Color Street Problems and How to Fix Them

Nail polish strips have been all the rage lately, and for good reason. They’re an easy way to get a professional-looking mani without having to go to a salon. But with any new product, there are bound to be some issues. In this article, we’ll outline the most common color street problems and how to fix them.


Here’s what we’ll cover:

My color street nails are soft and gummy

My color street strips are not flexible enough

Why are my color street nails lifting?

Why are my color street nails not sticking?

How do you stop tip wear on Color Street?

Why are my color street nails cracking?

Why are my natural nails peeling after using color street?

My color street nails are not smooth

The strip is too narrow for my nail

The strip is too wide for my nail

The strips ripped at the tip during application

If you have a problem with your color street nails, you should be able to troubleshoot it right here.

Let’s dive right in with problem number one.

My color street nails are soft and gummy

soft and gummy bear

Color street nails do not like heat. If they are left in a hot car (or a hot mailbox) they will go soft and gummy.

This makes them really hard to work with.

Even warm hands or a warm room can soften them up too much.

The fix – If your color street strips are too soft, try popping them in the freezer for a few minutes (make sure that the package is sealed when you do this).

If you have already opened the package, tear the strips up into pairs then put them back into the little plastic packet they came in.

Seal the packet up with your flat iron then put it in the deep freeze.

Once they are out of the freezer, let them get back to room temperature before you apply them.

My color street strips are not flexible enough

If your strips are not bendy enough to work with, it could be that they are too cold.

If your hands or the room you are applying the nails in are too cold, the strips won’t stretch easily and may even break.

The fix – You can warm up your strips by placing them underneath your armpit for a minute or just warm up the room and wait for them to get to normal room temperature.

Why are my color street nails lifting?

There are 3 reasons why you might be experiencing lifting with color street.

Reason 1.

Are you having problems with color street nails lifting at the bottom around the cuticle area soon after application?

Then it could be because you still have a very thin layer of cuticle stuck to your nail.

Sometimes, even if you push your cuticles back, there can still be a super-thin, almost invisible layer of cuticle there.

If there is a thin layer of cuticle at the bottom of the nail when you apply the nail strips, this can cause lifting.

The fix – Apply a liquid cuticle remover and let it sit on the nail for a minute or 2.

Then, gently push back the cuticles with an orangewood stick or a cuticle pusher.

Here’s a great video that shows you exactly how to do this:

Reason 2.

Are you seeing lifting after 3 or four days of wearing color street?

If so, it could be because your nails have grown out a bit and the regrowth is a little rough around the edges.

You’ll know if this is happening because your nails will constantly get snagged on your hair.

The fix – Take a cue tip and soak it in a little bit of nail polish remover.

Gently and carefully trace around the cuticle areas where the regrowth is. This will smooth out the edges and prevent snagging.

Reason 3.

The third reason you might see lifting is that you accidentally applied the sticker over or too close to your cuticle.

The fix – To get as close to your cuticle as possible without touching it, hold the strip in the center because that way you have more control.

You can also try pushing your cuticle back right before you place the strip, that way when it bounces back, you’ll have a nice close fit.

Why are my color street nails not sticking?

If your color street nails are not sticking properly, the problem is usually that your nail plate is too oily.

This is one of the reasons why color street packs include a prep wipe, which you should definitely use if you want tour nails to stick better!

There are some other things you can try to ensure that your nails are properly prepped and oil-free.

The fix (es) – Wash your hands with dish soap before applying the strips. Normal soaps contain oils to moisturize the skin (and nails).

Dish soap is designed to remove oil and grease so it will strip away oils instead of adding them.

Another thing you can try to make sure your color street nails stick is to wipe your natural nails with acetone before you apply. Acetone does dry out the nails a lot though so do this with caution!

Another great tip is to use a base coat. Any base coat should help and you can even use a strengthening one if you like. Orly does a great one Called Orly Bonder.

How do you stop tip wear on Color Street?

Tip wear after a week or so with color street is normal.

But if the tips of your nails are wearing too quickly then it could be an issue with the application.

Basically, you need to master the filing technique to correct this.


