Press On Nails: A Beginner's Guide

Unless you've been on a social media cleanse for all of 2020, you know that press on nails have come back in a BIG way.  Magazines and influencers can't get enough of this fun (and social distancing friendly) way to get the best nails you've ever had

Why do people choose press ons in the first place? Here are just a few reasons we’ve heard: 

  • “I can change them at a moment’s notice.”
  • “No appointments.”
  • “I can only wear fake nails on the weekend because I’m a nurse/chef/fitness trainer, etc.”
  • “I don’t like the smell or cost of going to a salon.”
  • “Every time I go to the salon, I’m not impressed with the end result. I wish I could get insta-worthy nails, but no one in my city will do them.”
  • If any of these sound like reasons you’re looking into press ons, then keep reading for a crash course in Press Ons 101.

    Ready to join the nail party, but overwhelmed by all the options? Stick with us - you're about to get everything you need to know to choose a set of press ons that will have you breaking up with your bottles of nail polish forever.  

    When choosing press on nails, there are 3 key things to consider: 

    1. How do you want them to feel? 
    2. What length, shape, and style do you prefer?
    3. How long do you want to wear them, and do you want to reuse them? 

    Handmade press ons, like the ones you’ll find on Press On Shop, last longer, feel more natural, and provide infinitely more variety than anything you can buy at your local grocery store. 

    First, let’s talk about feel. If you’re going to have gorgeous accessories attached to your fingernails, chances are you want them to feel as natural as possible.  Ever had an acrylic or gel manicure?  Remember that oh so satisfying “clickety clack,” sound they make when you type or rub your nails together?  And how they’re perfectly conformed to your nail beds?  You won’t get that with machine-made press ons. 

    Mass-produced press ons such as Kiss, Static, or Marmalade nails are cute af, but they’re really just pretty pieces of thin plastic. They can bend and crease with the slightest pressure and the material simply isn’t as hard as salon gel or acrylic. Handmade press ons, on the other hand, are created with the same materials your fave nail tech uses. They feel salon-fresh because they really are.  They will keep their finish (shiny or matte) for weeks and weeks.  Those plastic nails could never!

    Next, I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t have a very strong opinion on the length and shape of their artificial nails.  Are you a “keep ‘em short,” person, or “as extra as possible,” type?  Either way, one size never fits all with something as personal as nails. While the drugstore and other prepackaged brands over a wide range of widths, you’ll find a fairly limited variety of shapes and sizes.  Kiss nails also don’t usually have that sexy apex, or arch from cuticle to edge that you get with salon extensions.  With handmade nails, the size, shape, and length options are literally endless, because with over 60 artists (and counting) on Press On Shop, there is something for everyone.  

    And last, let’s talk about staying power.  With proper prep and application, you can make pretty much anything stick to your nail beds for weeks on end.  But do you want to?  As we talked about above, if you’re looking for a set of nails that will hold up to daily wear for weeks, or to multiple applications and removals, you’re going to want to invest in handmade, no question about it.  If you’re really only planning on wearing that grocery store set for a few days and then never again, then save that money babe and go for the machine-made set. 

    Now that you know a little more about the variety of press on nails available in 2020, read our How to Apply guide so that you’ll have all the facts before you grab your very first set press ons and get ready to give yourself the best manicure you’ve ever had - without ever leaving home!


    Kelly/20 Percent Glitter