Welcome to Skimm Tested, where we put products to the test and then give them a report card. (Check out all of our tried-and-tested faves here.)
My colleague Abby and I (both DIY manicure enthusiasts) tested two of Olive & June’s at-home manicure systems to find out if they're on par with professional manicures. Press-on nails have been around for a while (I remember begging my mom for some Sally Hansens from Walmart), but Olive & June's press-on system promises an even easier application method and salon-quality designs. And their polish system is supposed to be as long-lasting as gel, minus the challenge of getting it on and off. Can these popular kits really deliver on the DIY nail movement?
What we tested…
The Mani System: An all-in-one manicure set including your choice of one or six long-lasting nail polishes, plus extras for a complete manicure. ($55+)
The Instant Mani System: An at-home press-on nail system that includes either one or four sets of press-ons, plus all the tools you need to apply them. ($110+)
Straight A’s in…
Ease of use: With both the mani and the press-on system, changing our nail design took as little as 15 minutes. Seriously. The mani system comes with extra nail-care products (more on that later) and acetone-free polish remover for cleaning up edges. You can choose from two types of polish, long-lasting or quick-dry, or a combination of the two. I opted for the long-lasting colors, since the most important thing to me is time in between touch-ups, and I absolutely loved it. The polish went on so evenly, the color was vibrant, and I barely needed to add the top coat for shine. The press-on system came with tons of different nail sizes, all numbered and stacked, so Abby had no problem finding the best fit. All she had to do was prep and buff with the included tools, glue on her tips, and she was good to go. She said the press-on brush glue was a game changer since it made sure there was no overflowing glue oozing out of the nails.
Results: Both Abby and I got so many compliments on our nails. Hers were constantly mistaken for salon-quality acrylics. Thanks to the custom nail art stickers I snagged with the mani system, tons of friends asked me for a nail makeover. My long-lasting polish looked like new for about eight days. It started to show wear and chips after around day 12, pretty much on par with a salon gel manicure. Two of Abby’s sets lasted for two weeks — even through opening soda cans and washing dishes — and looked gorgeous the entire time. Extra points go toward the thin design that made wearing them feel like a second skin.
Color and design options: We can’t get enough of the colors and designs available for both the press-on and mani system. Both types of polishes available with the mani system come in over 40 colors and various finishes, from sheers to metallics. The press-ons also come in tons of designs, solid colors, lengths, and shapes. Both are easy to browse on the Olive & June website thanks to the filtering system.
Extra tools: We love that both systems supply you with everything you need to create your perfect mani. Included in the mani system, you get a polish top holder, box for storage, clean-up brush, polish remover pot, clipper, buffer, file, and top coat. And in the press-on system, you’ll find a carry-all pouch, nail file, buffer, cuticle pusher, cuticle serum, nail strengthener, and removal kit.
Room for growth…
Remover pot: The press-on remover gets stars for even existing in the first place. I can’t tell you how many nail beds I’ve ruined after peeling off acrylics and glue-ons. That said, Abby noted that “while the press-on remover does work, it takes a very long time. I felt like I was sitting with the removers on my hands for hours and then I would take them off to check and they still weren’t completely removed.” In the end, it still made a huge difference in the removal process, even though it took longer than we would’ve liked.
Dry Drops: I snagged the Dry Drops as an add-on to the mani system because I'm constantly applying last-minute touch-ups. I had high hopes for the drops — they say they cut the dry time in half — but I felt like they didn't do much in the end. Maybe it’s a testament to the Olive & June polish formula, but it felt like I didn't need the drops at all.
Works best for…
Nail art lovers: If switching up your look, length, or design at a moment's notice sounds like something you’d be into — run, don’t walk to Olive & June. Both the systems are incredibly easy to use and have so many fun options for customization.
People who don’t love a salon trip: One of the best things about a DIY mani is that you don’t have to leave your couch. Olive & June takes the at-home mani up a notch so you can leave your house with salon-level nails.
Gets extra credit for…
Nail- and hand-care products: One of our favorite things about Olive & June is the Care & Essentials tab on the website. We got a few add-ons with our nail systems (like the Dry Drops and cuticle oil) that we loved, but there are so many more products to choose from. If you’re suffering from dry hands or feet, there’s the Complete Serum Set that comes with specially targeted lotions and oils. If nail strength and health are top concerns, the nail strengthener, primer, and ridge filler are great options for building it back. There really is something for everyone looking to up their nail game.
How we did our homework…
My colleague Abby and I tested five manicures each with the Mani and Instant Mani Systems. I used two different colors — Making a Res and Jelly Baby — and she used the Double Pink Jelly French and Daisy French press-ons. We both went about our normal routines, exposing our freshly manicured nails to all the elements of daily life. Over the course of 12 days, I tested the long-lasting polish to see how it would hold up during my regularly scheduled programming — like washing dishes, cooking, working out — and Abby tested two different press-ons to see how natural they’d look and how long they’d last over the course of one month.
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