If you’re anything like me, you’re struggling with a myriad of feelings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, these feelings range from gratitude to fear / anxiety of the unknown… and waves of everything in between. One of those “inbetween” emotions for me is frustration… which seems to stem from many sources, but one main one is the inability to visit my nail salon (obviously a very minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things, but still challenging for me).
For years I have been religiously visiting my favorite Seattle-area nail salon every two weeks — I get a shellac manicure at every visit and a pedicure at every other visit. It’s part of my personal maintenance, self-care, and generally part of my routine which has all been completely thrown out the window due to shelter-in-place orders. I have always appreciated the excellent work of the talented nail techs at my salon, but even more so now (I even went as far as to text the owner to tell her I missed her and her skills! 😂 Miss you, Lany!).
With the tools I have at home (seen above) I’ve been able to bumble through heel scraping, nail / cuticle trims, and filing / shaping, but I just can’t seem to get the nail painting aspect under control. I try my best, but it always looks like a kindergartener painted my nails for me… and in the rare event that I manage to get the polish looking half-decent (with the help of my trusty toe separators), I’ll accidentally bump the not-quite-dry-yet paint and muck them up. 😭 I was getting pretty desperate to do something with them so that they looked less like a complete disaster and, magically, an ad for “ManiMe” stick-on gel nail polish caught my attention — an at-home, easy-to-apply manicure? It sounded too good to be true. I researched further and found out that a full set of nail stickers starts at $15 (and goes up from there depending on how intricate the nail design is) which I think is totally reasonable. I figured my nails couldn’t get any worse, so why not give them a try? lol
It’s actually a pretty cool process… you take 5 quick photos of your nails that the ManiMe company uses to create a set of stickers in the exact shapes of each of your nails (using a 3D scanner!), which I think is totally revolutionary for all types of press-on nails / nail “polish” stickers. I personally think it’s worth paying a bit extra (as compared to the traditional press-on nails) to not have to trim EVERY. SINGLE. NAIL. to fit my nail shapes… but that’s just me.
Then you choose which stickers you want… there are a LOT of really fun color / pattern options, but I’m a pretty classic person so I ordered two of the solid nude shades. The stickers arrived fairly quickly, but it felt like forever because I couldn’t wait to try my bespoke manicure stickers!
As part of my review, I’m going to assess:
(1) how easy the stickers are to apply,
(2) if they chip / lift / peel,
(3) how many days they actually last, and
(4) how easy they are to remove and replace
(1) EASE OF APPLICATION
I was impressed at how easy the stickers were to apply. I bet the process would have been even easier if my nails had been a bit longer at the time of application so I’ll have to test that theory in future applications. 😉 The instructions on the card that came with my order were clear and easy to follow, but if you happen to experience difficulty with the written directions the company also offers video tutorials. I’d say that my first time application of the nail stickers took me a little over half an hour, but I’m chalking that up to the fact that I was watching tv as well as being a bit of a perfectionist when “micro-shaping” my nail tips. 😂 Now that I feel more confident applying the stickers, I’m sure that future applications will take even less time.
The gel stickers feel reasonably sticky right off the sheet, but you can definitely pull them off of your nails (quickly after placing them) and re-stick if you misalign one during application. Remember to keep your nails from getting wet for 45 minutes after you put them on so that they can set properly — read: plan your application time accordingly! Once applied, you’ll notice the “feel” of the sticker actually does seem identical to the feel of typical gel nail polish and if they’ve been applied correctly, it honestly doesn’t look like stickers on your nails… just a super professional manicure. 😉
(2) ANY CHIPPING / LIFTING / PEELING ISSUES
Honestly, I was shocked at how well the stickers stayed on my nails. Because of the coronavirus, I have been washing my hands even more often than normal and the stickers haven’t budged! I have showered, washed / styled my hair, washed about 184738602145275096732517 dishes, etc. with zero issue! My hands are soaking wet in the image below, if you can’t tell.
I even assumed that due to suffering from hyperhidrosis my nails would emit some kind of moisture/oil and cause the the stickers to lift, but they have totally stayed put; I am very impressed. I kept the “spare” nail stickers just in case one or two needed an emergency repair and I’m glad that I did — more about that below…
(3) ACTUAL LENGTH OF TIME LASTED
The ManiMe website says that the stickers are supposed to last 10-14 days, but I kept my expectations low. Surprisingly, I was able to keep the stickers on for the full two weeks and only replaced them because my nails had grown out (basically the same time frame as you would typically go to the salon to get a new manicure or nail fill). The stickers definitely could have stayed on longer, but my actual nails had grown out so much that it was starting to bother me. 😅
I will admit that I did have to replace one sticker about a week and a half in, but it was because I had jammed my finger / bent my nail while cleaning which caused the sticker to release from the nail in a couple of areas. I think if I hadn’t had that weird incident, I wouldn’t have needed to use any of the “extra” stickers, but I was so glad to have them! I was able to find an extra sticker on the nail sticker sheet with a shape that was pretty close to the shape of the original fingernail sticker — I did have to trim it slightly, but that process was pretty minimal.
(4) REMOVAL / REPLACEMENT
Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the removal process given how well these stickers had adhered to my nails (and lasted two weeks!). The company says that you can “just peel them off”, but that claim just didn’t seem believable to me… I am pleased to share that it actually was just that easy. If you experience any difficulties with removal, the ManiMe team suggests soaking your fingertips in warm water for a minute followed by applying a hand lotion along the edge of the stickers to loosen them from from your nails before peeling them off, which seems like a much gentler option for anyone with nail or hand sensitivities. I personally didn’t have any discomfort during removal and the residual adhesive left on my nails was minimal / easy to remove. I did some quick trimming / filing / shaping and then applied the next set of stickers the same way that I had put the first set on. I’m totally sold on these stick-on gels!
These would be a great option for people who don’t have time to go to the salon or don’t care to pay the more premium price for a professional salon manicure. I will absolutely continue to wear these even after quarantine when I don’t have time to get to the salon, but they won’t fully replace my professional manicure / pedicure pampering… my nail tech is a boss at painting on a French tip, which is my usual go-to look for my nails (I imagine that it would be too tough for ManiMe to replicate by way of stickers).
These gel nail stickers would also be awesome as gifts, especially for your mom or your bridesmaids (well, maybe as a gift card since they have to scan their own nails); the stickers would also be great to just toss in your travel bag in case you don’t have time to get to the salon before a trip! You are given everything you need in the little manicure envelope, so they’re already good-to-go.
In closing, I absolutely would give these gel nail stickers a 10/10 and will definitely use them again… in fact, I have already placed another order for two more sets! This is such an awesome at-home nail polish option and I highly recommend them.
*EDIT: ManiMe just launched pedicure gel stickers!
If you’d like a discount on your first order, click here!
I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy at home and that this at-home manicure option helps make your quarantine a bit more tolerable. Because, as silly as it is, having my nails done has restored a small sense of normalcy for me and maybe they can do that for you too. We’re going get through this, you guys. 💗