7 Steps on How to Make Press-On Nails Last More Than Two Weeks

Press-on nails have made their mark in the beauty industry—they don’t require a trip to the salon, they’re less damaging on your nails, and you never run the risk of chipping. Not to mention, with the wide variety of design options to choose from, you can easily switch up your style depending on your mood. Press-ons typically last two weeks, but if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can actually extend their lifespan beyond this timeframe with a few simple tricks.  

Ready to create some serious manicure-envy at home? Keep reading to learn how to rock your press-ons for longer in seven simple steps.

What are press-on nails?

Press-on nails are artificial nails made from acrylic resin that already have a color or design in place. For many nail buffs, they reign supreme over gels and acrylics because they’re less damaging and more cost-effective. They’re also a solid alternative to swiping polish onto your natural nails because they last significantly longer and are chip-free. Press-on nails are a great way to achieve flawless digits at home–they require little skill, effort, and time. 

1. Wash your hands

Unlike an in-salon manicure that involves applying oils and lotions pre-polish, press-ons require freshly washed, product-free fingers if you want them to last. This is because nails slathered in product can create a too-slippery surface, which can prevent the glue from sticking to the nail properly and thus, make them less likely to last. 

2. Buff your natural nails

Just like washing your hands before applying your press-ons gets rid of product that could lead to a slippery mess, buffing your natural nails is another sure-fire way to ensure your nails are free of natural oils and shine. Ultimately, the goal is to create a strong grip for the nail to stick onto, and gently buffing your nails will help create a coarser surface for your press-ons to adhere to properly.

3. Prime your nails

The better the press-on sticks to your nails, the longer they’ll last. A simple swipe of alcohol or nail polish remover will help create the perfect canvas for your press-on nails to stick to. This dehydrates the nail and gets rid of any residual moisture or oil that would otherwise shorten their lifespan. Just make sure to use a nail polish brush versus a cotton pad for this step, as cotton pads can come loose and cling onto the nails.

4. Use a good quality glue

Your press-on nails are only as good as the glue you use. Look for one that offers a long-lasting formula that won’t cause damage to your natural nails. This one from Luxxi checks all the boxes—it features a brush tip for foolproof application, a fast-drying formula, and a hold so strong you won’t miss acrylics. 

5. Apply glue to your natural nail and press-on nail

Think of applying glue to both your natural nail and press-on nail as an insurance policy that’ll extend their wear. Glue can get sticky, so start with a small drop in the center (of both your natural nail and press-ons). To make sure the press-on is properly bonded, hold it onto your nails for at least 30 seconds.

6. Use the right nail size

Just like not all foundation colors are made equal, press ons are not a one-size-fits-all. They’re less likely to last—and appear natural—if they don’t fit properly. There are a few things to keep in mind when considering your press-on nail size: your nail bed, your nail length, and your desired nail shape. A good rule of thumb: choose a size that’s roughly half a millimeter smaller than your cuticle for the most natural, long-lasting look. Also, while there are a few shapes known to be universally-flattering (read: oval and squoval), certain shapes are made to better suit certain people—for instance, a round nail shape can fake length on shorter fingers.

7. Avoid water and products following application

Even the best press-on nails require a little TLC. Post-application, it’s important to avoid contact with water, lotions, and oils to give the glue time to set and stick to your nail completely. If you’re the forgetful type, try applying your press-ons right before sleeping to avoid mistakenly washing your hands. Once the glue has set, avoid exposing your nails to things that could weaken the nail glue (think: hot baths, swimming, and harsh detergents).