How to Apply Press-On Nails?

A Step-by-Step Guide

A hand flaunting pink press-on nails against a contrasting green background.

Press-on nails are a fantastic solution for achieving salon-quality nails without the wait or expense. If you’ve never tried them before or need a refresher, here’s a straightforward tutorial to help you get those perfect nails in no time!

1. Prepare Your Nails

  • Begin with clean, dry nails. Remove any old nail polish or residue using nail polish remover.
  • Trim and shape your natural nails with a nail clipper and file.

2. Choose the Right Size

Before applying adhesive, test out the press-on nails on each finger. You want to ensure they cover your natural nails without extending onto the skin or cuticle

3. Buff, Clean and Let Nails Dry Out

Use a cuticle stick to push the cuticle back, and trim the cuticle with a trimmer, to make the seam between the press-ons and your natural nails look seamless. Clean the surface of your nail with an alcohol pad and let it totally dry out. 

4. Apply Base Coat if You Use Nail Gel

A top-notch base coat does more than just prep your nails. It acts as a protective shield between the glue and your natural nail. And guess what? Some even come infused with vitamins and minerals to nourish your nails. But if you’re using sticky tabs, feel free to give this step a skip!

5. Practical Advice for Sticky Tab

Choose a suitable sticky tab and always remember to stick the tab onto your natural nail first, before pressing on the artificial nail. Don’t ask why, just trust the process! Countless nail fans swear by this odd but oh-so-effective trick. It’s one of those weirdly wonderful tricks that keeps your manicure on point for longer! And don’t forget to press out the air bubble.

6. Another Trick Many Tend to Overlook

Position your press-on nail at a 45-degree angle, starting just 1mm away from the skin at the base of your natural nail, instead of just slapping it on. Then, gently press it down. This small trick helps minimize those pesky air bubbles between the nail and the adhesive. Its’ especially important if you’re using sticky tabs! And press on them for a while.

7. Keep Away from Water for 3 Hours

Keep your new-applied press on nails away from water for at least 3 hours. During the time, guess what, your body heat will make the adhesion stickier!

8. Removal

  • To remove press-on nails, soak your hands in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes. Gently lift the edges of the press-on nails. If they don’t come off easily, soak for an additional 5 minutes and try again.
  • Avoid forcing or pulling them off, as this can damage your natural nails.
Hand with shimmery silver nails submerged in clear water.

How to Remove Your Press-On Nails

9. Tips

  • Always have a few extra adhesive tabs or nail glue on hand in case a nail comes loose.
  • For a longer-lasting bond, consider applying a clear topcoat over the press-on nails.

Enjoy your stunning, salon-like nails from the comfort of your home! Whether you’re going for a natural look or something more glamorous, press-on nails offer a versatile and convenient solution.