How to apply fake nails

How to apply fake nails

Press-on nails get a bad rap that is, quite frankly, wholly undeserved. When it comes to manicures and nail art, they’re often left out of the conversation or passed up in favor of gel polishes, but experts have long relied on them for many reasons. Take nail artist Eun Kyung Park, for example, who keeps a full press-on closet on hand for quick nail-art changes on herself and her celebrity clients. Fashion Week backstage veterans Gina Edwards and Miss Pop both use hand-painted press-ons frequently for their runway nail art. Press-ons are everywhere, and they’re far more popular than they get credit for.

When used correctly, press-on nails can look seamless and allow for endless experimentation. Depending on the way they’re applied, they can last anywhere between a few short hours and two whole weeks. But whether you’re going for a look that lasts one night or for the long haul, there are a few important rules you must follow, according to Park, Edwards, and Miss Pop. These are their Five Commandments of Press-Ons.

Just like shoes in a department store, you need to make sure press-ons fit by trying them on before committing to them. As Edwards reminds, most nail brands emboss little numbers on the back of their press-ons so you can easily figure out which sizes are best suited to you — paying attention to them and remembering your sizes can cut a lot of time out of your process.

All three nail artists say that the edges of a press-on nail should lie flush up against the edges of your natural nail. If a press-on nail is too small, it’ll be prone to lifting and may pop off before you want it to. If you have a nail that’s in between sizes, reach for a press-on that’s slightly too big — Miss Pop says there’s an easy way to fix that after it’s been applied. “If you size up and it looks ginormous, file along the free edge of your natural nail to suit the shape of your tip,” she says. Most press-on packs come with a nail file; put it to use to get the most seamless fit possible.

Sizing press-ons correctly determines how natural they’ll look, but how well you prep nails before applying them will determine how long they last. Before putting on the nails you’ve selected, Park advises pushing your cuticles back, especially if you want your press-ons to last for a while. Then, she says, check your natural nails for oil.

Oil, whether it comes from your skin or the cream you use to push back cuticles, is a press-on’s worst enemy. So — and this is going to sound weird coming from a beauty magazine — you need to dehydrate your nail beds. “Use alcohol to wipe, dust, and cleanse nail beds,” Edwards advises. Miss Pop does the same thing with a quick swipe of nail polish remover.

Chances are, any nail pack you purchase will come with glue or double-sided nail tapes (or both). Picking the right one for you completely depends on why you’re using the press-ons in the first place. If your goal is to be able to change your nail look at the drop of a hat, follow Park’s advice. “I use press-ons for matching nails to my style for everyday use, like choosing an outfit,” she says. “I always use double-sided tapes. The tapes I use last for about seven hours without any problem.”

Miss Pop likes tapes too, because they leave more time for experimentation. “I have no patience for soaking off nails on myself,” she says. “And I love to switch it up.”

Thanks to these tips, your fake nails will pass for the real deal.

Press-on nails have a bad rap for looking, well, fake — but believe us, there are more pros than cons.

While you might have these nails reserved for the times when you can’t make it to the nail salon, the truth is fake nails are the easiest way to instantly get longer nails or embrace the latest nail art trend without doing any damage to your natural nails.

But don’t just take our word for it — ask Jennifer Lopez. The star’s go-to manicurist Tom Bachik regularly uses fake nails when creating her most extravagant manicures. Take Lopez’s Superbowl Halftime Show crystal glass nails or her New Years 2020 Versace logo manicure as a few examples. And hey, if press-on nails are good enough for J.Lo, that should be enough to convert you, too.

However, the one caveat that comes with press-on nails is that there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to applying them. In order for fake nails to look chic instead of corny, you need to spend a few minutes making sure you line them up with your natural nail shape, file them down, and solidly adhere them so they don’t pop off.

All that said, with the right application, press-on nails can appear seamless and stay on for up to two weeks — and we’ve got some tips to help you achieve the best look.

Ahead, Gina Ewards, celebrity nail artist and KISS brand ambassador, shares her expert tips on the best way to apply press-on nails, how to make them last longer, and more.

Pick the Right Press-On Nail Size

Picking the right press-on nail sizes can make you feel like Goldilocks. Some will be too big, others will be too small, and then there are those that are just right. To help, Edwards says that many brands emboss numbers on the back of each nail according to size. “The smallest number 0 is the largest nails, which are thumbs,” she explains. “The highest numbers, 11 and 12 are pinky fingers.”

Edwards says sizing the nail from the left nail groove to the right is the easiest way to get the right fit.

