Nail art is my favorite way to express myself with beauty — just see my Explore page on Instagram as proof — but I don't get intricately decorated manicures all that often. The reason: it's not exactly budget-friendly. That means 90 percent of my manicures are the kind I can do at home sitting in front of my TV with my random assortment of nail polish colors. This is fine — I'm pretty good at painting neatly and making the final result close to professional looking — but occasionally I get bored and want something a tad more special. That's how I ended up ordering a silicone nail stamp on Amazon with two-day shipping, after coming across the viral TikTok hack using one.
Let me preface this by saying I've tried my fair share of DIY nail art tutorials from social media, but more often than not they don't turn out the way I want and I end up going back to regular polish. But this silicone nail hack looked different. For one, it required very little skill on my part. And two, it was only a french manicure — I figured, how hard could it be? All it required is a regular bottle of nail polish and a silicone nail stamp tool of which there are hundreds on Amazon for under $10.
48 hours later with the Pueen 35mm HD Chunky Transparent Soft Stamper ($6) in hand, I was ready to roll. After completing the basic beginning steps of a manicure (clean, file, shape, etc.) I painted my nails with a light neutral base coat. After that dried, I applied my french manicure tip color of choice to the squishy part of the silicone sphere in thick lines. Immediately, just as the pro did in the video, I took my finger and slowly pressed my nail into the painted area of the silicone at a 90-degree angle — only inserting it up to where the natural white tip of my nail ends — and then moved my hand slightly from left to right to get the sides of the nail. When I pulled it out, I had a smooth, even french manicure tip on the end of my nail.
But my entire fingertip was also covered in nail polish. What the TikTok hack doesn't show you is unless you have naturally long nails or extensions on, you're going to get nail polish all over the tip of your finger, including under your fingernail. Is this the worst thing in the world? No. Still, it certainly adds an additional step to the clean-up process that I didn't consider at first. A handful of cotton swabs and rounds helped me clean up the mess from around my fingernail and underneath, but my skin was still faintly tinted.
It only took a few hours and multiple rounds of hand-washing for my french manicure to look really — and I mean really — good. My nails looked like they could have been done by a pro (just don't look too closely). With that said, I give this hack a big stamp of approval and guarantee I'll be using it again soon.
Trial and error is the key to doing something well, so I'm sharing my tips for making the TikTok french manicure hack work even better. First, know that it's going to get messy, and that's OK. Lay down some paper towels, have nail polish remover handy, and ideally, don't use the hack if you're in a rush to go anywhere afterward. If you can, paint your nails before bed, allow the polish to dry completely overnight, and then peel the lacquer off of your skin in the morning in the shower.
Second, leave your thumbs for last. I recommend this for applying press-on nails as well. With how much you use your thumbs to open and hold things, you're going to want to leave them clean and nail polish-free for as long as possible. Lastly, I think it's helpful to know that this hack can work on medium-length nails, but it's best for those with long nails — unfortunately, if your nail doesn't extend past the tip of your finger, this hack is going to be much more challenging for you.
Still, for just a $6 stamp, this hack certainly lives up to the hype.