Designed by @ninanailedit, Scratch Nail Wraps are self-adhesive nail polish strips that put intricate and gorgeous designs at our (literal) fingertips. Available as single kits or a monthly subscription that keeps these vegan, cruelty free wraps made with 5-free nail polish inks coming, Scratch Nail Wraps can be applied at home and removed with regular nail polish remover. Nina from Scratch generously sent us each two sets to try out, so we got to polishing.
Price: $10-12 each or $18/month for the Monthly Mani Kit subscription
Tested October-November 2020
I’ve only used nail wraps once before, so consider me a manicure novice. I do a fair amount of hands-on activity at work and keep my nails short because I easily catch and break them on things. I do love how tidy and put together polished nails look, so I was excited to use the Scratch Nail Wraps to seriously up my nail game.
I watched the application video on the Scratch website and followed the instructions on the handy card that came with the nail wraps. I’ll take you through the steps, and share my opinion on the pros and cons of the application process.
Step 1: Clean and prep the nails. I rubbed a little alcohol wipe over each nail to make sure they were ready to go.
Step 2: Apply a thin base coat of clear or colored nail polish and allow it to dry completely. I had one set of wraps that were clear with white stars, so I decided to paint my nails black with one gold glitter accent nail that I left wrap free. I painted them the night before applying the wraps to ensure they were totally dry. For my second set, I used only clear polish underneath and let it dry about five minutes before applying the wraps.
Step 3: Select the size of wrap that most closely fits each nail. This was pretty easy to do. I only had one size wrap that would fit my thumb, but many of the other wraps could fit on multiple nails, so I wasn’t worried I would mess one up and not have a replacement. Each pack comes with 16 wraps, so there are backups. I can also use the leftover wraps as accent nails with regular polish manicures, which I love. I taped the package of extra wraps closed to keep them as fresh as possible, and Scratch recommends using any remaining wraps within two weeks.
Step 4: Peel the backings off the wraps and apply to the nails like stickers. I tried to get as close to the nail bed as possible then smoothed them down. I was really impressed with how easily these apply and I didn’t have any issue with bubbles. Depending on the length of your nail, there will be quite a bit of wrap hanging off the end.
Step 5: File off the excess wrap. Each kit includes a little nail file that is perfect for this. Scratch recommends filing in short, downward strokes at the edge of the nail to cut through the excess wrap and make it easy to pull off the unused polish strip. I found I had to go in with the file a few times to get at little bits left along the rounded corners of my nails.
Step 6: Use acetone to clean up and seal edges. I don’t have pure acetone, so I used a nail polish remover with acetone and it worked. I dipped a flat, angled brush into the remover and ran it along the side and bottom edges of the nail (where the cuticles are). This seems to seal the edges to the nail along the bottom and remove any excess wrap on the sides (not every wrap will be an exact size match, so I did have some wider wraps hang over the sides of the nail that needed to be cleaned up).
Step 7: Allow the wrap to set. Scratch recommends at least five minutes for dry time.
Step 8: Apply a clear top coat and allow to dry.
If these 8 steps seem like a lot of work for an at-home manicure, I admit I’m right there with you. This process includes a minimum of 15 minutes in dry time alone (after base coat, post-acetone touch up and top coat), and the sizing, application and filing takes time too. I spent about an hour on my second flower nail kit. I know there are many people who use manicures like this as valuable self-care time, but this was a little too labor intensive for me to do on a regular basis.
The Scratch Nail Wraps look amazing when they’re freshly applied. I could never, ever do any of the nail designs on these wraps myself. I loved the overall design of the star and flower kits I used. I think Scratch wraps are set apart from other nail wraps because of the sets with clear backgrounds and detailed prints. When I wore them, my nails stood out and I got compliments on how unique they were.
I didn’t get a long wear time out of the star wraps I applied, however. On the third day of my manicure, I had to wear nitrile gloves for about 15 minutes at work, and unfortunately, one of the wraps slid right off my nail as I removed them.
If you’re in a profession where gloves are part of your daily routine, these may not work for you. I also had some chips on the stars the same day, so this was disappointing.
