I am a professional nail technician, so you would think that I would be against anything found in a drugstore.

You’d be wrong.

These things are absolutely fantastic! They cost between $8-10 depending on where you purchase them. They come in a bunch of different colors & styles. They’re easy to apply. If they’re applied PROPERLY, they last for a week (up to three if you apply an LED topcoat like I did).

I’m going to walk you through how to apply these like a pro so that you get the most bang for your buck.

1.) Open the packaging and lay everything out in front of you. Size the decals and lay them out in the order they’ll be applied. Ensure that the decals will not be too big. It’s fine if they’re a little short on the sides, but you absolutely do not want them touching your skin or your sidewalls. They will peel off.
2.) Prep your nails properly. Push your cuticles, trim and shape your nails, wash your hands, dry them thoroughly, dehydrate them with 100% pure acetone (be sure to get all the oils off the nail plate, especially around your cuticle area). Do not touch the nails after they are prepped. Don’t scratch your face, don’t reach in your purse, don’t DO anything until you’re done. If you transfer any oils or contaminants onto the nail surface, the product’s ability to adhere will be compromised.
3.) Put the decals on. Press them down hard, rubbing from the cuticle to the tip. Fold the excess polish strip over the edge of your nail. Use the smooth side of the file and file downward to separate the excess strip from the nail plate using no pressure. DO NOT pull at or rip the decal.
4.) Apply the decals to the rest of your nails.
5.) You have two options here. You can either a.) apply some standard topcoat and seal the free edge, which will have to be repeated once every other day or b.) you can call a nail technician and ask if they would be willing to simply apply a UV or LED topcoat to your nails. If you happen to find one that understands what you’re looking for and is able to do it for you, bring some cotton pads soaked in rubbing alcohol. Prior to the application of the topcoat, quickly wipe the surfaces of the decals to remove any oils from your hands that may have been left behind. This will ensure maximum adhesion.

I will tell you right now that if you do this correctly, you will get at LEAST 2 weeks out of these decals. I wore them for almost 3 and I have my hands in water and chemicals 8-10 hours out of the day, 5 days a week. There is no excuse for you if you can’t make them last at least as long. Obviously, you need to care for them. Wear gloves when you clean or do dishes. Don’t garden bare handed. Try and keep your nails from being exposed to water for extended periods of time. Follow the common sense rules regarding manicure maintenance and you should be able to enjoy the decals for weeks.

Now I know that professionals are going to send me hate mail. Let me tell you before you throw a bitch fit at me, how I managed to market these so that my clients come to me instead of doing them on their own: I was honest with them. “This product is great, but unless they’re applied properly by a professional, you won’t get your money’s worth and you’ll be better off sticking to your gel manicure.”

I have my clients purchase the decals at their drugstore of choice and bring them to my office. I then prep their nails, apply the stickers, apply the LED topcoat, and charge them $20. This whole process takes me about 15 minutes (10-15 minutes less than a gel manicure). Total cost for the client: $28-30 (the exact same as a gel manicure with comparable results). Total cost for me: the fraction of a penny that 10 thin coats of LED topcoat costs. On top of that, there are almost always several stickers leftover. If the client is getting a pedicure with me that day, I apply them to a few accent toenails during her pedicure for an additional $5. This pays off infinitely in client referrals because people tend to notice flashy nails more frequently than your standard french or solid color nails. My clients only ever use these decals for special events. The rest of the time, they get their regular manicures & pedicures. If one of their friends comes to try me out using the decals, 99% of the time, they become regular clients of mine for their nail services.

Trust me on this. These women are going to try to do their services at home no matter what. Of course, because they lack the professional education we’ve worked so hard for, they are not going to get the results they want. Give those budget clients what they want at a price that they can handle and you’ll see returns on those investments immediately.

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