How to Make Press-On Nails Last Longer

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If you love wearing press-on nails, then you’ll know that they’re a very underrated beauty item that many will turn their nose up at. Yes, having a beautiful set of acrylics done looks great. But not everyone has nails that can cope with the chemicals, and the high maintenance needed has the ability to break your budget.

Meanwhile, being able to change your nails with your fashion whenever you want is a real convenience.

And did you know that there are tricks that will make your press-ons stay on for longer than a day — or four?

Read on to find out how to make press on nails last as long as possible.


How to Make Press-On Nails Last As Long As Possible

RikView Press on Nails

As with anything that’s done properly, there is a proven technique you can do to make your press-on nails stay on for longer.

The healthier your natural nails are, the better chance you’ll have of making your press-ons last for about two weeks when you follow our technique below.

Also, make sure that you have the following tools on hand:

Step 1: It’s a Match

Kiss ImPress Press on Nails

The first thing you want to do to make your press-on nails last for longer is to find a set that matches your own nail bed as best you can. They’ll have a better chance of staying on if you can shape them to fit close to your nail bed. And they will be more durable.

Flexible press-on nails are able to mold closer to your natural nail shape, so you may find this type more aesthetically pleasing. If the press-on nails are too big, then there’s a tendency for them to lift off the nail bed, which puts an added strain on the adhesive you use.

Once you choose your nails, you’ll need to size them up to your natural nails. If they’re too wide, then you can file down the press-on on both sides to make them fit your nail bed better.

You can also file down the length of the press-on nail if it’s too long.

To get your press-on nails ready, line them up as you will apply them, starting from the pinkie fingers, so that it will be easy to see which fake nail will go on which fingernail.

Step 2: Time for Prep

Nail File

You’ve got to prep your nails to make sure that the adhesive you choose to use sticks as well as it can. Start by thoroughly washing your hands and fingernails especially. Dry your hands and fingernails well with a clean towel.

Nail prep for press-ons also includes taking care of your cuticles so that the fake nail has a more seamless join with your nail bed. Scrape away any dead cuticle matter and then soften and push back the live cuticle.

Get your clippers out to get rid of any dead skin overhangs.

Next, you’ll need to remove any remaining residue or natural oils from your nail bed. Rub down your nails with a cotton ball or Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol to completely remove any remaining natural oils or soapy residue.

If you omit this step, then the nail glue won’t adhere as well to the nail bed.

Step 3: From The Top

Nail Top Coat

Applying a clear topcoat to your natural nails before adding your press-ons is a great idea if you’re worried about damaging your nail during the removal process or your nails are already damaged.

A top coat will also give your natural nail a protective buffer from the adhesive.

You should apply the top coat on your natural nails and to the underside of the press-on nail, which will give it a water-resistant seal. This step isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will help your nail stay healthier and your press-ons stay on for longer.

Step 4: Sticky Issue

Kiss Speed Nail Glue

Obviously, using a very strong glue will keep your press-on nails for longer if you follow these steps. However, high strength adhesive also has the potential to cause real damage to your natural nail bed, especially when you remove them.

Many of the adhesives on the market these days are made with less harsher ingredients. Also, if you use a stronger glue, you can always add a protective base coat to your nails, as mentioned in Step 3. Some press-on nail brands also come with adhesive already built-in. You just peel off the protective layer and put them on your natural nails.

KISS adhesive’s Maximum Speed Nail Glue  will instantly bond your press-on nail to your natural nail with superior holding power. It sets within seconds and gives an extra-long hold that can also be used to repair splits in your natural nail.

MD Mad Doll Brush On Nail Glue  is a strong and easy to use nail glue that is applied just like a nail polish. It’s ultra strong and contains natural ingredients that don’t cause harm to your natural nails.

Step 5: Application Station

Kiss Nail Press On

Now that your nails are properly prepared, and you’ve got your glue ready, now it’s time to apply your press-ons. Follow the instructions on the package if you’re using KISS press-on nails. If you’re using an adhesive glue, then apply a thin line down the middle of your nail, as well as on the base of the press-on nail itself — especially if you’re worried about them coming off.

Right before you apply your false nail, wait for about five seconds to allow the glue to slightly air dry. This makes it tacky and easier to set. Hold down the press-on on your nail bed for at least 30 seconds — a full minute is even better — to make sure that the glue holds well as it dries.

Make sure that you have a little space left on the side of your finger, so that the glue has room to set and spread, otherwise it will attach to your skin and could cause irritation. You can even file down your press-on nail so that they look more natural sitting on your nail beds.

It’s also easier if you apply your press-on nails starting from your pinkie finger and working your way towards the thumb. That’s because your thumbs will be doing a lot of the work, so leaving them until last will make the application a smoother process.

To finish your press-on manicure, apply a clear topcoat. This will strengthen the nail all over and prevent bending, while it will also add a glossy sheen.

Make sure that you keep your hands out of water for at least two hours after you apply your press-ons. Even washing your hands is a no-no. This is because water can seep into the gap between the nail and nail bed, which can cause the glue to degrade.

Top tip: If you apply your press-on nails at night, right before you go to bed, then the glue can dry as you sleep, and you won’t accidentally wash your hands in the two-hour window.

Make ’em Stick!

A lot of the tutorials that you’ll find on YouTube will tell you to file the surface of your nail bed in order to make the surface slightly coarse. There is a belief that this will make the glue gain more traction and adhere better.

However, if you apply a topcoat, and then gently buff that before applying the glue, you’ll still have a protective layer on your natural nail that will stick better to the press-on.

Final Words

The easiest, and probably the most obvious, thing that you need to do to really help your press-on nails go the distance through time, you really need to make sure that you keep your hands away from water for as long as possible.

And as mentioned above, applying them right before bed will give you the longest period of time possible when you won’t accidentally wash them accidentally. If you can’t get away with doing something like washing the dishes or cleaning, then make sure to use gloves.

Soaking in a hot bath or swimming is definitely a no-no for at least a day after you apply your press-ons.

Press-on nails that are shorter in length than coffin or stiletto styles will also last longer, because not only are they more durable, but they are least likely to accidentally get caught or snagged on something.

Also, the more extravagant press-on nail styles put more strain on your natural nail bed, which can degrade the glue and cause the press-on to become weak faster.


So, now that you know how to make press on nails last for longer, you can have fun updating the look of your fingertips whenever you want, without the damage that extensions like acrylics and gels can cause.

And if you’re careful, you can reuse those press-ons later!

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).