Press On Nails Are The Beauty Industry’s Best-Kept Secret




Press-on nails have been around for a long time, but no one seems to want to talk about them. They frequently appear to transition from pop culture phenomena to not available for photos and back.

Press-ons are an excellent-affordable alternative to other styles of manicure. Some women don’t have an hour and fifty dollars every two weeks to get a manicure and it’s important for them to know that we have options. Nice nails should not have to be sacrificed for lack of time, and that’s what press-ons help with!

I was introduced to press-on manicures many times over the span of my life, from RoseArt design kits I was given for birthdays when I was a little girl, to girlfriends who used them and loved them, to women on the street whose nails I just happened to like and compliment.

I never actually considered wearing them until I noticed a co-worker doing hers during a break, and she offered to do mine. I have pretty wide-set fingernails, so I thought I was unable to wear them. I mean, how could I wear pre-shaped nails? They would never fit. Luckily, I was very wrong and I fell in love with the product. They took about five minutes to apply and were neat and pretty.

So, What Are Press-On Manicures?

Press-on manicures are sets of plastic nails, which the wearer can pick from and set to their own nail beds. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and lengths, including plain varieties which allow the wearer to paint and decorate them how she wishes.

The plastic nail is glued to the nail bed with strong adhesive or nail glue (depending on the brand and style purchased), and the wearer can either decorate them as she chooses or use the pre-designed sets which come with nail designs and decorations already applied.

Most sets come with many different nail sizes so one can measure their nail bed prior to application, and they are also numbered on the tips so if one needs to be replaced it is less difficult to find the match the second time. If you do it properly, the nails appear to be cleanly applied and seamless, so it is difficult to discern where your real nail tips and the fake one begins.

Where Can I Get Quality Press-On Nails?

There are as many options for press-on manicures as there are other styles. A manicure at your local nail spa can cost upwards of $90. However, press-on varieties cost much less at around $9 to $12 for sets of 24 to 36 nails and sets around $6 to $7 for the do-it-yourself nail design sets for 10 or more manicures. You can find the press-on nail brand Static Nails at Nordstrom and press-on manicure design sets at Ulta Beauty.


Icicle Pop-On Reusable Manicure Set

$16 at the time of publication


How Do I Nail It? - Tips For Application

Every brand has its own way of describing the application of their particular press-on nail options, so we are going to be as general as possible with application best practices. It is difficult to mess up applying the nails, so directions generally are not necessary unless there is an adhesive that also needs to be applied.

Nails are typically applied in three steps, but I like to go the extra mile with my own and make it seven:

  1. Cleanse all nail beds. Make certain they are free of any residue or polish.

  2. Buff the nail with a nail file on the rough side. There needs to be a bit of texture on the surface of the nail so it can hold better.

  3. Push back the cuticles. This allows for a cleaner and smoother application that appears more real to the eye.

  4. Apply glue or adhesive to the nail. If it is regular nail glue, most require the glue to be applied to the entire nail. If a special adhesive is used, directions will come with the set.

  5. Apply the nail. Hold for 10 seconds and allow the glue to bond to the nail. This step is very important because if the glue does not stick, the nail will not stay on, and we don’t want that!

  6. Apply glue to the underside of the nail tip. This step is not 100 percent necessary, but I have found it helps to hold the nail for a longer period of time. If you do decide to do this step, make sure after the nail is secure you un-stick your skin from the nail. It will otherwise become painful.

  7. Your nails should now be secure. Test the strength by applying a small amount of force to the nail and apply more glue if necessary.  

Celebrities That Flaunt Press-On Nails

Celebrities tend to be trendsetters in the beauty market, so why would the same not apply for press-on nails? Jennifer Lopez frequently models press-on manicures for awards shows, according to her self-proclaimed MAN-icurist Tom Bachik. He designs the nails of other celebrities as well, but J Lo seems to love her press-ons just as much as the rest of us.

Also on the list of celebrities using this sweet option is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. As she is a Congresswoman, she makes an effort to make her appearance as professional and classically trendy as possible for the public eye. Her nails are included on the list because the press-on manicures she wears are easy to manage and absolutely adorable!

Do They Ruin Your Nails Or Not?

Many people see cause for concern when it comes to any type of fake manicure due to the very real fear of ruining one’s nail beds. Is there any valid cause for concern when it comes to press-on manicures though? There can be a reason to worry if the nails are not removed properly, with acetone, but as long as you are not ripping the nails off when it comes time to change the style or design of your press-ons, there is no need to worry.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acrylic nails can be damaging since the nail must be filed fully until it is rough. This causes the nails to become brittle. Ripping off the nails also can cause damage.

Since press-ons require the entire nail to be glued on instead of just the tips and the bed being filed down, they are much less worrisome than acrylics. It is recommended, however, that proper removal occurs to prevent any possibilities of damage to the nail.

We L-O-V-E love press-on manicures. They are super affordable and cute alternatives to the pricier option of getting our nails done at the nail salon. But do we think there are any flaws with the product? What do we like most? Let’s discuss.

Press-on nails have some downsides that may be major deal-breakers for some. For example, some brands only last a day or two before the first nail or nails begin to fall off. It stinks to have to reapply time after time, but I personally do not mind because I tend to get bored with how my nails look after a few days. This allows me to re-do my nails without mess as often as once a week! I love being able to do that. On the plus side, re-attaching the nails that fall off is as simple as pulling your pint-sized nail glue from your bag and pressing the nail back on the bed.

Another downside of the press-on manicures is sometimes they actually may hurt a little. Whether it’s sensitive nail beds or careless application of glue, it is important to be careful when applying your press-ons. Once your fingers become used to the weight of a second nail and glue, it does feel good to be able to click your nails against the table.

Our favorite part of the press-on manicures is the variety of choices available. They come in every color and shape from red to green, blue to orange, coffin shaped or oval, and more. Being able to pick and choose from options that are sometimes even unavailable at the nail salon makes press-ons well worth their while in my book.

The prices make them even better and the ease of application is the cherry on top. If you love your acrylics and gel manicures, we can definitely understand, but 2019 is the year I treat my nails right and use these press-on nails. Make yourself happy while balancing work and home life, this is my perfect in-between.   

BeautyMarilyn Bloomberg