Everything You Need To Know About Press On Nails: Application Tips, Removal, & Brand Comparison

So you guys know I’ve been dabbling with press-on nails for a few months now so I think it’s due time to put up a blog post with everything you need to know.

So let’s jump right into it.

First things first, I really despise getting my nails done at the salon. Maybe I am weird but having to strap my hands down for 1+ hours and waste those precious minutes doing nothing really drives me insane. If it weren’t something that needed done every 3 weeks, it might not be as bad. I’m aware this sounds pretty dramatic but I really just hate it. And when I start to do the math in my head with tip and all, it just seems like a silly expense.

But my issue is that if I try to just paint them at home, I am a PICKER, and I will PICK. Having a thicker coat of gel, dip, or press-ons on stops me from picking and biting so much. I use and show my hands a lot with my nursing and blogging jobs so I feel like my nails have to be presentable.

So long story short, my friend Kerry had recommended/showed me her press-ons a few months ago and I couldn’t believe how good they looked so I snagged a box at Rite Aid days later. And that was the moment I became hooked. They last about 2-3 weeks for me and are a much more affordable option! I also love that I can use my hands ASAP after and don’t have to worry about chipping or smudging polish. Once you get used to the application process and find the perfect fit, I think you guys will really like them too.



Cut and file your real nails as short as possible prior to application (don’t miss the sides).

Wash your hands after filing and make sure they don’t have any lotions or oils on them.

If your set comes with adhesive stickers AND glue, use the glue. I haven’t used the stickers but my assumption is that they don’t last very long.

Put a thin coat of glue on your real nail AND the fake nail. I’ve tried to cut corners by only using glue on one or the other, and they did not last nearly as long.

Press together for 15-20 seconds to prevent air bubbles (you can sometimes see the air pockets beneath if you get a light color and don’t do this step).

Try to wipe any excess glue that squeezes out of the sides before it dries.

If you buy the ones that have little twist-off tabs at the end (these help to make the application easier), make sure you twist them off as you’re pressing/before the glue dries. I did not think to do this the first time and when I went to snap off the tab, it was glued to my skin. You can guess how that ended.


You will not have damage if you are patient and wait for them to pop off on their own.

If you need to remove them before the time that they pop off on their own, you can soak them in acetone or an oil and water mixture. Lots of YouTube videos on this, just search.

If you want them to pop off faster and don’t feel like soaking in acetone, use cuticle oil a few times a day so that it slides underneath where they’re lifting and speeds up the process.

If soaking, have a nail file, cotton pads, and a cuticle trimmer on deck. It gets a little messy, as the KISS nails kind of disintegrate as you soak them? It’s weird.

If you have any glue left on your nails after removal, try to let your nails breath for a day or two afterwards before putting on a new set. I find that with simple hand washing and showering, the glue will work itself off.


KISS and Static Nails have lasted the same length of time for me personally (2-3 weeks).

KISS nails are $5 – $6 and typically come with 28 nails in a box.

Static Nails are $14 – $16 and typically come with 24 nails in a box.

Static Nails claim to be re-usable. In my personal experience, this isn’t realistic. I lost a few of them when they started to pop off in the 3rd week. The ones I was able to “save” were kind of gross and had dried glue on the backside and around the edges. It could work to reuse them but I would imagine the crusty glue from the first wear might not allow them to press as tightly to your real nail, resulting in less time. Make sense?

Static Nails have more color and shape options than KISS does if you are someone who likes to change it up.


If you don’t love long nails or can’t have them with your job, I would recommend trying the “Real Short” option from KISS. I like this length the most for everyday wear. But the color options are limited in the “Real Short”. I’ve only ever found them in french manicure or the natural color.

I do like the length of the KISS “Short” option but they are still kind of long for my personal preference. Be mindful of that when choosing.

I’ve tried the almond shape and round from Static Nails and like them both!

KISS sells a basic natural color that you can polish yourself if you really wanted to make them your own. This defeats the purpose in my opinion but it’s an option!

You CAN file the fake nail to perfect the shape and length!