We tried press-on nails. Here's what happened.

Ever wanted to get the look of a professional manicure with long tips, but didn’t want to spend all that money and time maintaining them? Yeah, us too. So we thought we’d try press-on nails. In an adventure to the UK last Christmas, we hit up Primark and each got pink pointed false nails for £1. They come with their own glue and the ones we got had a matte finish, so they looked super fancy. But actually keeping the nails on our fingers...well, that process got a little ugly.


I’m all for glamour, especially temporary glamour. I love to get dressed up and serve Fashion Nova realness for an event and then go right back to my mom jeans and hoodie lifestyle the next day. I normally keep my nails clipped short and don’t even wear polish. I’ve had gel tips a few times before, but I’m big into convenience and being able to use my hands fully, so I find them to be a little annoying. Yeah, yeah, I know you get used to them, but I’m a creature of habit and I like low maintenance shit. So when my friend Bradford was having a going away party, I figured press-on nails could be a cute addition to the look without being too much work.



I knew I would suck at putting these on, and I was right. Hannah had taught me to match each fake nail to the size of your actual nail bed before you glue them on, but I did not have time for all that. I just went with my gut and started gluing these suckers down, and honestly, they looked great. I just didn’t use enough glue at first, and I could feel they were kind of loose, so I reapplied a few here and there, getting glue all over myself in the process. It was messy, and if I were to do the application over again I’d maybe give myself more than 15 minutes to do it.


  • Picking up things, writing, doing my hair and makeup, opening jars and bottles – all of these things were suddenly very hard to do. Not just because the nails were long, but because I was worried if I put any pressure on them they’d just pop right off. So annoying.

  • I moved more slowly overall and found myself pawing at things to move them and pick them up. It was odd how this made me feel impaired but also more feminine. Lol

  • Two, maybe three of my nails fell off before I was done partying on that first day. I wasn’t even drinking or going hard - I think the craziest thing I did was eat a fish sandwich. Once they fell off, they also left crusty glue residue on my nails, which was not cool.

  • I did get MAD compliments on them though! People love long nails. It really adds and extra somethin-somethin to your look in a way nothing else can.

  • But seriously I wanted them off me so bad. I hated the feeling of the glue pulling against my nail beds, and I wanted the freedom to do stuff normally with my hands! By day two they were mostly falling off. And when they weren’t, I was pulling them off.



I’m way too much of a lazy binch/tomboy to do this right. I’ll admit, a lot of why I didn’t enjoy the nails was my own fault for not taking the time to put them on correctly in the first place. I should have glued them on better and filed them down, because I clearly have no idea how to use my hands when wearing stiletto nails. Not being able to grab things normally and get my hands dirty was frustrating as hell. While I can perform hyperfemininity for a couple of hours here and there, it is not something I am terribly good at 24/7. Can’t deny it, though – they looked so good. If I were to wear these again it would be for a photo or video shoot only, and I’d buy a buffer to get the excess glue off afterwards.


The idea of having long elegant nails has always appealed to me. I have fairly small hands and when I have worn longer nails they really make me feel like I have the hands of a classic hollywood movie star. For a person who is a.) allergic to nail polish and b.) too lazy to get touch ups at the nail salon every 2 weeks, press-on nails seem like they are the least expensive and time consuming option. Exceeeeept, I’m not super keen on the idea of my nails possibly popping off in my client’s hair while I’m shampooing their hair. It took me a solid week to get up the nerve to put them on. Here’s how it went...



I’m not gonna lie, after gluing them all, I felt immediate regret. They looked good as hell but damn! My hands felt foreign to me and everything involving them took about 30 seconds longer to do. I ended up filing them a little bit more so that they were more manageable. The whole “installation” process took about an hour including prep and additional filing. The amount of glue I used probably added to the very slight pressure I felt on my nail beds. (That small amount of pain probably contributed to the nightmares I had on the first night of them being ripped off).


  • 1st day: My right thumb nail popped off when tying my shoes in the morning. I quickly reglued, threw the glue in my bag, and headed out the door.

  • Later the 1st day: after applying a full head highlight and doing a vigorous blow-out the right thumb popped off again. This time I used more glue and also applied some on the underneath of the press-on where it overlapped my natural nail.

  • My hands looked hella cute and fancy - I received many compliments and people thought they were real.

  • Wiping your butt is annoying - keep your nails clear of the bootyhole. Also difficult to put a tampon in

  • With the above in mind, make sure you wash your hands well and clean beneath the nails.

  • Used gloves when my hands were under water (except in the shower) to help prevent the glue from softening.

  • Texting required using the sides of my thumbs. And typing on a computer was more time consuming than usual.

  • Holding anything made it instantly feel expensive.

  • My cat and dog really appreciated getting back scratches.

  • They lasted 5 days before a middle finger popped off. I was pretty much fully over it by then and took the rest of them off by running hot water over the nails and gently lifted them off. You can also dissolve them in acetone but I find that to be time consuming and then you can’t reuse the nails.

  • After removal, there was still quite a bit of glue left on my nails so I lightly buffed it off.

  • To help strengthen the natural you could swipe on a coat of nail strengthener but I chose to let them breathe.


If I worked in a profession that wasn’t so hands-on I’m sure they would have held up even better. I’d definitely recommend them to someone who didn’t have the time or money to spend at a nail salon. At $4, these press-on nails are definitely worth the effort for a special event. I could see myself putting these on again when I’m in the mood to feel fancy or if i’m in need of some self-love. But for a weekly endeavor, I’ll probably pass. 8/10 Would still recommend.



  • Natural nails have oils on them, it’s important to properly clean them with alcohol beforehand so the glue can adhere to both the artificial nail and you’re real nail. Otherwise, chances are the press-ons will pop off quickly.

  • They usually offer several shapes so you can find a match that best fits your nail shape. If your nails are flatter than the press-ons, it will create space between your nail plate and the press-on which will make it pop off easier. When matching sizes, be sure to press the nail down firmly to make sure it fits on properly. Give yourself a few minutes for this step.

  • Push your cuticles back to create more length on the nail plate. This will prevent some of the need to file the press-ons down if you’re not interested in super long nails.

  • FAIR WARNING: If you have short nail beds you will probably need to file these quite a bit in order to have functioning digits. You can file them before you glue them on so you can place them on top of each other to make sure they matched perfectly.

Have you tried press-ons nails? Do you have any tips we should try? Hit us up @beautydummy on social.

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