Painting your own nails can either be a soothing experience or a demoralizing mess, depending on how ambidextrous you are and how steady your hands are. Sarah Gibson Tuttle of Los Angeles–based salon Olive and June has invented The Poppy to ensure at-home manicures fall under the former description. It’s a squishy holder that can be placed on the top of any nail polish to give you a better grip and more control during polish application, for a more pleasant and precise nail-painting process.
Does The Poppy actually improve at-home manicure skills? Or are some of us simply doomed to suck at painting our non-dominant hand, regardless of outside assistance? Five Cut staffers with varying levels of nail-painting skills tried The Poppy. Here’s our verdict.
Hayley Schueneman, Beauty Writer
I’ve been painting my nails at home pretty consistently for the past few years, usually about once a week. I was really intrigued by the Poppy and its promise to make at-home manicures easier.
I used the Poppy with one of the new Olive & June polishes (Geri), and it fit really well over the top of the bottle. The whole concept of the Poppy seems almost too simple … but I think it works? Maybe having to hold something a little bulkier makes me slow down and be more deliberate about each stroke. It definitely made painting with my non-dominant hand way easier, and this photo is proof.
The only annoying thing is that if you’re using a flat brush, it’s hard to figure out how to line it up with the Poppy. Maybe it doesn’t actually matter, but I wanted the bulbous part of the Poppy to be facing down and be flat while I painted. It took some trial and error to make sure that the brush wasn’t at an angle once I twisted open the bottle. Overall, though, I liked this and I’ll probably continue to use it from now on.
Kelly Conaboy, Writer-at-Large
I’m generally terrible at giving myself a home manicure, in part because of how bad I am at using my non-dominant hand and in part because of how impatient I am. When I first tried the Olive & June “Poppy” it was with Olive & June polish, which made application easier — the Poppy made my hand less shaky and gave me more control over the situation — but for some reason the polish seemed to take longer to dry than my normal polish, and I absolutely ruined the manicure anyway. My bad.
Then I tried the Poppy with this green nail polish I have, shown in the photo. It was easy to use, and the polish dried into an at least decent manicure that didn’t embarrass me. (You can theoretically use the Poppy with any nail polish, as long as the top can fit into Poppy’s hole.) I would say overall the Poppy makes an at-home manicure about 35 percent easier, which is a pretty decent percentage. Thank you, Poppy.
Aude White, Communications Manager
I was skeptical this would actually help, as it seems to just be a giant piece of rubber, but it really did make my at-home manicure a lot easier to execute. Because it extends the length of the brush, it significantly reduced the shaking that makes all my DIY manicures look like the work of a small child.
I’m lazy enough that I doubt I’d actually go out and buy this, but overall it did make my nail-painting experience a lot more comfortable.
Madeleine Aggler, Staff Writer
I was extremely suspicious of the Olive & June thumb at first, mostly because I was using it wrong. The top of the nail polish was far too big to be inserted in the thumb, I thought, only to realize that if you pull the top off, there’s another, smaller handle inside that fits into the thumb. This makes more sense, I thought. Still, as someone who is disastrously ill-adept at using my non-dominant hand, I doubted that simply having a bigger handle would steady my trembling, jerking hand.
But it kind of did! I still smudged the outside of my fingers a little, but far, far less than usual. The thumb made my movements smoother, straighter. Finally, I felt capable of giving my dominant hand the kind of treatment it deserved. I love the thumb.
Erica Smith, Beauty Writer
I’m conflicted. I’m pretty good at painting my non-dominant hand, and the Poppy made that application look even better. I felt very in control and loved how easy it was to flip the brush to catch polish on the opposite side. But I’m pretty bad at painting my dominant hand, and Poppy made that application look worse than usual. It felt like there was way too much distance between my hand and the brush. In the end, I guess the difference the tool made on either hand cancelled itself out.
As Hayley mentioned, I also found it tricky to get Poppy in the right place so I could paint with the flat side down. Naturally, it was much easier to maneuver on the Olive & June polish (Barrett, pictured above), but much harder to edit placement when I popped it onto a different brand. Would not recommend Poppy for the rainbow polish trend.
I think I’d continue to use the Poppy, but only while I’m painting with my dominant hand and/or painting with Smith & Cult polishes, which have extremely short brushes. I’ll also continue to use it as a form of stress relief when I inevitably smudge my polish before its dry. The Poppy is very squishy and soothing to squeeze in your hand.
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