Friday, May 1, 2015

Custom Nail Solution Experience Part One: Why I Chose CNS and How Long it Took to Arrive


Today I am starting a 3 (or maybe 4) part series on Custom Nail Solutions. When I was looking into buying this product I felt like there was a lack of "real" (non-promo product cookie-cutter) reviews on the product. So I've been tracking this entire process - start to finish. Alright, let's jump into it!

What is CNS?

CNS stands for "Custom Nail Solutions". The company is located in Dallas, Texas and they offer a truly unique product - customized false nails that fit your own nails exactly. They accomplish this by having you take impressions of each of your fingers! The nails themselves are made of indestructible plastic and are guaranteed to never chip, break, etc. - for life! They come in a variety of styles and lengths. They also keep all your impressions in their system, so you can easily order an additional set in the future. They are pricey - you will wind up paying at least $110 for that first set, but if you are using alternative methods (acrylic, gel, etc) that require constant maintenance, you will find that these quickly save you money.

Why I Chose CNS

First off, let me say that I have pretty fantastic natural nails. Here's a pic of my nails (try not to be too shocked - they are NEKKID --- aaahhh!):

That was the first time my nails had seen daylight in a long time. My nails typically go from one manicure straight to the next. The only reason I stopped to take a pic this time was because I was preparing to take the impressions for CNS (more on that below). So my nails are in pretty good shape for constant abuse. For most people that I talk to, poor natural nails is the #1 reason for choosing artificial nails. Most think I am nuts for wanting artificial nails when I have strong natural nails.

I do have strong natural nails, but upkeep on these babies is difficult. I am constantly pampering and babying my nails. I am an indie polish maker and I rely on my fingernails to help sell my products (Nail Hoot! Find it here:

I also love to create lovely manicures with lots of nail art. To accomplish my ideal manicure, I would need at least a 2 1/2 hour block of uninterrupted time. I rarely get this. I have a full time job, my indie business, grad school, and 4 kids -- the youngest of which is only 7 months old. What usually winds up happening is that I am able to spend 45 minutes on whatever I can throw on my hands and let dry. I then wear that manicure for the next 4 weeks.

So now we come to the main reason I wanted CNS - I wanted the ability to create my manicures off my hand. No cleanup time, no drying time, no needing a huge block of time to complete. I wanted the ability to do my nails 5-10 minutes at a time and just put them on later. I wanted my beautiful manicures back!

I am also really picky. I hate the look of obviously fake nails. Also, I don't have the money to get into acrylics or gels and the constant maintenance they require. I do all my manicures at home and I wanted to continue that way. I jumped into CNS because it seemed to be the best solution to my problem.

What I Ordered

Once I decided that I was going to jump on the CNS train, I then had to decide what to buy. There are basically three options:
  1. $110 - Bare Minimum Set - Impressions, Nails, and Glue
  2. $140 - Complete Set - Impressions, Nails, Glue, Application and Removal Items
  3. $300 - Two Sets - All items in the complete set, plus Sonic Removal and Purse and Wallet
I knew right away that I wanted two sets of nails. This is because I wanted to create my next manicure while still wearing my existing one.  I did the math and saw that it was cheaper to buy two of the complete sets than the $300 "Diamond Set". So what gives? Well, turns out that Diamond set comes with a "Sonic Touch 3" system - a machine that is designed to reduce soak-off times for false nails and general removal. That machine also costs a minimum of $120, no matter where you purchase it from. Since I was concerned about the removal process, I decided to spend the extra $20 to get the machine. The Diamond set also came with a purse and a wallet, but I didn't really care about that (until they came in - they are lovely!!).

Once I was ready to check out, I was asked if I would like to expedite the order for $25. Hmmm.... I had already spent $300, and I am an impatient person. I know this process is potentially lengthy. So in the end, I added that $25 into the cart and checked out. How long EXACTLY did the order take? Keep reading below - I kept an exact timeline!

Taking Impressions

I am not going to say much about this because there are a LOT of posts on the interwebz about this part of the process. I will say that it was scary because I wanted to make sure to get it right the first time, and it took me about 45 minutes with a helper. Also, I had to chop-chop my nails! I didn't think I'd be sad to see them go, but I won't lie - it bothered me a bit. Oh well, it was for a good cause and they will grow back (plus I'll have insta-nails soon!). I had to take some pictures of the sad process:

After you create your impressions, you have to pick the length and style of your nails.  There are 5 lengths and 4 shapes to choose from. I chose one set in Glamour length and one set in Fashion length, with both shapes being Oval. I'll talk more about that in the next part of the series.


Okay, so here's the part I desperately wanted answers to online but I couldn't find - exactly how long did the process take?! I spent $325 so I was understandably anxious to have my finished product in hand. I marked every step of the way, so here is the complete timeline:

Monday, April 13th -- Ordered late at night

April 14th -- Received Shipping Notice

April 15th -- Package tendered to USPS (grrr, I hate when something is marked as shipped but not tendered!)

Saturday, April 18th -- Impressions package arrived!

Sunday, April 19th -- Took impressions, put box in UPS drop box that evening

Monday, April 20th -- Package is picked up by UPS

Wednesday, April 22nd -- Package arrives to CNS

Thursday, April 23rd -- Shipping notice from CNS & Package tendered to USPS the same day!

Saturday, April 25th -- Final product is delivered!!!

Time from order placed to nails in hand: 12 days total!  (Remember $25 expedite fee paid).

What I Received

I was in far too much of a hurry to take slow, sexy unboxing pics of my product. I was anxious to see the product! So here is the only picture that I hastily snapped:

 There was a lot of stuff in that big pink bag. Here is a list of all the stuff I got with my order:
  • Two sets of nails
  • Two bottles of glue
  • Two bottles of soak-off
  • One Sonic Touch 3
  • One Pink Carry Bag
  • One Purse (sturdy - beautiful hand clutch)
  • One Wallet (sturdy & lovely)
  • 4 Cuticle Sticks
  • 1 Nail Care brush on (for when not wearing cns)
  • 1 Nail debonder brush on
  • 1 Nail cleaner brush on
  • 1 Hand scrub brush
  • 1 Soaking dish
  • 1 Buffing block
  • 1 File
  • 1 Nail Stand
I also want to note that the quality of each of these items was fantastic. There were no cheap substitutes in here. It really made me feel better about spending that $300.


I am committing to blogging about this entire process to help others decide. CNS is an expensive product, and I was disappointed with the amount of info available online about it. So stayed tuned, because Parts 2 and 3 (and maybe 4?) will be coming soon! Until then, here's a sneak peak of the finished product (This nail is not adhered - I simply placed it on top of my existing nail and snapped a pic):


Nail Hoot: