“They are not corny anymore,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said about press-on nails back in 2019. While on a train to Washington, D.C., the congresswoman showed her Instagram followers how she applied the nails in a matter of minutes. And she was right ― the nails are suddenly trendy.
First, a primer: While acrylics and gels can use tips or forms to extend the length of your nail, press-ons are applied to the entire surface of your natural nail. Many press-on kits cost less than $10, while a set of acrylics can start at $50, depending on where you live. Press-ons are also great for anyone who’s not ready to visit the salon due to COVID-19 ― they’re relatively easy to apply and can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
HuffPost chatted with nail pros to get the rundown on how to properly apply press-ons, make them look as natural as possible and preserve the health of your natural nails.
Applying press-ons can be a pretty quick process, but before you truly get started, it’s important to do a bit of prep work on your natural nails.
“Prepping the nails is always key when applying any sort of application to make them last longer,” said LeChat Nails’ Syreeta Aaron of Montgomery, Alabama.
This should start with washing your hands and making sure nails are free of any oils or lotions. You can also lightly buff and wipe them with acetone or alcohol. These steps help the glue to adhere better.
In addition to prepping your natural nail, licensed manicurist Kelley Baker suggests doing a bit of prep for the press-on as well, particularly when it comes to finding the right fit.
“A lot of people skip this step, but fitting the [press-on nails] to your natural nails before gluing them on can really help ensure a durable, long-lasting set of press-ons,” Baker said. “If the...