The Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen — sounds perfect for someone with underdeveloped fine motor skills, doesn’t it? Like coloring your nails with Magic Marker the way you did back in third grade when you were supposed to be making Save the Planet posters. Well, it’s not quite that simple.
First off, as the name says, this pen is for nail art, not nail color. As you can tell from the fine tip, it’s made to draw narrow lines and tiny dots, not cover (relatively) large areas. The Sally Hansen site says “Fine-tip pen makes it easy to control”. True — at least as long as you’re using your dominant hand. When you have to switch to the other, you may find yourself suddenly wishing you were using a brush.
Having no desire to draw pictures on my nails, I planned to use the pen for another purpose Sally Hansen suggests: “Draw precise lines for a French manicure”. White tips on clear nails were a nice neutral way to go, I figured.
First I had to put on a clear base coat and let it dry — you’re not supposed to use the pen on bare nails. I’m not sure why. There’s no warning about getting it on your skin, which is good, because I did, more than once.
Like so many products, it seems you have to waste a little of this before you get the hang of it. I had to shake the pen a lot and press it several times before the color started flowing. Next time I’d do this on a piece of cardboard, I think, and not on my fresh base coat.
It was pretty quick and easy drawing lines just below the tips of my nails and filling them in with color, and I learned that the claim: “Mistake-proof formula can be removed or corrected with a moist cotton swab without damaging dry nail polish” was perfectly true. Of course, my right hand looked much less neat than my left, but that’s not the pen’s fault.
Next I had to wait for the color to dry — which it did slightly faster than regular polish — and put on a clear top coat. When that was dry, my nails looked fairly nice for a while; however, like some of the reviewers on the Sally Hansen site, I noticed cracking in the pen color after a short time. I played around with touch ups and finally removed the whole thing — so I can’t tell you how it would’ve stood up over a day or so.
This pen would be good for someone with patience and a little drawing skill, who is looking for a unique way to dress up her nails for a fun evening. It’s no replacement for a professional manicure, though. But you probably didn’t expect that for $8.