Growing up, press-on nails were mostly limited to short French manicures or extremely square nails featuring lined or floral designs — and that’s precisely why I avoided them. It appears, however, that the times are a-changing. A colleague at an old internship informed me that her gorgeous manicure was just a set of nails she bought from the drugstore, which truly shocked me. But as a manicure lover who hates when my nails get chipped (or spending more than $20 for a “meh” result), I immediately set out to buy some.
Fast-forward to now: My nails are almost always covered with press-ons in all shapes, designs, and lengths. Previously, it was hard to find anything but a French-manicured look, but the variety has expanded to include almond, stiletto, and coffin styles in every color and finish, from holographic to gem-covered and beyond. The instant manicure is becoming an even more popular alternative as nail salons have been closed due to COVID-19.
Nail artist Gracie J, known as @theeditorialnail on Instagram, loves this classic beauty product so much that she makes her own. “I customize looks, shapes, and sizes for my clients — I love a custom look because no two people have the same designs,” she explains. “Press-ons are quick, easy, and hassle-free. If going to the salon is not for you, these are definitely a great option.” While we can’t all be so artisanal in creating our own, you can certainly customize the market’s existing options by mixing and matching different styles. Perhaps a matte purple nail from one pack and the blue metallic nail from another?
If you’re worried about damaging your nails, here’s my own little hack: Prior to applying my fake nails, I paint a couple of coats of clear polish, then add a glittery varnish on top. When you’re removing the nails, instead of it removing parts of your nail bed, it will remove the polish first, particularly since glitter nail polishes are so difficult to remove, it gives your nails some extra protection. This trick is not foolproof — there will be times that a bit of your nail bed is peeled off, too — but if you’re careful and remove your nails properly, you will be fine.
Whether you want to go short with neutral polish or long and bold with multicolored glitter, we’ve got you covered with the latest and greatest in press-on nails — and they come in any price point your heart desires.