I am a firm believer in the adage that looking good makes you feel good. To this end, doing my nails every week has long been part of my self-care Sunday routine. It’s a weekly practice because even the at home polishes that promise a week of chip free wear, lie. Or maybe they’re not trying to lie but expect your hands to be perfectly protected all week long and not do any laundry, wash a single dish or worse, scrub a pot! Well, I live in the real world and am lucky to get to day two with perfectly intact nails.
In my quest to extend a freshly manicured look, I’ve tried hundreds of polishes… to get the best wear, to find the perfect neutral your-nail-but-better and everything came up a little short.
I thought figuring out the perfect at home manicure was over and so I crossed over to the dark side of gel. I had been avoiding gel polish for years because of the damage I’ve been told it does to nails. Damage that proved to be true. After my first attempt at a true gel rubber base, I was horrified at how breaky my nails were when I removed it.
Around this time, I discovered the newly launched Stikd and HAD to give them a try. Stikd nails are gel manicure stickers that allow you to get professional gel nails, in just a few steps, on your own, at home. Best of all, they don’t damage your nails. Dubbed the future of gel, they save you from long appointments, soak offs, smudging and chipping.
Stikd was Founded by Bianka Boezaart who discovered gel manicure stickers oversees. When she saw her friends easily do their own nails and have them look as good as a salon manicure, she immediately wanted to bring them to South Africa. Fast forward to April 2023, her hard work translated into Stikd.
My experience with Stikd Gel Manicure Stickers
I received a starter pack to try out, which has everything you need as a first-time starter. Inside a beautiful blush pink cosmetic bag, you get two color choices of gel stickers (you select the colors from their full range), a cuticle pusher, top coat, cuticle oil, and their adorable mini UV lamp. Each color comes in a pack with 20 sizes, an alcohol pad, a nail file, a wooden cuticle stick, a sticker to reseal your color sachet and instructions for application and removal. The only thing it doesn’t have is a nail scissor – which technically you don’t need, but if you want one, they sell those too.
From the branding to the packaging, the education to the product and customer service, Stikd have every box ticked. You can’t open the box and not be excited to do your own nails.
Getting started was a little intimidating, but Stikd have made it simple with easy to follow how to videos on their website. They also give you a sheet of 20 nails which allows you to mix and match to your nail size, make mistakes and start again, or reapply if something happens to one. If your nails are short, you can even get two nails out of one sticker!
They say it takes 30 minutes to apply but I found there is a learning curve, and my first attempt took me an hour. Although matching up your nail and sticking it on is easy, filing/ cutting it down to your nail length is where the time adds up. For my first hand, I tried the cut it down method and then file, whereas for the second I switched to their filing down method and found it to work better. It also took me 15 minutes quicker proving that it can be quick, once you get the hang of it. You can watch the process in action here.
Once all the nails were on, the topcoat was set, and cuticle oil applied to the edges, I was delighted by the result. My nails looked like a glossy, perfectly applied polish and I loved the neutral peachy pink tone of “Put a ring on it”. I then made sure to really put them to the test. I washed dishes, scrubbed pots, used rough scourers, did laundry – not one of those things put a dent in the finish or forced it off my nail. When I removed them in the second week, I did so because I felt like a change, not because they were worse for wear.
Taking the stickers off is really where the magic lies. It was so easy, I was almost shocked it had adhered to my nails for so long. Best of all, the condition my nails were in was magical. All the cracks had healed, they felt strong and nourished – it’s like the Stikd gel manicure stickers were pretty band aids.
Imagine a press on nail and gel polish had a baby? That baby is Stikd gel manicure stickers.
Would I use them again?
I’ve discovered through my quest that there is no perfect one-size-fits-all nail solution. Sometimes you want to paint your own nails with a fun R30 shade from Clicks. Sometimes you want to go to a salon and have a nail technician scrub and prep your nails to perfection. And sometimes your nails just need a break and TLC, and that’s when I’ll reach for Stikd. Because no matter how broken your nails are, nothing screams lady louder than perfectly manicured nails.
Protects your nails
Gives you a gorgeous glossy gel manicure look for weeks
Can be done in your own time in the comfort of your home, or anywhere!
Once you have your starter kit items, per manicure you’re paying less than in a salon – a bottle of polish may be cheaper but gone is the pain of choosing colors and having to constantly reapply
An amazing solution to getting gel nails done in remote destinations – wish I had this for our Puerto Rico trip!
Easy to remove
Is a bit thick looking – if you’re not careful with nail selection, or don’t press the nail on hard enough – the edge thickness is visible after curing
Doesn’t replace a salon manicure – unless you know how to do all that amazing prep and clean work yourself
There’s a learning curve to filing it down to your nail length
It’s harder to apply to a shorter nail – with less adhesion surface area, extra care needs to be given or they pop off even after curing
Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.