The fix – First, cut the strip with scissors or perforate the strip with your thumbnail and remove any excess.

File your color strips with the file angled towards the pads of your fingers.

File in a downward motion and never side to side.

If you are filing your actual tips, you are doing it wrong!

Why are my color street nails cracking?

Cracking is caused when the natural nail expands and shrinks.

It’s perfectly normal for natural nails to expand and shrink when they absorb water.

Sometimes extreme heat and cold can cause nails to expand and shrink too.

They don’t expand a lot, but it’s certainly enough to cause a crack in your polish!

The fix – Wait at least 30 minutes after washing your hands before applying the strips and make sure that your hands are at a normal temperature (not too hot or too cold).

Why are my natural nails peeling after using color street?

Color street strips contain much of the same stuff as you find in regular liquid nail polish.

There’s nothing in them that will cause your nails to peel.

If your natural nails are peeling after using color street, that could be because your nails need a break.

The fix – Don’t paint your nails for a while and use a nail strengthening product for 3 weeks or so.

Then once your nails are in good condition, try again and make sure you use a base coat for an extra layer of protection.

My color street nails are not smooth

If your nails feel a bit bumpy it could be that you have ridges that need to be either filled in or buffed out.

You could also have little bits of dust from filing trapped under there.

The fix – Use a ridge filler base coat or buff the nails until they are smooth. Make sure that you wipe the nails over with the prep wipe after filing and before you apply the strips.

The strip is too narrow for my nail

If you have wide nails and the strips don’t quite cover them don’t panic!

Here’s what you can do to widen the strips so that they fit flush to the sidewalls.

The fix – The color street website recommends that you stretch the strips a little to get a perfect fit.

For wide nails, gently stretch the strips horizontally until they are wide enough and then apply as normal.

The strip is too wide for my nail

If your nails are narrow and the strips are hanging over the sides of your nails then there are 2 ways to fix this.

The fix – First, try stretching the strips vertically by holding the top and the bottom and gently pulling. This should help to narrow down the strip a little.

If you still have extra material at the sides, apply the strip so that it fits against one side of your nail perfectly, and then remove the excess from the other side.

You can use an orangewood stick or your thumbnail to help get rid of any excess.

The strips ripped at the tip during application

This can sometimes happen. It’s way more common with the chunky glitters.

The main reasons for tearing at the tip are back and forth filing or a piece of glitter getting caught at the tip and causing a tear.

The fix – Make sure that you are filing in a downward motion leaning towards the back of the nail and not side to side right on the top edge.

If you spot a chunky glitter piece at the tip, stop filing and grab some nail scissors or nail clippers and snip it off. Then go back to filing as normal.

Let’s wrap this up.

Color street nails are a popular trend that is easy to get addicted to. However, they can be difficult and frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing. The common problems with color street include lifting, cracking, not sticking well, peeling or bubbling up at the edges of the nail during application, tips getting worn down too quickly or the strips being too wide or narrow.

Hopefully, this color street problems and how to fix them article has helped you troubleshoot any of the aforementioned issues. And be sure to check out our other blog posts for more color street tips and tricks!


What are the common problems with color street nails?

The most common problems with color street nails are lifting, cracking, and not sticking well. Less common problems include tips getting worn down too quickly or the strips being too wide or narrow.

How can I prevent my nails from lifting?

Using a liquid cuticle remover before applying color street can help prevent lifting. Proper placement, and smoothing out regrowth with a cue-tip soaked in remover after a few days can help too.

How can I fix my nails if they’re not smooth?

You could try using a ridge-filling base coat or buffing the surface of your nail with a four-sided nail buffer.

My color street nails are peeling/lifting/not sticking. What do I do?

Scroll up to the right section above for your specific problem, then follow the tips.

The strip is too wide/narrow for my nail. What do I do?

If it’s too wide, apply to fit one side and remove excess from the other. If too narrow, gently stretch the nail polish strip to fit your nail and apply as normal.

My strip ripped at the tip during the application. What do I do?

Remove the strip with regular nail polish remover taking care not to get any on your other nails and begin again.

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  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.