Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Beauty Review: Striplac Starter Kit – Deborah Tan

Deborah Tan loves her pedicures but has always steered clear of manicures. Her reason? They just don’t last on someone who types away furiously on a keyboard 8 hours a day. So, what’s her verdict on Striplac, the world’s first UV peel-off nail polish?

My friends always ask me why I don’t get manicures. Although I splurge out on the occasional pedicure, paying someone to do my fingernails isn’t something I’d do. Why? Well, manicures – at least the conventional ones – simply don’t last on me. More often than not, they chip within the first hour of me leaving the salon. If typing away on the keyboard doesn’t chip them, handling kettlebells and sandbells at bootcamp will.

Some have asked me to try Gelish but I honestly find the thought of having to return to the salon a few weeks later to remove it too bothersome.

So when the press release for Striplac found its way into my mailbox, my curiosity was piqued. A Gelish-like manicure that you can do yourself at home. What’s more? You can peel it off without using any solvent or acetone. How’s that for convenient!

At $219, the Striplac Starter Kit is a bit pricey. So I wanted to know if it is really a worthwhile beauty investment. The wonderful folks at Touch Communications PR arranged for a tester to be sent to me so I could put it to the test.


The Striplac Starter Kit contains an LED device, a bottle of twin coat, a bottle of nail colour, a jar of cleansing pads, a multi-function nail file and a cuticle pusher. The steps, illustrated on the box, provide clear instructions on how to go about doing your nails.

Paint, cure, paint, cure.

Paint, cure, paint, cure.

Step 1: Apply a layer of the twin coat

Step 2: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds

Step 3: Apple a layer of the nail colour

Step 4: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds

If you apply another coat of nail colour, cure it in the LED device for another 60 seconds. Basically, every layer of colour you paint on, you need to cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds.

Step 5: Apply a layer of the twin coat as the top coat

Step 6: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds one last time

The twin coat and the nail colour went on smoothly. I liked that – unlike conventional nail varnishes – they neither bubbled nor streaked. After “curing” my nails, I remained hesitant about touching them. I really wondered how curing the twin coat and the nail colour was going to “dry” them. In the name of research, I touched my nails.

What happened next disappointed me. The entire coat was still soft! My finger left an obvious fingerprint on top. The whole thing was sticky and tacky. When I ran my hand against my dress, my nails got coated in a layer of flint. It was a disaster! While the colour didn’t chip, my nails had become like “Blu Tac”! I went to the toilet to try to wash the flint and gunk off and what happened? When I dried my hands on the paper towels, pieces of towel got stuck again to my nails! WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

Resigned to the fate that I was never going to find a way to give myself beautiful nails, I went back to typing, opening canned drinks … treating my hands roughly and badly like I would usually. By the time I went to bed, I had forgotten about this disaster of an experiment and told myself I would peel those darn varnish off the next day.

Nails have not been air-brushed or Photoshopped.

Nails have not been air-brushed or Photoshopped.

The Striplac Fairy, however, visited me in the night. The next day, I woke up and … my nails were perfect (as perfect as home manicures can be). The gunk was gone … and, most amazingly, the fingerprints had VANISHED. The surface of my nails had smoothened themselves out over the course of the night. I can’t explain what happened except that they were no longer sticky, no longer tacky and glossy as Gelish nails.

I’m not bluffing. It’s been 3 days and my nails have not chipped despite me having directed a photoshoot, done my laundry, cooked dinner, and ate with my hands! They are still beautiful, perfect and chip-free!

How much does a manicure usually cost? $40? If you purchased this Striplac Starter Kit, you “make back” the price in about 6 uses. Each nail job takes less than 10 minutes to do and lasts you about 10 days. It makes perfect sense to invest in one of these if you are a regular manicure-goer. Though I had to return the tester set, I am pretty sure I’d be buying one for myself as a birthday present. It would come in handy for the wedding too.

Striplac Starter Kit gets my two thumbs up.

Striplac Starter Kit is now retailing at Sephora stores islandwide. The starter kit was loaned to Material World for review purpose and returned after the trial. This review was neither paid for nor advised by Striplac or Sephora. All opinions are the author’s own. You may read our advertising policy here.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She has promised herself she’ll try Striplac on her toenails if the LED device can fit her foot in. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.


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