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There’s a new way to make your nails look cooler than ever—and it will actually help prevent breakage too. Alleycat Jewelry’s gold- and sterling silver-plated nail decals make the most basic manicure look positively regal while also keeping your natural nails tough as, well, nails.

The Technique

The handmade jewelry is applied to either natural or artificial nails, working as both decorative and functional armor. A thick top coat will hold the jewelry in place for at least 24 hours while nail glue will make it stay put for a week. However, a nail technician can also use the pieces to finish off a gel manicure that lasts for about two weeks. Once any adhesive is applied to the nail, the nail jewelry can be placed on top and gently shaped to fit and stay secure.

To remove the jewelry, simply pick it off using tweezers and if necessary, wash it gently with jewelry cleaner or dish detergent—acetone may be necessary when gel is involved but be sure to use it sparingly, as it will rub away the plating on the jewelry.

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The Test-Run

Having gotten over my nail biting habit of 10+ years quite recently, I couldn’t wait for the chance to make my nails stronger and prettier than ever. My new, longer nails were still weak and peeled easily, so I turned to Alleycat Jewelry for some assistance.

I received a gold-plated Regal set ($38, and a sterling silver Lace set ($18,, which I decided to apply with top coat. But first, I started off with a regular manicure, using OPI Infinite Shine 1 Base Coat ($12.50,, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Almost Almond ($7.99,, and Seche Vita Dry Fast Top Coat ($9.95, Once my basic manicure was completely dry, I brushed on another thick layer of top coat before applying each piece of jewelry. After the jewelry was in place, I pressed down to make sure it adhered to the top coat and allowed it to dry.

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With just a thick layer of top coat, my nail jewelry stayed surprisingly sturdy, even when washing dishes, showering, and getting dressed. After 24 hours, my nails still felt strong and sturdy—and they looked impossibly cool, having received compliments from my colleagues, friends, and my usual barista. This nail jewelry is my new favorite accessory, and I will definitely be relying on it to help grow my nails into long, healthy talons. Let’s just say that Alleycat Jewelry completely nailed it.