Transfer foils have taken over the market and if you haven’t tried them yet – now is the time! Foils are an exciting and fun way to dress up your nails in a few easy steps. Hassle-free! The chances of the foil transfer going wrong is pretty much zero, so you can really have fun and use your imagination to come up with some great designs. So… what are transfer foils? As the name suggests, transfer foils are sheets or strips made up of two layers: one with a printed pattern and the other a silver layer on which the pattern rests. Once placed against the nail, the pattern sticks to the base coat and voila! You have a beautiful, artsy nail. The trickiest part of applying the transfer foils is choosing what design you would like to apply. There are thousands of choices and it usually takes me quite a while to decide on one. There are thousands of patterns to choose from, but they usually fall into one of the following categories:
  • Lace
  • Metallic
  • Animal Print
  • Holographic
  • Aurora Laser
Here are simple instructions to apply the foils quickly and effortlessly:

What do you need?

Base coat gel polish Colour gel polish Transfer foils Quick-setting foil glue Silicone pen or cotton swab Gel polish top coat LED or UV light curer
Step 1:
The first step is to prep your nail. This includes filing your nail to the correct length, pushing back the cuticles and applying the base coat.
Step 2:
Choose a gel polish colour and apply two coats. Choose a colour that fits with the foil or perhaps a shade that provides a captivating contrast. Play around with colours and ideas, until you have decided on one. Once you have applied the two layers, cure the gel polish.
Step 3:
As soon as the nail is dry, wipe away the shine on the nail with a prep and shine wipe. This ensures that the nail has no sheen layer, which ensures that the nail glue can adhere to the polish you have applied.
Step 4:
Apply one layer of a quick-setting foil glue and wait for it to set. It will set once the glue changes to clear. Depending on the different foil glue on the market, a safe estimate would be one minute. Remember, it is extremely important that the glue dries, before you begin applying the foil.
Step 5:
Cut the foil to the perfect size to fit over the nail. Rub the foil (silver side down) over the nail by applying pressure, ideally with a silicone pen. Don’t have a silicone pen? That is fine! Use a cotton swab instead. Begin in the middle and at the base of the nail and work your way outwards. Make sure that you flatten it completely against your nail and that it has made contact with the foil glue.
Step 6:
Once you are satisfied with the application, slowly and carefully remove the remaining sheet off of the nail. Wherever you have places the glue, the foil pattern will transfer to your nail.
Step 7:
Almost done! Apply one to two layers of top coat over your nail and allow it to cure for 30 seconds under a LED light and 120 seconds under a UV light.
Step 8:
After the nail has been cured, apply a nail and cuticle oil to rehydrate the nail and add an extra layer of shine.


1. Swipe the top coat over the tips of your nails to protect the foil from peeling off at the edges. 2. Make sure you use a gel polish on your nails when working with foils. The process with gel is quick and easy. If you use regular polish, it becomes a frustrating process. The top coat may shrink the gentle foils, the foil can refuse to stick and lift the nail polish up… Stick with gel polish and this will be an effortless task. 3. Play around with the foil glue. Try applying the foils to only one nail or only the tips of your nails. Now its your turn to go and try this at home or insist that your nail technician shows you her transfer foil designs! If you enjoyed this blog, have a look at our website or Facebook page for more nail inspiration, tips and nail tech humour: