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Nail Rock Meadham Kirchhoff SS12 Designer Nail Wraps Review

Gone are the days when manicures were part of an unremarkable grooming routine. Nowadays, we stress how we decorate our nails — whether it’s by brushing on a stunning nail color with a magnetic, glittery, or holographic effect; applying an elaborate watermarbled pattern or creating designs using dotting tools; or pressing on some adorable nail wraps with attention-grabbing motifs. In fact, we place as much emphasis on our nails  as we do our choice of earrings, shoes, and handbags. The past five years, then, has seen the advent of everything from Minx to crackle polish and adhesive nail strips (chief among them: Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips). Celebrity manicurist Zoe Pocock launched Nail Rock to appeal to women who approach nails as accessories, with seasonal nail wrap designs featuring on-trend graphics and patterns. For Spring 2012, Pocock called upon designers Ed Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff of fun-loving British fashion brand Meadham Kirchhoff to create an exclusive assortment of nail wrap patterns. The result: an adorable, limited-edition collection of nail wraps with motifs mirroring those seen in the Meadham Kirchhoff  “A Wolf in Lamb’s Clothing” collection, which includes candy-colored pink, yellow, and sky blue skirts, cardigans, dresses and jumpers decorated with heart shapes featuring cartoonish eyes, smiling clouds connected by rainbow arches, glitter-covered sheep decals, and other fairy-tale worthy fare (paired, of course, with grungier pieces and club kid fare so as to look a bit off-kilter, yielding a Goldilocks-sucks-an-acid-lollipop effect).
There’s a childlike innocence and a dollop of nostalgia infused into the Nail Rock Meadham Kirchhoff Spring 2012 Designer Nail Wraps (available for $8/pack at Topshop and Nordstrom stores), with imagery worthy of nursery rhyme books: from 1950s Ginny doll-esque illustrations of golden-haired little girls with flushed cheeks to checkered teddy bear, googly-eyed hearts with wide eyes and flirtatious lashes, and baby-faced kittens with ribbons tied around their necks.

The wraps come in slim packets featuring a single sheet with 16 nail wraps (eight individual designs and two of each design). Unlike the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips or the Sephora by OPI Chic Prints for Nails, these Nail Rock wraps were designed so that each fingernail will bear a different design, making each fingernail look different from the one adjacent to it while still maintaining a cohesiveness due to the overall theme, aesthetic, and color scheme.

To apply, you have to first file nails and buff them thoroughly to remove any excess shine, then wipe the nail surface with the acetone wipe included in the packet. Once dry, you can then find the nail wrap that best fits your nail and, carefully peeling it from the sticker sheet, position it on the nail, making sure to properly align it (you’ll want the rounded side to face toward the nail bed). Once you’ve placed the nail wrap perfectly, making sure the surface is crease free, apply some pressure to the nail  to secure the sticker in place. Next, take any excess material and gently fold it over your nail. Using a smooth nail file (make sure it’s not overly coarse or jagged), file underneath the tip of your nails to remove this excess material.

Simple enough, right? Wrong. So, so, so wrong.

Since I’m practically maniacal in my love of the Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips and I’ve perfected the application process for those, I figured manipulating the Nail Rock wraps would be a breeze. Unfortunately, these nail wraps are much more difficult to apply properly. First, the arch at each wrap’s curved end was too steep so that, if you positioned the apex of this slope at the base of the nail, right by the cuticles, you’d end up with small gaps along the bottom edges of the nail. Sure, this can happen with the Sally Hansen strips too, but here’s the difference: with the Sally Hansen strips, you can just slide the nail wrap down a bit so that there’s some excess hanging past the nail bed and lather remove this excess using a cuticle stick and buffer. The same tactic can’t be used for the Nail Rock stickers since they’re considerably thicker, making it markedly more difficult to trim off any excess. Similarly, when you try to file off the excess material folded over the nail tips, you’ll find yourself filing rather feverishly and, once you remove the excess, you’ll still have to work hard to get a clean smooth line along the tip.

Even more troubling, the nail wraps don’t adhere well to the nail — you might find them popping up at the tips or along the sides, making the effect much less chic. Hours after completing my manicure, I could still just peel off each sticker with the same ease as when I’d first removed it from its original plastic sheet (you can imagine, then, how easily these will snag, unglue, and fall off fingers once you actually start using your hands). And, unlike the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips, which look so seamless on nails that people wonder whether they’re a Minx design or some funky artwork, these Nail Rock strips always look like stickers.

My other gripe: these nail wraps seemed to have been created with the image of women with long nails (or artificial tips) since the patterns are so large that they won’t fit on a shorter nail. On a shorter nail, for example, a red strip with a blue-and-white gingham print teddy bear will have to be filed down to the point where the bear’s ears are removed, completely distorting the illustration.

The designs themselves were beyond adorable — a Goldilocks-style fantasy that will appeal to your inner child — but I wish the scale would have been adjusted to make them more functional for women with nails of all lengths and widths. But most of all, I wish the Meadham Kirchhoff fellows would have collaborated with a better nail company. Perhaps we could lobby for a collabo with Sally Hansen?

 Check out the images after the jump to see my cute (albeit short-lived) manicure:

Here’s a photo of the Nail Rock Meadham Kirchhoff nail wraps on my nails. As you can see, I had to file off the ears of both the teddy bear sticker on my middle finger and the kitten on my ring finger, which made me so sad! If you look closely, you’ll also see that the stickers aren’t lying flat at the sides of some of the nails since, as I mentioned before, the material is so thick that it’s extremely hard to tuck in using the enclosed cuticle stick or to remove any leftover material using a nail file, buffer, or a cuticle stick.

The designs are so adorable that I was heart-broken over the product flaws!

Still, if you have long nails and you want to spruce them up for a day or two, feel free to give these a whirl.

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