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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.
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/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. Using a buffing block, file, or filing machine, filing the inside of the nail helps get rid of the shine on the false nail allowing it to adhere to your natural nail better.
Since I’m applying jelly style nails, I’m skipping this step because they are translucent, and I don’t want that showing through the nail.
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 comes with your press on nails.
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 gel topcoat or clear nail harder to extend the wear of your falsies.
A hardener helps the nails stay durable and shiny throughout the wear. If you have gel polish and a UV lamp, I recommend taking that route. If not, try a nail hardener like Sally Hansen Hard As Nail Xtreme Wear.
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