How To Apply Press-On Nails

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After having my son, my salon days were over. Learning to budget while trying to stay "oh-so-hot" pushed me to press-on fingernails. "Press-ons," you say? I know a lot of you think of old ladies and half-hanging nails. Press-on fingernails aren't what they used to be! Here's what you'll need to apply press-ons yourself:

  • Press-on nails. The best place I have found press-on nails is Walmart! Try experimenting with different brands and types. And there are press-ons for toenails, too! If you have tiny fingers and toes like me, you can find press-on nails designed for tiny fingers and toes...but they are more difficult to find. Regular press-ons will fit, too; you just may need to file them a bit. I found that Revlon nails worked for my toes, but it's Kiss that works wonders for my fingernails. Most kits come with everything you need--nails, file and glue.
  • Nail-cutter. It's handy to have a nail-cutter, but if you don't, you can just file away what is "too much." You may not...I may not get the result you want on your first try!! I actually think it took me about 5 times to get a look that I could tolerate.
  • Extra glue...but not too much. I have found putting a little extra glue on helps prevent air bubbles (which look horrible). But if you put too much glue on, you risk gluing a finger to the top of the nail, which also looks horrible.
  • Q-tip or nail stick. Having a Q-tip or nail stick handy helps in cleaning up your mistakes.

Now that you've got the materials you'll need, here's how you go about the process of applying press-on nails:

  1. Organize. Collect everything you will need. The first time you do this, if you've never done your own nails, you won't have everything you need. REMEMBER: Practice makes perfect. Put everything you will need close at hand--file, glue, nails and nail cutter, Q-tip or nail stick.
  2. File and cut. File down and cut your nails as low as possible. Again, this is not absolutely necessary but it helps to obtain a natural look. File down any polish or remove any polish, glue, acrylic or anything else on your nails.
  3. Fitting. Find out what nail size fits which nail. Find a comfortable fit (one that hides the edges but does not overlap to your skin). Also, if you pick a size too small, it will either bend the nail or break it when you try to glue it on. Once you find that size, pair it up for your other hand. In some cases, you may need another size for that finger on the other hand. Once you find all nails to match, you're ready for step four.
  4. Gluing On. Start on the hand that is not your dominant hand. If you're also doing your toes, start on your toes first. I found it difficult and messy and disappointing when I did my fingers first. I usually start on my pinkie, but whatever you are comfortable with will work. Put glue on your real nail, enough to cover the whole nail but not so much that it drips off the side. Place the press-on nail firmly and hold for about a minute. If you lift too soon, you may get air bubbles. I find more glue helps in preventing air bubbles, but it can be messy.

That's pretty much it.

If you want to have nails for a big event, and want to try press-ons, try a week or a few days before. That way, if you don't get the result you want, it won't be so difficult to take them off. Some more tips I found useful: Nail polish remover makes a bigger mess then glue. If you get glue on your fingers or hand, I remove it in the shower or in the sink. Take a bathing stone (if you have one) or something of harsh material and gently scrub. If you do choose to use nail polish remover, use VERY carefully because it eats away at the press-on nails, making them soft.

Also, if you attempt to try again, and have some glue on your nail, try filing it down. I once tried in a hurry and pulled at it, pulling off a piece of my REAL nail down to the skin, and it was very PAINFUL. I won't attempt that again!!!!

Once again, your first few attempts may not be successful, but with time and practice, you'll have nails similar to those you get at the salon. I still have people ask, "What salon do you go to?"


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