I'm impatient, it's no secret. Highest on my list of top time-wasters? Waiting for my nails to dry. Like, literally. Watching. Paint. Dry. No thank you. My disdain of this very task usually leaves me going with bare nails for weeks on end (something I don't generally like to do) saying, 'Oh, I'll do them tomorrow night...' until the filming of a YouTube video or outfit blog post finally forces me to give them a quick slick of the fastest drying (but never quite fast enough) polish I have. So you can only imagine my excitement when I heard all about Thumbs Up Nail Wraps - super stylish stickers that look like a top notch manicure - yes please! Let me show you how they work...
Okay so first thing's first with any nail art, you want to clean your bare nails with nail polish remover to get rid of any oily residue from every day life. This will help your nail art to last longer be it nail wraps, nail polish or anything in between.
Next, file your nails into the desired shape. I went for a sassy points because my nails were long and I wanted to make the most of them before they all inevitably break. Generally with nails wraps I would say the longer the better, especially with patterned ones like the ones I'm using because there is more surface area to show the pattern but short works. At this stage also take your time to give yourself the full salon experience, pushing back and clipping your cuticles so that your nail beds are in tip top shape - ready for your wraps!
This look is a mix of nail wraps and super simple Pinterest-y nail art for extra kudos. Of course, if you're looking for super speed you can opt for 100% wraps and skip these steps. You do you. For those feeling adventurous, let's mix up the wraps with some cool Aztec nail art. Thumbs Up do nail wraps in all different patterns as well as solid colour so select your wraps first and then choose your polish colours to match. I went with these monochromatic Zebra Print Overlay Effect wraps which are my favourite style because they have transparent sections so you can have a contrasting polish colour show through or put them on bare nails for a cool negative space nail look - my favourite. I then threw in some matching black and contrasting gold polish and sparkles (later) on the other nails for a pop of glitz. Here's how:
So, for this triangular tribal nail art, decide how many nails you want to do nail art on and then cut small pieces of tape, two per nail. Lay the tape diagonally on your nails so that the exposed part of the nail forms a long triangle with the tip of the triangle ending just where the white of your nail starts (if you're nails are short, just end the triangle at the very tip of your nails).
Then, with your selected polish shades, paint over the gaps (don't worry about if you go over the tape) and let this dry. I found that one layer was plenty for this look but it depends on the polish you're using, you be the judge.
Once your polish is dry to the touch, carefully peel the tape away et voila - perfect triangles! Tip: If your polish has bled at all, pour some nail polish remover into the bottle cap and then dip a cotton bud in there. Then, use the cotton bud to carefully clean up any messy edges without ruining your polish. I like to bite the bud first to make it flat - it's easier to manoeuvre it that way.
Okay, back to the wraps! Open your wrap packet and decide which size will completely cover your nail from side to side. If your nail is between sizes, size down. A neat salon manicure would have a millimetre gap around the edge of each nail anyway and an oversized sticker will just pucker and look sloppy.
Once you've decided on the size, pull away the selected nail wrap and then align it over your own nail with the curved side facing down, towards your cuticle. Firmly press the wrap onto your nail, cuticle end first, stretching and smoothing the sticker out towards the end of your nail as you press so that there are no creases or air bubbles. If you do get a bubble don't be afraid to quickly lift and re-apply your wrap to make sure it's nice and flat.
Once your wrap is firmly secured, pull the loose end of the sticker tightly over the end of your nail and fold it underneath so that the edge of your nail is completely covered. Then use the nail file provided in the pack to file along the edge, filing off the excess sticker and leaving you with the perfect fit!
Finally, seal in all your hard work with a clear coat of nail polish. I went for clear with a smattering of glitter from Models Own because a) it's pretty and b) it dries nice a quickly which you now know is a must for me.
And that's it! It's super simple and really impressive. The wraps are waterproof and as durable as polish so go ahead and do everything you usually do. When you're ready to take them off simple peel away the stickers with no damage to your nail underneath. I've had a few people this week ask me if I had my nails done at a salon to which I proudly replied, 'Nope. Did them myself!'. What?! It's true, I did! They don't need to know that the cool, intricate pattern is down to a simple sticker... Tehehe. Needless to say, these will be my go to for nail looks from now on. They're easy, fast, affordable and so so pretty! You get the look of a stylish salon manicure at half the cost and without having to spend your Saturday afternoon waiting in the smelly nail salon - score!
I met the creator of Thumbs Up, Grace, a little while ago at a blogging event and she was so nice! She created the brand after getting sick of her 9 to 5 office job - go her. I love stories like that so I'm fully in support of the brand even more now. What's more, Thumbs Up are having a huge bank holiday sale with up to 50% off their beautiful wraps. The website is also full of loads of nail inspo pictures as well as handy little hack videos showing you how to do cool and unique nail art by cutting your nail wraps. Go. Shop. Wrap. Enjoy!
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x