bigRuby nail tattoos review

Beyond cute ~ nail decals with a bit of edge

photos: gianna and stef for we heart this

As much as I love nail art, it’s just not something I’ve ever been good at executing. This is precisely why I gravitate toward nail stickers; they’re inexpensive, easy to apply and you can change them as easily as you change your clothes.

But if you’ve used nail stickers, you know that they can lift or peel off your nails, even with the help of a good top coat. I usually get about two days of wear from the typical nail sticker, but all that changed when I was introduced to bigRuby nail tattoos.

A sheet from the Cosmic tattoo pack

This cruelty-free company (they donate a portion of their proceeds to The Kindness Ranch, a sanctuary for research animals) makes nail tattoos that are super cute but with of bit of edge. You will find no roses or smiley faces or anything else you’re accustomed to finding in drugstore nail stickers here.

They function in much the same way as temporary tattoos that you apply to your skin. Instead of peeling off a nail sticker and affixing it to your nail, with bigRuby Nail Tattoos, you cut out the design from a sheet and press it against your nail using a wet paper towel. Just hold the wet paper towel against the tattoo for a few seconds, lift it away and voilà – instant nail art!

Beyond the cool graphics, the essential element that sets bigRuby Nail Tattoos apart from traditional nail stickers is that the actual design is flush against your nail, so there’s very little chance of the design lifting or peeling away from your nail. bigRuby suggests topping their tattoos with two coats of clear top coat and, let me tell you, once you do this, these babies are ON like Donkey Kong.

I tested the Mod (above) design pack ($12 for 86 tattoos) and wow – these designs are packed full of mid-century goodness. If you’re into atomic era design (which I adore) you will LOVE these. The designs in this pack are wonderfully retro with clean lines and simplistic beauty.

Now that I’ve started applying bigRuby tattoos, I cannot get enough, and I fully intend to purchase the Sea Creatures pack in the near future (hello, sea horses!) You’ll also find tattoo packs devoted to garden images, twinkling stars and birds at the bigRuby site.

As you can see in the top image, I put a different Mod design on each finger. For this experiment, I used a polish that has a slight texture to it (it’s hard to tell in the image but there is very fine glitter in this light blue polish). I wanted to see how the bigRuby Nail Tattoos would hold up against a textured polish and I’m pleased to report that they worked beautifully! In fact, that pic was taken three days into my manicure – and there’s absolutely no peeling or lifting at all. I used two coats of polish, applied the nail tattoos, and then topped them off with two coats of clear top coat.

For my next attempt, I decided to use just one nail tattoo on my “accent” finger (aka ring finger) and I just had to go with bigRuby’s mascot because I LOVE bulldogs. (Side note: every design pack in the bigRuby store includes a few bulldog nail tattoos, which I think is absolutely adorable).

I used a mint green crème polish for this mani (no texture) and the bulldog tattoo held up just as well as the other tattoos did against the textured polish. Once I applied the two layers of clear top coat, this tattoo didn’t budge until I removed it. By the way, these nail tattoos remove easily with traditional nail polish remover. I had no issues at all during removal.

Pros:
Unique designs that you cannot get at the drugstore.
Tattoos are flush with the nail so there is no lifting or peeling.
Excellent staying power.
As easy to apply as temporary skin tattoos.

Cons:
It can be a challenge to gauge their placement during application.
Cutting the smaller tattoos out of the sheet can be difficult if you don’t have a small pair of scissors (or a steady hand).

Whether you’re a nail art junkie or a first-time nail art user, I think you might fall in love with bigRuby nail tattoos. I sure did, and I can’t wait to get more of them!

Please stay tuned for the we heart this team to weigh in with their thoughts. In the meantime, do you think bigRuby nail tattoos would be a good fit for your nail art needs?

6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 56 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5 (6 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)
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Gianna is our expert on drugstore and budget beauty. She is the writer/editor of Nouveau Cheap, a blog that’s devoted to finding quality products that don’t break the bank.

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.

