What are Nail Wraps?
This is a new one for me but as it turns out, nail wraps have been around for a very long time (at least since the 1920s). Originally, nail wraps were used to fix broken or torn nails. This technique was very popular in the 1980s. The nail wraps were made of silk or other thin materials (even coffee filters). Nail technicians would layer them over the natural nail, apply glue, a resin, and/or nail polish, and shape the nail.
A nail wrap provides for a softer and more bendable nail surface that isn’t quite as thick as acrylic and is generally healthier for the nail. It’s also quite a bit more comfortable to wear.
These days there are many types of nail products that fall under the terminology of “nail wraps”. These include silk nail wraps, linen nail wraps, fiberglass nail wraps, and other materials meant to reinforce the natural nail. There are also gel wraps and nail polish stickers, but they are really in a category of their own.
There are new products coming out all the time as it’s a pretty exciting and in-demand area of beauty. Finally, women are able to achieve a salon-quality manicure and pedicure at home whilst saving real dollars as well.
What are Nail Polish Wraps?
Nail polish wraps are actually the same thing as nail stickers (see below) with various solid colors or designs. A nail polish wrap set typically comes with nail strips in various sizes so that you can pick the best size for each nail. Some suggest using a base coat on the nail first, others recommend applying to a nail directly.
What are Gel Nail Wraps?
So there are two different things people could mean when they say “gel nail wraps”. The first is actually a regular gel manicure or pedicure you can request at any nail salon in the world. This manicure requires a UV light to cure and harden the gel. It lasts for about 2-3 weeks.
This procedure is very popular as you do not need to wait for your nails to dry as you would with traditional nail polish. And everyone loves the glossy and shiny gel look! However, the removal process may be damaging to the nails.
The other option is a gel nail polish that is applied to the sticker. These come in a matte or an ultra-shiny finish. The assumption is that these are generally higher quality products that provide a more professional look than a regular nail sticker. This is where the distinction really ends.
One of the newer products on the market in this category is by ManiMe. These are gel nail strips you can buy for your manicure or pedicure that use 3D nail technology to ensure a custom fit to your digits. And they are cruelty-free certified and are 10-free (meaning free of 10 commonly used toxic chemical ingredients). I have no association with this brand and never tried their product. But let us know if you have!
What are Nail Decals?
Nail decals are actually just like the old water transfer decals from your childhood. Yet these are meant for your nails!
So these water decals are nail art stickers that do not have an adhesive backing. Instead, they come on special paper. Once you expose them to water for a few seconds, you can use a pair of tweezers to transfer to your polished nail (recommended to have a base coat). And then top with a top coat to protect your nail design.
In my personal opinion though nail decals are a bit more finicky than nail art stickers. So if you have a choice, I recommend starting with the stickers as those are slightly easier to apply and do not require water.
What are Nail Stickers?
If you just want to upgrade your nail routine and don’t want to mess around with nail wraps or press-on nails, then nail stickers are exactly what you are looking for.
Nail stickers are exactly what they sound like. They are real nail polish strips with an adhesive backing you can apply directly to your nail. They come either in a size that covers your entire nail, or you can just opt for tiny accent stickers and arrange them on your already polished nail in any way you like.
How to Apply Nail Wraps and Nail Stickers?
Nail stickers and nail art stickers are extremely easy to apply. They already come with an adhesive backing. If you are working with a full nail sticker, you want to prep your nail per instructions. Then, match the nail sticker to your nail bed. Apply, use a buffer on your nail to file off the excess sticker. You may even apply a top coat to make it last longer. And presto!
If you’re using nail art stickers, just apply them in any pattern onto an already prepped and polished nail.
Are nail wraps and nail stickers bad for your nails?
Nail stickers do not damage your nails at all. The adhesive is quite gentle. In the case of the nail art stickers, you would apply them over a base coat.
The full nail sticker is applied directly to the nail surface. But even in this instance, it will not damage your nails. Most of the damage with nail enhancements is actually caused by the removal process. Luckily, nail stickers inherently are very easy to remove as they are made of real nail polish. All you need is a nail polish remover.
How to make nail wraps and nail stickers last longer?
The best way is to follow the prep steps. And once you’re done, cover your nail art or full sticker with another topcoat. For best results, I recommend re-applying the topcoat to your nails every 2-3 days.
Favorite Nail Prep Products
- Nail Care and Manicure Kit
- Natural Milk & Honey Cuticle Revitalizing Oil
- Nail Art Brush Set
- Professional Nail Buffers Emery Boards
- OPI Infinite Shine ProStay Duo Pack, Nail Polish Base Coat Primer & Gloss Top Coat
- Sally Hansen Dries Instantly Top Coat
Favorite Nail Art and Wrap Products
- Sally Hansen Nail Wraps – These ones linked are perfect for V-Day festivities.
- Incoco – Great selection of constantly updated awesome nail designs. They’ve been around for many years and are likely one of the first brands to enter this space.
- ManiMe – This company will use 3D technology to create a nail wrap customized to your nail bed.
- Olive and June – An awesome selection of modern nail art and nail wraps. Their products can be found at most stores.
- Kiss Nails – Kiss is a well-known brand of in-home beauty. They have a wide selection of nail products ranging from press-on and glue-on nails to now nail stickers and nail art.
- Dashing Diva – Another relative new-comer on the market with a great range of high-quality gel nail wraps.
- Color Street Nail Wraps – This is also a favorite of mine. Many great modern designs to suit a variety of tastes.
- Lilly & Fox Nail Wraps – Same goes for this company. Love their tips on making your manicure last longer!
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Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a Registered Dietitian, or a licensed esthetician. The information presented is not medical advice. It is purely to share my experiences and opinions based on the linked research. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.