My Quick and Affordable Option For A DIY Manicure

I like getting my nails done. I like the pampering and how my nails and hands look afterward. What I don’t like are the prices and how little time my manicures last.

I went for a mani/pedi a few years ago at a nail salon in Charlotte, NC. I got the basic mani/pedi, no gel, nothing special. It cost $67. While not a ton of money, it’s a lot if you go every two to three weeks.

Also, the manicure started to chip as soon as I was walking out the door. That wasn’t the salon’s fault. A doctor once told me I may have a lot of acid in my nails because I can’t keep regular polish on my nails. Gel nails may last longer but they would also cost more.

I have found a solution though. One that lasts for two weeks and saves me money and time.

three sets of dashing diva nail strips laying on light brown carpet.
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The solution and alternative to getting a manicure at the nail salon is to do an at-home manicure using nail strips.

What are nail strips?

Nail strips are self-adhesive stickers that are made of a thin layer of nail polish. You get the look of a professional manicure in a short period without having to leave the house. Nail strips are really easy to apply and can come as a regular polish or gel. They typically last about 14 days.

Nail strips are different than press-on nails because press-ons are usually made of acrylic resin and don’t have to conform to your nail length. Press-on nails tend to last half the amount of time of nail strips, about seven days. Personally, I think press-on nails look fake whereas nail strips look like you’re wearing polish.

Nail strips are sometimes called nail stickers or nail wraps.

Where can you get nail strips?

There are many different brands of nail strips out on the market. Some are more popular than others. The ones that I’ve seen pop up more often online and in offline conversations with friends are

Lilt and Fox

This brand probably has the most options available. Since I’ve never used this brand before I browsed the website. It felt like the design and nail options went on and on and on. I liked that I could find holiday-specific designs along with solid and glitter nails.

What I didn’t like was how some of the sets looked. They kinda looked cheap and artificial. I’m not sure if that’s due to the image or actually how the nail sets look.

Lily and Fox are probably the most affordable brand as their sale prices can be as low as $2.99! That seems really low and I’m skeptical that could continue but I may be surprised.

When it comes to reviews I’ve seen a few complaining about shipping taking forever or packages not arriving. Also, some people have had issues with the removal process damaging their nails. Not sure if this is because they didn’t follow the directions or if that’s what the strips do sometimes.

Color Street 

This is another brand I haven’t used but I’ve seen it talked about quite a bit. It seems like Color Street was one of the first brands in the nail strip space (don’t quote me on that). If that is the case, they were one of the first I’m really surprised at how few options they had available.

It felt like they had fewer designs listed on their site than the others on this list. I did see several glitter options though if you like that.

Looking at the website prices for the nail strips range from $13 - $15.

Danni & Toni

I’ve never used this brand but have seen it positively talked about online. Danni & Toni offers semi-cured gel nail strips in a variety of patterns and shades.

In looking at the website I saw several sets that I liked. Prices range between $12 - $18.

Per reviews on Amazon most users like the sturdiness of the nails, the ease of application, and how the nails look. There are mixed reviews on how well the nails wear. Some users claimed to have a nail strip or two that fell off within a few days. Also, some had issues with the strips fitting their nails as there weren’t a variety of sizes.

Dashing Diva

This is the brand that I use. It offers nail strips in regular polish and gel. you can also get press-on nails. There are many different shades and designs available though I’ve noticed fewer plain shades and more emphasis on designs.

A couple of things I like are
  • Dashing Diva has seasonal and holiday sets that are released throughout the year
  • There are multiple size options in each set. I especially appreciate this when it comes to the thumbnail strips

One thing I don’t like is that they tend to rotate in and out shades and designs. Sometimes they are rotated out and never back in so if you see something you like you may want to get it then instead of waiting and potentially it becoming unavailable.

From what I can tell nail strips for all of the brands are sold mostly online via their website or Amazon store. You can find a brand or two in stores like Walmart, Target, Ulta, or Sally Beauty.

Pros and cons of nail strips

As I mentioned before regular nail polish doesn’t work for me so I was hesitant to start using nail strips as I thought they wouldn’t last and were going to be a waste of money. After my first application, I started to feel I was right. The nail strips didn’t stay on they started to lift on my nail tips and I even had to replace a couple of them completely just a few days in.

I’d bought a few boxes and decided to give nail strips another try and apply another set with a different application process. That new application process worked and I’ve worn several sets since then with no issues. You can see more about this application process in this video.

What drew me and kept me using nail stickers are
  • They are easy to apply: I can apply a full set now in 15 - 20 minutes which is less time than applying nail polish
  • They last a long time: I’ve worn a few sets a little longer than 14 days and didn’t have any issues with them staying on
  • There are so many options: Nail strips come in so many shades and patterns. I can get an intricate-looking manicure in just a few minutes for a fraction of the price
  • They don’t cost much: Most nail strips can be purchased for less than $15 a set

How to pick the best nail strips

With so many options out there it can be hard to determine which brand to buy. Here are some things to consider when selecting a nail strip set:
  • Do you want a gel or regular polish manicure? Some brands only offer one or the other
  • Which has the best shape and fit for your nails? You can visit some of the brands' websites to see some nail strips up close and look at reviews to help determine that
  • How long do the nail strips stay applied: Based on reviews do they last the full 14 days or for less time?
  • Do you want designs or not? Some brands have more design options than others
  • Price: After considering everything else it may come down to price. Which is the best option for the cheapest price?

I would also say, take a look at the reviews and watch a few review videos before buying any sets. If you find a brand or two you’d like to try you can do what I did which was buy a set on sale. I didn’t load up on multiple ones. I tried one first and determined if I liked the nail strips or not before investing in more.

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