The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Color Street

So you’ve taken the plunge and purchased your first set of Color Street nail polish strips. Now what do you do? Color Street is an easy product to apply and wear, but sometimes it is helpful to start with a few tips. This beginner’s guide to Color Street will show you how to use Color Street to get you the perfect application right away. This helps to avoid any issues that will keep you from loving the product as much as you should. Shall we dig right in?

Updated September 11, 2023

Having problems with how to use Color Street? Read this article about common Color Street problems and how to fix them.

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Color Street Application Tips

Color Street application is easy, but the beginner’s guide to Color Street will teach you a couple Color Street tips that will make your first experience with it better. These are general tips for all Color Street designs, but there are slightly different tips for french tip Color Street nails.

What to DO

  • DO wash your hands with soap and water or use the alcohol pads on your fingers before touching the strips. If you have any oil on your hands just like on your nail beds, it will affect the application and your strips will not last as long.
  • DO push your cuticles back before you apply Color Street. You can use a cuticle pusher or simply use your nail.
  • DO hold the strip in the middle for more control when applying to your nail. Don’t be afraid to touch the strip if you’ve washed your hands/nails properly.
  • DO apply strips to your pinky fingers first. If you start with your thumbs and then use them to break the strips off at the tips, you risk ripping the strips or chipping them. 
  • DO file in a downward motion (not side to side) to remove any excess nail strip at the tip.

What NOT to do

  • DO NOT file from left to right. This can tear your strips at the tip as it has not had a chance to set completely yet.
  • DO NOT get the strip on the cuticle. This will allow for lifting at the edge of the strip which can lead to chipping.

When applying any type of nail polish strip, the nail prep before is always the most important step.

Tip to fix the problem of hair catching under Color Street nail polish strips


Color Street is 100% nail polish and all you need to remove it is some nail polish remover of any type! You can use basic acetone nail polish remover or even non-acetone remover. This beginner’s guide to Color Street recommends this non acetone nail polish remover as it is much gentler on your nails while still working effectively! Color Street also makes a fantastic non-acetone nail polish remover.

The best nail polish remover for Color Street nails

What to DO

  • DO allow the nail polish remover to sit on the nail for a couple minutes. Color Street has 3 layers of nail polish and it can take some time for the remover to work. If you are using non-acetone remover expect it to take a little bit longer.
  • DO rinse your hands with water after using acetone. The longer acetone stays on the nail, the more damage you will see such as peeling and weakness.

What NOT to do

  • DO NOT pick the strips off of your nail. Doing this will damage the nail, so I caution you to resist the urge! Use these nail clips instead!

I have written a more detailed instruction on the best ways to remove Color Street if you need more guidance.

Extra Tips and Reminders

30 Minute Wait Time:

Color Street application does not require any heat, but it is does take about 30 minutes to fully cure or dry on your nail. In that time, do not submerge your hands in water or to put on any lotions or oils. In this time, the nail polish strip will slightly shrink as well. Don’t confuse this shrinkage with chipping.

Temperature Control:

It is also not recommended to apply Color Street with cold hands or with strips that are cold. If you do not live in a cold climate, this will be less of an issue. Your strips will not be damaged by the cold and you can bring them to room temperature before you apply them. If your hands are cold, warm them under water and dry thoroughly before application. The same can be said about heat. Do not leave them in your car when it is extremely hot, leave them in direct sunlight, or LED lighting. 

the beginner's guide to Color Street summertime tips for nail polish strips

One Time Use:

Color Street is made of nail polish and as soon as you open the packaging the strips will start to dry out. It was meant to be a one time use product. However, I have detailed ways to save any unused strips for later use and get more than one manicure out of a set.

Taking A Break

It has been mentioned multiple times in the beginner’s guide to Color Street how these are made out of nail polish. Therefore, it is still important to give your nails a break as you would with any other polish. Make sure to use cuticle oil or a strengthener during that time as well. Typically, I take about a week in between because my nails aren’t perfect to begin with.

If you have weaker nails already, I recommend using a base coat prior to applying any Color Street strip. This will strengthen the nail and keep a barrier between the nail polish and your nail surface.

Still have some questions that the beginner’s guide to Color Street didn’t answer for you? Leave a commend and I will help answer any and all questions! However, the best way to learn how to use Color Street nail strips is to simply start wearing them! These tips will definitely help fine tune your application, but everyone’s nails are different. Some tips will work better than others depending on your type of nails.
Also, for application videos, please refer here!

Independent Color Street Stylist

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Beginner's Guide to Color Street

7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Color Street”

  1. Stephanie Marquez

    I was told by my previous stylist to blow my hair dryer on a low setting on my nails since they were not adhering to the nail after application. It “kind of” worked, but also hurt the skin around the nail. I ended up moving to Press-On nails which really ruined my nails. Would a nail dryer work?

  2. Before reading the tips here, when I had the color street catching on my hair, I used a glass nail file to buff out the rough edge, careful not to file the nail bed or cuticle. It did the trick without ruining the polish (which I admit I was concerned about). I scrubbed my hands with a nail brush afterwards, dried well, wiped with rubbing alcohol, let dry and applied a clear coat of polish and that has taken care of the problem for me.
    When you use the polish remover to melt the strip and then follow up with wiping with a wet q-tip, does it mottle the color strips if the have a design, or Is that a non issue?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hey Charlene! So using a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover doesn’t affect the color or design of the nail polish strip – SO LONG as you don’t use excessive amounts of remover and scrub at the nail. There is a top coat already within the strip so it has to eat through that before it gets to the color. I haven’t had an issues with removing some of the color or design. I will dip the Q-tip into a small cup of remover, then press it against the dish to “ring it out” so to say. You just want it damp. Hope this helps!

    1. You don’t have to wait long at all! I will apply a topcoat as soon as I’m done applying the strips. It shouldn’t affect anything. Great question!

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