Unlike most nail appliqués, which tend to be made of a plastic material, I much prefer nail polish strips because the removal process is much kinder to your nails. Most plastic-based appliques involve soaking the entire nail in acetone for proper removal, but because these are essentially semi-dried polish strips, you can just remove them like normal nail polish, with cotton wool and nail polish remover. I've reviewed nail polish strips before in a previous post, and found them to be pretty good for a fuss-free application.
So, what happens when those nail polish strips - like real nail polish in bottles - dry out? I stumbled upon a solution the other day, when a months-old Incoco nail polish strip set I wanted to use had dried out. Fortunately, the answer is simple. All you need is this:
Yep, that's all. Just a bottle of Orly Smudge Fixer. When I realized my nail polish strips had dried out, I was sad, and thought I'd have to throw the entire set out. And then a thought struck me: since these strips were made of nail polish, couldn't I rehydrate them with thinner, just like real nail polish? And isn't my handy bottle of Orly Smudge Fixer mostly made out of thinner anyway?
So began the experiment. The strip I'm using here is Incoco Soho Chic, a gorgeous deep brown with flecks of gold/red shimmer. It's absolutely gorgeous, which is why I was so loathe to just let it die like that.
First, I placed a strip on my nail (if you've never done this before, here's a nail polish strip tutorial to help you out). As you can see, because the nail polish strip is dried out, it doesn't stick nicely to the nail. It's all bunched up and uneven at the sides. Normally I don't have this problem with the nail polish strips - they usually just stick quite flat to the nail.
Next, we add a little of our secret sauce - Orly Smudge Fixer. I just painted the smudge Fixer over the unsticky parts of the strip, and the bulges. You can also just paint over the entire nail with Smudge Fixer if the strip is really dried out, but the general idea is to wet the strip enough for it to adhere properly to the nail.
And you're done! Look, no more weird bulges! Wasn't that simple? Just wait for the strips to dry, and you're good to go! Well, there is a small catch, though. Because the strips have been wet with Smudge Fixer, they will take a little while to dry. If you are impatient, a layer of quick-dry topcoat would help to speed things up.
And there you have it! Good as new! Other than Orly Smudge Fixer, I think you could use any other brand of nail polish solvent or thinner. The general idea is just to put back the solvent which had evaporated and thus caused the strip to dry out. I'm pretty excited about this method, it's simple and it works! Now I have an awesome manicure, and saved myself bunch of money!