Nail art is hard, no matter how effortless designs look on Instagram. Even with the rising popularity of low-key, easy-to-paint types of nail art — with loads of trendy negative space — anyone who isn't a professional will occasionally wind up with polish all over their nail beds and the sinking realization that it's time to take off the entire miss. Unless, of course, you invest in press-ons, nail art stickers, or stick-on gel nails — three alternatives that instantly give you a salon-like manicure (and sometimes for a fraction of the price).
However, each of these three nail art options come with a unique list of pros and cons you should be aware of before you jump right in. While they might not be as messy as traditional nail art — or as difficult — knowing exactly what to keep in mind while you apply is always a plus. As they say, knowledge is power.
Below, two TZR Shopping News Writers sound off about nail art stickers, press-on nails, and 3D-printed gel manicures. (Yes, it's a thing.)
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Pros & Cons Of Nail Art Stickers
"No joke, trying nail art stickers made me wonder why I've spent so many hours painstakingly attempting to paint on nail art by myself. You just need to apply whichever base color you want, slap a sticker on, and finish it with a top coat. I used Ciaté London's Cheat Sheets (which are currently sold out, but arrive at Sephora.com on May 12) — and my biggest con came from not following directions. Ciaté recommends applying stickers to dry painted nails or bare nails, and I honestly just didn't wait for mine to be completely dry, so the sticker smudged the base polish. Next time, I'll be more patient." — Madge Maril, Shopping News Writer
Pros: Easy as applying a sticker, plenty of design options, & doesn't affect your nail bed.
Cons: You have to wait for any base polish to dry fully.
Pros & Cons Of Stick-On Gel Nails
"Gel nails are kind of crème de la crème, so when I found out you can get gel stickers delivered to your door, it was a game changer. The ones from ManiMe are super easy to use (literally press them on then file the excess off) and come in a variety of styles, from plain colors to these cute daisy designs. What makes ManiMe stickers extra special, in my opinion, is the fact that by using 3D printing the brand is able to tailor the stickers to your unique nail shape so they fit like a glove." — Katie Stanovick, Shopping News Writer
Pros: Easy to apply, cute styles, non-damaging removal, & lasts for two weeks.
Cons: Price (ranges from $15 to $25 a set).
Pros & Cons Of Press-On Nails
"Press-on nails deserve more credit. I tried SinfulColors' new CLAWS press-ons recently, and they were so easy to use and so affordable — the kit was just $5.98. There are endless press-on designs out there, and the nails themselves are more durable than I realized, too. (Taking them off took a minute.) I think the only big press-on con in general is average length, though it's a pro as well; anyone going from shorter nails to longer press-ons will need a day or two to relearn how to text." — Madge Maril
Pros: Length, inexpensive, & tons of style options.
Cons: Length, can affect your natural nails, & long removal time.