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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
172 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best nail polish stickers

Achieving the perfect manicure at home can be tricky. It’s easy to miss areas when painting your nails and to smudge wet polish when it’s drying. If you like complicated nail art designs, it may seem that serious precision and artistic skills are required. Thankfully there’s an easy solution: nail polish stickers.

Nail polish stickers allow you to create a foolproof manicure by adding an all-over color or pattern to your nails or placing specific images on them. The stickers adhere firmly, giving you a manicure that lasts as long as one with traditional nail polish. In short, you can do your nails more quickly and sport a truly impressive manicure with less stress.

Now it’s decision time. Do you want nail art stickers or nail polish strip stickers? We can help you find the perfect product for the perfect manicure.

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File and shape your nails before applying nail polish strip stickers; you could inadvertently damage the stickers if you try to do it afterward.

Key considerations

Type

Nail art stickers

As the name suggests, nail art stickers are designed for use in nail art. They usually come in pre-cut sizes, with some that cover most of the nail and others serving as a small applique or decal on part of the nail. Nail art stickers can be applied over polish to add details and accents to an existing manicure. They typically aren’t textured, which means they look like they’ve been painted onto the nails. This allows you to achieve a look similar to what a professional manicurist would create without a costly trip to the salon.

Most nail art stickers come on transparent sheets, so you can place the sticker over your nail to see how it will look before you decide to use it. The stickers are typically easy to remove, which allows you to regularly change up your manicure. That means they’re not likely to damage your nails, either.

Nail polish strip stickers

Nail polish strip stickers cover the entire nail, replacing a base coat, color, and topcoat in a single step. They’re usually made of actual nail polish, which gives them the same shine and texture as a painted-on manicure. However, they save you from waiting for the polish to dry and worrying about smudges.

Because they cover the full nail, nail polish stickers are a little trickier to apply than nail art stickers. They come in nail shapes of varying size, though they typically have some stretch to create a closer fit. If there's any excess, you can trim it away with manicure scissors and/or file it down with a nail file. They’re fairly easy to remove, though they can sometimes leave your nails feeling a little rough.

Non-toxic ingredients

As with any beauty or self-care product, you want to be sure your nail polish stickers are made with safe, high-quality ingredients that aren’t toxic in any way. Stickers with harsh chemicals or other toxic ingredients can damage the nails, leaving them brittle, yellowed, and prone to breakage. Look for nail polish stickers that clearly indicate they contain non-toxic ingredients. Avoid formulas that contain rubber, PVC, or other plastics, which can be harsh on the nails.

Self-adhesive

All nail polish stickers feature adhesive on the back. Some stickers are self-adhesive, so as soon as you remove the sticker from its backing, it’s sticky and ready to adhere to your nails. However, other stickers feature adhesive that’s water-activated. You have to soak the stickers briefly in water and wet your nails to get them to adhere. Self-adhesive nail stickers are easier and quicker to apply, and many people prefer them.

dyk
Did You Know?
Some nail polish strip stickers last longer if you warm them up after application. Heating them gently with a blow dryer after placing them on your nails helps the sticker melt into the nail for better adhesion.
Staff
BestReviews

Features

Ease of use

All nail polish stickers are relatively easy to use because they don’t require you to paint a base coat or color coat. However, some stickers are easier to use than others.

Nail art stickers are typically easiest to use because they feature small images or patterns covering just part of the nail. However, they can be a bit more time-consuming to apply, especially if you get the kind that need to soak in water to activate the adhesive.

Nail polish strip stickers feature a self-adhesive back, so you don’t need water for those. However, you must fit them carefully because they cover the entire nail. Often, these stickers require trimming with a file or nail scissors, which can take more time.

Durability

Nail polish stickers vary in terms of how long they last on your nails. Nail polish strips usually average between five and seven days of wear, though some can last as long as two weeks. Nail art stickers typically stay on the nails for one to two weeks, though some last as long as three weeks.