The flower wraps I used fared much better because I wore them over the Thanksgiving holiday week when I was easier on my hands overall. I also realized that the wraps perform significantly better on top of bare nails with a clear coat only, instead of over a traditional polish. In my experience, the fewer layers of clear top coat applied the better. If there is too thick a layer over or under the wraps, they are prone to smudging, peeling and sliding off (like what happened with my star wraps). When I didn’t apply any additional top coats (as I did with the flower wraps), the tips of the nail wraps wore down but they lasted much longer.
Five days of wear is probably average for these, especially as most of us are washing our hands and applying hand sanitizer so frequently; there’s probably no way around this having a negative impact on the longevity of any kind of nail wraps, so keep that in mind.
Overall, the Scratch Nail Wraps are incredibly fun and beautiful on the nails. For me personally, they take too long to apply for the amount of time they last, so they will be reserved for special occasions.
Liz’s Verdict: Top notch, creative designs make these nail wraps unique, but the application takes longer than I’d like.
Nails in the time of COVID.
With stay at home orders in place it’s been hard to find accessible beauty services. Even once they were allowed to reopen, nail salons are just not somewhere I feel comfortable going yet. Enter at home nail wrap kits. For about a dollar a nail you can have professional, intricate designs from the Instafamous Nina Park (@ninanailedit) without ever leaving home. Scratch’s all-inclusive kits aren’t a multilevel marketing scheme and don’t claim to save the world. They are a simple and inexpensive pleasure. I really do think Nina nailed it when she said “The beauty of nail art is that you can put anything you love on your nails, and then change it as often as you like.” I think we could all use a little flexible beauty right now.
“The beauty of nail art is that you can put anything you love on your nails, and then change it as often as you like. –Nina Park”
The pandemic aside, there is simply no way I could ever paint such detailed designs on my own nails. In that respect, Scratch Nail Wraps offer something otherwise unattainable for me. Not only that, but I found the designs pushed me to try new things (abstract patterns) as well as inspired me to carve out a little time for myself. There wasn’t a single design of the four we tried that I didn’t love.
Admittedly, I hit a few bumps along the way but mostly due to my own errors. I am the kind of person that puts together an Ikea dresser without reading the instructions and then wonders why I have extra parts and one of the drawers doesn’t quite shut. You could say my nail wrap game is similar. I figured out the hard way that there is definitely a right way to apply these.
Read the instructions
Start in the middle and smooth outward
Pat attention to which side of the backing you’re instructed to remove first
Seal the edges as instructed
Attempt to pull off and realign
Skip top coat
Skip base coat
Expect them to be instantly bulletproof (they are still nail polish!)
Initially I was disappointed that the two designs I tried were both transparent as opposed to a solid color or design with an opaque background. I realized after application that this actually worked to my advantage. Because the Scratch Nail Wraps were clear, the shape didn’t have to be exact- my nail beds aren’t as curved as the wraps are but you couldn’t tell once they were on. If the wraps had been an opaque or dark color, I would have had to trim the shape to be more square. For experiment’s sake I did trim a few using tiny nail scissors (BEFORE I removed the backing) and it was incredibly easy. If you have short nails like I do and are particularly industrious, you could get a matching pedi out of just the one set. I also used a few leftover pieces as accent nails two weeks later and they hadn’t yet dried out, so you have a little wiggle room to use extra wraps.
Scratch Nail Wraps aren’t a hard-as-nails gel manicure, but they don’t claim to be. They also aren’t an instant sticker appropriate for a tween, but again they don’t claim to be. If you want intricate, professional nail art and are willing to spend the time to paint them, the Scratch Nail Wrap process is enjoyable and the results beautiful! Not able to show 75% of my face now that it’s under a mask, I’m spending more time on things like hair and nails to compensate. A pretty and inexpensive mani that I can do at home is a great way to take a break from pandemic stress and do something enjoyable. On top of that, the subscription set gives me something to look forward to every month. I don’t know about you but since quarantine I’ve gone from not knowing we had a mail carrier to recognizing his knock every day at 8:45 AM.
I’ve used nail polish strips before, but never a nail art wrap like these from Scratch that can be used in conjunction with polish or over an opaque color as an accent. On a clear base only, these wraps give a more minimalist look. I haven’t seen anything as intricate as these wraps and would like to try more!! I got several days of wear despite being a busy toddler mom and healthcare worker.