January 12, 2015

Nailed Kit Decals on China Glaze Road Trip Polishes [Review] [Nail Art]

Helloooo, guys! I'm not entirely ready for a brand new week. How about you?

This post will be a review of Nailed Kit waterslide decals as well as a sneak peek at a few of China Glaze's new Spring 2015 polishes from the Road Trip collection.  (I'll be swatching and reviewing ten of the Road Trip polishes separately, probably in two posts- but I am still working on real swatches of them at the moment.)

So, I thought it would be neat to do a review of the Nailed Kit decals, since I was going to be using them for this nail art anyway! I can't speak to the monthly subscription service, which is $10 for two sets (with free shipping in the US), since I purchased these decals individually, and have never been subscribed to the service. I will say that that seems like a good deal, since normally each set of decals sold separately is $8 alone + shipping.

These particular decals are called "Blue Galaxy" on the website, although I was unable to find a product name for them anywhere on the actual packaging.

Inside the envelope:

The decals:

...and, the instructions:

Now, I will not be following these instructions, exactly. I've tried them in the past, and never was able to get the paper backing saturated enough to glide off of the film/image without removing the whole decal from my nail entirely...and having to re-situate it.

So, I read somewhere that you can soak them in water instead, then peel and apply. I thought that might be more efficient and effective.


After cutting out my chosen decals, it turned out I'd handled them a bit too much, and some of the ink actually transferred off, especially on the Saturn and the blue comet, which is completely unrecognizeable:

So, I scrapped those two, and cut out brand new decals. I went down a size for each. That's a bit better, but not perfect:

Next, the soaking. I chose to soak them paper backing side-down, since you're supposed to apply the wet cotton ball to that side as per the original instructions. I let them float around in there for about 3-5 minutes each, and just removed them as I was ready to begin applying each one:

After soaking like that, the paper backing was ready to come off. I had to use a thumbnail to split the layers initially, but after that they fell right apart. Since they're so tiny, it helps to have tweezers to manipulate them during the peeling step:

Here's one applied to the nail before top coat:

When you apply the decal, it's still damp, and you're supposed to "smooth" all of the wrinkles / bubbles out. However, they were really slippery, and smoothing motions just ended up sliding them all over the place. They also didn't want to adhere to the curvature of my nails, and the edges definitely stood up.

After the remaining moisture evaporated from each nail and decal, I applied INM- Out the Door. They only require one layer of top coat for smoothness, but I did get bubbling around the outside of nearly every decal as a result of the edges not laying down.

Completed manicure:

I was going for a pastel, slightly 80's-inspired, unicorn-in-space color theme.

I love the look these decals made paired with these polishes! I do wish I'd been able to apply them more cleanly, though. It ended up looking a bit...distressed.

The shooting star on my index applied the best, and I'm not sure why, since it's the tiniest. (It is actually the smallest size decal included on the sheet.) Saturn had the most problems, even though it was the second decal I'd cut out.  It slid around a lot during application, and was the worst offender in terms of the edges not curving down with my nailbed.

Some Negatives:

  • I really wish the backing for these was not opaque paper! It would be really nice to be able to size them more accurately by holding them in front of your nail. As it is, it's a little bit of a guessing game.
  • The clear film they are attached to is what adheres to your nail with water. This film is not pre-cut, so you have to do all the delicate cutting yourself.
  • Because you have to cut around each decal carefully, you end up handling them a lot- even using tweezers. This actually caused some of the ink/ color to transfer off, as you can see in my photos. Those decals were totally unusable at that point, and I basically had to discard them and cut new ones.
  • It's not shown in this review, but I did attempt to apply them to the letter of the included instructions with a previous set of decals. That really did not work well for me, because the paper backing is so thick and stiff hehe, that they do not bend to the curvature of your nail even with slight pressure. No amount of soaking with a water-logged cotton round or ball saturated them enough to cause the film to separate from the backing. I had to resort to manually separating them, and that defeats the purpose, in my opinion. So, the fact that the intended instructions did not work for me was a total bummer.  
  • Once I was able to separate the film decal from the paper backing, placing it on the nail surface was a pain because all that adheres them prior to top coat is surface tension from being damp. On curved nailbeds like mine, they ended up sliding all over the place AND the edges of each decal would not lay flat. Because of this, I ended up with bubbles around the edges of most of them after top coat was applied. You can see this in the photos. That made me sad.


  • These appear best over lighter base polish shades, as the instructions indicate. You can see the moon on my thumb really doesn't show up as well as the others, and in fact is more obvious in photos than in person.

Some Positives:

  • They come in adorable and trendy themed-sets. Seriously, I find them totally cute and almost irresistible!
  • Each design comes in 6 different sizes (although colors may vary/alternate), so you're practically guaranteed a good fit for whatever nail you're looking to decal. 
  • I think the pricing is fair- especially, the monthly subscription / club rate of two sets for $10 with free shipping in the US. That's a $16 value, not to mention what shipping would be if you bought them normally. 


Overall / TLDR:

I find these water decals especially cute, want to wear them on my nails, but application was finicky, and I couldn't get a perfect transfer no matter what method I tried or how carefully I maneuvered everything. Maybe I am bad at water decals, though?

In the end, I will try to enjoy and use the sets that I own at the moment, but I won't be purchasing any more decals from Nailed Kit, unless they refine the product a bit.

What do you think?
Have you ever tried Nailed Kit water decals?
Other water decals?


  1. I have never tried water decals before, I'm afraid honestly, lol. I love the unicorn in space look, though!

  2. I actually really like the distressed look!

  3. Lol! This was maybe my third or fourth time, and it's totally possible I am just bad at them! I do think that if the paper backing was thinner, things would be easier. And thanks! :D Some subconscious Lisa Frank-channeling, I think!

  4. Thanks, I agree! I don't mind it with these colors! It's more just a disappointment...I probably wouldn't want every water decal mani to be distressed. :)

  5. They look cute on the nails! I quite like the look of them and might have to look into getting some now. I've only ever tried decals from Born Pretty Store and I quite like how easy they are to apply to the nails.

  6. Super detailed post, I truly appreciate all your details! And oh my I can't wait for your China Glaze review those polishes you used are to die for!

  7. Thank you! I've been meaning to try some from Born Pretty at some point. I'm more intrigued now that you say you find them easy- lol!

  8. Yay! Well, fair warning: it could be a while! I don't think I have a whole day I can set aside and swatch, unfortunately, so I am sort of swatching one each morning....which is slooooooow going. But, they are coming!