How to Apply Press On Nails

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are you tired of spending time and money at the nail salon? Press-on nails are a fabulous, cost-effective solution that can be easily applied in the comfort of your own home. In this blog, we’ll walk you through choosing perfect press-on nails for your fashion preferences and lifestyle needs, as well as share our best tips and techniques to ensure a flawless application every single time.

Read on to discover how press-on nails can revolutionize your beauty routine!

  • Press-on nails are a cost-effective and convenient alternative to salon manicures, offering a wide range of designs and styles.
  • The application process for press-on nails is simple: wash your hands, match the nail size, apply pressure to secure it in place using adhesive tabs or glue, then file and shape for a polished finish.
  • Choose the right press-on nails by considering different types available (solid colors, trendy designs) and finding the perfect fit for your natural nails.
  • Tips for long-lasting press-on nails include using glue for better hold, avoiding water or oil contact that can weaken adhesive, and properly maintaining and fixing lifted nails.

What Are Press On Nails?

Press on nails are artificial nails that can be easily applied and removed without the need for a trip to the nail salon. Their popularity has soared in recent years due to their convenience, affordability, and wide range of designs to choose from.

These nails typically come pre-designed or can be customized with your own nail polish or nail art.


Press on nails offer a wide range of advantages. These fashion accessories allow you to experiment with different nail designs and lengths without the commitment or damage associated with other nail enhancement methods.

They are easy to apply, reducing the chances of smudges or errors common with traditional nail polish. Since they can be applied at home, press-on nails help save time and money you’d otherwise spend in a salon.

Furthermore, the flexibility of being able to change them frequently brings variety and fun into your beauty routine!

How they work

Press On Nails are a quick and convenient way to achieve salon-quality nails at home. These artificial nails come in various sizes and designs, allowing you to choose the perfect style for any occasion.

The application process is simple: first, wash your hands and push back your cuticles. Next, match the press-on nail to the size of your natural nail and place it right above your cuticle line.

Apply pressure to the center of the nail and pinch at both sides to secure it in place. You can use adhesive tabs or glue for extra hold, depending on your preference. Finally, file and shape your nails for a polished finish.

Can I Apply Press On Nails Before Starting to Sell Them?

Yes, you can apply press on nails before selling your handmade nails. It’s essential to showcase the product’s quality and appearance. By wearing them yourself, you can give potential customers a firsthand look at the finished product and demonstrate their durability and style.

Choosing the Right Press On Nails

When choosing the right press on nails, consider the different types available and find the perfect fit for your natural nails.

Different types available

There are various types of press-on nails available to suit your preferences and needs. You can choose from classic solid colors, trendy designs, or even opt for nail art stickers that are easy to apply.

There are also different shapes to choose from, such as square, oval, or stiletto. Additionally, you can select from press-on nails made of acrylic or gel materials for a more durable and natural look.

With the wide range of options available, you can find the perfect press-on nails that match your style and personality effortlessly.

Finding the perfect fit

To find the perfect fit for your press-on nails, start by matching them to the size of your natural nails. Lay the press-on nail on your nail bed, right above your cuticle line. Make sure it aligns well with the shape and width of your natural nail.

This will ensure a more comfortable and secure fit. Remember to choose press-on nails that are slightly shorter than your natural nails for a more realistic look. Finding the perfect fit will make wearing press-on nails feel effortless and give you beautiful results.

How to Apply Press On Nails

Prep your nails by gently pushing back cuticles and filing the surface for better adhesion. Select the correct size of press on nails for each finger, making sure they fit snugly against your natural nails.

Apply a thin layer of nail glue or adhesive to each press on nail and firmly press them onto your natural nails, starting from the base and working towards the tip. Once applied, file and shape the press on nails to your desired length and style.

Prep your nails

Before applying press-on nails, it’s important to prep your nails properly. Start by washing your hands thoroughly to ensure that they are clean and free from any oils or dirt. Next, gently push back your cuticles using a cuticle pusher or an orange stick.

This will create a smooth surface for the press-on nails to adhere to. If desired, you can also swipe the surface of your natural nails with alcohol or a nail dehydrator to remove any excess oil and improve adhesion.

Lastly, file and shape your natural nails to create an even and smooth base for the press-on nails. By prepping your nails correctly, you’ll help ensure that the press-on nails stay in place longer and look flawless on your fingertips.

Selecting the correct size

To ensure a flawless application, it’s crucial to select the correct size of press-on nails. Before starting, make sure to properly measure your natural nails so you can find the most suitable fit.

Lay each press-on nail on top of your nail bed and line it up right above the cuticle line. The press-on nail should cover the entire width of your natural nail without extending beyond the sides.

Take your time to match each press-on nail with its corresponding size before moving on to the next step in applying your beautiful new set of nails.

Applying the nails

To apply press-on nails, start by washing your hands and pushing back your cuticles. If you want to ensure better adhesion, you can swipe the surface of your natural nails with alcohol or a nail dehydrator.

File and shape your natural nails to create a smooth surface for the press-on nails to adhere to. Match the press-on nails to the size of your natural nails and place them on your nail bed right above the cuticle line.

Apply pressure to the center of each nail and pinch at both sides to secure them in place. If using glue, apply it to both your natural nail and the base of the press-on nail before placing it down.

Properly filing and shaping

To ensure a smooth and even application of press-on nails, it is crucial to properly file and shape your natural nails. Start by using a nail file to gently shape the edges of your nails into your desired shape, whether it’s square, round, or something in between.

