(Photo : Vecteezy / Yulia Gapeenko)

There are countless ways to achieve flawless nail art. But let's not sugarcoat it -- sometimes, it just takes too long. Enter nail stickers and nail decals. Yes, there is a difference, but which is better?

Nail Stickers vs. Nail Decals

Nail stickers and nail decals offer unique ways to decorate your nails, but they differ in their application and appearance. Nail stickers are pre-designed stickers with self-adhesive backing, making them easy to apply by simply peeling and sticking. They come in various materials and can be die-cut or kiss-cut for different looks. 

On the other hand, nail decals are thin films that are water-activated and transferred onto the nail. They require a base coat and a top coat for application, providing a professional finish. 

Overall, nail stickers are great for quick and easy designs, while nail decals offer more customization and durability with the right application technique.

Putting Nail Stickers and Decals On

For nail stickers, start by prepping your nails with a base coat and letting it dry. Then, select the nail sticker that best fits your nail size. Carefully peel off the sticker from its backing. We suggest using tweezers as nail stickers are too small to be picked by fingers without damaging the edges.

Place the sticker onto your nail and gently press it down, starting from the center and smoothing outward to avoid any bubbles. Once the sticker is in place, use a nail file to remove any excess sticker hanging off the edge of your nail. Finally, apply a top coat to seal the sticker and add shine. Voila! You have a beautiful, salon-worthy manicure in minutes.

Applying water slide decals for your nails is slightly different and requires practice.

First, make sure to wear gloves and don't wipe off the sticky layer. Use sharp scissors to cut out the decals. It may be challenging for such small designs, but try to trim close to the design as possible.  Soak a towelette with water and place it on the decal to release it from the paper backing. 

Test that the decal slides smoothly before placing it on the nail. Once it's ready, slide the decal onto the nail, gently pulling the white paper out from underneath. Press out any bubbles with a silicone tool and seal the decal with two thin layers of gel. For a clearer design, finish with a layer of matte topcoat. 

Pros and Cons

Nail stickers offer convenience with pre-cut designs and easy application, making them user-friendly. They come with their own adhesive and can be used temporarily. However, they may not be suitable for intricate designs or fonts, and they can be thicker and more expensive than decals. Additionally, separated images or fonts require a background, and larger images may not fit nail shapes well.

Nail decals, on the other hand, offer versatility, working well with intricate designs and allowing for the printing of extra small images. They easily conform to nail shapes, offer a cleaner finish, and are cost-effective. However, they require instructions and practice, an added adhesive for better hold, and a topcoat. Decals are not temporary and cannot be repositioned once dry. They also need water to activate and require longer preparation time as they must be cut by the user.

Which is better?

Both nail art types have their merits and downsides. Each would also fit a certain lifestyle. If you want something quick, you would naturally go for stickers because it will only take a second to stick a design to your nails. If you have more time, decals and more intricate designs are definitely worth the wait and the effort.

Nail stickers are meant for quick everyday use, and nail decals rule those monthly picnics or date nights.