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My beauty routine is equal parts bougie and cheap; a little department store and a little drugstore. Open up my gym bag, and you’ll find a pack of Neutrogena makeup remover wipes under my $64 pumpkin seed brightening serum. The point I’m trying to make is that variety is the spice of my beauty life, and I make no apologies for it. One of my biggest gripes with beauty elitists is the assumption that press-on nails are somehow a step down from acrylics or a gel manicure.
I’m not sure how we came to that conclusion, but press-ons don’t deserve the bad wrap. For one, they save you time. Why sit in a salon chair for one to two hours when you can pop those babies on and walk out the door in minutes or less? They’re also a fraction of the price and pre-painted so you don’t have to worry about dry time and chipping. In fact, one of the most enduring red-carpet beauty secrets is the use of press-ons instead of full-on manis when a celeb wants to protect her nail beds or be able to switch her polish without the lag time.
So whether you’re low on cash, low on time, or simply want to take press-ons for a test-drive, we’ve curated a list that includes plenty of sleek designs, from minimal to the most extra. But before that, here are three quick tips for application:
Apply a base coat. Before gluing or sticking on your press-on nails, protect your nail beds by painting them with a strengthening base coat.
Remove moisture. We love our cuticle oils as much as the next person, but residue from oils, lotions, or creams can weaken the strength of nail adhesive. Before applying your press-ons, make sure your nail beds are dry and clean by wiping them with a nail polish remover (even if there isn’t polish there).
Remove them carefully. Whenever you decide it’s time to remove the press-ons, instead of pulling them off and potentially damaging your natural nails, soak them in warm water first to loosen the adhesive or apply oil along the cuticles to more easily slide them off.
Sinful Colors Claws Press-On Nails
Celebrity Nail Artist Naomi Yasuda curated these J-beauty inspired press-ons so you can switch up your look at home.
Rebecca Minkoff x ImPRESS Le French Pop Nails
“Tres chic” is the best way to describe ImPRESS’s collab with Minkoff, a set of beautifully-designed press-ons.
Dashing Diva Magic Press Full Spectrum Press-On Gel Nails
A stunning pewter gray design that delivers a gel-like finish minus the inevitable damage.
Ejiubas Chrome Stiletto Press-On Nails
Classic chrome nails at a reasonable length so you don’t have to slow down your typing at work.
Rave Nailz Palmy Nailz
Dreaming of a Miami vacation whenever I look at this transparent palm tree design.
H&M Press-On Nails
A classic, sleek set of pre-glued tips for easy application and removal.
Marmalade ‘Berry Blaze’ Nails
Try not to be mesmerized by the oddly satisfying combo of metallic color and the ombre effect.
Static Nails Reusable Pop-On Manicure Kit
A pop of floral for your springtime mani-grams.
E.S. Zakka Red Bottom Nude Jewelry Nails
Cardi B would love this stiletto set.
Bella Nails Navy Matte Press-On Nails
There’s just something so high-fashion about a matte finish.
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