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5 Tips For Making Press-On Nails Look Like A Pro Manicure

Get that fresh-from-the-salon look right at home.

We love press-on nails for their ease of use, not to mention they save you time on going to the salon and they’re cheaper than the average manicure. These days you can get gel press-on nails and options with trendy and fun nail designs—they’re no longer your mom’s press-ons. However, making press-on nails look like a professional manicure takes more than simply pulling them out of the box and popping them on. If you want your press-on manicure to look as close to a professional job as possible, follow the tips below. They’ll help you nail your desired  look every time. 

1. Pick The Right Size Nails

Press-on nails are extremely easy to use, but especially if you start out with the right size nails. Many retailers will now let you pick your size instead of forcing you into a one-size-fits-all situation. While some might give you the option of small, medium or large nails, most brands will ask for your nail size in millimeters. You can measure your nail size with a tape measure. Using the side with the centimeters, place the tape measure from one side of your nail to the next, then count the small lines in between. Since the number of lines (millimeters) will change from one nail to the next (your thumb isn’t the same size as your pinky), and can also vary from one hand to the other, you’ll want to measure every single nail. Write down your measurements and store the note for future purchases.

2. Customize Your Base

If you do end up buying press-on nails that don’t come in a specific size or you opted for the small, medium or large and the fit isn’t exact, you can file them to your liking. Simply take a glass nail file and give the base a few gentle strokes in one direction. You don’t want to file them too much because this can distort the base of the nail, resulting in a weird shape that doesn’t align with your nail bed. Luckily, most packs of size-free press-on nails come with quite a few nails. Just be sure to try them against your nail before you apply any adhesive. 

3. Pick The Right Length

While the size of your nail beds is important to get a proper fit with your press-on nails, you also want to be sure to pick the right length so that you don’t need to do a ton of filing at the free edge. If you’re not used to wearing super long nails, you might think that giving them a first-time try with press-ons is a smart idea. Your instincts are not off because they’re easy to remove if you don’t like them. However, if you need to file them down too much you run the risk of ruining the nail shape and if there’s nail art you could distort the design—that’s usually a giveaway that your nails were not done by a pro. So pick your length wisely!

4. File The Edges

With that said, you do want to make sure you file the tip of your press-on nails. Most nails come with an imperfect edge—if you run your finger across the tip of the nail you can feel the ridge. It looks like the nails were made in a mode and you can see where they broke the nail out. You want to gently file that edge so that it’s not snagging on your clothes and hair, but also, because it’s usually a giveaway that you’re wearing press-ons.

5. Use The Proper Glue

Commit this to memory: All nail glues are not created equal. How long your press-on nails will last depends on your application process, but also the quality of your nail glue. If you don’t want your nails popping off in the middle of an event two days after being applied, make sure you use an adhesive with staying power. And remember to coat the nails with glue adequately so no air bubbles form as you lay down the nails.

Next: Indie Nails Are Trending—Here’s How To Rock Them For Every Season


Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Shalwah Evans

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