Before I got into gel manicures, I used to do nail art all the time. This also consumed a lot of time, which was okay back then because I HAD time. Then, I got into gel and got 10-21 days out of a manicure. As my time faded, so too did my interest in nail art. Even now, I don’t dislike it. I just can’t spend hours on my nails 1-2x a week, and I never picked up gel art.
Enter Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail Strips
I had never tried nail strips – neither classic nor curable gel. Though I appreciate the art-on-demand aspect, they didn’t strike me as something I needed to try. I have good polishing skills, and I can live without art. So, I dismissed them for my own purposes. This goes for both gel AND classic strips – just had very little interest at their price point.
Last July, some of the Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail Strips went on sale. I bought a pack that featured a tortoise design, and left them untouched until mid-October. It was then sufficiently Autumn, so I gave them a shot.
I was pleasantly surprised that using these things is pretty damn easy! Match up sizing much like you’d do for a press-on nail. Carefully peel from the backing. Align with your cuticle and gently but firmly press to adhere, ensuring no bubbles or gaps.
A (smol) Deviation
I ended up deviating for every nail beyond the first. They advise filing the excess beyond the free edge by filing OVER the strip downwards at the free edge. This worked, but took a while, was not clean and crisp, and most critically left the free edge uncapped.
How is this the official guidance? We know capping the free edge does wonders for durability! So, you know, screw the rules.
Using a nail scissor (use clippers if you don’t have some), I trimmed most BUT NOT ALL of the excess. Deliberately, I left a small margin. Next, carefully maintaining adhesion across the nail plate, press that margin over the free edge. This caps your nail like you would if you were polishing. Once everything is well-adhered with no bubbles or gaps, cure under a lamp. I topped with a top coat.
Overall? It’s pretty fast! Certainly faster than painting, which is nice.
Happily, my set of Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail strips lasted 10 days. I expected lower durability than that, so I was pleased. I suffered a small chip at day 8; not horribly obtrusive. Unfortunately, there was no fixing or or camouflaging either, due to the tortoise nature of the set.
Near the end, the dreaded cuticle-side lift was starting to be fierce. This is no different than a gel or acrylic set lifting the same way – it can catch strands of hair if you run your fingers through it. Ouch!
You get enough Ohora Semi Cured Gel Nail Strips in a pack to do 1-2 manicures if you’re lucky, depending on your nail sizes. I was only able to get one out of my pack because my index and ring fingers require the same size. This inherently creates waste.
A way around this I guess would be to buy a few and trade with friends who have different nail sizes, but how realistic is that?
Also, if you’re getting packs that have any sort of art or accent? Most of those packs are not a FULL pack of that design. My tortoise pack, for example, was not all tortoise. There were 14 tortoise strips (but, for me, not in sizes that let me do a full set of them), 8 solid dark brown, and 8 taupe. If you were hoping to get a full set of a design, it isn’t happening unless you buy multiple packs.
I can appreciate that they can’t offer every size under the sun, but it would also be nice to see more size options, even if you have to buy different packs. I have pretty small fingers and I felt underserved (a lot of the strips were WAY too small), so this product isn’t especially inclusive.
Are Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail Strips Worth it?
Where They Could Make Sense
I think they have their place. First, to have this not be a complete waste, you have to have small nail sizes – otherwise, skip it.
If you want art without going to a salon or spending the time learning yourself, they’re nice AND quick. Alternatively, if you like polished nails but lack brush skills, they offer a professional look with no skill required. They’re extremely user friendly.
I can also see them being a good solution for travel. With a small LED lamp, it would be a decent way to do your nails away from home without toting chemicals.
But, they’re Expensive
But they are not inexpensive. At $13-16 per pack at regular price, they’re not worth it for me, even with the time savings. I can buy a quality, full-sized bottle of gel polish that will last dozens, if not hundreds of manicures for that. Price-per-manicure just isn’t there for me since I like doing my own. They’re cheaper than a salon by far if you’re already doing regular salon visits, though.
That expense hits especially hard when, best case, you *might* be able to eke 2 manicures out of a pack – or if you were hoping for full art sets without solid accent nails.
The Bottom Line
I likely won’t repurchase Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail strips for myself, but I think they have their place.
What I’d Like to See from Ohora (and similar products)
Here’s what I’d like to see to be able to make a stronger recommendation:
- A better approach to sizes – maybe offer strip sets with S/M and M/L options.
- Provide a size chart with nail width measurements.
- Barring the above, include more sizes in a pack.
- Offer more art sets without solid strips. If I want watercolor pink nails, I want the whole set, not less than 1/2.
What do you think about Ohora Semi-Cured Gel Nail strips and similar products?