Properly Prepping Your Nails Before Applying Press-Ons

You’ve probably heard that dehydrated nails lead to damaged nails, but too much moisture are fake nails’ worst enemy. After pushing your cuticles back, the next step is removing any excess moisture from your nail beds. Edwards says taking off any oil on your natural nails will make press-ons adhere better. While some fake nail kits like KISS’ Impress Manicure come with an alcohol prep pad, if you don’t have any handy, a cotton round soaked in alcohol also does the trick.

VIDEO: How Much Do I Need to Tip at a Nail Salon?

Don’t Forget the Glue

Most press-on nail packs will come with double-sided tape. But if you want your press-on nails to last longer, use glue. “If you are worried about any nails coming off, be sure to apply the glue at the tip of your own nail and near the base of the artificial press on,” Edwards suggests.

According to the pro nail artist, glued-on nails can stay on for up to 10 days. But to ensure your fake nails hold up, she recommends to avoid soaking your hands in warm water for 24 hours immediately following the application. “Let the glue and nail settle and mold to your nails,” says Edwards.

Filing Press-On Nails Will Give Them a Natural Finish

Yes, getting your press-on nails to stick is important, but don’t forget to shape the tips of your fake nails for a natural finish. And Edwards actually prefers shaping press-on nails before putting them. “This lets you see the even continuity of each nail before application,” she says.

How You Remove Press-On Nails Is Just as Important as How You Apply Them

While press-on nails are less likely to leave your nails damaged, when compared to gels or acrylics, it’s still important that you’re gentle when you take them off.

What not to do? If a fake nail has one side coming loose, don’t tear it off. “Never ever pull of a nail tip,” says Edwards. “This will surely damage the nails.”

Instead, soak your nails in an acetone-based nail solution with baby oil. Edwards swears by a mess-free kit like KISS Quick Soak Off Removal System. It includes soak-off caps and nail-shaped pads. “Just add baby oil, which helps lift product off the nail and prevents dry skin, she says”

Now that you know what to do and what not to do when applying fake nails, keep scrolling for the best press-on nail kits to buy.

You’ll never fuss with nail polish again.

How to apply fake nails

We don’t have to tell you that a polished, chip-free set of nails can instantly lift your whole mood. Just because you can’t get to your nail artist at the moment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a flawless mani—or even attempt to paint your own nails. Press-on nails can expertly take the place of a fresh coat of polish, and they’re easier to glue-on than you might think. We asked celebrity nail artist and KISS brand ambassador Gina Edwards to find out the dos and don’ts of applying press-on nails like a professional.

How to apply fake nails

SIZE MATTERS

Not every nail in your kit is the same size. To ensure you’ve chosen the right nail, check the number on the back of the press-on; zero is the largest for your thumb and 11 is the smallest for your pinky finger. But size isn’t the only aspect to consider. “When choosing a press-on, select a style that fits into your everyday lifestyle,” explains Edwards. “Factor in shape, length, and nail designs.” If you’re between sizes, Edwards recommends going smaller so the press-on doesn’t overlap on your skin.

CLEANSE FIRST

How to apply fake nails

Just like a classic manicure, prep is a critical step, starting with a thorough cleaning. After pushing back your cuticles to remove excess skin, cleanse the nail with an alcohol prep pad to ensure there are no oils or dirt on your hands, notes Edwards. This prep helps the press-ons better adhere to your nails. Press-on kits like the ones from imPRESS often include a pad. You can also press a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol onto your nails. This crucial step will also help to remove any existing polish.

REACH FOR GLUE

If you’re opting for press-ons as a temporary fix, use the sticky tape that comes in the set. To prolong your nails—which typically last five to 10 days according to Edwards—add a touch of glue. “Depending on your nail beds and lifestyle, you can sometimes stretch press-ons past 10 days,” she adds.

APPLY AT AN ANGLE

When applying press-ons, bring the nail right up to your cuticle line and apply at a downward angle. Follow by applying pressure to the center of the nail and pinching at both sides to solidify the adhesive or glue.

FILE LAST

While it may be tempting to file the press-on as soon as it hits your natural nail, wait until after you’ve applied the entire set to shape. “Always contour the nails from the sidewalls to taper them for an even more natural look,” says Edwards. “Everyone’s nail beds are different and contouring is key for super natural-looking nails.”

