Are Press-On Nails Tacky? Give Them Another Chance!

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There are many different kinds of manicures available today. They can make your nails look good and artistic. However, many of them will take time, especially if you opt for the ones with intricate designs. 

If you don’t have much time available and require a quick fix, you can try to use press-on nails. But do press on nails look good or are press-on nails tacky?

How your press-on nails look will vary and depend on the brand that you buy. Many brands produce high-quality press on nails while others don’t. 

Apart from that, there are also other reasons why your press on nails could look tacky. Let’s discuss those below but before that, let us first tell you all about press on nails. 


Finding the Right Fake Nails

French Tip Press-On Nails

During the pandemic, it was quite difficult to go to your usual manicure sessions with your nail technician. And if you tried to do any creative nail art on your own, the results may have been… less than stellar.

That was a time when many people once again considered getting press on nails . With press-ons, you can have have beautiful long nails without having to go to a manicurist and deal with all the issues with acrylics.

But you may not have used them since highschool, or even before!

Press-ons are much easier to deal with other types of nails. And while they won’t last long, they can still look good.

It’s true, press-on nails can look great!

Press on nails are sometimes also glue-on nails. They’ve been common since the 1980s, but they went out of style for a while. The older style press-ons, in particular, looked really fake.

Are modern ones better? Yes, many are much better. They look great and you can easily change them whenever the time is right. You don’t have to commit to a single set for a long time, and you can reuse them

It can be a real challenge to do your own nails, especially if your natural nails are in rough shape, you don’t do them often, and don’t have the right tools. But with press on nails, it’s easy to achieve Insta-worthy nails. 

It’s true, press-on nails can look great!

Remember that press-on nails just don’t last as long as acrylic nails. The adhesive is too weak. Of course, the upside to this that there’s less acetone soaking and finger damage from removal of press-ons.

Typically, press-on nails would only last for a week when you take good care of them. But with some beauty hacking, you can try using UV gel to secure press-on nails for a long-lasting hold!

Are Press-On Nails Tacky?

Press-On Nails

We started seeing press-on nails everywhere in the 80s. Depending on your age, you may have worn them back when you were younger, but most graduated away from them and onto higher-quality nails.

They didn’t have the best reputation, and a lot of the designs and colors looked pretty bad.

Some people may think the press on nails are tacky because of how they used to look.

They were only available in limited solid colors or with a french-tip design. And they were often not correctly fitted to the real nail.

Many still remember the limited designs, junky quality, and poor fit, and still think that press-ons are tacky knock-offs of acrylics or gels.

But that’s not true any longer!

Many still remember the limited designs, junky quality, and poor fit, and still think that press-ons are tacky knock-offs of acrylics or gels.

Technology makes things better.

The press on nails today have greatly improved in quality over those in the past. There are now many different colors and designs available. 

Modern press-ons are thinner, are made of better material, and feature longer-lasting paints. When placed correctly, it’s very hard to tell the difference between a nice press-on and a gel or acrylic.

Press-On Nails Gel

Modern packaging has much more detail on how to properly size and shape your press-on nails.

A decent-quality set of press-on nails can look every bit as good as acrylics or gels, if you use them correctly.

A decent-quality set of press-on nails can look every bit as good as acrylics or gels, if you use them correctly.

Finding the Right Set of Press-Ons

The final look of your press-ons will depend on the set of press-on nails you get. There are a lot of manufacturers, including a bunch of random companies you’ve never heard of with names like “Aksod” and “YOSOMK”.

If you’re just getting back into press-on nails, stick with the brands you may have heard of, like Impress, Beetles, and Glamnetic. These are good brands with reliable products.

Apart from the press on nails themselves, you need to make sure that you place them correctly and have the proper nail size. 

Apart from the press on nails themselves, you need to make sure that you place them correctly and have the proper nail size. 

You’ll definitely end up with a tacky look if the nail doesn’t naturally fit your nails!

Press-on nails are supposed to mimic your natural nails, but have a great design and color on them.

