Are Press On Nails Waterproof?

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With quarantine shutting down a lot of nail salons, many of us struggled to keep up the manicured look. There’s nothing like doing your own manicure to give you a deep respect for nail salon professionals!

After having tried their hand at gel, acrylic, or dip powder nails and failing, many are looking for an easy, no-fuss, DIY solution. Re-enter press on nails. Press ons have come a long way since their inception in the 1970s.

Are press on nails waterproof?  Regardless of how good the latest press ons look, a girl needs to know if they’re all going to pop off if an impromptu pool party were to spring up, if there are dishes to be washed, or by simply hand washing.

They are press ons after all!

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into how to keep your press ons in the right place, even in the water.


Are Press On Nails Waterproof?

Artsy Press On Nails

The short answer is no, press on nails aren’t waterproof.

Like everything else, there are some press ons that are more durable than others, some that you wouldn’t want to go swimming with, and some that claim to be water-resistant (although you won’t typically find the word “waterproof” on the packaging).

The good news is that all press on nails are at least a little water-resistant. That is, you can wash your hands.

As long as you are not subjecting your press ons to an extended period of time submerged in water, and thoroughly dry them afterward, they should be fine.

Do Press On Nails Come Off In Water?

Now, although using acetone is the fastest way to remove press on nails, soaking them in hot, soapy water is an often suggested, less damaging alternative to acetone.

So the answer is yes – press on nails can come off in the water. Careful when you wash your hair!

That having been said, in order to remove them you need to soak them for at least 20 minutes in that hot and soapy water. So although they can come off in the water, they usually only detach after exposure for an extended period of time.

For most press on nails, as long as you steer clear of the water for the first few hours after application, you’ll have a strong enough seal on each nail that you should be able to get wet in moderation.

Can I Shower or Wash Dishes with Press On Nails?

Press On Manicure

Although there are some brands that market themselves as waterproof, remember that hot soapy water is one of the recommended ways of removing press on nails. So you will want to be careful even washing dishes.

Subjecting your fake nails to hot, soapy water for extended periods, like when doing dishes or you are having a long shower doing your routine “scheduled maintenance” of shaving, exfoliating, washing, and conditioning your hair, may loosen press on nails or cause them to come off.

Overexposure to water can also cause them to lift, allowing water and bacteria to enter between the natural nail and the fake nail.

If the nail lifts, a nail fungal infection can occur when moisture collects under fake nails.

You can also get a bacterial infection in the gap that forms between the two nails, especially if the press on nail is re-glued before it is thoroughly cleaned out.

But not to worry – you can still shower and wash dishes with press-on nails. The simple way to avoid problems with your press on nails mentioned above, is to make it a quick shower and wear rubber gloves while doing dishes.

The less contact with water (especially hot, soapy water), the better.

How Long Do Fake Nails Last?

This really depends on a number of things: how well they are applied, the kind of adhesive you use, and the type of fake nails you choose.

Some press ons only last about a day or two – perfect for that special occasion.

Some press ons can last over a week. Not exposing your press-on nails to water for extended periods of time will help make them last longer.

Our picks for durable press on nails that don’t cost a fortune:

Our selections below are not only highly-rated fan favorites, they are also durable enough that getting them wet for a short period won’t cause them to come off.

Take Away

Are press on nails waterproof? No, but most press ons are water-resistant.

Keep your showers short and wear rubber gloves if you have to do dishes. Your press on manicure should be okay.

If you get your hands wet, make sure to dry them thoroughly.

All press on nails are different, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.

See also:

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).