How to apply fake nails

How to apply fake nails

How to apply fake nails

REMOVE WITH EASE

“Removing press-on nails is fairly easy to do,” ensures the KISS ambassador. “If you are applying a press-on with self-adhesive, it can simply be removed with warm water and a little oil.” If you opted for glue, the removal process changes, but is still straightforward. “Place an acetone-based remover in a small ceramic or glass dish and soak your nails for 10 minutes, or use a glue remover like Glue Off by KISS Products,” says Edwards.

KEEP OR TOSS

While some nails, such as the imPRESS sets, are single-use, there are a slew of press-ons that can be reused. If you’re in the market for a reusable set, try Static Nails, which can easily be popped off and stored away for next use.

How to apply fake nails

If your nails do not grow very well or if you have a tendency to bite them, don’t worry! Why not try some fake nails to give them some length and to transform your hands in an instant? Some people avoid fake as they can look artificial. However, the truth is that, when applied properly, they can look as natural as your real nails. To know how to apply fake nails like a pro, keep reading this OneHowTo article.

The first thing you need to do, of course, is to buy a fake nails kit. Generally, you can find these in pharmacies or in a perfume store. Remember to check that the nail kit contains everything you need: nails of different sizes and thickness to fit your different nails, and glue. Don’t forget that you’ll also need a nail clipper and a thick nail file. Fake nails are more difficult to polish and manipulate than real ones.

Now you have everything ready, it’s time to prepare your nails to apply the fake nails. How? Remove any nail varnish, wash your hands to remove any remnants of varnish or nail varnish remover. Give yourself a simple manicure without painting your nails, so that the finished look is more natural and more durable.

Once your hands are clean, clip nails and file them. Your nails should be short so that the false nails stick on better. Also make sure that all nails are the same size and file the sides of the nails so that they are quite smooth and rounded.

Then, push the cuticle back using a cuticle pusher. This will ensure you have the entire nail uncovered so that you can attach the false nail correctly. To complete the preparation process, file the base of the nails and remove any of the resulting dust.

Open the packaging to start applying your fake nails. Look in the fake nails kit for the ones that fit each of your nails well. If no nail fits properly, don’t worry – simply file them down so that they fit each nail plate properly.

Now it’s time to glue your fake nails on. Take the first nail and apply the glue on the inside part, where it will touch your own real nail. Do not use too much glue – it is very strong, so just a little bit will do the trick. Place the fake nail on top of your natural one, making sure that it fits well. Once you’ve done that, press down with your fingers for 20 seconds. We recommend that you begin by applying nails to your dominant hand. Repeat with all other nails.

After your nails are applied properly, simply file to shape. You can file them into a round or squared shape, depending on your personal preference. The more you file the nails and work on them, the more natural they will look. Don’t forget to file the edges well to decrease the thickness, which will give them a more natural appearance.

Finally, once your fake nails are filed and shaped to your liking, you can start painting them in your favorite colors. If you want to leave your fake nails on for several weeks, avoid using a dark nail varnish as this will stain the plastic material. Start by using a light shade and then change it to a darker tone as the weeks go by. Remember that fake nails can fall, so always carry glue around with you. If you smoke, be careful when you light your cigarette: your nails may burn.

How to apply fake nails

If you want to read similar articles to How to Apply Fake Nails, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

Sharing how to apply fake nails like a pro + best fake nails 2020 below!

Who else misses their nail artist right about now?? But just because you can’t get to your nail salon doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a flawless mani—or even attempt to paint your own nails. I got an at-home dip powder kit but I was not going to attempt to put that on yet. Instead, I started with something easy like press-on nails that already have a shape and color, so I can simply just glue it on. When used correctly, press-on nails can look seamless and allow for endless experimentation!! I shared a video on how to apply fake nails on my IGTV but I wanted to give you some tips below as well!

I was so impressed with them that I might even just consider using then from now on! It is definitely a lot cheaper and takes a lot less time than going to the salon. It only took about 15 minutes to apply from start to finish! They are supposed to last for up to two whole weeks. I am sharing a few important rules you must follow and how to apply fake nails like a pro below!

How To Apply Fake Nails

1. Find the correct size.

All nails are not the same. Thankfully, lots of press-on nail kits come with multiple size options so you can get the most realistic look. Check the number on the back of the press-on; zero is the largest for your thumb and 11 is the smallest for your pinky finger. If you’re between sizes, go with the smaller so the press-on doesn’t overlap on your skin! (My number: thumb 1, pointer 5, middle 4, ring 5, pinky 9).

2. Push back your cuticles.

Your cuticles may be small, but they’re still an important part of your mani. Gently push them back before you apply your fake nails so the artificial nails will look seamless and natural. Save the cuticle oil for another time because that could potentially mess up the nail glue securing the nails properly.