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Written by nouveaucheap

26 Comments

    1. Avatar of nouveaucheap
      nouveaucheap

      Hey Lucy! The mint green shade I’m wearing is Wet n Wild Garden Hose, which was a limited edition Spring 2011 release.

      And you’re totally right–these WOULD look great over a nude polish. Great idea! I think I’ll try that next. :)

  1. Avatar of hao9703
    hao9703

    I was a tester of the festive set of star tatoos. I was very excited to test these as I thought it would give a new twist to my favorite nail polish colors. Sadly, I did not find these tatoos long lasting or wearing. I was hoping they would last a good five days with THREE COATS of clear. However, the actual wear time was more like two to four days. (I tested this theory several times to ensure it was not user error on my part.)

    Two stars for me

    1. Avatar of nouveaucheap
      nouveaucheap

      I’m so sorry to hear that you had seemed to have had the exact opposite experience with these than I did. :(

      May I ask what polish you used, and if you used a base coat? Also, did you find that the actual tattoo was the thing that didn’t last, or was it just the polish in general after you applied the tattoo? I found that there was no lifting or peeling of these tattoos at all, so I’m curious if the tattoos themselves lifted/peeled for you? Thanks!
      Gianna recently posted..The Wednesday Question

    2. Avatar of nouveaucheap
      nouveaucheap

      Wow. That sounds like a very good cross-section of polishes to try. I’m so sorry you had such a different experience! So did the decal itself peel off?

  2. Avatar of Kellie
    Kellie

    I tested the cosmic set. I will say that they are adorable and tons of fun!! But I am by no means skilled with nail art-even simple stuff like this. So I only got 2-3 days of wear at best from these. :( I do have some left and will try again. Perhaps with practice I can make them last longer.

    3 stars from me. If you are looking for something fun and don’t mind the very temporary nature of these go for it.

    1. Avatar of nouveaucheap
      nouveaucheap

      What a bummer! :( I’m so surprised to hear your experience (as well as others) with these. I swear I got about five days of wear on these the last time I used them, with no peeling at all. My actual nail polish started to peel but the decals never did. I guess I lucked out or maybe it has to do with body chemistry or something? Who knows!
      Gianna recently posted..Spotted: new Wet n Wild $0.99 display!

  3. Avatar of Amanda
    Amanda

    I got to test out the Cosmic tattoo pack, and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m pretty hard on my nails, so I tend to only get 3 days of wear out of my polish before I get chipping. Applying the tattoos was easy and pretty quick, just like applying old school temporary Cracker Jack tattoos back when I was a kid.
    Without a top coat over the tattoo itself I only got about 2 days of wear without some major fading. The tattoo didn’t lift or peel off, it just seemed to wear off like a marker. With a top coat applied OVER the tattoo it would last just as long as my polish did, but I find it to be an annoying step, like painting my nails twice. Also, I wish the tattoo could be applied while painting my nails, without having to wait for the polish to fully, fully dry. I’ll probably stick with stickers for interesting, quick looks because it’s more convenient, but bigRuby is great for when I want something that really stands out from the crowd. The designs are so stinkin’ cute!
    3 stars overall. Maybe they’re not to become a permanent part of my polish routine, but bigRuby is a fun addition.

  4. Avatar of tiffany
    tiffany

    I also got to test out these super cute nail tattoos. My 6 year old daughter loves nail art and I new as soon as I saw these she would claim these tattoos as her own. She’s too little to do her own nails, so I happily agreed to test them out on her. I did find these a little bit trickier to apply than nail stickers. Because my daughter’s nails are so small, I had to use the smallest ones which made it a little more difficult to apply. I won’t comment on wear because she swims daily and polish won’t stay for more than a few days on her anyway. She absolutely loved them, but since I’m the one applying them, I think I would pick a nail sticker for her in the future. I do plan on sharing some of these with my older teenage nieces because I think they would absolutely love them. Very fun and super cute unique designs.

