Remember that scene in Mean Girls when Karen looks down at her hands and proclaims, "My nail beds suck"? Well, me too, Karen, me too — especially now that nail salons are closed indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For as long as I can remember, I've been getting gel manicures and acrylics, and now that that's not happening, I decided to go natural with my short nails.
After a week at home, I was over them and ready to try something else. Since I am, for some reason, not capable of painting my own nails (the left hand is so hard), I've resorted to trying out nail stickers. And after much trial and error, I can say I've picked up a few tricks on how to apply nail wraps on short nails.
Choose your design wisely
Sure, a picture of your cat's face or an elaborate landscape design is beautiful on a long nail, but when you have less surface area to work with, you're probably going to have to chop off a good chunk of that sticker before you apply it. It's better to pick a pattern that's small or repetitive, like polka dots or stripes. And if you must have a more elaborate design, make sure the bulk of the image will be down near your cuticle.
Don't just stick them on
According to Los Angeles-based manicurist Holly Falcone, you should always start with a fresh base. Wash your hands, remove any old polish, and wipe down your nails with acetone. Then, size your stickers by trimming the wrap down to fit your nail. Most stickers come pre-sized for each of the five fingernails, but that doesn't mean you have to use them on the assigned 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. Right now, I'm loving Revlon Ultimate Shine Top Coat, because it gives off such a shine, it almost looks wet. Plus, it's $7 and can be picked up from the drugstore while I'm out grabbing essentials.
Remove and treat
Removing nail stickers is just as simple as removing regular polish, says Falcone. "Just soak your nails in acetone, this will loosen the sticker from the nail." After soaking for about 10 minutes you'll notice the sticker starting to disconnect from your nail. Dry your hands and gently peel off the sticker.
With these tips, you'll easily finesse nail wraps until you're back in your nail technician's chair again.
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Originally Appeared on Allure