Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit

The “As Seen On TV” Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit is normally not my kind of thing since I’m not much into nail art.

But after seeing how easy it seemed to use and how inexpensive it was, I felt I should at least give it a proper go. That’s my inner Brit coming out there.

I had also heard that these were at both CVS and Rite Aid and the kits were slightly different in that they contained different stamping plates inside. That’s true! I bought it at both CVS first then Rite Aid, and the plates are all different.

The kit comes with

  • 1 Scraper
  • 1 Stamper
  • 1 Holder
  • 5 Design Plates (each with 6-7 designs on them)
  • Instruction guide

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit 2

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit 3

There are also instructions on the back that give you a visual of how it all works.

Even though this came with two instruction guides, I still had questions with a couple things. Being someone who has never used anything like this before, they kind of glossed over some key tips I think, but I will go over that more in a bit.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit 4

Inside the kit you see the scraper, stamper, instruction guide, design plates and holder.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid 2

This is the front of the kit from Rite Aid. The colors and stamps on the models hand (which look absolutely horrible by the way, you would think their design people could have done a more realistic job)  are different from the one sold at CVS.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid

This is the photo on the front of the Rite Aid kit. The plates appear to be the same as the CVS kit just re-arranged. However what you see on the front is not necessarily what you get inside. My plates were different than this.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS 3

Here is the front of the CVS kit.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS 2

And the plates on the front of the CVS kit. These are actually the plates I got inside the kit, so it’s accurate, unlike the Rite Aid kit.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates

Here are the actual design plates I received in the Rite Aid kit after I took the blue plastic cover off them.

They are: SE 02, 03, 10, 11 and 12.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates 2
Rite Aid Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates 3
Rite Aid Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates 4
Rite Aid Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates 6
Rite Aid Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Rite Aid Plates 7
Rite Aid Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates

Here are the actual design plates I received in the CVS kit.

They are: SE 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates 2
CVS Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates 3
CVS Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates 4
CVS Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates 5
CVS Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit CVS Plates 6
CVS Design Plate

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Stamper

The stamper that comes with this is a dual-ended one with a wider size and a smaller one.

Now I will say that the ends of the stamper that you actually stamp with are a little slippery. It says on the instruction guide that you can gently file the surface of them to help the nail polish adhere better. I didn’t do that but it might be easier.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Stamper 2

Large end of stamper.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Stamper 3

Small end of stamper.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Plate

This is what the design plate looks like when you put it in the holder they provide. Honestly I found it to be kind of useless and more of a hindrance than anything. Once you put the polish on the stamp and scrape off the excess, you get polish all over the holder. So really it’s easier and less messy to just put the design plate on a paper towel.

Before we go any further I would like to give you the instructions they give you and my additions:

  1. “Apply a base coat of polish to your nails and allow to dry thoroughly”. Now I was pretty sure what they meant by base coat was not an actual base coat, but rather whatever nail color you wanted under the design. But they could have been more clear saying that.
  2. “Select a Design Plate and place it in the plate holder”. Easy enough, though as I mentioned I prefer to not use the plate holder.
  3. “Apply polish to the design of your choice”. This is fairly clear but I was just kind of guessing on how much polish I put on there.
  4. “Use scraper to remove excess polish from the Design Plate.” Now here is where I ran into some issues. First off I had no clue how much polish I should scrape off or how hard I should scrape. First few times I didn’t scrape off enough and wound up with blobs of color along with the pattern on my nails. Then another time I scraped too much and the whole stamp didn’t transfer. Also something to note is the scraper has a sharp metal edge, so using it scratches the plates very easily. I scratched up 3 plates. So using an old plastic gift card or credit card is better for that part. (Thanks to G for that tip!)
  5. “Press the stamp onto the selected image to pick up the pattern. The Stamp has two sides. Depending on the size of your chosen design, use either the small stamp or the large stamp.” Again I would have added something to this to make things easier. At first I was just pressing straight down with the stamper onto the design. That didn’t work over and over. The stamp would slip right off blurring the design. Finally I realized that rolling the stamper from side to side quickly picked up the design MUCH better than pressing straight down.
  6. “Working quickly, transfer the design onto your fingernail by gently pressing the stamp onto one side of your nail and using a single rolling motion to apply the design.” That was clear and worked well.