3. Dehydrate your nail beds.

Wash your hands and wipe your nails with alcohol to make sure there are no remaining oils left on your hands!

4. Create a foundation.

Gently file the surface of your natural nail bed to create friction for the glue to adhere to. Be careful not to damage your real nails.

5. Apply on your dominate hand first.

Chances are, any nail pack you purchase will come with glue or double-sided nail tapes (or both). For glue: apply a drop of glue to the bottom of the fake nail and a drop of glue to your natural nail. A very small drop is all that you need, because once it hits a flat surface it will expand.

6. Allow the glue to dry fully.

Place the fake nail just above cuticle (keep it straight as you don’t want any crooked looking nails) and then press down onto nail bed and press down firmly for at least 30 seconds to ensure no air bubbles are present before you go on to the next one. This step is really important because if the fake nail is not secure to the nail bed, moisture will get in underneath and cause lifting or nail fungus. Yuck.

How to apply fake nails

Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Manicures either seem to be too temporary, chipping the first time you fish your keys out of your bag, or too permanent—some epic gel polishes take weeks to fully come off. The Goldilocks of manicures might be at your drugstore. Press-on nails have become a staple at New York Fashion Week when models need to wear dramatic polish and change looks multiple times a day.

At Phillip Lim’s show, celebrity manicurist Madeline Poole created intricate striped looks with metallic tape applied over a warm brown polish, which was meant to “evoke the stripes on a varsity jacket,” Poole explained.

There was no time backstage to paint the designs and wait for polish to dry, so Poole and her team painted sets of faux nails in advance so they could stick them on the day of the show.

Immediate gratification is only one of the perks of the stick-on nails. Poole suggests wearing fake nails to test drive nail art or being able to quickly change from a more adventurous look to one more suitable for a job interview. Here are Poole’s expert tips (yes, that’s a pun) for wearing press-on nails so you don’t destroy your real nails.

The adhesive tape that comes with the press-on nails is surprisingly strong and will last a couple days. So if you want to wear the nails for just a couple hours, Poole recommends using fashion tape instead. (This is the double-sided tape celebs wear on the red carpet to prevent a wardrobe malfunction.) At the Lim show, Poole and her team used Hollywood Fashion Tape for an adhesive that was firm but not too strong.

If you’re going for a more temporary look and don’t want to damage your real nails, Poole recommends applying either a thick layer of base coat or Elmer’s glue before applying tape or stickers, which will create a protective coating and ensure that your real nails are none the worse for wear when it’s time for the falsies to come off.

If you’re looking to wear your nails more than one day, make sure that your nails are a bit dehydrated before applying adhesive, as even the slightest bit of oil or leftover lotion can cause adhesive to lose its grip. Use nail polish remover to make sure your nail bed is clean and prepped.

Poole has found that the easiest way to remove faux nails is with cuticle oil. Use a dropper to apply oil underneath the falsies, wait a couple of seconds to allow the oil to weaken the adhesive, and gently but firmly pull the fake nails away from the cuticle—not straight up, which can be both damaging and painful.

One of the best qualities of fake nails is you can recycle them. Save them for your next night out or wedding so you’ll always be ready with an instant manicure.

You’ll never fuss with nail polish again.

How to apply fake nails

We don’t have to tell you that a polished, chip-free set of nails can instantly lift your whole mood. Just because you can’t get to your nail artist at the moment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a flawless mani—or even attempt to paint your own nails. Press-on nails can expertly take the place of a fresh coat of polish, and they’re easier to glue-on than you might think. We asked celebrity nail artist and KISS brand ambassador Gina Edwards to find out the dos and don’ts of applying press-on nails like a professional.

How to apply fake nails

SIZE MATTERS

Not every nail in your kit is the same size. To ensure you’ve chosen the right nail, check the number on the back of the press-on; zero is the largest for your thumb and 11 is the smallest for your pinky finger. But size isn’t the only aspect to consider. “When choosing a press-on, select a style that fits into your everyday lifestyle,” explains Edwards. “Factor in shape, length, and nail designs.” If you’re between sizes, Edwards recommends going smaller so the press-on doesn’t overlap on your skin.

CLEANSE FIRST

How to apply fake nails

Just like a classic manicure, prep is a critical step, starting with a thorough cleaning. After pushing back your cuticles to remove excess skin, cleanse the nail with an alcohol prep pad to ensure there are no oils or dirt on your hands, notes Edwards. This prep helps the press-ons better adhere to your nails. Press-on kits like the ones from imPRESS often include a pad. You can also press a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol onto your nails. This crucial step will also help to remove any existing polish.

