The Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit is normally not my kind of thing since I’m not much into nail art.
But after seeing how easy it seemed to use and how inexpensive it was, I felt I should at least give it a proper go. That’s my inner Brit coming out there.
I had also heard that these were at both CVS and Rite Aid and the kits were slightly different in that they contained different stamping plates inside. That’s true! I bought it at both CVS first then Rite Aid, and the plates are all different.
The kit comes with
5 Design Plates (each with 6-7 designs on them)
There are also instructions on the back that give you a visual of how it all works.
Even though this came with two instruction guides, I still had questions with a couple things. Being someone who has never used anything like this before, they kind of glossed over some key tips I think, but I will go over that more in a bit.
Inside the kit you see the scraper, stamper, instruction guide, design plates and holder.
The stamper that comes with this is a dual-ended one with a wider size and a smaller one.
Now I will say that the ends of the stamper that you actually stamp with are a little slippery. It says on the instruction guide that you can gently file the surface of them to help the nail polish adhere better. I didn’t do that but it might be easier.
This is what the design plate looks like when you put it in the holder they provide. Honestly I found it to be kind of useless and more of a hindrance than anything. Once you put the polish on the stamp and scrape off the excess, you get polish all over the holder. So really it’s easier and less messy to just put the design plate on a paper towel.
Before we go any further I would like to give you the instructions they give you and my additions:
“Apply a base coat of polish to your nails and allow to dry thoroughly”. Now I was pretty sure what they meant by base coat was not an actual base coat, but rather whatever nail color you wanted under the design. But they could have been more clear saying that.
“Select a Design Plate and place it in the plate holder”. Easy enough, though as I mentioned I prefer to not use the plate holder.
“Apply polish to the design of your choice”. This is fairly clear but I was just kind of guessing on how much polish I put on there.
“Use scraper to remove excess polish from the Design Plate.” Now here is where I ran into some issues. First off I had no clue how much polish I should scrape off or how hard I should scrape. First few times I didn’t scrape off enough and wound up with blobs of color along with the pattern on my nails. Then another time I scraped too much and the whole stamp didn’t transfer. Also something to note is the scraper has a sharp metal edge, so using it scratches the plates very easily. I scratched up 3 plates. So using an old plastic gift card or credit card is better for that part. (Thanks to G for that tip!)
“Press the stamp onto the selected image to pick up the pattern. The Stamp has two sides. Depending on the size of your chosen design, use either the small stamp or the large stamp.” Again I would have added something to this to make things easier. At first I was just pressing straight down with the stamper onto the design. That didn’t work over and over. The stamp would slip right off blurring the design. Finally I realized that rolling the stamper from side to side quickly picked up the design MUCH better than pressing straight down.
“Working quickly, transfer the design onto your fingernail by gently pressing the stamp onto one side of your nail and using a single rolling motion to apply the design.” That was clear and worked well.
A HUGE tip I feel they are missing is when do you clean the plate, scraper and stamper? Do you clean in-between each nail, after 5 nails or after all 10? For the design plate I didn’t clean it until I was done with all nails. The scraper needed to be wiped off onto a paper towel after each nail otherwise it got too messy. The stamper would sometimes have a residue on it also after stamping onto a nail, so I cleaned that off after each nail. I think this was a major oversight on their part in the instructions because as someone who has never done this, I had no idea what I should have been doing.
Some of the tips included are:
“Once your design is completely dry, you may wish to apply a clear top coat to the entire nail once the design is thoroughly dry”. First off I always, always, always recommend a top coat and secondly, this is a totally redundant sentence.
“For best results use nail polish with a thick consistency.” Agreed!
“You may wish to gently file the surface of the stamper to cause the nail polish to adhere better.”
Some tips I would add are:
Don’t use the metal scraper that comes with the kit, use a gift card or credit card instead so you don’t scratch the plates.
Make sure you have cotton balls and nail polish remover on hand so you can clean the scraper (or card) and stamper as you go.
A good way to practice stamping is on an old mani you are getting ready to remove anyway. That way at least you aren’t painting a fresh mani, waiting for it to dry, stamping and possibly ruining it.