils, so they condition your skin and your cuticles as you use them. Genius.