No matter what type of nail stickers you choose, their lifespan may be shortened by prolonged exposure to water. Choose a waterproof variety to ensure that your regular showers and dishwashing activities don’t cause them to come loose.

Removal

Some nail polish stickers require soaking in nail polish remover to loosen the adhesive. However, many nail art stickers only require soaking in warm water to weaken the adhesive for removal.

Colors, designs, and patterns

The best thing about nail polish stickers is that they come in such a wide array of colors, designs, and patterns. There’s bound to be an option that appeals to you.

Nail art stickers usually come as single-item decals or small patterned designs that cover a partial area of the nail. You can find flowers, hearts, stars, butterflies, and much more. Available patterns include (but are not limited to) animal print, lace, and plaid.

Nail polish strip stickers are available in solid shades in nearly every color under the sun. From classic reds and nude pinks to bright magentas and neon greens, you can find nearly any shade you’d like. Some strip stickers feature designs or patterns like animal prints, stripes, florals, or polka dots. You can even find strips with a glitter finish to make your manicure stand out. 

Extras

Some nail polish stickers come with accessories that help you apply them. These extras may include nail files, cuticle sticks, and nail polish remover wipes.

Nail art stickers are typically more forgiving than polish strip stickers. If you gently set one down on your nail, you can usually move it if you aren’t happy with its placement before pressing it firmly in place.

Staff
BestReviews

Accessories

Nail file: Czech Republic Etched Crystal Glass Nail Files
When applying nail polish strip stickers, you need a good nail file to help trim them down to the size of your nails. These files from Czech Republic are a favorite because you get three files in different grits that won’t damage your nails.

Tweezers: Tweezerman Rose Gold Tone Slant Tweezers
When applying small nail art stickers, you need a quality pair of tweezers to position them just right. We love this set from Tweezerman because the tips are hand-filed to enable greater precision.

Nail polish sticker prices

Inexpensive: The most affordable nail polish stickers are usually nail art stickers or decals. They typically come in sets of 500 to 1,000 partial nail stickers and require water activation. Expect to spend between $1 and $10 for these nail polish stickers.

Mid-range: Mid-range nail polish stickers are usually basic nail polish strip stickers. They are typically self-adhesive and come in sets with enough stickers for two manicures. You’ll generally pay between $6 and $14 for these products.

High-end: The priciest choices are high-end nail polish strip stickers. They’re self-adhesive and come in sets that contain enough stickers for at least two manicures, though some include enough for four or five. Some high-end stickers have a glittery texture for extra pizzazz. Expect to pay between $13 and $25 for these nail polish stickers.

dyk2
Did You Know?
Small nail art stickers are generally easier to apply if you use a pair of tweezers.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Make sure your nails are clean and dry before applying stickers. If you’re using nail art stickers on polished nails, the polish should be completely dry and set before adding the stickers.
  • When applying nail polish strip stickers, wrap the end of the sticker over the tip of your nail to cover the edge. The sticker is less likely to peel up if you do.
  • Add a topcoat. A topcoat can increase the durability of your nail polish stickers and help set them in place.
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If you have a large amount of excess nail polish sticker to remove for a better fit, use a nail file with a rough grit. For a smaller amount of excess, a finer grit file works best.

FAQ

Q. Do nail polish stickers damage nails?

A. If you choose non-toxic stickers, they typically won’t damage your nails. However, the process of removing them can sometimes cause damage. Some stickers require soaking in nail polish remover, which can dry out your nails and leave them brittle.

To avoid damage, avoid soaking your nails for removal. Instead, wet a cotton swab with nail polish remover, and run in along the edges of the sticker to loosen it so you can peel it off.

Q. Are nail polish stickers reusable?

A. No, nail polish stickers aren’t reusable because the removal process either removes the adhesive or breaks down the stickers completely.

Q. Should I apply a base coat before I apply my nail polish strip stickers?

A. A base coat can help nail polish strip stickers last longer because it gives the adhesive something to grip. Some stickers include a base coat in their formula, though, so it may not be necessary.

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