One day I was going through my local Target and passed through the nail polish aisle. I remember I had an event coming up and I had yet to make a nail salon appointment for a manicure. Next thing I see is a box of what looks like faux nails in a variety of colors. These were the press-on nails that are making a huge come back. The clouds parted and the angels were singing. Maybe this time I didn’t have to get my butt to a nail salon after all!
And while I still enjoy a good salon manicure, I now own dozens of boxes full of press-on nails and I am definitely hooked.
So What Are Press-on Nails?
Press-on nails, also known as glue-on nails, are just artificial nails. They are made of an acrylic resin. There are many acrylic resins available and the specific ingredients can change between different brands and models. I did review my favorite brands of glue-on nails here, so check it out, too!
My personal opinion is that press-on nails are the next best thing since sliced bread! Gone are the times of tacky fake nails you would only buy for your teenage daughter. These are a great alternative when you just don’t have time to for a nail salon appointment.
Where Can You Buy Glue-on Nails?
There are many press-on nail manufacturers on the market. Some of the most common brands you will find at your local Target, Walmart, and CVS are Kiss Nails and imPRESS. Static Nails are a slightly more expensive option and are sold online.
My personal favorites are by Kiss Nails. I find that they last much longer and do not show wear and tear nearly as much as imPRESS nails do. ImPRESS nails, however, might be an easier option to start with if you’re just learning and looking for something mess-free. These come with adhesive strips already on the nails, so no additional glue application is required.
Press-on nails come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and designs making it easy to mix it up a bit. You can even get clear press-on nails and apply your favorite color and design yourself.
What Are the Benefits of Press-on Nails?
- First of all, press-on nails are extremely affordable! Prices average at about $8 per set, though you can certainly dish out closer to $20 for a set of Static Nails.
- It takes me less than 10 minutes to prep my nails and apply the falsies which makes getting ready for an even a snap (I have even applied them in the car on the way to an event twice!) Having said that, you might take longer the first couple of times, but not by much.
- They leave my nails healthier than before.
- They are super-duper easy to remove without causing any nail damage.
- My favorite thing about press-on nails though is the wide variety of designs and colors to choose from.
How Long Do Press-on Nails Last?
Press-on nails can last up to two weeks, although for me one week or so is the average. In my experience, the key to make press-on nails last longer is proper preparation and care. I will discuss the specific steps I recommend further below.
How to Apply Press-on Nails?
Press-on nails come in kits which include either
Each set comes with instructions explaining how to put on fake nails. It is actually quite easy.
Even if your kit comes with an adhesive, I recommend buying additional nail glue to have on hand. Below are the steps to give yourself a press-on manicure using one of these kits:
- Step 1: Pick the right nail for each one of your fingers. I typically figure out a pattern I like and lay the nails out on a flat surface in front of me. When you are selecting the nails, don’t forget to pay attention to your fingernail beds.
- Step 2: File the nails down for length and shape if needed. Because there is a wide variety of shapes and lengths available, once you know what brand and type work for you, you likely won’t need to do this too much.
- Step 3: Remove any nail polish off your nails and push back your cuticles before applying the press-on nails. Some kits will tell you to buff your nails, however, I would advise against this because it damages your natural nail over time. It does, however, help the adhesive work better.
- Step 4: Next, wash your hands thoroughly. It is best to use an alcohol wipe to clean the surface of your nails and let them dry. This step removes any residue and oils left on your nails that may prevent the adhesive from sticking.
- Step 5: When applying the press-on nails to your natural nails, make sure to start from your pinkies and work your way in. Always leave your thumbs for last. And just like that, you’re ready for the red carpet!
How to Make Press-on Nails Last L
You can make your press-on nails last longer by following these 4 simple tips:
- Tip 1: Always make sure to use rubbing alcohol to clean off any remaining residue and natural oils before applying.
- Tip 2: Use a strong adhesive nail glue by applying it both to the back of the press-on nail and your natural nail.
- Tip 3: Put pressure on every nail for 30 seconds as you are applying. This lets the adhesive spread across the full surface thus ensuring a stronger bond. This will, in turn, make press-on nails stick better.
- Tip 4: Do not wash your hands or come in contact with water for at least 2 hours after application to help your press-on nails stay on longer. I find that doing this overnight is the easiest (no risk of accidentally washing your hands).
- Tip 5: Use a top hardener coat to make your nails look polished and help them stick better. This also has the added benefit of hardening the actual nail surface which makes it more durable.
How to Remove Press-on Nails?
You can take off press-on nails without damage without much difficulty if you just follow a few easy steps. The one thing you should never do is try to physically pull them off.
Below I will outline the 3 easiest and best ways to get faux nails off and remove glue residue while keeping your digits healthy.
Fill a larger bowl with a couple of inches of hot water. Then place another smaller bowl filled with acetone inside it. Once the acetone is warm, place your fingers into the bowl for about 5-10 minutes. Because acetone is so drying, I recommend slathering your fingers in olive oil beforehand. I use a timer and just space out in front of a TV.
This is a great method for removing gel manicures and dip powder manicures as well.
Cuticle Oil Method:
Use a queue tip to apply cuticle oil to your fingers all around the nail. A cotton ball soaked in cuticle oil works just as well. Let it work on your nails for a few minutes and you should see the falsies come off pretty easily.
Nail Clips Method:
You can buy these easily here. Nail clips are way easier to use to remove faux nails and even gel nails than the old foils. You own body heat will speed up the process. You can use either acetone or oil using this method as well.
Do Press-on Nails Damage Your Real Nails?
No, press-on nails will not damage your real nails, especially if you follow the proper removal process outlined above. The most damage that happens to your nails really comes from water, soap, and acetone.
In order to keep your natural nails healthy, use a cuticle and nail oil every time you use acetone.
Now that you know that fake nails don’t damage your real nails, let’s discuss the nail glue.
Something you could try if you fear the ingredients in the nail glue itself is to use a really nice base coat on your nails before applying the glue. Follow the rest of the steps as outlined. But the main message is that press-on nails will not ruin your natural nails.
Here is a good link to check out if you want to know more about the ingredients in nail glue and other nail products, including how they are regulated.
How to Make Press-on Nails Look R
eal or Like Acrylics?
The best ways to make sure your press-on nails look natural is to make sure you pick the right shape for your fingernails, match them well to each finger, and shape them when necessary.
Pro Tip: Once you have applied your falsies, I recommend that you use a top coat to give them that polished look.
How to Reuse Press-on Nails?
Another great thing about press-on nails is that you can reuse them. I would recommend using the cuticle oil or non-acetone nail polish remover when you take them off if you plan to reuse, however, as acetone will eat away at the acrylic.
It’s also important to note that kits normally come with 20+ different nails. That means that even if you used half of the box, you can keep the rest of the nails to mix and match with other sets in the future.
Favorite Products and Accessories:
Here is a list of my favorite press-on nails and accessories discussed in the post:
- imPRESS Nails
- Kiss Nails
- Incoco Nail Art Polish Strips
- Nailene Nail Glue
- OPI Nail Hardener / Strengthener
- OPI Natural Base Coat
- ONYX Professional Acetone Nail Polish Remover
- My favorite Cuticle Oil from Bliss Kiss or this one from Bee Naturals
- Nails Clips for Gel Removal
- Professional Nail Care Kit with Travel Case in Rose Gold