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How to Apply Press on Nails Like A Pro?

Tired of spending a lot of money and time going to nail salons? Do you want to have more flexibility in choosing your favorite nail styles, shapes, and lengths? If so, then press on nails might be just the solution for you. 
Press on nails have gained popularity in recent years due to their convenience and affordability, allowing nail enthusiasts to enjoy different nail styles without leaving their homes. 

In this beginner’s guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know about applying press-on nails like a pro and help you start your own collection of stylish and affordable nails.

Total Time Needed: 15 minutes
Total Cost: 25 USD
Things Needed?
  • Press on Nails (10 pcs/set)
press on nails tools kit

Required Tools:

  • 1 x Mini File
  • 1 x Mini Nail Buffer
  • Adhesive Tabs / Nail Glue
  • 1 x Wooden Cuticle Pusher
  • Alcohol Wipes

Steps to Apply Press On Nails:

Young woman hands using nail file. Simple manicure set on white towel. White table background. Closeup. Point of view shot. Top down view.

Step 1 : Use a file to lightly remove the shine from your natural nail. Round off any nail growth.

Wash and clean your hands thoroughly before using a file. Everything we're gonna do to our nail bed is light, you definitely don't want to damage your nail bed or natural nails.

Manicure. Push back the cuticle with a wooden stick. A woman does her own manicure. Home nail care. Beauty wellness spa treatment concept. Skin care, hygiene. Preparing nails before manicure.

Step 2 : Use the end of the file or the wooden cuticle stick to push back your cuticle to free all possible space on your nail bed.

All you are doing here is to make sure you're removing any excess oil that may be stuck under your cuticle area.

buffer nails with nail buffer

Step 3 : Use your buffer to lightly buff over your natural nails.

Use the buffer in your kit to smooth out scrapes and rough areas a little bit.

clean nails with prep pad

Step 4 : Take out an alcohol wipe to clean off each nail of any dust.

This helps to dehydrate your nail plate so the glue can adhere. Make sure we dehydrate the nail so our nails can last longer.

choose the right adhesive tab

Step 5: Make sure the press on nail fits your nail bed before applying the glue or adhesive tabs.

You can file down each side to reduce the size of the press-on nail to fit your nail bed. Do a little be at a time. You definitely don't want your nails too small and you'll probably have the problem of fitting.

apply adhesive tabs

Step 6: Apply the adhesive tabs or nail glue to your natural nail.

If you are using sticky tabs which have various sizes, I personally like to size them on my nails first to see which size is gonna fit best. The more space sticky tabs cover your natural nails, the longer your press-ons gonna last. If you are using nail glue, do not use it too much. Put a drop of glue on the fake nail. Do not apply it too close to the cuticle.

apply press on nails

Step 7: Set the press-on nail to the back of your nail bed, making sure it is straight!

Place the press-on nail all the way flat. Apply pressure to it for 30 seconds. It is recommended to avoid contact with water for two hours.

press on nails

And then you are good to go! Yay……

How to Remove Press On Nails And Reuse Them?

Applying press-on nails is easy peasy, but removing them can be a bit tricky. If you use sticky tabs to put them on, just grab a wooden stick and slide it from the edge of your nails to gently push them off. No sweat, right?

But if you used glue, don’t worry, you can still get those nails off! Soak them in some hot soapy water with oil for 20-30 minutes, and wait until they start to lift. Then, pull them off slowly and gently. If they’re stubborn, don’t panic! Just soak them for a bit longer or use a glue-off nail remover instead of the soaking method.

Now, if you want to reuse your press-on nails, just make sure you’re being super gentle when taking them off. If you used glue stickers, you’re in luck! You can always reuse them. But if you use glue, you’ll need to be extra cautious. If you want to use them again, you’ll need to remove them with extreme care.


To sum up, press-on nails are a convenient and affordable way to achieve a salon-quality manicure in the comfort of your own home. With the right tools and techniques, applying press-on nails can be easy and quick, even for beginners. 

Remember to properly prepare your natural nails before application, choose the right nail size and shape, and use a high-quality adhesive for the best results. With practice, you can become a pro at applying press on nails and enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting manicure without ever leaving your house. So, go ahead and give it a try!

This is not the end of this article, read on and I believe you will get more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Press on nails are artificial nails that can be applied easily at home without the need for professional help or salon appointments. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs, and are made from materials like acrylic or gel. 

Press-on nails are usually sold in sets and can be applied using either adhesive stickers or glue. They offer a convenient, affordable, and easy-to-use alternative to traditional acrylic or gel nail extensions, and are a popular choice among people who want to achieve a flawless manicure without the hassle or expense of going to a salon.

Press on nails work by adhering to your natural nails with either adhesive stickers or glue. The adhesive stickers (tabs) are pre-cut to the shape and size of the press-on nail and are easy to apply – you just need to peel off the backing and stick the press-on nail onto your natural nail. On the other hand, glue requires a bit more effort and precision, but it usually provides a stronger and longer-lasting hold.

