The 6 most popular press-on nails for salon-quality manicures
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Press-on nails aren’t new in the world of nail artistry. Many have flocked to them over the years as a way to quickly and easily transform their nails from drab to salon-fresh. When salons were forced to close, many acrylic and gel devotees turned back to press-ons to achieve beautiful manicures for a fraction of the price. Before you try the trend, here’s what you need to know about choosing press-on nails.
What are press-on nails?
Press-on nails are artificial nails that go on top of your own nails. Similar to the acrylic nails you can get at the nail salon, press-ons offer a wide range of colors, styles, nail shapes, and lengths so there’s an option for everyone. They’re also an easier and more affordable option to switch nail polish colors and styles without the nail salon wait times, polish change fees, or damage to your cuticles and nail bed from polish remover. Many nail aficionados turn to press-on nails to achieve salon-like manicures and pedicures quickly or while on-the-go—they’re great for events or vacations.
What are the differences among press-on nail options?
Press-on nails come in three application types and each compliments different needs and lifestyles. Before applying any of these options, make sure your nails are clean, filed, and buffed for the easiest application and a smooth final result. If you're afraid of damaging your nails, you may coat them with clear nail polish or nail hardener as a buffer for the faux nails' adhesives.
Press-on nails: These include a sticky adhesive on the underside of the artificial nail that binds it to your nail. Applying press-ons is as simple as lining it up and pushing down for at least 10 seconds to secure it in place.
Glue-on nails: These come with a tube of nail glue that you apply to the underside of the artificial nail and to your own nail as well. You place the faux nail on top of your nail and hold for a minimum of 10 seconds for the glue to dry.
Nail stickers: These provide extra thickness and strength (as well as color or designs) to your nails, but can't make them longer or a different shape as the first two options can. To use, peel the sticker off its sheet and place it overtop your nail. Fold the sticker over the end of your nail and use either a nail clipper or small pair of scissors to cut off the excess. Then use the cuticle stick to smooth the nail sticker out around the cuticles and across the nail bed. For an added level of protection, you can coat with clear nail polish to “set” the sticker in place and protect it from ripping or snagging.
Whether you’re a press-on nail pro or a beginner we’ve listed six press-on, glue-on, and nail sticker options for you to achieve your next solid color or patterned designed manicure at home or on the go.
1. To experiment with different nails shapes and lengths: Kiss
Kiss nails offer a glue-on option for shoppers who like both long and short nails as well as to play with different nail shapes. There are stiletto, coffin, square, and many more nail shapes to choose from in dozens of colors and patterns. Each kit comes with 30 nails to offer a range of sizes, a prep pad, a nail file, and a wooden cuticle stick. Kiss nails claim to last up to a full week. To remove, the company recommends gently peeling the nail off from the sides if they're already loosening, or applying acetone nail polish remover around the edges of the nail, waiting one minute, then peeling them off.
One Kiss shopper raves: “I have been using Kiss nails for a while now and I always get compliments. No one ever believes that they are glue-on and they last just as long as salon nails for a fraction of the price.”
2. For natural-looking nails in an array of colors: Impress
Impress is Kiss's line of press-on nails. These come in an assortment of solid colors, from pastels to neons to deep jewel tones, as well as fun patterns. Like the glue-on Kiss line, each kit comes with 30 nails, a prep pad, a nail file, and a wooden cuticle stick. Impress nails claim to be waterproof and offer “PureFit Technology” that makes the nails fit comfortably with a slim design. Impress claims to last anywhere from a few days to a week. To remove the nails, the brand recommends you gently peel the nail up from the sides, or soak with acetone nail polish remover around edges for a minute to loosen before peeling.
One Impress shopper writes, “I have been using these nails for almost five years now and I love, love, love them and get compliments daily on them.”
3. For flashy designs: Static Nails
Static Nails are made for anyone who wants a glue-on manicure or pedicure that makes a design statement, such as a tortoiseshell print, a holographic design, and a cheetah print french mani. The various designs come in square, coffin, stiletto, almond, and round shapes and the kit includes 24 nails in 12 sizes, a nail glue, a buffer, and a nail file. Depending on how much glue you apply, Static Nails can last from a few days to two or three weeks. To remove the nails, Static recommends soaking your fingertips in the hottest water you can stand for a few minutes to soften the glue before gently lifting the nails off. You can re-use the nails themselves, so keep your glue and stash the nails away for when you want a last-minute mani.
One Static Nail shopper gushes: “These are the best pop-on nails I've ever used! So cute and lasts so long. I highly recommend these!”
4. For a custom-fit manicure: Manime
Manime is a nail sticker option that is custom-made to fit your fingers. Shoppers take a 3D scan of their hands and select a design, and the Manime team creates a manicure sticker set tailored for your nails. This means there’s no fumbling through the stickers to figure out which ones fit which nail, though, Manime only make stickers up to one inch long, so these aren't a great option if you have very long nails. There are several solid colors as well as designs to choose from, including glitter, polka dots, stripes, and an abstract pattern. Every Manime set comes with 15 gel stickers, a nail file, and a prep pad. (The extra five stickers are for backup in case a sticker rips or tears during application.) These nail stickers can last up to two weeks and they peel off from the edges when you're ready to remove.
One Manime shopper writes: “This is such a brilliant idea! I can easily and quickly provide myself a beautiful manicure without leaving my home. I truly love the colors and designs. I appreciate that when I switch designs my nails do not feel weak. Bravo, Manime!”
5. For an at-home gel manicure with a high-gloss finish: Dashing Diva
Offering nail stickers, press-on, and glue-on options, Dashing Diva has a wide range of solid-color gel nails for a fraction of the what gel nails would set you back at the salon. These styles include high-shine prints and patterns, like geometric shapes, gemstones, glitter, and abstract designs—there’s an option for everyone. Each set comes with 30 nails in 14 sizes, a mini nail file, a nail glue for the glue-on options, and a manicure stick. Dashing Diva nails can last up to one week and can be removed by applying a drop of cuticle oil (available for purchase separately) around the sides and using the wooden stick to gently lift the nail off.
One Dashing Diva shopper writes: “These are a great substitute to acrylics! Each set lasts over a week and are so easy to apply!”
6. For unique salon-style nail designs: Chillhouse
New York City nail salon Chillhouse created its own line of press-on nails so that customers near and far can revel in its fun designs. These glue-on nails come in an assortment of colorful prints, like tie-dye, abstract, and geometric. Each set comes with 24 nails, a dual-sided file and buffer, a cuticle stick, and nail glue. Chill Tips can last for seven to 10 days and the brand recommends waiting for the nails to naturally pop off once the glue bond weakens—you can then reuse the set of nails. If you’d like to remove them before then, the Chillhouse team suggests soaking the nails in warm water with a dash of mild soap or olive oil and using the cuticle stick to lift the nail off.
One Chillhouse shopper gushes, “So cute and doesn’t damage my nails! I received so many compliments everywhere I went.”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.