The Ultimate Guide to Press-On Nails in 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Press-On Nails in 2023

Press-on nails have become immensely popular in recent years. They offer a natural-looking, long-lasting manicure without the hassle of acrylic or gel extensions. However, with so many press-on nail options available, choosing the right ones for your needs can be difficult. In today's post, we have compiled the 2023 ultimate guide to help you find press-on nails that suit you perfectly.

Introduction to Press-On Nails

Press-on nails, or nail decals, are manicure stickers you place on your natural nails. They offer the look of a gel manicure without damage to your nails. Press-on nail size and shape options have expanded tremendously over these years. You can find almond, stiletto, coffin, square, rounded, and more shapes as well as extensions to match any shape. In addition, press-ons are very versatile - you can choose subtle, natural-looking shades, bold bright colors, intricate designs, or even glitter and holographic finishes. They can give you longer, stronger nails without infills.

How to Choose the Right Press-On Nails?

There are several factors to consider when choosing press-ons:

  1. Press-on nail size is important for ensuring a natural fit. Measure your nails to determine the average width and length. Choose nails that are slightly longer and wider than your nails for the most natural enhancement. Smaller size differences will be more subtle, while larger sizes create an exaggerated look.
  2. Consider how the press-on nails fit your lifestyle. Softer matte polishes and larger nail sizes tend to be more durable for active or physical lifestyles. Delicate designs, sheer washes, or smaller nails are best suited for lower-key days. Higher-quality press-on nails use stronger adhesives for longer wear.
  3. Think about how long you want the press-on nails to last. More durable press-on nails can last 2-4 weeks with minimal chipping, while more delicate options may only last 7-10 days. Reapplication will depend on your wash activities and how often you need to use your nails.
  4. Your nail shape and edges are also important for choosing a good fit. Almond and round tips suit square nails while squoval and stiletto shapes elongate oval nails. Press-on extensions can lengthen short nails, and build-on tips are added to natural nails for extra coverage and length. Press-on nails offer coverage on both the natural nail and extension for the most natural-looking, longer length.
  5. The adhesive used will impact how well the press-on nails adhere to your nails. Stronger adhesives provide longer hold but can be more irritating to remove. Water-based adhesives tend to be more gentle and easier to remove with minimal irritation. Oil-based adhesives create a super strong bond that can dry out natural nails upon removal. Choose a formula suitable for your nail sensitivity and reapplication needs.

Considering these key factors will ensure you choose a set of press-on nails that provides beauty, durability, and comfort. With the variety of options available at every budget, you're sure to find the perfect press-on nails for your style and needs.

lushbeauty press-on nails

Apply Press-On Nails

Applying press-on nails is actually quite easy. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Clean and file your nails. Gently file your natural nails into your desired shape and smooth any rough edges. Remove any oil or dirt from your nails.
  2. Shape the press-on nails. Use an emery board or nail clippers to shorten and adjust the press-on nails to your desired length and shape. Filing the tips into a rounded end will help them adhere better to the nails.
  3. Apply base coats (optional). A base coat can help the adhesive bond better to your nails. It provides a smooth base for the press-on nails to attach to. Let the base coat dry according to the directions before applying the press-on nails.
  4. Apply nail glue or adhesive (included). Apply a small bead of nail glue or adhesive to the underside edge of each press-on nail. Position the nails on your nails and press down firmly for 30-60 seconds as the adhesive dries to form a strong bond.
  5. Buff edges (optional). Gently buff any visible edges of the press-on nails with an emery board to blend them in and provide a seamless look. Be very careful not to catch your natural nail edge.
  6. Apply top coats (optional). Apply 1-2 coats of top coat or sealant over the press-on nails to help prevent chipping and protect them from water exposure. Reapply every few days to maintain the seal.
  7. Moisturize nails daily. Use a nail oil, cream, or ointment daily to keep your natural nails and the area under the press-on nails moisturized and prevent irritation. This will ensure that press-on nails can be removed easily without damage.
  8. Fill-ins (optional). Use nail glue, top coat, or eyelash glue to fill in any small chips around the edges or corners of press-on nails for a flawless, chipping-free look that lasts longer. Be very careful not to get any products under the nails.

With proper application and care, your press-on nails will stay on securely for their intended duration while keeping your natural nails healthy and nourished.

Maintain and Remove Press-On Nails

Press-on nails will last longer and look their best when properly maintained. Here are some tips for caring for your press-on nails:

  • Use nail oil or cream daily. Apply nail oil, cream, or ointment under the edges of the press-on nails daily to keep your natural nails hydrated and prevent irritation. Look for ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba oil, or beeswax.
  • Avoid water exposure when possible. Limit washing dishes, swimming, or other watery activities during the first few days of application, as the adhesive is still setting. After that, pat or blot dry nails after washing hands or bathing instead of rubbing them harshly.
  • Apply top coat weekly. Apply a nail hardener or top coat over the press-on nails once a week to prevent chipping and provide a protective barrier. Look for a top coat specifically meant for press-on nails or natural nails.
  • Touch up as needed. Use nail glue, a matching top coat, or nail tips to fill in any small chips around the edges or corners of press-on nails. Fine-tipped nail glue pens and bottles work well for precision application.
  • Fill in after removal (optional). After removing your press-on nails, you can choose to fill in the blank spaces on your nails with nail glue, extensions, or nail tips so they match in shape and length and provide coverage. Let the adhesive dry completely before doing any water activities.

When it's time to remove your press-on nails, here are the steps to do so:

  1. Soak nails. Soak your nails in nail polish remover or a solution of equal parts nail polish remover and water for several minutes until the adhesive begins to soften. Gently massage the underside edge of the press-on nails to help loosen the bond.
  2. Gently peel nails off. Use an orangewood stick, wooden or rubber chew stick to gently and slowly work under one corner and side of a press-on nail until it comes loose. Then place the stick under the side of the nail and peel it away from the nail using a thumb on the sole of the nail.
  3. Buff and moisturize. Gently buff away any remaining adhesive residue from your natural nails with an emery board and moisturize your nails thoroughly.
  4. Repeat. Soak, soften, and peel the remaining press-on nails until they are completely removed. Be very careful not to damage your natural nails in the process. Moisturize again once all press-on nails have been removed.

Follow these maintenance and removal tips to keep your press-on nails looking their best for longer while keeping your natural nails healthy and undamaged.


With the knowledge in this guide, you can confidently choose, apply, and care for your press-on nails. If you want to know more about press-on nails or need recommendations on specific products, please continue to check our website LUSH BEAUTY.


  • How do I cut the press-on nails?

Use nail clippers or scissors and carefully file the edges to avoid sharp points. Cut the nails shorter rather than longer as they are easier to re-apply than fixing nails that are too long.

  • Can you use nail polish with press-on nails?

Yes, press-on nails can absolutely be painted with nail polish.

  • Do press-on nails damage natural nails?

No, press-on nails do not damage natural nails when removed properly according to directions. They only adhere to the surface and come off intact with soaking and gentle peeling.

  • Can I get gel manicures or acrylics over press-on nails?

It is possible but not recommended. The adhesive and layers may not bond properly and they can become damaged or lift up. It is best to remove the press-on nails before applying other enhancements.

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