The biggest mistake you’re making with press-on nails

Heading to the salon to get your gels filled or to have a set of acrylics put on isn’t quite an option right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a salon-quality manicure. In fact, at-home nail products have come so far that you can get a pro finish without even touching lacquer, thanks to press-on nails.

Perhaps you’ve already tried out a set and gave up in frustration after a couple popped off halfway through the day or maybe you’ve been nervous to trade in your trusty brush for glue-ons. You’re not alone; press-on nails can be tricky to master from the get-go, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to settle for regular polish again.

The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to applying them is not adding extra glue. Even if the nails have adhesive backs or the kit doesn’t come with a glue bottle, it’s worth purchasing to really ensure your mani stays put. According to celebrity nail artist Gina Edwards, who spoke with Harper’s Bazaar, “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.”

How to apply press-on nails

It takes a bit to become an expert at applying press-ons, and if there are a few nails lost along the way, that’s okay. InStyle suggests, “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.”

To start, you’ll want to select the right sizes for each finger before you prep your natural nail or begin gluing. Then, if you choose, you can file each extension into the shape and length you prefer. After this, you’ll want to remove any nail polish that’s already on and wash your hands (via Brunette on a Mission).

Once your hands are ready, oftentimes you’ll be advised to buff the surface, but Brunette on a Mission prefers doing it differently. “Some kits will tell you to buff your nails, however, I would advise against this because it damages your natural nail over time. Instead, apply a coat or two of clear polish and let your nails dry. This will help protect the nail from any chemicals in the glue because it serves as another layer between your nails and the glue.”

Wait until everything is dry, then use the alcohol pad your kit comes with and clean the surface of each nail bed once more. Now you’re ready to glue, apply, and press! Smudged polish and UV lights don’t hold a candle to these.

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