This will create a clean canvas for the press-on nails to adhere to. Next, lightly buff the surface of your natural nails with a nail buffer or a fine-grit nail file. This step helps remove any roughness or ridges on your nails, allowing for better adhesion of the press-ons.

Remember not to buff too aggressively as this can weaken your natural nails. By taking the time to properly file and shape your natural nails, you’ll achieve a flawless and long-lasting look with your press-on manicure.

Tips for Long-Lasting Press On Nails

To ensure your press on nails last as long as possible, follow these tips for better hold and maintenance.

Using glue for better hold

To ensure a strong and long-lasting hold, using glue is a great option when applying press-on nails. Before placing the press-on nail on your natural nail bed, apply a small amount of glue to both surfaces.

This will help create a secure bond and prevent any lifting or shifting of the nails. Make sure to choose a glue specifically made for artificial nails, as this will provide the best hold.

By using glue, you can enjoy beautiful and flawless looking nails that stay in place for an extended period of time. Remember to follow the instructions provided with the glue for optimal results.

Avoiding water or oil contact

To ensure the longevity of your press-on nails, it is important to avoid water or oil contact. Water and oil can weaken the adhesive holding the nails in place, causing them to lift or come off completely.

When washing your hands or doing activities that involve water, such as doing dishes or swimming, it’s best to wear gloves to protect your press-on nails. Additionally, be mindful of using oil-based products on your hands and nails, as oils can also break down the adhesive.

By avoiding water and oil contact, you can help maintain the flawless look of your press-on nails for longer periods of time.

Maintaining and fixing lifted nails

To maintain and fix lifted nails, start by applying a small drop of nail glue or adhesive under the lifted area. Use a toothpick or orangewood stick to gently press down and hold the nail in place for about 10 seconds.

Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause damage to your natural nails. For added security, you can also apply an extra layer of clear top coat over the entire nail surface.

This will help seal the edges and prevent further lifting. Remember to avoid picking or peeling at your nails, as this can make the problem worse. Instead, be patient and take care when performing activities that could put strain on your nails, such as typing or gripping objects tightly.

Removal and Care

To safely remove press on nails, gently peel them off starting from the sides. Be cautious not to damage your natural nails. After removal, moisturize and nourish your natural nails with cuticle oil or nail serum to promote healthy growth.

Store your press on nails in a clean container for future use.

Removing press on nails safely

To remove press-on nails safely, start by soaking your fingertips in warm, soapy water for about 10 minutes. This will help loosen the adhesive or glue. Gently wiggle the press-on nails from side to side to break the seal, and then lift them off your natural nails.

If there is any leftover residue, use a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to gently wipe it away. Avoid forcefully pulling off the press-on nails as this can damage your natural nails.

After removing them, moisturize your hands and apply cuticle oil to keep your nails healthy and hydrated.

Caring for your natural nails after removal

After removing your press-on nails, it’s important to give some love and care to your natural nails. Start by gently filing any rough edges or uneven surfaces. Next, moisturize your nails and cuticles with a nourishing oil or cream to keep them hydrated.

Avoid picking or peeling at any remaining adhesive residue – use a gentle nail polish remover if necessary. Finally, give your nails a break from artificial enhancements for at least a few days to allow them to breathe and regain their strength.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to maintain the health of your natural nails and ensure they’re ready for their next manicure adventure!

Storing and reusing press on nails

To store your press on nails for future use, it’s important to keep them in a clean and dry place. Consider using a small box or container specifically designed for nail storage. This will prevent the nails from getting damaged or misplaced.

When reusing press on nails, gently remove any glue residue or adhesive tabs with a nail polish remover to ensure a smooth surface for application. Take care not to damage the shape or design of the nails during this process.

With proper storage and maintenance, you can reuse your press on nails multiple times and enjoy their beauty again and again.


Mastering the art of applying press-on nails is easier than you may think. By following a few simple steps, you can achieve flawless results that will have your nails looking salon-worthy.

With the right preparation, sizing, and application techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful and long-lasting press-on nails in no time. So go ahead and give it a try – get ready to rock stunning manicures without the hassle!


1. What are the steps to apply press on nails?

The steps involve preparing your nails, applying adhesive as per instructions or using stickers if preferred, and following a step-by-step guide for proper press-on nail placement.

2. Can you apply press-on nails without glue?

Yes! Some methods of applying artificial nails don’t require adhesive, making it easier for beginners who want to try DIY press-on nail application.

3. How can I make my press-on nails stay put longer?

For long-lasting press-on nails, follow detailed nail preparation techniques before application, adhere strictly to nail adhesive instructions and use tips intended for flawless finishes.

4. Are there video tutorials on how to apply false or acrylic gel nails at home?

Certainly! You’ll find comprehensive beginner’s guides that include video tutorial for applying these DIY extensions and other types of artificial or acrylic gel nails.

5. Do you have any tricks or tips specific for the full-fledged nail care regimen?

Start with thorough cleaning; then use some professional tips involving proper filing techniques, correct positioning of each piece, and aftercare rituals that help maintain the look longer.

6. Is there any difference in applying different types of false extensions like gels vs acrylics?

While basic steps may be similar across different extensions such as gels or acrylics; subtle nuances do exist depending on materials used along with their respective manufacturer’s guidelines.

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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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