I rarely get a manicure. I can’t justify it, especially when I already allot a large chunk of my time (and budget) to regular gel pedicures, waxes, and facials. It’s a horrible feeling to be confined to a chair in a salon for hours. I can’t even flip through a tabloid or scroll through Instagram. Even rarer? Doing my nails myself. I simply cannot paint my own nails – the last time I attempted to was nearly two years ago, and they were done so poorly, my fingers resembled a Jackson Pollock painting (and it became a running joke among my friend group). Except for a few occasions like holidays or weddings, I keep my nails unpolished and short. I admit it, the irony of being a beauty editor and having nails that aren’t polished is not lost on my.

This is how you can picture my reaction to Dashing Diva’s GLAZE nail strips. They last for 2 weeks and can be cured under an LED light in 45 seconds. What’s more, the only window of time I had for trying them was a few hours before a dinner party in which I’d meet my boyfriend’s family. Great, I thought. Another at-home nail kit that will most likely result in disaster. But part of my job involves conquering my fears (vampire facials do hurt, FYI), so I reluctantly locked myself in the bathroom and got to it.

person with black manicure holding white textile

Dashing Diva’s GLAZE includes 34 cruelty-free and vegan nail strips in 12 sizes. There is also a wooden manicure tool to push your cuticles back and a small nail file. You can also use the “prep” pads for cleaning nails before applying. Semi-cured gel is 70%, which means they can be used under an LED lamp for a shorter time. Dashing Diva will send you a with your first order of GLAZE nail stripping. The lamp and all the accessories you need to succeed in each box are included, except for a pair nail clippers which you will definitely need.

I was given a large assortment of solid colors and prints to try out, including Space Blue, a deep navy blue, was my choice because it felt bold. Although the instructions are printed, I found myself watching the YouTube channel of Dashing Diva, pausing and rewinding more often than I would like.

First, I washed and rubbed my cuticles. Then, I filed my tips into a more round shape. Next, I used prep pads to clean my nails of any oil or debris. I started with my thumb nail. Next, I took the appropriate-sized nail strip from the sheet and peeled it off. Then, I tried to attach it to my nail. It was extremely stiff and fell off almost immediately. I knew something was wrong. I read through the instructions and realized that my nail strips had already cured because I had left them on a table in direct sun all morning. I felt foolish and reached for a new box.

The strips were gel-like, molded to fit my nails, and held well. As per the video tutorial I applied each strip to my nails, making sure there were no bubbles or folds. After removing the protective film, I cut each strip with a nail cutter to the same length as my actual nails. My nails were very short so there was a lot of excess material from the strips that kept getting stuck in my clippers. Maybe I should invest in a better pair of clippers or keep my nails longer for next time.

Once I was satisfied with the length and position of the strips, the LED lamp (which has a USB port), was plugged in and pushed the button. The light turns on for 45 seconds. You can hold the button down for a full minute. My nails were dry within 45 seconds. This was a great thing for someone like me who is always anxious. However, I found myself acting in the same paranoid manner as if my nails had just been painted. To test my nails, I used some steel wool that was under the sink to find it. There was not a single scratch.

My other hand was faster and easier to apply. To see if the difference made, I placed my nails under the lamp for 60 seconds. The results were similar, except for the 45 second thumb nail which didn’t feel completely secure. I was still able to receive two compliments at the party on my nails, which I consider a huge win.

These nail strips really impressed me. These nail strips are a great alternative to gel manicures. They last up to two weeks, thanks to the triple-layer technology which includes color, top coat, and base. However, I decided to take them off three days later as I don’t feel right with having color on my nails. It was surprisingly easy and not damaging to remove them. You can also use a little cuticle oil or the wooden manicure stick included with the kit. These are the ones I will be reaching for come New Years Eve. They’ll last me through the New Year if they can withstand a dinner party with my boyfriend and his family.

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