Once upon a time, the words “press on nails” would conjure images of drug store aisles populated with stubby French manicure sets, overtly square-shaped tips and dreary floral designs. But now, thanks to the lockdown curtailing IRL treatments, adaptable technicians are fashioning stick-ons that subvert such stereotypes.
Ariana Grande’s been seen flexing a set, and now many sick of failed self-grooming attempts are also turning to Instagram salons offering a press-on alternative. Although the beauty industry is set to reopen on 2nd December, these intricate, wearable sculptures – which can be applied in a matter of minutes – are a here-to-stay alternative to your bog-standard acrylics.
Launched by non-binary Vietnamese artist Mandy Retsuko in August 2020, Trinkitz is a mainstay for nail aficionados captivated by extra long, extra blinged out manicures. The stick ons are a portal to the 20-year-old’s Harajuku obsession, with each set taking visual cues from the Japanese street-style tribe. Scroll Trinkitz’s feed for fingernail masterpieces dotted with Kawaii characters: Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma and Miffy; sugary, slime-coloured treats like gummy bears, Haribo and lollipops; and the occasional gothic, pill-padded, blood-stained offering.
Purgatory Market is LA’s go-to supplier for “hoochie nails”. The delightfully OTT designs pull inspiration from kitsch pop culture references, like larger-than-life Maccie’s fries, Hello Kitty amulets and garish hand-painted portraits of Pennywise. Their press on pièce de résistance is an off-the-wall, 3D-sloganed “Cry Baby” creation – a custom jobbie that’s since been asked for by over 50 customers. To elevate the chaotic artistry, each of the pieces are packaged in adorable pastel-pigmented polystyrene boxes that are barcoded like a Chinese supermarket perishable.
SCULPTED BY SARITHA
Sculpted By Saritha is the California-based nail salon specialising in swampy, pointed talons. Poke an eye out with a gastronomical cherry pie set, or scratch beneath the surface with their mystical press-ons featuring tiny, meticulously applied tarot cards. As a silhouette favoured by THE FACE cover star Rosalia, Gen Z anti-pop star Billie Eilish and cosmetic juggernaut Kylie Jenner, expect to see this nail shape dominate 2021.
FINGER PAINTS NAIL ART
For a slightly more understated look, Chicago nail artist Lex Taylor has got you covered. The 22-year-old’s bespoke, hand-painted gels are capped at a keyboard-appropriate length, yet still tap into outlandish aesthetics. Deck your fingers with a BDSM homage to Misa Amane, a kinky manga character from Japanese series, Death Note. Or flip the script with a butter-wouldn’t‑melt set inspired by Cinnamoroll, the fluffy, blue-eyed, white puppy belonging to the Sanrio world.
Anything goes at IDUNNOQNAILS. Rainbow-coloured paper clips on clear acrylics? Check. Oozing, cord-like structures piled onto elongated coffin-shaped nails? Check. Dangly pearl strings that cascade from the tip of the press-ons? Check, check, check. That being said, if their fantastical creations don’t cut it, they also take custom orders – so slide into their DMs with your surrealist wishes.