REACH FOR GLUE

If you’re opting for press-ons as a temporary fix, use the sticky tape that comes in the set. To prolong your nails—which typically last five to 10 days according to Edwards—add a touch of glue. “Depending on your nail beds and lifestyle, you can sometimes stretch press-ons past 10 days,” she adds.

APPLY AT AN ANGLE

When applying press-ons, bring the nail right up to your cuticle line and apply at a downward angle. Follow by applying pressure to the center of the nail and pinching at both sides to solidify the adhesive or glue.

FILE LAST

While it may be tempting to file the press-on as soon as it hits your natural nail, wait until after you’ve applied the entire set to shape. “Always contour the nails from the sidewalls to taper them for an even more natural look,” says Edwards. “Everyone’s nail beds are different and contouring is key for super natural-looking nails.”

How to apply fake nails

How to apply fake nails

How to apply fake nails

REMOVE WITH EASE

“Removing press-on nails is fairly easy to do,” ensures the KISS ambassador. “If you are applying a press-on with self-adhesive, it can simply be removed with warm water and a little oil.” If you opted for glue, the removal process changes, but is still straightforward. “Place an acetone-based remover in a small ceramic or glass dish and soak your nails for 10 minutes, or use a glue remover like Glue Off by KISS Products,” says Edwards.

KEEP OR TOSS

While some nails, such as the imPRESS sets, are single-use, there are a slew of press-ons that can be reused. If you’re in the market for a reusable set, try Static Nails, which can easily be popped off and stored away for next use.

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How to apply fake nails

Artificial nails create that flawless manicure style without the hassle of growing out, polishing and painting the perfect nail lacquer. Glue-on nails are also great for those who have difficulty growing out long nails or if you need a quick fix before an elegant evening out. Most artificial nail sets are made of acrylic and will include not only a full set of nails but also the quick-setting nail glue that makes artificial nails so fast. This manicure style should only be used sparingly to retain the vitality of your natural nails since the powerful glue can strip natural nails if used too often.

Step 1

Apply a small amount of acetone nail polish remover to a cotton pad. Sweep the cotton pad over all of your natural nails to remove any oils, residues or leftover nail polish. You want a completely clean nail bed before applying any nail glue. Wash your hands in warm water with a gentle soap to remove any excess acetone.

Step 2

Trim the tips of your fingernails using a pair of nail clippers. File down any uneven edges so that your nails are smooth and short on top. This step helps produce a smooth, even application of the acrylic nail.

Step 3

Buff the body of all of your nails with a nail buffer. This tool helps remove any uneven ridges or bumps on the nail bed that could affect the adhesive quality of the glue.

Step 4

Push back any protruding cuticles to the edge of the nail bed with a cuticle pusher. Be sure to use gentle pressure so that you don’t damage the cuticle tissues. This step helps make the nail bed clear so that the artificial nail can sit evenly on your nail.

Step 5

Lay out all ten of the artificial nails in the order so that the pinky, ring, middle, index and thumb nails for each hand are easily accessible and it’s clear which nail will go on which finger.

Step 6

Lay a piece of paper towel over the surface you will be working on in case any nail glue drips onto the surface.

Step 7

Pick up the artificial thumb nail for your dominant hand. Test out how well the nail will fit your thumb nail by pressing the glue-free nail to the nail bed. Make note of where the artificial nail extends beyond your natural nail. You will only want to put glue on the area that actually sits on your natural nail.

Step 8

Open up the artificial nail glue. Swirl the tip of the nail glue applicator on the back of the artificial nail using a small swirling motion to evenly apply the glue across the back of the nail on the area that will sit on your nail.

Step 9

Press the right edge of the artificial nail onto the right edge of your real nail so that the base of the artificial nail is as close to the cuticle as possible. Gently roll the rest of the nail onto the nail bed using soft pressure to remove any air bubbles. Press down on the applied nail for about 15 seconds to encourage the nail to stay in place. Avoid moving the nail. Sweep a cotton swab around the edge of the nail if any nail glue has touched your skin.

Step 10

Repeat the gluing and pressing process on the rest of the nails on your dominant hand. Allow the glue to set on the first hand for about 30 minutes. After the glue has set completely, apply the artificial nails to your nondominant hand.

Step 11

File the artificial nails with a nail file to reshape any areas you desire. For example, if you want a slightly tapered nail for your thumb or pinky nails, use quick, gentle strokes with a regular nail file to gently reshape the nail.