How A $3 Dollar Stick-On Manicure Helped Me Get My Ish Together

My only prior experience with store-bought fake nails was the embarrassment of having them fall off in public. How mortifying is it to look down at your plate and see that your nails are now chilling in your salad like some cheap plastic nail-shaped croutons? Hell no, and no ma'am.
Publish date:
August 28, 2014
beauty on a budget, at-home manicures, m-rated, M

Do you know how you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be? When you are standing smack dab in the middle of a complete and total poop storm and deep down inside, you still feel completely calm. You may be running around like a complete maniac, trying to put out fires, and keep all your ish from being blown away but at the very core, you know without a shadow of a doubt: I got this.

That is 100% where I am. Everything is still in transition and every day there is some new ridiculousness to deal with, but I'm completely calm and have no doubt that this is just a part of the process to get to exactly where I am supposed to be. You know, in the land of no storms, and zero BS. I've got GOOD faith in me and in God and I truly don't need anything else.

Wait, that's a lie, I need something else: I NEED CUTE NAILS.

I don't know about you, but if I can look down at my hands and see two beautifully manicured hands, I can look up and feel like, Girl, you have really got your ish together! Like even if I really don't have my ish actually together (because who does?), if I look at my nails and none of my polish is chipped, none of my nails are raggedy, or jagged? BISH...You can't tell me nothing.

Now the problem with this is that I can't paint or do my own nails for NOTHING. I have at least 75 nail polish colors languishing on my wall but I can't for the life of me paint my nails semi-neatly, or even go more than 20 minutes without completely ruining my manicure.

So for a while there I kept dedicated to my appointment with Miss Lin. Yes, that is her real name, racist. She wears a nametag and she and I are homies. We had a good thing going with the no-chip manicures for months, but then two things started looking real funny: My money and my natural nails. My nails began to look very thin, weak, broken and completely malnourished. And my money was looking just as bad.

So for the past few months, if you saw me and my nails -- child, we were so raggedy. Obviously I had NONE of my ish together and I freaking hated it.

But then my friend Jasmine came down to spend the weekend with me. Before we went out, she sat on my couch and applied a pack of "press-on" fake nails. In about five minutes she had transformed her hands with a beautiful, intricately-designed manicure.

My only experience with store-bought fake nails was the embarrassment of having them fall off in public and having someone bring them to me while playfully teasing, "It seems you lost something!" How mortifying is it to look down at your plate and see that your nails are now chilling in your salad like some cheap plastic nail shaped croutons? Hell no, and no ma'am.

So when I asked Jasmine, she explained that, apparently in the 20 years since I last wore them, there had obviously been some improvements in artificial nails. Both of us are team Beauty on a Budget so when she told me that for seven dollars she got enough nails for two complete manicures that each lasted for about a week, I was like Girl WHAT??? $3 bucks a manicure?

Even still, I was a bit dubious, but that weekend Jasmine didn't lose a single nail and everywhere we went everyone complimented her on them. Some random dude at a burger shop even stopped her to tell her, "Wow! Your nails are gorgeous."

So cut to a few months later, my nails are still raggedy but just as I am about to check out, a display of nails caught my eye. I promise y'all I picked them up and put them back at least three times before I finally gave in and bought them. I was so sure it was going to be some Monkey Ball Bull Spit.

There were all different designs to choose from but when I saw these Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails:

I had to have them. I liked this design the best because they came with both the full glitter nails and the glitter french manicure nails as well. This way I could have some pizazz but not all in your face ALL glitter EVERYTHING on EVERY NAIL.

This ready-to- wear-gel nail kit comes with 24 Gel Fantasy Nails, both the adhesive tabs (stickers basically) and the nail glue as well. It also had a small emery board, and a wooden nail stick. All for $6.99. I couldn't resist. So $3 dollar DIY Manicure here I come.

I sat on them for about a week, but finally while having a beauty day with Little Diva TV and my niece Christen, I decided to have a go at it. Little Diva TV immediately ripped the directions in half trying to tear into the box. And THEN she tried to put them all on her own nails but ummmm NO.

At first I was trying to match up all the nails by their number and what pattern I wanted and all that jazz. Then I realized I was making this $3 manicure into entirely too much of a big damn drama, and I decided to just get it done.

Jasmine had told me that the included glue lasted longer so I used that, and the glorious Google had told me that doing a light buff of my own nails before applying would help them last longer as well. So I buffed each nail for 2.3 seconds, added a few drops of glue to my natural nails and to each gel fantasy nail and applied them. After putting them on I held them down for about five seconds and that was that.

After I finished the first hand I was baffled. THIS MESS LOOKS REAL!

It looked like I had gone back to Miss Lin and gotten a full set of gel or acrylic nails with french tips and glitter. That would have cost me $40 to $50 bucks and have taken at least an hour to complete. I had just gotten basically the same result in about three minutes and for less than $7 bucks. I swear before Gawd, I sat there for like 10 minutes gawking at my one hand. My niece is a nail fanatic, and a 15-year-old with lot of opinions, so I just knew she was going to say, "Aunty Senam, that looks wack." (Do the kids say wack now? I like to keep it hip cause I'm a cool cat, ya dig?) But even she was impressed.

Little Diva TV is the queen of "NO mommy...that looks crazy" and she was just as in love as I was. She insisted on helping me do the next hand and in about five minutes total, I had gone from TRASHY TO CLASSY! #yassbishyaaasss

I thought they were fab and I was impressed at how good they looked but I fully expected to wake up the next morning with only three nails still intact. But will you LOOK AT GAWD! I am typing this five full days from when I first put them on and every single solitary nail is still intact and gorgeous!

I have done dishes, made beds, done laundry, made countless dinners, cleaned the house, typed, swiped AND did both mine and Solstice's hair and I have not lost a single SOLITARY nail. They are not even a little bit loose or anything. I even ended up jamming my finger on a door and it still didn't come off or even hurt as bad as it does when you jam an acrylic nail.

I still have 14 nails and plenty of glue so over the weekend I can redo the nails if I want to. But now that I'm beauty balling on a budget, I'm thinking about buying another set of the Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails with a different design. The side of the box had a bunch of different shapes, designs, and sizes to try and at 7-9 bucks a pop, SistaTV is going to be trying them all.

Overall, I am extremely pleased. I have been raving about them to every single body and I have received a gadbillion compliments on them. Maybe it’s silly, but looking down at my hands, or catching a glimpse of my really cute nails always give me a little boost of confidence throughout my day. And the added bonus that I did them myself in a few minutes and for only a few bucks is the perfect icing on the "Girl... you have got (almost) your ish together" cake. And that is a cake that every girl deserves to have and gleefully eat, too.

PS -- This is the truth, Ruth. Aint nobody paid me SHAT to say any of this. I bought this with my rent money cause I have my priorities in order.


Senam SistaTV Amegashie spends most of her time waiting for someone to give her a TV show, already! While waiting for that to happen you can find her solving your 99 Problems with her advice column, blogging her life, and hawking her T-shirts at And remember SistaTV loves you!