How-To: Press On Nails!

I absolutely adore press-on nails. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll almost always see me with long nails! But, here’s the thing: they’re not natural and they’re super easy!

All mine, all press on nails!

I used to get full acrylic sets done at salons on a regular basis, but there are so many things I do with my hands that I can’t keep them on for long, lest I just give up on those other passions. But, I really loved how my hands looked with glamorous long nails, so I was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Earlier this year I decided to try something new and bought my first set of Kiss Press On Nails. I didn’t have super high expectations, given my last press-on nails experience was in the early 90’s with little sticker press on nails. I don’t know why but it didn’t occur to me that those nails weren’t supposed to last anyways. LOL!

To say I was pleasantly surprised by my first press on nail experience would be an understatement. I was flabbergasted! There are so mamy styles and lengths to pick from, they were so easy to apply, so affordable, and once I got the hang of them, so much fun to shape and paint and design! And the best part is they’re easy to remove. I no longer have to forfeit my other hobbies!

In case you’re on the fence about press-on nails, the way I was at first, have no fear! I’ve put together a quick and simple tutorial for you with just four easy steps! Trust me when I tell you: if I can do this, anyone can.

Supplies Youll Need:

Press On Nails Kit

Press On Nails Glue

Nail File with Buffer Side and Filing Side

Warm Water and Hand Soap

Nail Polish
Step One: Finding The Right Fit

Regardless of which press on nail brand you use, you’re going to face the task of finding the right nail for each finger, but fear not! Most sets come with several sizing options so you will always be able to find something that fits each of your fingers. I like to purchase large sets, like the one pictured below from Kiss. Large kits like this are harder to find, but well worth it for the amount of nails you get and the sizing options!

Step Two:  Attaching The Nails

Before attaching your nails with a press on nail glue, you absolutely must clean your entire nails thoroughly! I use warm water and scrub around my cuticles and under my nails until they’re pristine, and then dry them. Any moisture or bacteria that gets trapped between your natural nail and the artificial one can get quite nasty and lead to icky infections. So clean your nails!

After they’re clean, you’re ready to attach! Gently push your cuticles back just slightly with a cuticle tool (they should be softened from the warm water and scrubbing), and then gingerly buff the top of the nail with the buffing side of a nail file. This helps the glue hold the nail on!

Finally, depending on the glue you use, you will apply a small dab to the natural nail then attach the press-on, making sure to hold it down tightly for 10 – 15 seconds before releasing. (When in doubt, refer to the instructions on your glue and nail package!)

Step Three: File And Shape

After your nails are sufficiently secure, you’re going to want to shape them a bit! Even if you like the shape that comes with the kit (in this case my kit contained square tipped nails), the tips of these nails can still be a bit rough and can catch on things, so you’ll want to file them just a bit and then buff them to smooth the edges. 

If you don’t love the nail shape, this is the time to change them. Here I’ve filed mine into a shape between Almond and Mountain Peak. There are a ton of other nail shape options, but not all will be possible with press on nails (namely Flare).

Step Four: Paint!

And now comes the fun part! Once your nails are applied and filed, you just have to paint them! For today’s nails I used a polish called “Rainbow Color Flip” by the brand, ORLY. I loved the metallic shimmer and the fall vibes I got from It! 

I carefully painted each nail, taking my time. Painting press on nails is so much easier than painting my natural nails because they sit up a bit taller and they’re longer, allowing for smoother, more even strokes. If you paint your nails regularly you know not all polishes are created equal: some require one coat, others take two or three. This polish required two, but the results were gorgeous!

After applying the necessary two coats, I sealed them in with my Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat. This is a Holy Grail product for me. It’s very thick and it does take quite a while to dry, but the shine and durability makes it absolutely worth the wait!

And there you have it! Easy, gorgeous press on nails that anyone can do!! I hope You’ll explore press on nails yourself!! 

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