Shine like a Star: How To Use Nail Art Foil (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Find out how to use nail art foil
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There are so many unique ways we can express ourselves with our manicures. Fresh trends and techniques always fill my social media feed, giving me so much inspiration for my nails!

I have recently begun using nail art foil, and I cannot get over how fantastic and easy this nail art technique is. Instead of struggling to paint intricate designs on my nails, I simply get the nail art foil I want, stick it on, and voila! Stunning, unique, and trendy manicures I can do at home.

From intensely stylish metallic shades to delicate floral designs and animal prints, there is something for everyone regarding nail art foil.

RELATED: How To Use Press-on Nail Tips: Take Your DIY Mani to the Next Level

So, how can you use nail art foil at home to get your dream mani?

What Is Nail Art Foil?

Nail art foil refers to thin strips of designs and colors that you can place onto your nails with glue. They transfer the design onto your nails and come in various colors and finishes, such as metallic and chrome. 

There are some wild nail art foils out there! I love the floral prints right now (I am feeling pretty summery), but I also have a soft spot for holographic shades. 

How To Use Nail Art Foil: Your Step By Step Guide 

To use your nail art foil at home, you will need the following:

  • Nail glue 
  • Nail art foil
  • Top coat
  • Base coat (optional)
  • Gel color (optional)
  • Uv lamp 
  • Nail buffer
  • Nail cleanser 

You can apply your nail art foil straight onto your natural nails to have a nude background for the design. However, many nail art foils look great with a gel color underneath.

Step 1: Prep Your Nails

Before any manicure, you need to prep your nails. Cut down your nails to size and push back your cuticles. Then, buff your nails to get rid of any oil and dirt. You may also wish to clip off any skin around the cuticles, but do this carefully!

Once you have finished prepping, cleanse your nails to get them ready for the gel. 

Step 2: Apply Gel Polish

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When your nails are ready, paint a base coat and cure them for 90 seconds. Then, paint on a color of your choice. I have opted for white as I love how it looks with a floral design. 

You will only need one coat of gel polish, as most of the nails will be covered with the foil. 

Step 3: Apply the Nail Art Foil

To apply the foil, firstly brush glue onto the nail. Make sure it covers the nails fully, as this is what allows the foil transfers!

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Then, take the nail art foil and place it on your nails. Gently rub the foil over your nails using a soft cloth. It helps the design transfer onto your manicure. A cuticle tool is really helpful to get the foil entirely on the nail. Gently take the cuticle tool and push the foil to the edges of your nail.

After a few moments, gently peel the top layer of the foil off your nail. 

It may take a few practices to get the hang of this bit. But once you do, there are so many fun nail art foil designs to try!

Step 4: Apply a Top Coat

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Once you have your nail art foil on, it is time to seal it in place with a top coat. It helps to keep the manicure strong. 

Now you have your nail art foil manicure!

Can You Use Nail Art Foil on Natural Nails?

If gel polish isn’t for you, you can use nail art foil on natural nails for a fun design. However, the process is a little different. 

I decided to try it out on my friend to see what nail art foil looks like on natural nails. Again, we went for a floral design. To apply nail art foil on natural nails, you must still prep the nails properly. However, do not apply a base coat on your nails. I did at first, and the design just smudged. 

Instead, put the nail glue directly onto the natural nails. Then, place the nail art foil onto the glue and hold it in place. Rub it with a soft cloth to transfer the design onto the nails.

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I thought the floral pattern looked pretty girly and cute on the natural nails! I then matched the floral design with a lilac gel on the rest of her nails.

Nail Art Foil Ideas

Now you know how to do nail art foil designs at home. You can try out loads of different trends! Let’s look at some fun nail art foil ideas for you to have a go at. 

Floral Nail Art Foil

I love anything floral right now, and I bought a pack of floral nail art foil online for pretty cheaply. I used this set from Makartt in the step-by-step guide and was impressed by them! 

Makartt Nail Foil Nail Art Foil Glue Gel with Rose Flowers
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02/17/2024 05:08 pm GMT

The pack has so many cute patterns, and they are relatively easy to use.

Holographic Nail Art Foil

30 Sheet Holographic Transfer Nail Foil Stickers
$28.88 ($1.50 / Ounce)
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02/17/2024 05:04 pm GMT

Are you looking for a futuristic and modern design for your nails? This nail art foil set has you covered!

You can apply them all over your nails or use smaller sections to create more intricate designs.

Animal Print Nail Art Foil

CHANGAR Animal Skin Style Nail Art Stickers Foil Transfer
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Animal prints are always in style, and I love this funky nail art foil set that mixes animal prints and bold colors. If you want to express your wild side, get this excellent pack!


How Do You Foil Nail Art?

You can do your foil nail art using glue to transfer the design onto your nails. Then, use a top coat to seal the art in place.

Do You Need a UV Lamp for Nail Foils?

Yes, it is recommended to use a UV lamp for nail art foils. It means you can apply a gel color as a base color and a top coat to make the design last longer.

Do You Have To Use Gel Polish for Nail Foil?

No, you can apply your nail foils onto your natural nails. 

Can You Use Nail Foil With Regular Polish?

Yes, you can use nail foil with regular polish. 

Why Are My Nail Foils Not Sticking?

The main reason for your nail foils not working is the glue. Full coverage is essential – you may not have put the glue on all of your nail, or it may be too weak to allow the design to transfer onto your nail.

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