NAILING IT

I Tested Sally Hansen’s New Nail Polish Lens on Snapchat, and It’s So Good

The feature works on every nail shape and skin tone, proving virtual try-on apps have come a long, long way.
close up of woman holding manicure up to face
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When I was a teenager with a driver's license and an absurd amount of free time, one of my favorite ways to treat myself was to drive to a drugstore and test out all the nail polishes — in the middle of the aisle — until I'd found a shade (or two, or three) that I loved. Then I'd race home to give myself the best manicure I could possibly achieve with zero hand-eye coordination, no cuticle oil, and one very, very old nail file. Even now as an adult, I like to pop into the corner store on my way home just for the nostalgia that comes with picking up different polishes and painting small swatches on my thumbnail just for the fun of it.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming, willy-nilly trips to the drugstore aren't exactly responsible — and swatching makeup in-store like that isn't as safe as it used to be. That's why Sally Hansen's latest endeavor couldn't have come at a better time. On August 19, the brand is launching its own Snapchat lens (or you could call it a filter) that allows you to virtually test select nail polish shades, which you can then buy directly within the app. We tried the lens in advance; here's what you can expect.

Staff writer Nicola Dall'Asen wears the virtual shade Deep Sea Diamond.

Nicola Dall'Asen/Allure
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Whether or not you're well versed with Snapchat (and I'll admit that I'm not), the process is super simple. Once you've searched for Sally Hansen and located the lens within the app's large selection, you'll see six nail polish bottles appear on your screen. Specifically, they're the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polishes in Deep Sea Diamond, Sunken Treasure, Hue There?, Holla-gram, Rose & Shine, To The Taupe, and topcoat. You can tap on each one and hold your hand up to the camera to test the real Sally Hansen nail polish shade that matches it. According to Sally Hansen, making the virtual polishes look like the real thing took a lot of work.

Assistant beauty editor Angela Trakoshis wears the virtual shade Rose & Shine.

"We worked with Snapchat to provide them not only with HEX codes — where we find digitally the closest match — of all of the shades, which we use for online swatches to ensure the shade matches the physical product as close as possible," says Kevin Shapiro, senior vice president of marketing and consumer beauty at Coty Inc., Sally Hansen's parent company. "But we also provided the Snapchat team with images of the polishes, swatches on the nail, and a 'polish pour' for them to then closer match the shade to in the lens."

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Editorial assistant Gabi Thorne wears the virtual shade Holla-gram.

Gabi Thorne/Allure

And it paid off: I've worn more than my fair share of Sally Hansen polishes, some of which are included in the lens. While the technology has its limits as far as realism goes, the colors themselves are pretty spot-on. It works whether your nails are bare, manicured with another polish, or even wearing press-ons. And here's the best part: If you see a shade you really love with this feature, you can click the "shop now" button that appears near the bottom of the screen. That'll take you directly to the ulta.com where Sally Hansen's Miracle Gel Nail Polishes are sold. Or you can just take pictures and pretend you've just taken a trip to the salon.

Thanks to creative features like this, people can get their nail polish fix without needing to leave the safety of their own. They also get to have a new experience with their favorite brands, which is exactly what Sally Hansen aimed to do with the Snapchat lens.

Deputy editor Kara McGrath wears the virtual shade Sunken Treasure.

Kara McGrath/Allure

"Now more than ever, consumers are craving direct interaction with the brands and products they love and use," Shapiro explains to Allure. "This new partnership with Snapchat allows them to continue their at-home self-care routine on a social platform that truly brings the nail polish try-on experience to life in a fun and interactive way."

The Sally Hansen Snapchat lens will be available to all on August 19. You can download Snapchat for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play.


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