I Never Need to Spend Money at the Salon Again Thanks to These Nail Stickers
This is part of our weekly series Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, and explore new techniques IRL.
Like many others, I’ve been spending most of my time at home over the last couple of weeks. Working from home definitely has its perks, one of them being more free time now that I don’t have to commute into the city every day. I probably could have been spending that time cleaning and organizing my apartment, but instead, I tasked myself with mastering salon-quality manicures at home.
Although I have close to 40 bottles of nail polish (I’m always testing out new colors from the beauty closet at work!) and I’ve become pretty good at painting my own nails, one thing I’ve never been able to master is nail art. Nail artists make it look so easy, but my attempts at DIYing it have all failed miserably. I’ve tried creating negative space and two-tone nails, but my lines always come out uneven.
After seeing more and more nail stickers that each look like salon-quality manicures, I decided to give them a try. Nail stickers come in many forms: some are strips made of actual polish, and others are press-on nails that require glue to bind to your natural nail. There are even stickers that are meant to be stuck on top of nail polish.
“The technology and look of press-ons and stickers have dramatically improved over the last decade,” says nail artist Madeline Poole. “You can now find options with a natural curvature, an interesting design or chic, plain color, as well as an array of trendy tip shapes like squareletto (a hybrid of a stiletto and square nail) or almond.”
For most stick-on manicures, the trick is to start with clean, dry, and warm nails. “Oil is the enemy to adhesion, and if you leave lotion or grease on the nail plate, your polish will chip faster, your stickers will peel, and your press-ons will pop off,” Poole says. To avoid any problems, she recommends washing and drying your hands after lightly buffing the nails. Right before applying any adhesives, you should wipe your nails clean with an alcohol or acetone wipe (some nail kits, like ManiMe and Color Street, come with one).
And when it’s time to take these stick-ons off? The slower, the better for press-on nails. “Some leave behind a thin layer of sticky adhesive. You can buff this off with a light buffing block and then follow with a hand wash.” For gel and polish strips, she advises liberally applying cuticle oil once the sticker comes off.
Here are five stick-on nail polish options to perfect your at-home manicure once and for all! No more sitting and waiting an hour for your nails to fully dry.