I've discovered the glory that is Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips and THEY ARE AWESOME! Don't be scared, these aren't like the press-ons we saw in the 80s!
After I do the cuticle remover from this post (Instant Cuticle Remover) I apply a quick coat of OPI Chip Skip which takes 0 time to dry, then begin the process of placing these adorable little strips of paint and design.
Like anything that's do-it-yourself, it's awkward at first. Peeling off the back AND front of the strip helped me loads (yes, I tried to put the nail strip on my nail with the clear part still on...I'd never done it before so I didn't know it wouldn't work!) and becoming fearless while placing the thin plastic-like strip down on the nail. Don't be too obsessed with getting the edges to line up. I discovered that you can use the orange stick (included in the package) to lightly press and edge out the excess, which easily peels away to reveal a perfectly formed edge!
Gently pulling the strip down and away from the tips of the nail insures that it will stretch out slightly and conform well to the nail. Be sure to press and hold the strip to the nail itself, the heat from your hands helps the product adhere better. Smoothing the paint from cuticle to nail tip also insures no bubbles or folds. Using the less abrasive third of the nail file (also included in the box) you can file rest of the paint/nail to the size and shape of nails that you prefer. I like something a little shorter and a square/round.
You can leave it at that; or do what I do which is once the strips have completely adhered, I add one coat of OPI Nail Envy and one coat of OPI Rapi Dry Top Coat just to finish it up and make my nails super shiny. I also follow up with the Nail Envy and Top Coat every two days after that. My nails keep in good condition for almost two weeks, or whenever I get bored or see another pattern that I love!
Here's some examples of the patterns I've tried:
I've yet to try any of the sets with just plain color, though there's no shortage of them. I just love the fun and funk of the designs. They are priced anywhere between $7-$10 US per set. The set includes 16 various sized strips, one wooden cuticle stick and one nail file/buffer and the instructions. Easy and fun!