Print Perfect: A Closer Look at Nail Printers (Including Our #1 Choice)

I remember, when I had my own salon, getting really excited by the whole nail art trend and I still do, but on a much smaller scale. Whenever a client came in with an idea for what they wanted in their minds, the hard work I put in to take their description and recreate it on their nails. I loved the creativity and inspiration. However, sometimes a client would arrive with a photo of their kid, their dog, or in one case, their grandmom, for me to attempt to reproduce in polish! I hated that challenge – the idea was cool (not so much the grandmother), but most nail techs, myself included, wouldn’t win a painting competition if our lives depended on it. There was no easy way to recreate an image as detailed as a photograph on a nail bed…until now…

Meet the Nail Art Printer!

These printers, only recently developed, have bought about a revolution in manicures – making utterly unique and personal nail art completely attainable. Even Bloomberg has got in on the action! Preloaded with thousands of designs, and the ability to customize your own photos or images, these machines print the design directly onto your nail. Whatever you want can be reproduced perfectly with photographic clarity – something that’s never been achieved on nails before.

Designed for salon use, with the ability to streamline your manicure business, they are a wise investment. Being able to increase client turnover can lead to maximizing your profits, so although printers aren’t cheap, with the average manicure price structuring, they pay for themselves pretty quickly. For the keen amateur, aiming for a larger clientele and possibly dreaming of turning pro, if the funds are available, a printer can lead to a bright, busy future in the nail tech business.

How do Nail Printers Work?

With the ability to print an image onto a nail in around 10 seconds, nail printers are surprisingly easy to use.

Designed like an ink-jet printer that uses nails instead of paper, you have a variety of medium options. Some use regular ink-jet ink, while others allow you to use gel or regular polish. A base coat should be applied as normal, once you’ve prepped the nail bed and applied any tips, or false nails that you wish to use. Some machines require a Pre-Print polish, instead of a regular base layer.

Selecting from the preloaded gallery, the client’s, or your own uploaded images, you can edit, or choose a different design for each nail. Using a real-time video of your nails with the images superimposed on them, placement is simple, then just press the button.

Once the design is printed, add a couple of regular top coats and away you go!

See, I said it was easy.

After trying out several of these nail printers, this model offers the most features for your dollars.

O’2nails Nail Printer

3D Nail Printers Portable Painting Machine Automatic Mobile Wireless Transfer Digital All-intelligent Nail Printers (black)

What Makes it Great

This easily portable, well made nail printer allows you to print any image, photo, or design onto you or your client’s nails quickly and easily. Supporting WiFi/USB means that the world is your oyster as far as pictures go – your popstar idol, your kid’s latest art project, or indeed your grandmother, can adorn your nails for weeks at a time.

Just apply a standard base coat, print the design, and add a topcoat or two. I followed this process exactly, and had impeccable nails for nearly three weeks!

The printer comes with a nicely designed toolset, inks, and polishes.

Where it Could be Improved

Obviously, being so new to the market, nail printers seem a little pricey, but for a salon or someone hoping to build a name in the industry, they’re well worth it, in my opinion.

9.7Expert Score
The Final Verdict

This printer is an amazing tool in your manicure arsenal, taking nail art to a whole new level of awesomeness. For me, it’s a must have!

We Heart Nails