Should you order this manicure-in-a-box? We found out
Maniology’s subscription box is a good deal for anyone who does their own nails
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Looking for a new hobby to pick up this year? Me too. I wrote about Maniology’s Mani X Me subscription box earlier this month in another article and thought it would be an incredibly fun new hobby to try for myself. Doing your nails can be a fun time and requires a decent amount of skill.
So, I decided to practice what I was preaching, and I picked up a Maniology box for myself. This subscription box is highly rated among nail-art lovers, so I wanted to see if it'd help me pick up the basics. Whether you're a nails novice or painting professional, Maniology may have something you'll love—here's how my experience went.
What is Maniology?
Maniology produces all manner of tools and supplies for nail art, letting people turn their own homes into a nail salon. It’s very social-media-forward with an “ambassador” program that people can join in order to share discount codes with their friends and followers.
What differentiates Maniology from a lot of other nail-care brands is that it sells nail polishes and associated manicuring tools, as well as nail stamping kits. The first two items are pretty standard, but the last one isn’t. While some brands offer nail stickers, many only sell polishes and tools. Because Maniology sells everything, it’s easier for people to find what they need without having to bounce around to different stores.
What’s Mani X Me, and how does it work?
Mani X Me is Maniology’s monthly subscription box. There are two different versions you can sign up for:
- Mani X Me - This box contains two stamping plates, two coordinated polishes, and an extra gift.
- Mani X Me Express - This option features two stamping plates and an extra gift.
For the purposes of this review, I got Mani X Me because I wanted to see how well the polishes were matched to the theme of this month’s box.
And honestly, that’s the subscription I’d recommend on the whole. While Mani X Me’s price point starts at $25 per month and Mani X Me Express begins at $18, receiving polishes is worth the extra cost. Plus, if you don’t get the new polishes every month, you may have to buy more polishes on your own anyway to differentiate all your manicures. You can add individual polishes to an Express order but adding two makes it more expensive than a single Mani X Me box.
As with all subscription boxes, the prices decrease if you sign up for a longer period. The enrollment process is pretty straightforward, and creating an account for the box means you have one for all of Maniology which makes it easy to buy other polishes, tools, or stamping stencils outside of the subscription box.
Here’s what’s in the Mani X Me box
Again, I opted for the Mani X Me box so I could see what the polishes were like. Because I ordered the box in September, it was themed for Halloween. The level of theming is pretty impressive. Here what was in the box:
- Ice Cube Clear Rectangular Stamper
- 2 stamping plates
- 2 polishes
- A reusable tote bag
- Stamping guides
The tote bag was the most disappointing part of the box. It was considered the gift, and its inclusion is in direct opposition to its purpose. It’s a little wasteful because its size makes it a pretty bad tote. I’ll probably donate it or recycle the material to minimize waste but I would have preferred it wasn’t included in the first place.
The rest of the box, however, is great. The stamper is a popular tool because its small, transparent construction allows for precise stamping.
The stamping plates are well made. Because this is the Halloween box, it had a spooky theme modeled after a pet cemetery. It includes some nail-sized designs so you can do a large stamp, as well as a lot of smaller stamps to play around with.
The two polishes were shiny, and the colors were appropriately spooky without being garish. The choice of a purple, called Thriller, and a green-gold, called Ghoulish, was a smart one because it avoided the traditional Halloween black and orange.
What I liked about Maniology
From a nail-art perspective, there are a lot of highlights to this box. The top spot definitely goes to the polishes’ dual use. Both can be used as a base and stamping polish instead of being exclusively one or the other. This makes everything a little easier to handle and allows for more mixing and matching when you want to start stamping.
My other favorite thing is how cute the stamping plate designs are. While it might feel a little morbid to have zombie pets, it’s meant in good fun, and they feel like spooky versions of Animal Crossing villagers.
Those spooky designs can’t be enjoyed without a good stamper, and the Maxi X Me box provides a great one. To reiterate what I said before, the clear body makes it easy to see the stamping plate and your nail so you can be nice and precise. Very little of the polish or stamp ended up on the skin around my nails thanks to the little stamper.
What I didn’t like about Mani X Me
Again, the tote bag was a "gift," and the biggest drawback to this box. I’m sure other gifts may be better but this one was wasteful and superfluous.
The other drawback is that some of the designs are a little barebones unless you’re a more experienced nail artist. Take the zombie hamster above: it’s just an outline and could be filled in, but if you don't have a very steady hand to do that, (read: I was not comfortable doing that) then you’re left with a pretty light outline.
I also lacked the tools to color my hamster in, which goes to the larger issue: Mani X Me is for people who already have other manicure supplies. In order to color in that hamster, I’d need makeup sponges and other nail polishes that don’t come with the box. That’s not really a criticism of the box or Maniology; it’s just something people should know when they consider subscribing.
Should you order from Maniology?
Assuming you want to do your nails and get into nail art, yes. The designs of the stamps are well thought out, the polishes are easy to use, the stamping process is pretty simple with the clear stamper, and it’s a fun little package overall.
How frequently you want the box or how many boxes you want depends on how much you enjoy doing your nails. If this is something you think you’ll only do occasionally, maybe try a month or two to see if you like it. If you know that you love giving yourself manicures, then this is a fun way to shake up your nail art every month.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.