Freckles in April: Out for a Spin: Nail Decals

Friday, July 12, 2013

Out for a Spin: Nail Decals

This month Janssen and I took different brands of nail decals out for a spin! I tried out 4 different brands: Nail Rock, Sally Hansen, Forever 21, and Essie. Read on for my experiences with each:

Nail Rock

From Wal Mart. The irony of my chipped polish in this photo is not lost on me.

I'd seen nail decals around the web but it wasn't until a (ridiculously stylish) friend of mine showed up sporting some on her toes that I decided I had to give them a try. I did a set for Paris and could not. stop. looking. at my hands.

I got this robin's egg pattern specifically because it was the one my friend had. They stayed on her toes for AGES. I was like 3 months. They didn't enjoy quite the same longevity on my hands, unfortunately. I KNEW I should have brought my clear polish to Paris but packing space was tight and I was nervous about bottle breakage. These were definitely the thickest decals I tried and that thickness made them a bit difficult to file off at the edges. AND they had the hardest time conforming to the curvature of my nails- they lifted at the edges more than any other brand. However, had I packed some clear polish, I think they could have lasted MUCH longer than the (almost) week I got out of them. They were sturdy, ya know? I quite liked them and would like to try them again.

Something that I really liked is that they are packaged on clear backing, which makes it really easy to compare and trim down to your nail size before peeling off and applying. With a thicker decal, getting the proper fit is really important and the clear backing made that easy.

Verdict: Give them a go!

Sally Hansen

Found these at Target

This is kind of a cheat since these are the ones my sister wore to Paris (see above). BUT! I put them on her so the experience counts. These were thin, like the F21 ones below, but much higher quality. Being thin meant they were easier to file off at the edges and easily conformed to Nikki's nail. They lasted pretty well through our trip.

Nikki experienced the same problem I did toward the end- hair getting caught in cuticle end. As your nail grows out, the cuticle end of the sticker seems to become this little lip where your hair gets caught as soon as you put your hands anywhere near your head. I had this problem with every brand I tried (well, except for the F21 ones. They didn't last long enough for me to notice).

Verdict: An excellent, affordable option.

F21 Nail Stickers


I'm really glad that I had done some nail decals before my Paris trip because if these had been my first experience I would have been put off from the whole concept immediately. The pro here is that they are cheap. At $1.80 a pop you can afford to at least give them a try.

The con is that they probably aren't even worth your buck eighty. I am going to make an allowance here- nail decals, even within the same brand, can be made of different materials. It depends on the pattern. Mine were super thin (think plastic wrap) so a different material may lend a different experience.

These decals ripped ridiculously easily. Even with the most careful filing, my tips looked a little jagged. They run larger than the other brands, making it so I had to cut down every. single. one. to fit. This was hugely time consuming. Also, they were on opaque backing so when I cut them down I was just sort of winging it.

And, weirdly, they reacted to clear nail polish. Putting a clear coat on top seems like a logical step for decals. I did a clear coat on the Nail Rock and Sally Hansen ones and had no problems. The F21 ones bubbled, rippled and even tore a bit after I applied my topcoat. After noticing this on my first hand, I decided to forgo the topcoat on my other hand. About 20 minutes later I put lotion on my hands and was surprised to see that my topcoat-less decals slid right off with the lotion. So, essentially, I have no idea how you're supposed to keep these things ON.

Click to enlarge and see the awfulness.
Verdict: PASS

($10.25 at Kohls. Also available at Wal Mart and Target, I believe.)

 The selection isn't huge but I actually like almost all of them. Which is to be expected, considering these are from Essie.

These were my favorite decals to put on. Clear backing made for easy nail comparison. They included smaller sizes so I only had to cut down ONE of them (because, apparently, my left pinky nail is quite a bit smaller than my right? Now I'm all self conscious about it). They were a little on the thinner side so they were easy to file off at the ends. Stuff like that cuts way down on the time it takes to do your nails. I put these on and was off to church in just a few minutes. They even include some slightly more square shapes in the larger sizes, which was perfect for my thumb. Well played, Essie.

They DID, however, react to the clear nail polish. I tested the polish on a spare decal and it was fine. Then I did both my hands aaand wrinkling. Argh. Darn you, misleading test decal! It was not nearly as bad as with the F21 decals though. It actually looked like it could have been intentional (a friend I showed them to thought it was) so it didn't bother me too much. If and when I do these in the future, though, I won't do a topcoat. Unlike the F21 ones, these would stay on just fine without one.

Verdict: If you'd like to give decals a try, these should be your first shot. Minus a topcoat!

What brand did Janssen love? Did she think Forever 21 was worth your $1.80? Go find out!

Have you tried nail decals? What did you think? What are your fav brands?

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1 comment:

  1. I've been interested in trying nail decals... Thanks for the advice!


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