Even if the press-on nails are beautifully designed, they will still look obviously fake if they aren’t the right size, or if they’re hanging off your natural nail in a weird way. Press-on nails won’t look bad if they look like they are your real nails… but with a design on them. 

Over the years, the designs of the press on nails have improved greatly. Not only are they available in various colors and designs, they are also available in various lengths and shapes. 

This makes it easier to find the press-on nails in a color and style you want.

If you just like to use them to look more polished for an interview, you can select shorter and simpler designs. 

However, if you are wearing them for a party, a weekend of fun, or a birthday celebration, you can certainly get longer and pointy nails  that match your style and look. 

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How To Properly Use Press-On Nails

To make sure that your press-on nails look great, you first have to buy the ones that are of great quality. Again, start with brands like Impress, Beetles, and Glamnetic.

There are plenty of designs to choose from so select the one that you like best or the ones that suit your style and personality. 

Many press-on nails contain various designs in a single pack, but have a theme. You can mix and match those available to create your look. 

Apart from the press on nails, the way you attach the press on nails will greatly impact the final look.

Here is a guide on how to properly use them to help make them look better on your natural nails. 

Step 1: Pick The Right Size 

The first thing that you should do is to pick the right size of the press-on nails that you are going to use for each finger. Sometimes, the sizes fit just right but sometimes they may be too big for your fingernails. 

Here’s a short video showing how to size your press-ons:

If the press on nails seems too big or a bit too wide for your nails, remember that you can gently file the sides to make sure they fit your nails properly.

When they are correctly fitted to your nails, they won’t look tacky or fake. 

Step 2: Prep Your Nails

Next is to pre your fingernails. Make sure your hands are clean and oil-free. To make sure that the press-on nails stick to your natural nails better, you have to remove the residues, debris, or oils that are on them. 

Any nail polish should be removed to make sure that the press on nails doesn’t peel off prematurely.

If the adhesive only sticks on the nail polish and not your natural nails, it could easily be removed. 

Step 3: Use Glue Or Sticky Tape

The press-on nails typically come with nail glue in the kit. Some have sticky double-sided tape-like adhesives as an alternative. 

If yours come with nail glue or if you prefer to use nail glue, then place a small circle in the middle of your nails. Then, place the press on nail on it.

Make sure that you place enough glue so that it evenly spreads but don’t use too much that it spills out. 

Repeat this step for the rest of your nails. Then make sure to give the glue enough time to dry completely before washing your hands to remove any residue. 

Tips For Making Your Press On Nails Last Longer

Press-on nails look great and it is understandable if you want to make sure that it lasts on your nails as long as possible.

Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

1. Use Alcohol On Nails Before Using The Adhesive

Before you stick your press on nails or before you apply the glue, you should first wipe the nail bed with rubbing alcohol. This is a great way to remove any excess oil, residue, or other products.

When you do this, you also improve the adhesion of the press on nails. 

2. Use Thin Layers Of Glue

If your choice of adhesive is glue, it would be best to use thin layers. You can apply a thin layer on your nails and another thin layer on the press-on nails.

With multiple thin adhesive layers, everything evenly dries and the result is a stronger bond. 

3. Avoid Getting Your Hands Wet

If you can, you should avoid getting your hands wet for at least two hours. That may seem a long time, but doing that will help make sure that the adhesive or glue is already completely dry before you expose it to water. 

4. Take Care Of Your Press On Nails

Once you’ve successfully attached your press-on nails, you should also know how to properly take care of them. Don’t use the press on nails for tasks that could damage them lick prying out or picking. 

If you aren’t careful, you can damage your press-on nails. You wouldn’t want that because damaged ones look tacky especially if the damage is quite obvious. You might need to replace the entire set or the nail to make sure it still looks good. 


Press-on nails are back on the menu! While they were pretty tacky back in the day, technology has improved a lot. There are tons of styles, and you can go as adventurous or classy as you like.

So many of us dismissed them after going through the 90s and early 2000s, but press-ons are much better now. For a place to start, we would highly recommend checking out Kiss Impress nails.

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Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).