Hello! So glad you're here! If you are on this page you may be really interested in all there is to know about wearing press-on nails! I want you to know that I am here to help! I would love to take some time to explain, in detail, what you need to know for the BEST possible adhesion! It's a lot, so let's get started ;)
First things first. I am doing this because I want you to have the best adhesion possible!! THE BEST! Also, I am focusing on applying nails with glue on this post. Because, well… I figure this is the best for long-term wear. We’ll talk about cons and how to remove your tips at the end if you’re interested.
Here’s the no-detailed summary (in case you only want the basics):
Start with clean hands and size your nails. Lay out your press-ons in the order you will apply them.
Ok, and now for a detailed description, and important information on why.
Preparing your nails
Your nails need to be completely dry, and completely free of dust and natural oils for best adhesion! Why? Because if there’s anything between the glue and the surface of your nail, it won’t stick to its full potential, and you won’t get the best use out of them. This is also true in prepping your nails by a professional nail tech for any enhancement :).
1. Wash and dry your hands. Seems like a no-brainer. So much so that some people might not even think it’s important. This is really because its best to work on a clean surface.
*SIDE NOTE: It's best to not apply press-ons right after a shower, or when your nails have been wet or soaking for long though, as your nail has expanded and is now more flexible, which means that when your nails dry down, they won’t be the same shape as when you applied your tips. Uhm… ok, so what? Well that means that the bending and re-shaping may cause weakness on the adhesion, so your nail tips may not last as long.
2. Size your nails. You’ve either received a set of custom nails, ordered a set of pre-made sizes, or ordered a set of all available sizes for you to pick from. Regardless, I feel all of these mean you need to sit and figure out which nail goes where. Some sellers may have sent you your custom tips pre-marked on where they go, but I assume they may not. A good fit means your nail tip sits comfortably on your nail without squeezing too much and goes from sidewall to sidewall of your nails, without touching your skin.
*SIDE NOTE: if press-on nails is your thing and you thing you may do this long term, it’s best to know what size your nails are for future reference. More info on sizing here.
3. Shaping your Press-on nails (optional). This is tricky and I hope that you don’t have to do much of this. Everyone's nails are different from the way they're shaped to the direction they grow. But, nail tips have a specific set shape at the cuticle (base) area, so we may need to adjust some or all so they look more natural. You may need to file the cuticle edges a bit so it looks closer to the shape of your own natural curve, or you may need to file off a bit of the side for a better fit. If you do this step, keep any filing to a minimal. You DO NOT want to break seals that may cause layers of color or designs on your nails to start peeling or cracking off. For that exact reason, I do NOT recommend re-shaping or filing the “free edge” portion of your nail tips at all!
OK... now that we know that our hands and our tips are ready, here's the nitty gritty!
4. Prepping your cuticle area.
In reality there are dead skin cells that are stuck on the nail plate and there are ways to get rid of that, depending how much cuticle prep you are willing to do. But again, we’re looking for BEST ADHESION. There are a couple of ways to do this depending on your level of DIY manicuring. Some people have never done this before, as where others own a personal e-file and use it to buff their nails. I will not really be talking about e-filing for cuticle prep in this post .
The goal: removing skin and dead skin cells from the nail plate so that the glue has full contact with your nail plate. Like we mentioned earlier, we want the BEST, right?
5. Prepping your nail plate. this is much easier than prepping your cuticle area. We basically want to just remove surface shine and shorten your nails, so you will do just that. Why shorten your nails? because as the free edge grows out, it takes on a different shape and form than your nail bed as it extends out, and since nail tips are pretty straight, it’s difficult to adhere the entire nail when a portion of it is growing in a different direction and has different curves. Phew, that was a lot. So… just shorten it, okay? Okay.
7. Applying your press-ons with nail glue. Uhhh… Im really going to try to describe it as best as possible, but you may want to actually watch the video for that. It goes without saying that this needs to be done rather fast, in order to avoid glue drying incorrectly, but quick enough to not create any bubbles or pockets of air.
Next, let’s talk removal, products, and pros and cons.
Removing press-ons you've attached with glue:
I ONLY recommend you try to preserve the integrity of your nails. Which means, please don’t pick off, pry off, pull off, or rip off (however you want to call it) your nails. If you'd like to re-use your nails, I have luckily made a video and post on that ;)
General items to have:
Additional Items for cuticle prep:
Additional Items that can be helpful:
Pros of using glue for press-on nails:
Honestly, the reason for glue is longevity. If properly applied, you don’t have to worry about things like daily handwashing and such. You will get the most single-use wear out of using a good glue and following these steps for the best adhesion.
Cons of using glue for press-on nails
Remember I have a video and post on how to re-use press-ons, along with other options for application and removal.
I think this is it for this topic. I REALLY hope this has been helpful.
Here are the videos mentioned:
How to Size Your Nails
How to Re-use Your Press-ons