Paying $80 for a full set at the nail salon — in this economy? No way.
That’s why press-on nails are making a comeback in a big way. But these aren’t your mom’s press-ons. Today’s nail sets rival even the most intricate designs created by a nail tech for a fraction of the price.
The only problem? The nails don’t always stick on the way they’re supposed to.
But one TikToker recently revealed how to keep press-on nails from falling off, using her experiences in the trenches to help you avoid a nail fail.
“If you do glue-on nails at home and you feel like they fall off in like a week, please keep watching this video because these nails have been on for more than two weeks and, like, they haven’t budged,” Haley Christine said in a recent post. “I’ve accumulated some tips, and I think I’ve found ‘The Method.'”
The best part? Her tips are simple and doable:
- Trim your nails
- Push back cuticles
- Buff with a nail file
- Make sure your hands are dry
- Apply before bed
How to Keep Press-On Nails From Falling Off
It’s all in the preparation.
“First thing is nail prep,” the TikToker explained. “If you don’t do it right, your nails are gonna fall off.”]
@haleyfrit i lost count of how many times i said “incredible” #nailtips #nailtiktok #pressonnails #foryou #oliveandjune #kissnails ♬ original sound – haley christine
Trim and Shape Your Natural Nails
Before you even think about applying press-on nails, make sure your natural nails are trimmed down to a manageable size.
Long nails can interfere with the adhesive tabs or glue, causing your false nails to lift prematurely.
Push Back Cuticles
You only want the nail glue to go on the nail itself — not the skin around it.
“Glue comes off the skin more than it comes off the nail bed. Hair stuck underneath the nail, it’s gross,” Haley warns.
Use a cuticle pusher or an orange wood stick to gently push back your cuticles.
This ensures that the glue adheres to your natural nail bed, not your skin, for a longer-lasting press.
Buff with a Nail File
“Use a regular file to create a rough surface on the nail,” Haley advises.
A rough surface makes the glue adhere better, making your press-on sets last longer. Spend 30 seconds on each nail to ensure you have the right texture.
Make Sure Hands are Dry
Double-check that your nails are super dry before doing any application.
Any water or natural oils on your nail plate can interfere with the glue, causing your press-on nails to lift. A quick wipe with a prep pad or nail polish remover can help remove any residue.
Apply Before Bed
“Do it right before you go to bed,” she advised. “Like, I’m telling you, right before you go to bed. Because you are not going to be putting water on your hands for 7, 8, 9 hours.”
This gives the glue ample time to set, ensuring that your nails stay put.
Keeping Your Press-Ons Perfect
Keeping those beauties in tip-top shape is crucial for making the most of your faux manicure.
- Regular Inspections. Check your nails every few days for any signs of lifting or air bubbles. Early detection makes for an easy fix.
- Top Coat Magic. For extra protection, consider applying a top coat of nail polish. This adds a glossy finish and acts as a sealant, providing an additional layer of durability. Apply a clear top coat every few days to maintain that salon-fresh gloss and add an extra protection layer.
- Mind the Moisture. Always dry your hands thoroughly after washing them. Excess water can seep into gaps, causing lifting or bacterial growth.
- Gentle Hands. Treat your press-ons like the jewels they are—meaning, don’t use them to open soda cans or peel off stickers. These actions can cause lifting or even breakage.
- Quick Fixes. Keep a small tube of nail glue and a mini nail file in your purse for emergency touch-ups. A little dab and a quick buff can go a long way in a pinch.
- Scheduled Removal. Know when it’s time to say goodbye. Press-ons are fabulous, but they’re meant to be temporary. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how long to keep them on to avoid damaging your natural nails.
Do Press-On Nails Damage Natural Nails?
Press-on nails won’t damage your real nails if you apply and remove them correctly.
However, there’s more to the story, especially when it comes to the potential for bacteria growth, commonly known as “greenies.”
“Greenies” are bacterial infections that can occur under the nail, giving the nail a greenish tint.
This usually happens when moisture gets trapped under the artificial nail, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. If you’re not careful with your nail prep and application process, you could be at risk for this unsightly and potentially painful condition.
Also, using a reputable nail glue provides a secure bond, minimizing the risk of your press-ons lifting and allowing moisture to seep in.
By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the beauty of long-lasting press-on nails without worrying about damaging your natural nails or dealing with “greenies.”