  5. Avatar of lyssachelle
    lyssachelle

    I’m on day four of testing my bigRuby nail tattoos and I love them! I’m getting some fading but otherwise they work great! (I used a base coat, light pink polish who’s name is escaping me now, Sally Hansen Insta-dri clear polish and then Seche Vite fast dry top coat.) I’m surprised to hear that they’re not lasting for some testers, which is so sad because they are super cute!
    I did notice that bigRuby has a top coat that they sell and is recommended for use; maybe the ingredients in the various top coats are affecting the tattoos? I habitually apply a clear coat and then a fast drying top coat, so that may have contributed to mine lasting longer…

    I have the garden designs and I just love them. I’m so used to nail art being glittery and flashy and bright. These are earthy and subdued so it’s not LOOK AT ME nail art, it’s more “Oh, hey, you have flowers on your fingers” nail art.

    I’d give this five stars, but cutting out the designs is time-consuming and I’d like the paper to be thinner and more flexible so it conforms to your nail better. Four stars from me; I don’t think I’ll get that much more wear out of these, but I’m such a nail polish fiend that more than three or four days with the same polish on makes me twitchy anyway! :-)

  6. Avatar of Stef Andrews
    Stef Andrews

    Oh, I’m sorry to see some of you are having trouble with these staying on. I’m actually wondering if you might have had a bad batch or something? Because like the other happy testers, I didn’t have a problem with wear at all. I’m 4 days in and they’re holding strong. My polish is chipping but the tattoo is still there!

    I see that they recommend their top coat with these. Which we were actually sent AFTER they sent the initial batch of tattoos. I got to try it and like it a lot. But honestly, I’m getting the same amount of wear from a nail I painted with that, and a nail I painted with a China Glaze top coat.

    I got to try the Sea Creatures and they’re really cute; whales, sea horses, shells. I especially like the coral and octopus. Applying them remind me of the tattoos you get in Cracker Jack boxes too!

    It is kind of hard to line them up on your nail, as you can’t see through the backing paper. So those “particular” folks (such as myself) may get frustrated with that. But I do notice I’m getting a bit more used to it with each application.

    I think these are a relatively easy and inexpensive way to add some fun to your nails. 4 stars from me!
    Stef recently posted..New Black, MAC Me Over – review, photos & swatches

    1. Avatar of lipglossandspandex
      lipglossandspandex

      I agree, @Stef, for those of us who are perfectionists, it is frustrating to not see EXACTLY where the nail tattoo is going. Yes, you can minimize this by cutting the paper as small as possible, but it can’t be eliminated.

      Also, I just saw on bigRuby’s website that they *recommend* use of their own bigRuby topcoat, *if* you’re having problems with your tattoos scratching or coming off. No where on their product pages does it say you *must* use their bigRuby topcoat if you want the tattoo to last. And since the bigRuby topcoat and tattoos are not bundled for sale, I would assume that a quality topcoat such as Seche Vite would be sufficient, especially given Seche Vite’s practically magical ability to make even cheap drugstore polish last for days.

      I was a little irked when I saw this post on bigRuby’s facebook page:

      “Reading some of the comments on the @weheartthis review… and some folks are having problems with their topcoat and tattoos not lasting. I just want to reiterate that ‘not all topcoats are created equally”. If you aren’t using our topcoat, and your tattoos don’t last, is it fair to say the tattoos aren’t any good? We tested MANY topcoats… ours works. There no reason your tattoos shouldn’t last as long as your polish does. I stand behind this 100%.”

      I agree, that not all topcoats are created equally. However, I haven’t had any problems with my Seche Vite topcoat, JUST the nail tattoo. Additionally, it is entirely fair to say that their bigRuby tattoos may be lacking in quality if the instructions do not specify that the tattoos will ONLY work with their topcoat. I provided an honest review of this product, and followed the instructions.

      Maybe, as @Stef said, some of us got a bad batch. But I’m hesitant to try this product again, especially given the company’s response.
      Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex recently posted..Product review: Revitalash Eyelash Conditioner

    2. Avatar of Stef Andrews
      Stef Andrews

      @lipglossandspandex – I’m sorry if bigRuby rubbed you the wrong way (literally and figuratively!) I think they were just standing up for their product, which they very much believe in.

      But as always, we absolutely appreciate your (and everyone’s) honest reviews.

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