The Complete Guide to Press-On Nails

You can see from my collection that you can easily keep up with the latest nail trends without going to the salon. I think that's what makes press-on nails so fun is to get the pointy nails with designs - something special because you can always paint your own nails a plain color. Press-on nails have come such a long way! I never in a million years did I think I would wear this, they look real and last 2 weeks. I'm totally surprised. My nails grow longer when I wear press-on nails. My preferred shape is either Short Oval or Medium Pointed Almond but if the nail comes in a square, they can all be filed down with a regular nail file to the desired length and shape you want. I couldn't justify spending so much money on nails at the salon and time when my nails were getting so damaged. In the beginning as I was learning how to use them, yes sometimes press-on nails do pop off  but I just keep glue in my purse. The longer the press on nails the more flimsy it will be so stick with shorter ones. I'll go through all the brands I tried and give my review of each one but first let me tell you what's trending for nails this season. 

Fall Nail Trends


Nude Nails

Micro French - skinny nail tips on short nails

Silver French Chrome Tips are so vibrant

Cherry Mocha- find the shade that flatters your skin tone

Black matte 

Mauve - toned down pink

Forest Green

Cobalt Blue

Brown Ombre or Latte Nails

Glazed Donut but on a fall color

Half Shiny Half Matte French Tip 

Accent nails where just your ring finger is  painted differently from the others is out of style. Instead people do multiple accent nails or different designs on each finger. 

General Tips

You can shorten press-on nails if they are too long with a nail file, One tip is to file at the end that goes next to your cuticle so you don't have to reshape the nail. I prefer oval nails, go with a shape that flatters your hand and nail size. Nail packs come with many sizes so when choosing the right size, don't pick a nail too wide because it will look unnatural. Two brands have a glue tab on the back and those are the easiest to apply because you don't need glue. But you can buy the glue tabs separately and add them to your nails, but I find doing that is more work. Most nails required you to use a glue stick to apply the nails which I personally find harder to make stick. The French manicure nails will show air bubbles underneath them. 

Overall press-on nails are safer for your nails because with Gelx or Dip nails you are soaking in acetone to remove and have your nails buffed each time with an electric drill making your nails paper thin. A lot of brands market their nails as "reusable" but once you have a bunch of glue on the back after wear, I don't know how you reuse them? Plus don't we always want change? 

Know what nail shape looks best on your hands and only purchase those. I love short stiletto, it elongates my fingers, makes a bold statement and looks fabulous. 

Application Tips

Start with clean, dry nails. Push your cuticles back. Wipe your nails with acetone quickly to dehydrate your nails. I keep my nails long so it provides support but sometimes it's easier to have a short nail depending on the shape of your press-on. 

KEY*** Place the press-on as close to your cuticle as possible. That way there won't be a gap that makes them look fake and it won't catch your hair. 

Apply the press-ons to your thumbs last, you need your thumbs to apply them. I often forget to do this.

KEY*** Don't get your nails wet an hour before and after applying press-on nails because you don't want them to have moisture on them. If they get wet soon after application the glue doesn't set properly and they will always pop off during the week. 

Change your nails every two weeks even if they seem securely on. I've read about people getting fungus infections between the nail and glue. It has never happened to me.


The toenails will pop off after 2 weeks but the fingernails you need to soak in warm water  and dawn dish soap and some olive oil. Soak for 15-30 minutes. This is when the glue might damage your nails so you want to do this process carefully. 

Magic Off Nail Remover also helps. Its a gentle, odorless solvent that softens and dissolves artificial nail adhesives for an easy, non-damaging removal process. Made with Acetone,  Castor Seed Oil, Alcohol, Vitamin B5.

*If you are new to press-on nails, start with either Dashing Diva or Impress Nails, they have glue tabs on the back of the nail which makes application so much easier! It also prevents damage during removal. Most of the nail brands below are available on amazon or target but not the full color selection, however you'll miss out on the sales and new release alerts by not buying directly from the manufacturer.

Dashing Diva

No Glue needed press on nails. They also sell gel nail strips which are sticker nail polish for your whole nail. And they sell a tiny gel light so you can cure on your sticker. I had a wonderful experience with their press-on toe nails, in fact I would say they will always be my go to brand for nice designs for toe nails. While they have tons of beautiful manicures, most are short square or coffin shape which I don't wear so I couldn't find a design to try on my hands.

imPRESS Nails

No Glue needed press on nails. I've had a great experience with their press-on toe nails and bought this sparkle and shine  winter-inspired set for my Christmas nails. But most of their nail designs are on square, coffin or wide oval and the designs weren't too inspiring for me. But they have a huge catalog of interesting nail designs to choose from! 


Kiss Nails

Kiss Nails and imPRESS nails are the same company and at the top of their website they link to each other. I think impress has more interesting designs while Kiss focuses on having plain colors and one glitter accent nail. Kiss does a lot of holiday designs but I find most of them cheesy. Kiss styles are geared to more Gen X and Boomers. 

This picture has my favorite nails, here's my hand in the Nude Nails which come in 6 lengths and shapes. The white is not stark white and it looks like I'm wearing the sheerest of pink nail polish. $8

My halloween nails, the middle nail glows in the dark. These were the perfect length and shape and  lasted two weeks with no issues. I loved the short stiletto shape! 

BT Art Box


My hand in A-White French $15

They are known for the variety of french manicures they have. They come in different skin tones,  in different colored tips  and a variety of lengths and shapes. They have beautiful Cat Eye nails that resemble the chrome, glazed donut trend. I didn't care for the elongated white tips on this style.

On day two, my right thumb became loose so I re-glued it. This has happened with toe nails and regluing fixed it. But now with my fingernail, I had to re-glue the thumb every single day which was very difficult to do since it was on my right hand. Its' not that the whole nail came off, but just that half was hanging loose. After two weeks of this I was done with the nails and decided to take them all off, but my left hand was glued on so tight it was hard to remove.

 I washed my hair twice with these nails. But I did find them delicate when it came to using them as tools say open the plastic of a triscuit box.  Reviews recommending painting the nails with clear polish as the white rubbed off easily but when I did that and washed my hair the next day, the clear polish peeled right off. My white tips looked pretty decent at the two week mark with minor scuffs.  Removal took 30 minutes and a couple nails split while I did this so the nails aren't resuable. 

My hand in cat eye, I love the stiletto shape but its still short enough to type at work.


$13 They put their 15 most popular colors on press-ons. 


$15-22 (sometimes they have 50% off sales)

They don't have the glue tabs on the back but they have the nicest, on-trend, modern nail designs. This is geared towards Gen Z and Millennials. My hand in the Vibin' nails. However, I didn't have much luck with these nails as they kept popping off. 


Chillhouse is a nail salon in NYC that is known for their unique nail designs. Their designs are geared towards Gen Z and Millennials. $16


The amazon brands are hit or miss, you have to read the reviews.  I got these two:


Green Swirl


Nail technicians make custom press-on nails for your measurements and preferred nail shape and length. Since they are hand painting the designs, they look the same as salon nails.  I got these two pairs:

I bought these copper chrome nails after watching a tiktok of Kate Hudson getting the same color done at home.


Related posts:

Press-on Toenails

4 Fall Nail Polish Colors You Should Try

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