I Tried the Popular Gel Mani Stick-Ons I Kept Seeing Online—And They Worked Like a Charm

Each set is custom-made to specifically fit your nails.

ManiMe Gel Mani Stick-Ons
Photo: Kaitlyn Yarborough

I can still remember when nail polish stickers—also known as nail wraps—first came out, because I was at CVS with my mother and insisted upon taking home two different packs: one was bright coral red (which is still my favorite nail color; all hail OPI Cajun Shrimp) and one was a funky tie-dye pattern that would perfectly match my sequin purse from Limited Too. When I applied them at home, it was dodgy work at best, partly due to my inherent lack of experience and partly because they just weren't the size, width, or shape of my nails. They looked terrible, and in hours, they had all fallen off. One by one. It was a sad sight.

Flash-forward to a couple months ago, when I noticed new nail brand ManiMe coming out with gel mani stick-ons made specifically to fit your nails. No glue, no spending two hours in the salon, nothing. The first thing I wondered, how in the world do they do that? Secondly, do I dare revisit the whole institution of nail polish stickers? Well, twist my arm. Let's do this.

Turns out, the brand is able to custom fit each set of gel mani stick-ons for your nails by having you create an account, submit photos of your nails taken on your phone (scaling your nail size against something the size of a driver's license or credit card), and using special technology to print them out in the perfect length, width, and shape. All you have to do is await your chosen colors and patterns to arrive in the mail.

When I received my order, I was impressed to find that each nail stick-on was perfectly shaped and sized to fit each designated nail on either my right or left hand. As far as application goes, it was relatively easy and I dove in with a cowhide-inspired neutral stick-on set (seen at top)—because go big or go home, right?

The packaging prompts users to wipe down nails with an included prep pad before applying the gel mani stickers to each nail and filing down the excess on top to fit your nail perfectly. (There is an included mini rough nail file.) The brand recommends topping with a clear top coat to ensure the stick-ons are secure and can last longer. All in all, it went off without a hitch while I watched my favorite Thanksgiving Gilmore Girls episode. They lasted me an entire weekend before I decided to take them off and try a different set.

Listen, I've learned a thing or two after years of beauty experimenting, and I couldn't help but go a little rogue. These are my personal tips for using the ManiMe stick-on gels.

  1. Take time to shape and file your nails beforehand for a more professional finished look.
  2. Make sure to get the stick-ons right near, but not on top, of your cuticle each time.
  3. Fold the sticker underneath your nail tip before filing. The extra wrap under helps keep them in place.
  4. After applying (but before the top coat), I noticed that some spots on the sides or near the cuticle weren't sticking totally to my liking. So I pulled out my blow dryer and blasted each nail for five seconds before really pressing and smoothing each one out—and guess what? It worked like a 2004 Juicy Couture charm bracelet.
  5. Do NOT forget the top coat. It helps keep them attached so much better.

Overall, I would definitely order these again. They're great to have on hand for when you don't have time to go to a salon before an event. It's also an easy way to try out trendier colors or patterns that you would usually do at the salon—because if you don't like them, you can peel them right off. Ah, zero commitment. That's just how I like it.

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