This review has been a long time in the making. Last year, Incoco (which stands for Innovative Cosmetic Concepts) sent me a few sets of their dry nail polish strips, aka the Incoco Dry Nail Applique, but the experience turned out to be sort of a disaster. I couldn't get the hang of applying them and on top of that the colors they sent me were so horribly ugly that I just couldn't review them.
They contacted me again a couple months ago asking if I'd want to try them again and I told them I was only interested if they had different colors. This time I actually loved the colors so it allowed me to keep the product on long enough to do a thorough evaluation. So now I'll share my experience!
And just for kicks and giggles, here were my first attempts from last year:
This was my first try with the color Juicy Peach. How did this get named Juicy Peach? It could have been named Frosty Granny. I totally failed in applying this. See how it's all wrinkled and bunched up, and also how it doesn't align nicely at the cuticle? These definitely have a learning curve.
This was my second try with Juicy Peach. Still some wrinkles but I was starting to get the hang of applying. Note that you can see every ridge and imperfection in my nail.
This was Lolita, one color I would actually wear, but I royally botched this one too. I somehow tore them, wrinkled them and they didn't cover my nail evenly.
But I did much better this time!
Plum Quartz. This shade is a really beautiful soft purple-pink glitter with a little bit of what looks like holo glitter thrown in. I thought it was going to be very sheer but once it was on my nail, the coverage was great, I had no visible nail line. You can click the image to enlarge and view the detail. Not a *perfect* application, but much better than I had tried before.
You don't have to wear topcoat with these as they are quite shiny on their own, but I was curious so I did one hand with topcoat:
This is Plum Quartz with one coat of Barielle Ultra Speed Dry Manicure Extender. I want you to note something here also. Enlarge the image and look at the index finger nail. I messed up my application a little and tried to layer another piece of a strip on top to cover it up. I don't recommend this because it ends up looking really obvious and it also tries to peel off the entire time you're wearing it. It does add depth to the color, so if you're really in the mood to splurge you might be able to layer two whole strips on top of each other. Otherwise, layering pieces is not a good strategy.
I wanted to give these a full week wear test but I only made it to four days. I would have liked to leave it on longer but some Fall polish collection arrived (I think it may have been Misa) and I really, really wanted to swatch it!
Here's how both hands looked on day four:
Here's the hand without topcoat. No chipping and very little tipwear. Still looks shiny and freshly applied for the most part.
Here's the hand with topcoat. No chipping and just a little tipwear. However, the spots where I layered strips are peeling.
I'm rather impressed with the wear time on these. If I had to wear the same polish, God forbid, for a week or more, I'd definitely be using these.
If you're still unclear on what this Incoco thing actually is, I can explain.
Incoco Dry Nail Appliques are basically just thin strips of nail polish. They're not wet- they're dry. They're actually a whole lot like stickers, except they are really stretchy and smell faintly of nail polish.
This is what they look like in the package. They are sealed in an air-tight foil packet to prevent the strips from drying out. The full Incoco kit comes with special metal tape to re-seal the package in case you have some strips left over. It's funny, I didn't know it was sealing tape, I thought it was for nail art or something, I couldn't figure it out until I read the contents list. It is important to keep the strips completely sealed because they will dry out and not stick to the nail anymore.
It is recommended by the manufacturer to buff the nail smooth before application. I would have to agree with this as these appliques are VERY unforgiving of ridges and flaws. They are sort of a magnifying glass for ridges. I am not fond of buffing my nails frequently (it weakens them) so I skipped this step.
First, you separate the nail-shaped tabs and pick which one matches your nail the closest. You remove the protective backing (it peels off easily) and align the correct curved end of the Incoco applique with the cuticle.
You want to apply this on a bare nail, but I suppose a coat of ridge filler may not hurt. It may affect the wear time, though. Anyway, once you have the cuticle end perfectly aligned and straight, you smooth a bit of it it down onto the nail with a little pressure- and this is the tricky part I had trouble with at first- gently stretch the applique from the free edge to fit over the nail, smooth the rest of the applique down with your finger and what you'll be left with is a little excess polish hanging over the free edge of the nail. You can fold it down and either scrape it off with the edge of your nail or file it off, either will work. And then you're done! No drying time.
I find that I can actually do two nails with one applique if I'm careful. If you have very long nails you'll likely only be able to do one nail per applique. The package comes with two full strips of eight appliques each. They have sizes from wide to skinny and each applique has two ends to help you match the curve of your cuticle- one straighter edge and one with more of a steep curve.
The kit also comes with a special polish remover pad that's supposed to remove all ten appliques:
It's a felt rectangle soaked with what feels like a non-acetone polish remover formula. It says it will remove polish from all ten nails, but it really doesn't. I had to go back over with a cotton ball and remover to get all the Incoco polish off. You don't need this special cloth for removal, though, any polish remover will do.
After testing out this product a few times, I've come up with a list of pros and cons:
- Long wear time- no chipping
- No need for basecoat or topcoat
- No staining
- Really smooth glitter shades
- Since it's not a liquid you can travel with it easily
- Little to no smell when applying
- No drying time
- Sold at Walgreens (small selection) or online (full range)
- Can be removed easily at home with zero damage to the nail
- Application is tricky at first and you may waste some strips learning
- Nails feel sort of rubbery or tacky
- Glitter shades have rough edges
- Price- one set of strips (one manicure) for $8- slightly less than a full bottle of OPI nail polish (30-40 manicures). These are too expensive for me to use regularly.
- May not match or fit your nail shape perfectly leaving bare edges or excess around edges
- Not much of a selection in the color range
- Full color range not carried locally
- Thin strips show every bump, ridge and flaw in the nail
Overall, I think this product is really cool and I definitely would use it again. However, I feel that the price is too high for only one manicure per package (or two if you have shorter nails and the strips don't dry out). For special occasions or vacations where you don't want your polish to chip for a week, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these. You can pack them in your carry-on if you're flying since they're not liquid.
One feature I really liked about these was the smoothness of the glitter. It was not rough or gritty at all, it was perfectly smooth. I really, really liked the glitter shade I tried (Plum Quartz) and I'm looking forward to trying another one of the glitters they sent me. They're opaque and sparkly and not difficult to remove, either. I think the glitters are their best product.
If you want to view the whole range of colors, their online shop is here. For some reason I don't see the Plum Quartz that I used listed there. And now that I'm looking at it... it looks like they discontinued a lot of shades that I saw before. Bummer.
I have several other shades of these including french manicure kits. Would you be interested in seeing more of the colors or seeing more reviews of these? I'm curious about the french manicure kits (one has glitter tips!) so I'll likely do a review of that at some point. Let me know what you think.
(These were sent to me for review)