Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nail Stickers 101

Nail polish and nail art are having a moment, aren't they? Walk into any CVS and you'll see more space dedicated to everything nails and nail care than ever before. Creative manicures are such a fun way showcase your personal style. My special occasion outfits always include a coordinating manicure. I don't know about you, but I always feel more put together and feminine when I have my nails done. I even went years - literally years - during high school and college where I refused to not wear nail polish. I even got away with it during sorority pledging when it was strictly verboten. Oops!

One of my favorite recent trends in nail art is the nail sticker. They're strips of real nail polish that stick on your nails, require no drying time, and last anywhere from 7 to 10 days. Awesome, right? Right! Imagine running late for a date or a night out and you have no time to do a manicure and wait for it to dry before trying on the entire contents of your closet and/or trying to resolve a bad hair day. It's not happening. Nail stickers are where its at. I get compliments on my manicures all the time and I've tried almost every brand on the market and will now present my unsolicited and uninfluenced opinions on them. Starting with the best:

Sally Hansen

It should come as no surprise that the queen of nails, Sally Hansen, puts out the best product. They're easy to put on and take off, they're thin so the ends come off cleanly, and there are a ton of colors, patterns, and designs to choose from. 

My current favorite is their new line of French tips, which come in the ultra chic black version. They take a little more time to put on because there are two layers, but if you have the patience they will turn out looking great. 

Variety is the spice of life right? Like anything new, practice makes perfect so the more you use these the easier to put on they'll be. With a steady hand they're hard to screw up. Go forth and apply. Buy here or in any major drug store.


I got these from Sephora early last year and in terms of design they're probably my favorite ones ever. Nautical stripes are always in! You know the impulse buy bins Sephora strategically places around the checkout line? These were in there calling my name. For style these obviously get a 10/10, but sadly I have to give them a 6 for quality. But that comes with a disclaimer. These particular ones get a 6 because they're far too thick and the tips did not come off smoothly. After a few days they became kind of jagged and scratchy. Not ideal. The disclaimer is that I'm pretty sure these were part of the first run of nail stickers Sephora did. I've tried the newer version (soz no pics) and they're much better. Try Sephora! They're available online and in any store.


It's strange that the drug store cosmetics lines were slow off the line with these. I only noticed them last fall and I think it's only because they were featured on an episode of Project Runway. Yes, they had to design around nail stickers. Eleven seasons in and they're running out of ideas. Anyway, Maybelline takes second prize in the battle of the nail stickers. They are thicker than Sally Hansen so there is a slight issue with clean tips, but they're not as bad as Sephora's first go round. They are long-lasting and come in lots of fun designs. I can't find these on Maybelline's website because I think they're limited edition, but you can buy at Amazon and they're readily available at CVS (at least the ones in my hood!). 


It pains me to do this because I think Essie nail polish is some of the best out there, but, um, these suck. I was so excited to try them because of said Essie admiration, but they're a total fail. They're very thick and it's almost impossible to get the tips to come off cleanly. I had to file many times and they just never set properly. The tips were so jagged that they caught on my sweaters. I had to take them off after two days because they were bugging me so much. Essie's problem is that their designs are far too embellished which require a thick strip. Thinness is the name of the game here, people. I do really love some of the other designs, but at about $13 a pop I don't think I'm willing to risk the disappointment. Check out the other designs and buy here.

Tell me if you've tried any of these brands and what you think of them. Or just share your thoughts on manicures in general. Are there any brands of nail stickers out there that I'm missing? I must try them all!


  1. I love the idea of nail stickers, but I can just never get them to work without ripping. Any tips?

    1. Peel them off the backing very slowly and hold them by the side while putting them on. A rip is not a total disaster. The part that goes on your nail is smaller than you think so always try to delicately apply a ripped one anyway. It might turn out fine!