Do Press-On Nails Ruin Your Nails? Are Press-On Nails Safe?

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Fake nails have a reputation for damaging, and sometimes ruining, natural nails, whether you use acrylics or other types like press-on nails. Do press-on nails ruin your nails? Is that really true? Are press-on nails safe to use?

The truth is, press-on nails won’t ruin your natural nails. They are just acrylics that you place on top of your nails that don’t last as long. The thing that really ruins the nails is improper application and removal of the press-on nails.

Let’s avoid all that by going over how to properly apply and remove press-on nails. 


Do Press-On Nails Ruin Your Nails?

Press-On Nails

Modern press-on nails  are quite different from the cheap and tacky nails that you used to buy at a drugstore in your middle school days.

Yeah, we’ve all been there.

Nowadays, lots of companies produce better quality press-on nails. They not only look great, but they are also specially designed for safe use on natural nails.

The best quality ones are usually made of acrylic resin. They are durable and they look great too. Most of these press-on nails come in kits, and they already include different sizes of press-on nails plus the adhesive tabs or nail glue you should use. 

Here’s an example:

KXAMELIE Glossy Pink Press On Nails Short Square Shape Thick Durable Coffin Nails Glue on Nails in 12 Sizes
  • 💚 【 Package Contains 】 24 pieces...
  • 💚 【 Salon-Quality 】 KXAMELIE...
  • 【Excellent Application...
  • 【Hot Fashion Theme】KXAMELIE always...
  • 💚【Customer Support】If you have...

The problem happens when you try to substitute the included nail adhesive with a different one.

Damage from Adhesives

Let’s say you lost the nail glue or you’ve run out and just can’t wait for your order online.

Superglue or Krazy Glue would do the trick right? Well, your press-on nails will stick if you use superglue but that won’t be healthy for your nails and for your body.

Do yourself a favor and purchase nail glue  instead of using just any other generic glue. You won’t run into problems with actual nail glue!

Damage from Removal

Another way using press-on nails can ruin your natural nails is if you simply rip off the press-on nails. The nail adhesive you use, whether it’s nail glue or ”nail , is designed to securely attach the press-on nail to your real nail.

Ripping it off will just cause some of your natural nail layers to be ripped off as well. Worse is if your nail actually lifts off the nail bed due to the force of ripping it off.

That’s one of the worst pains to feel!  

How to Avoid Nail Fungus With Press-On Nails

If you’re not careful, you can get bacterial growth and infection between the fake nail and the real nail. This happens much more often to those who wear acrylics than to those who wear press-ons.

This is because acrylics often stay on the nails for months before they’re removed. If water (and bacteria) get between the natural nail and the acrylic, it can grow for months and really cause problems.

Press-ons typically only last for a few days to a week, so even if you get water under them, it doesn’t usually have enough time to cause damage.

If your nails smell bad, you’ve got issues! Your press on nails may not correctly fit your natural nails, they may have a different amount of curve which would leave your nails exposed to water.

Are Press-On Nails Safe?

Yes, press-on nails are safe to use, even for teens. The key is that you need to use them properly, and don’t try to get too creative with substituting glues or methods.

Follow the instructions for application and removal, and you’ll be fine.

Let’s go over the proper way to apply press on nails, and remove them.

Proper Way To Apply Press On Nails

As you can see, the press-on nails don’t really ruin your natural nails. It is the improper handling of the press-on nails that leads to damage to your natural nail. Let’s avoid that by going over how to properly attach the press-on nail, and how to properly remove it as well. 

One of the best ways to protect your natural nail from damage even if you are using press-on nails is to attach it properly.

It’s really easy and simple to do! Just follow these steps:

Clean Your Nails

Base Coat

The first thing you need to do is to make sure your nails are clean. Like any other manicure, you should remove any adhesive or nail polish left from the previous manicure.

Trim your nails, and push back your cuticles so they don’t get attached to the press on nails.

Making sure your nails are clean will also lessen the risk of infection. Furthermore, you may also use a clear base coat  to seal your natural nail.

Pick The Right Size

The next thing to do is to pick the right size of press-on nail for your finger. Sometimes, the available sizes will fit perfectly. However, there are also times when you need to file it a little bit more just to make sure it fits right.

Filling off can make the press-on nails feel more comfortable when you’re wearing them, and it is critical to making them look natural.

Just be careful not to over-fill them and leave a gap between the edges of your nails. 

Choose Your Adhesive

Nail Sticky Tabs

Choose whether you’ll be using nail glue or a sticky tab . Sticky tabs are better if you want to lessen the risk of damaging your nails because they don’t stick as strongly as nail glue.

However, they could also last and would still need proper removal. If you want your press-on nails to last longer, you should select nail glue instead.

Use your adhesive then press down for about 30 seconds.

Proper Way To Remove Press-On Nails

The proper removal of press-on nails is just as important as properly applying them. Don’t be too rough or abrasive on your nails because they will get damaged. Instead, follow these steps:

Soak Your Nails

Acetone-Free Nail Polish Remover

Soaking your nails in warm water helps loosen up the stickiness of the adhesive. You can further improve that by adding soap to the water. Just make sure you properly soak them and don’t rush. (This can be a frustration for those who want to get their press on nails wet!)

Make sure that the water stays warm while you’re soaking your nails. The longer you soak, the better. 

Aside from soapy water, you can also use an acetone-free nail polish remover  or pure acetone  as a soak. Acetone is a pretty harsh chemical so some people prefer to avoid it.

If you use acetone, make sure you help it get through by trying to wiggle the nails occasionally. This gives better access to the acetone and will help lessen the soaking time. 

Carefully Remove The Press-On Nails

Once the adhesive is loosened, you can try to carefully remove the press-on nail with the help of a cuticle remover. Move from one side to another and don’t force it. If you need to soak it again, do so instead of being too aggressive in removing the press-on nail. 

Use Cuticle Oil

Cuticle Oil

As an alternative, you can also make use of cuticle oil  to remove the press-on nails. Soak a cotton ball and try to get underneath the press on through the sides.

With the oil on the adhesive, its stickiness will be lessened. Then you can eventually remove the press-on nail with ease. 

Remove Leftover Adhesive 

You can remove the leftover adhesive by using the cuticle pusher. If you can’t remove it, you might need to soak it some more or use more cuticle oil.

After that, wash your hands with soap and water. Don’t forget to moisturize your hands and add some cuticle oil on your nails as well. 

Final Thoughts

Press-on nails, like other fake nails, have a reputation for ruining natural nails. However, the damage doesn’t come from simply using the press-on nails. It happens due to improper application and removal.

By following the steps above, you will lessen the risk of damaging your natural nails from using press-on nails.

If you’re really careful with application and removal, you can even reuse press-on nails.

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).