Saturday, November 1, 2008

PRODUCT REVIEW: Incoco Dry Nail Appliques

While in my local Walgreens a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a large display of Incoco Dry Nail Appliques. My interest was piqued. I had been curious about these "stick-on" nail polish strips ever since I first saw a similar product in an Avon catalog a year or two ago. This type of "polish" is supposedly made from real base coat, nail color, and top coat - except it is dry, like a sticker for your nails. This promises the no-mess, no waiting for the stuff to dry kind of manicure that I dream about - it seems whenever I do a traditional manicure, no matter how long I wait for the stuff to dry, I end up smudging at least one nail.

So, I picked up two packs of the Incoco appliques - one in a sheer pink with turquoise sparkles called "Tinkerbelle" (I figured my first try would be with this sheer one so that any screwups would be minimally visible) and a deep, dark fall-trend maroon called "Lolita." Skeptical as always, it took me a week to get up the energy to test these things, but last Saturday I sat down while watching TV to set to work on this project.

As mentioned, I chose "Tinkerbelle" to start with. Upon opening the package, I discovered that I smelled nail polish and also that the package contained a number of things. An orange stick for pushing back cuticles, a mini nail buffing board, the nail appliques themselves, a piece of special silver tape for resealing the unused appliques (apparently they dry out if exposed to air for too long, which makes sense if they are truly made of polish), and a special polish remover cloth to be used when one decides to change colors. In addition, there was a sample of their French Manicure strips (although that contains only two nail strips, so I guess the point is to try it and then wipe it off - who would go around with only two fingers "Frenched"?).

Following the directions, I pushed back my ragged cuticles, then buffed my nails smooth with the enclosed buffer (which is awesome, by the way - save this for future use in natural looks because it works like a charm). Then, it was time to get down to applying the nail color strips. These come connected in a long strip, with the appliques going from smallest to largest. Beginning with my pinky, as suggested by the enclosed instructions, I found the size I wanted to use and tore it from the string of strips. Removed the protective top sheet and pulled the enamel away from the white backing.

At this point, I became a little bit irritated - while in the package on the backing, "Tinkerbelle" looks like it will be a soft, milky pink with the blue sparkles in it. However, when pulled away from the white backing, you discover that it is actually a very sheer Barbie pink with sparkles - instead of being opaque on the nail, it allows your nail to show through like a sort of clear coat with minute glitter in it. Thus, it wasn't the color I thought it would be, but I should have thought about that in the first place - of COURSE a white backing will change the color of a light polish.

Anyway, I continued with the manicure and positioned the applique on my nail. This took a little effort at first as I tried to make sure that the polish would be exactly straight on the nail while unsure if I should touch the strip on the sticky part. Turns out that you can, so things became easier once I discovered that. So, I got the strip straight, pressed it all over my nail, and bent it over the tip as instructed. Then I gently filed off the excess.

Bingo - a perfectly polished nail! Excited, I continued on and did all of my fingers in about 5-10 minutes. When I finished, I admired my salon perfect manicure - and even though the color wasn't what I expected, I found I liked it anyway - it had a nice subtle duochrome effect so my nails caught the light and gave off subtle pink and turquoise flashes. It's like a funky club polish hiding in a nude work polish - the bad girl underneath the good girl image.

As promised, the whole process was totally simple, and the enamel was perfectly dry. I could go about my business immediately upon finishing my nails without sitting around for 30 minutes, waving my hands like a raving lunatic.

BUT - does the stuff last, you wonder.

Last? Are you kidding? This stuff is impervious to any insult - I am not joking. A week later, my nails look the same as they did immediately after finishing the manicure. And this is from someone who normally has chipped polish 2 days after even a professional manicure at the spa. This stuff survived my writing job, which involves typing for hours. It survived multiple hand washings, and even using my nails as tools to open containers, envelopes, and whatever else needed opening. It even survived bashing my thumbnail in the drawer of a filing cabinet in my cubicle at work!

Even better, as it lasts it seems to support the nail well. As I have aged (gracefully of course), my nails have developed a propensity for peeling and splitting. When wearing no polish, at least one nail will split and peel every two days or so, leaving me looking pretty ragged. However, while wearing these Incoco things, not a single thing has happened to my nails - they have maintained the shape I made them last week, and have not peeled or split at all. They even feel stronger when I push on the tips.

While I'm super excited to try the deep, dark red of "Lolita," I think I am going to leave the current appliques on a while longer to see just how long it will last. The company says at least 14 days, and you know what? For the first time in my life, I believe a nail polish claim!

Get 'em... they're sold at Walgreens and only, for $4.99 a pack. This'll give you two manicures, so it's sort of expensive, but the tradeoff for me is worth it. Plus, if you visit the website, there's a coupon for $1 off.


JennBee said...

They sound excellent! I've been eager to try them for a little while now, but have had my doubts. :) Maybe now I'll actually give them a try.

Jennifer said...

I was totally doubtful... after I bought them I actually couldn't believe I'd most likely wasted money. LOL. BUT, it turns out it was a very good investment. You can read other reviews on them at, and they are almost all superb - the product gets 5 stars there too!