Treating yourself to an in-salon manicure is nice, but you don’t necessarily have to make the trek (and shell out tons of money) to outfit your nails with a gorgeous manicure. That’s where nail wraps and stickers come in super handy. Whether you’re craving solids or deco-inspired nails, or you’re looking to add a punch to your existing polishes with itty-bitty stickers, these delightful stick-ons are even — dare we say — easier to apply than our beloved press-ons. And best of all, no artistic skills (on your part, at least) are required.
If you’re unfamiliar with how nail polish strips work, Los Angeles-based manicurist Holly Falcone has a few helpful tips. “If you’re just applying a decal, make sure your base coat (applied before) is completely dry,” she says. “With tweezers (the needle-nose tip tool works best), gently drop the sticker onto your nail and lay it down with the opposite end of the tweezer, or your finger if you are careful enough.”
For full-on nail polish wraps, Falcone suggests by starting with a fresh base. Wash your hands, remove any old polish, and then wipe down your nails with acetone. Then, size your stickers by trimming the wrap down to fit your nail. “Apply the sticker as close to your cuticle as possible, then use your other fingers to pat it down,” she tells Allure. “Finish by filing off any excess wrap, and then blow-dry the nails to adhere the sticker to the nail to ensure they don’t move.” For extra security, apply a top coat to seal in the sticker.
Seems easy enough, right? We love a product we can apply in mere minutes and stays on for weeks at a time. Additionally, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers on the front lines turned to nail wraps and stickers in their vital, fast-paced roles as a form of self-care. (Many hospitals required doctors and nurses to stop wearing fake nails and gel polishes due to their likelihood to lift and harbor bacteria.) “Our hospital just went to no artificial or gel nails, so now my go-to is Color Street nails,” said Amy, a registered nurse in Georgia. “They’re real nail polish strips that last two weeks — they are so easy and fast to put on.”
This story was originally part of our Self-Care Is Essential project exploring the simple power of caring for yourself.