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Do You Need A Base Coat For Press On Nails

Do You Need a Base Coat for Press On Nails? A Comprehensive Guide

Press-on nails have gained significant traction in recent years as a quick, convenient, and economical alternative to salon manicures. But one question that often emerges when discussing these faux nails is: do you need a base coat for press on nails? The answer is multifaceted, hinging on various factors such as personal preference, desired nail finish, and the specific method of nail preparation used.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the world of press-on nails, exploring the necessity of a base coat, the different methods of prepping your nails, the benefits of using press-ons, and tips on how to prolong their lifespan. Whether you’re a novice in the realm of press-on nails or a seasoned pro seeking to refine your technique, this guide is crafted with you in mind.

What Are Press On Nails?

Press on nails, also known as fake nails or glue-on nails, are artificial nails created from materials like acrylic resin, gel, or ABS plastic. They are pre-painted with nail polish and designed to cover the entire nail bed, mirroring the appearance of professionally done gel tip extensions. Press-on nails are applied using either glue or adhesive tabs and can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks, making them an excellent choice for special events or occupations requiring temporary nail length restrictions.

Do You Need a Base Coat for Press On Nails?

The constant debate in the world of press-on nail enthusiasts revolves around the necessity of a base coat. Essentially, whether you need a base coat on fake nails depends on your preference and the technique you’re comfortable with while preparing your press-on nails.

Various methods exist for prepping your press-on nails, each with their advantages and potential drawbacks. Let’s explore three prevalent methods:

Method 1: Basic Prep and Polish

  • Buff
  • File tip
  • Dust off debris
  • Apply gel polish
  • Finish with a top coat

Method 2: Base Coat Inclusion

  • Buff nails
  • File tip
  • Dust off debris
  • Apply a base coat
  • Follow with gel polish
  • Finish with a top coat

Method 3: Primer Usage

  • Buff nail
  • Apply a primer and let air dry
  • Add gel polish
  • Finish with a top coat

In method 1, a base coat isn’t used, while method 2 incorporates a base coat in the process. Method 3 introduces a primer, which can smooth out the nail surface and decrease the quantity of unwanted particles, like lint, that stick to the nail.

The choice between these methods boils down to personal comfort and what yields the best results for you. Some might find that a base coat provides a smoother polish application, while others might realize that a base coat isn’t necessary for their desired finish.

Benefits of Press On Nails

Press on nails offer a myriad of benefits, making them an attractive option for many.

Convenient Salon Alternative

Press-on nails are a fantastic alternative to salon manicures, especially when you don’t want to leave your home but still desire a polished, custom manicure look.

Easy Application and Removal

These nails are excellent for last-minute events as their application and removal processes are impressively quick. This allows you to focus on more important things.

Ideal for Occupational Restrictions

Given their easy application and removal, press-on nails are a fantastic style option for individuals who can only wear glam, fashionable, or long nails during their off-time, like nurses or those working in conservative offices.

Reusable and Diverse Designs

Some press-on nails are reusable, allowing you to repeat your manicure set as much as you like, guilt-free. They also come in a variety of patterns, art, shapes, and color options, just like acrylic nails, allowing you to switch up your looks to suit your style.


Press-on nails are a super economical way to appear glamorous in the long run because you are paying for multiple wears. Even though they’re priced higher than drugstore single-use products, they still cost less than gel extensions.

How Long Do Press On Nails Last?

Press-on nails typically stay on for 5-7 days if you’re using glue, and 3-4 days if you’re using adhesive tabs. However, if maintained properly, they can stay on for up to 2 weeks.

Do Press On Nails Damage Your Real Nails?

Press-on nails won’t damage your real nails provided you follow the correct application and removal procedures. However, improper removal, like soaking your nails in acetone for too long or forcefully peeling off your press-ons, can lead to nail bed damage. It’s advisable to apply a good quality base-coat before applying press-ons. This creates a protective layer between your natural nail and the adhesive, reducing the chance of damage during removal.

How to Apply Press On Nails

The application process of press on nails is straightforward. Here are the general steps:

  • Pick the suitable sizes for each of your nails.
  • Prepare your natural nails by trimming and filing them to your desired length and shape.
  • Buff your nails and/or apply a base coat.
  • Clean your nail beds with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils or residues.
  • Apply the adhesive tab or glue.
  • Attach the fake nail using a downward angle.

How to Make Press On Nails Last Longer?

To prolong the lifespan of your press on nails, here are some tips:

  • Rub down your nail beds with rubbing alcohol before applying the adhesive.
  • If using glue, try applying thin layers to both your natural nail and the press-ons.
  • Avoid getting your hands wet for at least 2 hours afterward.
  • Avoid using your nails for damaging tasks that involve motions like picking and prying.

How to Remove Press On Nails

Removing press on nails is simple. You can either soak them in warm, soapy water until they lift off easily or use nail clips with cotton balls soaked in acetone or cuticle oil.

How to Make Press On Nails Look Natural?

Press on nails look the most natural when they are sized correctly. The sides should be wide enough to cover your natural nail but not extend over the side walls. This, coupled with pushing back your cuticles, will result in a more polished, professional look.

How to Reuse Press On Nails?

To reuse your press-on nails, soak them in warm, soapy water for about 10-15 minutes until the glue loosens, and you can gently lift off the press-on with a wooden nail stick.

Where Can You Buy Press On Nails?

There are numerous brands of press-on nails available in the market, from local drugstores to online platforms. Some popular brands include Kiss Nails, imPRESS, Static Nails and BeeYourself Nails.


Press on nails offer a convenient at-home alternative when you don’t want to get your nails done at a salon. Their quick application and removal process, combined with their customizable designs and wear-time flexibility, make them a go-to option for many. Whether you need a base coat for press-on nails depends on your preference and the nail prep method you choose. Whichever method you prefer, remember to follow the correct application and removal procedures to prevent damage to your natural nails.

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Handmade with care and love

Cut & File Like Real

Can be cut & filed like real nails

Designed for Long Lasting

Designed to last 1-2 weeks

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