A HUGE tip I feel they are missing is when do you clean the plate, scraper and stamper? Do you clean in-between each nail, after 5 nails or after all 10? For the design plate I didn’t clean it until I was done with all nails. The scraper needed to be wiped off onto a paper towel after each nail otherwise it got too messy. The stamper would sometimes have a residue on it also after stamping onto a nail, so I cleaned that off after each nail. I think this was a major oversight on their part in the instructions because as someone who has never done this, I had no idea what I should have been doing.

Some of the tips included are:

  • “Once your design is completely dry, you may wish to apply a clear top coat to the entire nail once the design is thoroughly dry”. First off I always, always, always recommend a top coat and secondly, this is a totally redundant sentence. 😉
  • “For best results use nail polish with a thick consistency.” Agreed!
  • “You may wish to gently file the surface of the stamper to cause the nail polish to adhere better.”

Some tips I would add are:

  • Don’t use the metal scraper that comes with the kit, use a gift card or credit card instead so you don’t scratch the plates.
  • Make sure you have cotton balls and nail polish remover on hand so you can clean the scraper (or card) and stamper as you go.
  • A good way to practice stamping is on an old mani you are getting ready to remove anyway. That way at least you aren’t painting a fresh mani, waiting for it to dry, stamping and possibly ruining it.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Plate 2

My very first try was with a black polish. Here I applied it onto the design I chose.

Salon Express Nail Art Stamping Kit Plate 3

I then scraped it off but didn’t scrape enough because I got a really crappy imprint with blobs and it was blurry because I had pressed straight down with the stamper rather than using the rolling motion.

I then decided to switch things up and try another polish for the stamping.

Base color

Here is the base color I used which is Zoya Tanzy. I painted a couple of coats and waited between 8-10 minutes to make sure it was pretty dry before stamping onto it. This is the hardest part for me because I loathe waiting for polish to dry.

Before clean up

The stamping color I finally decided on was SpaRitual Running With Wolves. This is what it looked like after I stamped on the leopard spot pattern and before I cleaned it up.

I used the large size of the stamper with this and as you can see, it’s much wider than my nails because it wound up all over my fingers also. I was able to get it fairly straight, but could have gotten it closer to the tips of my nails for more pattern coverage.

I have to say this was my third try with this pattern. The first few tries were huge fails until I figured out how much to scrape off, how to roll the stamper onto the plate and how to then roll it from the stamp to my nail evenly.

After clean up

Here are the final results. I’m not thrilled with my color choices, but I wanted to use metallic polishes because I know they dry quicker. There isn’t enough contract between the base and pattern for my liking. I think it looks just ok for my third attempt. The middle finger and ring finger came out the cleanest though the pattern isn’t reaching the very tip of my nails.

After clean up 2

Another picture of the final result.

After this I attempted to do another one using a black base color and silver pattern but after two failed attempts I gave up. The silver was either picking up way too much excess polish or not enough.

Overall:

I do think that this can be easy if you have patience, but it’s not as easy as they make it seem. Unless you have used Konad or another type of stamping or are just talented with this kind of thing, it takes a few tries to get a decent result. For me the worst part about becoming good at this is the fact that you have to wait for your base color to dry, then if you stamp it and it looks bad, you have to do it ALL over again!

I will admit I get frustrated easily, but I’m also the type of person who while I might be incredibly annoyed at it, I cannot let it go because I want to get it right! So I will definitely be playing around with this some more until I get it perfect. 🙂

Availability: Rite Aid, and CVS. Also maybe Walgreens I have heard.

Pricing: $9.95.

Have you tried stamping? Is this something you would be interested in?

-Kelly

Written by Kelly
Vampy Varnish is dedicated to showing high resolution makeup and nail polish swatches, and providing honest product reviews.