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It’s been over a year since the last time I stepped foot inside a nail salon for a manicure. At the time, I was freelancing, broke, and could no longer justify $80+ nail sets. Additionally, I realized that press on nails have come a long way since the 90s and in walked KISS, my current go-to brand for press ons.
Shop my favorite press on nails.
I’m super faithful to my press on nails. After much practice, I’ve learned how to make my press on nails last for 1-2 weeks every application. I must say my application process is thorough af and may help you as well.
Properly manicuring and treating your natural fingernails is key to helping press on nails last.
1. Starting with polish free nails, soak your hands in warm water for 5-10 minutes.
The warm water will help soften your cuticles, making them easier to groom.
2. Dry your hands with a towel and push back your cuticles with an orange (wood) stick or cuticle pusher.
When pushing back your cuticles, be gentle, and take your time! Taking care of your cuticles is essential, as they protect your skin and nails from infection.
3. Gently remove hangnails with a nipper.
If necessary, use a nipper to get rid of pesky hangnails. Keep in mind that nippers are sharp, and you should take your time when using them.
4. File and buff your nails!
Even though you’ll be applying false nails, you want to keep your fingernails healthy and free from snagging. Be sure to buff your nails with a buffing block to create a smooth, shine-free surface. This is a major key for making press on nails last longer!
Now for the application of press-on nails. I’m using KISS Jelly Fantasy in style “Jelly Baby” with the glue provided.
5. Size your nails for the perfect fit.
If you find that you can’t find the perfect size for your nail, go for one slightly larger and file it down to your nail size (take your time with this).
Pro-Tip: Size one hand and reference the number under the nail to find duplicates in the pack for your other hand!
6. Buff or file the inside of the press on nail (optional).
I consider this somewhat of an advanced tip. However, it helps depending on the style of the nail (works best for opaque nails). Using a buffing block, file, or e-file, file the inside of the nail to hels get rid of the shine and create a rough surface for the press on and your natural nail bond.
7. Dehydrate your nails.
This is a fancy way to say remove the oils and moisture from your nails. You can use the alcohol pads that typically come with your press-on nails.
Pro-Tip: Use a nail hydrator like when your nails are bare in order to keep you natural nails thriving.
8. Apply the nail glue to the center of your natural fingernail and not the press on nail itself.
From my experience, applying the glue this way stops you from applying too much glue, which may lead to spillage. To make your press-on nails last long, you need to use enough glue to cover your entire nail where it meets the press on but not too much as it may cause air bubbles.
When placing the false nail, align close to your cuticle without letting it get onto your skin. I’m using the glue that came with my press on nails.
9. After applying the glue, apply pressure to the nail for 15 seconds give or take.
They don’t call them “press on” for nothing. This crucial step helps the false nail adhere to your natural for longer.
10. Apply a topcoat to extend the wear of your nails and make them look seamless.
If you want your press-on nails to be unlockable, you need to apply a topcoat. It helps blend around the cuticle and make your press-on nails look more like a well-done acrylic nail set.
FYI, between press on nail set’s I make sure to regularly manicure my nails and strenghten them.
From my experience press on nails adhere better to healthy nails. If you find you nails are brittle between press on sets or any nail enhance for that matter, you may want to consider taking a break to care for your nails (starting with a nail strenghtener).
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I may earn a commission for purchases made through links in this post, however, all opinions are my own—YKTV.