To apply press-on nails with glue, you’ll need to apply a small amount of glue to your natural nail, carefully align the press-on nail, and press down firmly to make sure it’s secure. Once the press-on nails are applied, you can trim, shape, and file them to your desired length and style. Press-on nails can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the adhesive used and how well they are applied and maintained.

The longevity of press-on nails depends on a few factors, such as the quality of the nails and adhesive, how well they are applied, and how well they are maintained. Typically, press-on nails can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Adhesive tabs usually provide a shorter hold time of 3-5 days, while glue can provide a longer hold time of up to two weeks or more. However, it’s essential to take good care of your press-on nails to ensure they last as long as possible. Avoid exposing them to water, oil, or excessive heat, and try not to use your nails as tools.

Additionally, if a press-on nail becomes loose or starts to lift, it’s essential to remove it and reapply a new one to prevent damage to your natural nails.

Tip: You can use a blow dryer to heat the sticky tabs while using them. It can help your press-ons stay longer.

Press-on nails are generally considered safe for your natural nails, especially when you are using adhesive tabs instead of glue, but there are a few things to keep in mind. When applied and removed correctly, press-on nails should not cause any damage to your natural nails. However, if the nails are not applied or removed properly, it can cause nail damage, such as peeling, splitting, or weakening. It’s important to make sure that you use the right adhesive and application method for your natural nails and avoid using press-on nails too frequently or for an extended period. Additionally, some people may be allergic to certain adhesives, so it’s important to test the adhesive before using it on all of your nails. Overall, if you take care when applying and removing press-on nails, they can be a safe and convenient alternative to traditional manicures.

Tips: If you like to experiment or switch up different nail looks, or just go to a party at the weekend, we would like to recommend adhesive tabs, which are zero damage to natural nails, easy to remove, and your press-ons are reusable.

What Are Press on Nails Enthusiasts Saying?

– How do you remove the nails that are glued to reuse later, or is reuse only applicable with the tabs?
– The glue tabs definitely make it easier to reuse the press ons.

– What can I do if I don’t want to use glue and want to keep the press-ons longer?
– I actually don’t use glue instead use a base gel coat it’s much better and safer for your nails, there’s videos on YouTube showing you have to prep nails without glue.

Cuticle care for nails are very important especially if you apply press on nails frequently. I’ve started to do my own lately. I’m always looking to see any extra tips. When getting rid of your cuticles, you don’t have to cut them. I never have. Not everyone produces a lot but your like me, they grow fast and thick.
Also the cuticle is not only at the bottom but also on the sides. If you don’t remove your cuticles, the press on nail will pop off sooner and will cause bubbles. The fastest, easiest, way is cuticle remove that is fluid. After you put it on, you just rub it off.
Also cuticle oil for after your done is a step you can skip but it keeps them healthy. 1 other tip is to do nails at night, so you don’t get your hands wet until the next day. That will also help your nails to stay on longer. Give these tips a try and you’ll see a huge difference.

Monique T.

Also, another little thing for most people to know is that it’s not always the case that both hands will require the same sizes. I know a lot of people who have hands with different sized middle fingers and thumbs and such. Best thing to do is take a clear piece of tape and put it across the widest part of your nail. Then, for each finger, mark the edges of your nails on the tape with a sharpie. After you’ve done that you can lay them all out in order and use a measuring tape to truly find your ten sizes. I hope this helps! I love me some press on nails! The sets I get from Etsy look like I paid hundreds when in reality it’s a small fraction of that!

Sarah C.

I use super glue from dollar tree and most of mine last 16-20 days (depending on how much my hands are in water, but wear gloves to protect the nails and they’ll last longer!) a lot of press on guru’s use super glue,️ I have to tell you though, some people say not to & that super glue will mess up your real nails, but they’ve never messed up mine and I’ve been doing this for a little over 4 years and I’ve applied press ons on several women’s hands and they glue didn’t mess their real nails up to. If it DOES mess with your real nail, it’s not any worse than what the acrylics do to real nails after spending $100+ at the nail salon! Just watch a few videos and make your own judgement.

Courtney D.

I’ve been wearing press on nails for about 2 years. I’ve saved so much money and I love them so much more than acrylics that I used to wear. And I’ve gotten way more compliments on them than I ever got on my professional acrylic nails. People seriously won’t believe me when I tell them they’re press ons. Mine last about a week and half. But I don’t mind because by then I’m ready for something different. Press ons is where it’s at, ladies!

Mallory P.

Hello, I’m a licensed nail tech in NY. This is awesome advice for press-ons. When it comes to sizing, always go up a size if the nail doesn’t fit completely from side to side. File the press-on on the sides to correct the size if the next size is slightly too big. If you go down in size and size and some of your nail is showing, it’s too small and it will pop off much easier and much more often.

Tanya S.

This blog post is based on the following Youtuber video, as well as on some user comments, for which we are particularly grateful.
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