What Can I Use Instead of Nail Glue? Nail Glue Alternatives

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Nail glue is the quickest and easiest technique for applying fake nails. But it’s finicky: it dries up easily, can be harsh on your nails, and runs out quickly.

Many end up wondering What can I use instead of nail glue?

Believe it or not, there are alternatives out there. Some are arguably better than nail glue.

Nail technicians often suggest nail glue. Some people are allergic or find it too rough on their natural nails.

In this article, we’ll cover every kind of nail glue alternative! From long-lasting techniques to in-a-pinch options, we’ve got it all. Oh, and we also discuss some things you should not use like Krazy Glue!

Keep on reading to find your best nail glue alternative.

Nail Glue Alternatives

Below you’ll find all the best nail glue substitutes as well as some things we do not recommend you use.

Everything below is easy to acquire and will work well if you can’t get your hands on regular nail glue.

Whether you’re looking for something more long-lasting, cheaper, or gentler on your nails, we’ve got you covered.

1. Nail Tabs 

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Nail tabs are one of the best nail glue alternatives.

They’re a double-sided tape designed specifically for press-on nails. They come in different sizes and shapes and can be cut down to fit your nail.

Nail tabs may not be as durable or long-lasting as nail glue, but they are milder and gentler on your nails. You won’t find yourself with a damaged nail plate at the end of your fake nail’s life.

You can easily remove them by soaking them in warm water, no acetone is required.

They’re also the perfect choice because they peel off the fake nail. It means that you can reuse that set as many times as you want.

Nail tabs may not be as durable or long-lasting as nail glue, but they will be milder and more gentle on your nails. You won’t find yourself with a damaged nail plate at the end of your fake nail’s life.

How to Use Nail Tabs As A Nail Glue Substitute

Once your nails are prepped you’re going to paste the nail tab to your natural nail.

It’s better to stick the tab to your natural nail instead of the fake one. It’s easier to control where the nail tab goes so nothing ends up crooked.

Once the tab is in place, remove the top cover from the nail tab and place your fake nail over top. Press firmly for roughly 30 seconds or until it feels secure.

Rub the fake nail into your natural nail to remove any bubbles and close any gaps.

2. Acrylic Mixture

Acrylic mixture can be used as a highly durable way to apply your nails.

The mixture is made from liquid monomer  and powder polymer .

It’s so durable that it’ll be able to withstand all hand gestures and even environmental factors like heat or water. They’re also long-lasting, so your press-on nails should keep for three weeks or longer (assuming you can keep them in good shape!).

Keep in mind, however, that acrylic isn’t gentle on your nails. The harsh chemicals can be damaging, especially when you remove them. You may need to take a break after using this.

Removing these nails them requires a 15-minute soak in acetone, which dries out the nails and can make them brittle.

It’s also a more expensive nail glue alternative since you need to mix the two ingredients to form the acrylic mixture.

How To Use Acrylic Mixture As A Nail Glue Alternative

For this, you’ll need your liquid monomer, powder polymer, and a flat brush to apply it.

Once your nails are clean and your cuticles are pushed back, buff your nails. Then wipe them clean with acetone or rubbing alcohol.

Soak your brush in the liquid monomer and then dip it into the powder polymer, creating a paste.

Apply the paste onto your nails, then cover it with the fake nail.

Press down for 15 seconds to allow the acrylic to dry.

The key to mastering acrylic mixture is to remember that a little goes a long way. Don’t dunk your brush into the powder. Instead, lightly dip.

The key to mastering acrylic mixture is to remember that a little goes a long way. So don’t dunk your brush into the powder. Instead, lightly dip.

3. Gel Nail Polish

Gel nail polish can be used as a nail glue alternative, but it isn’t the most reliable choice.

Believe it or not, its ability to become a glue entirely depends on the color of your press-on nails.

Gel polish requires UV or LED light to cure; otherwise, it won’t dry. If you have a set of fake nails that are opaque or very dark, the light can’t penetrate them, and the gel won’t dry.

If your press-on nails are nearly clear or transparent, the gel polish can then be a great nail glue alternate and last for up to 3 weeks.

How To Use Gel Nail Polish As A Nail Glue Alternative

After cleaning your nails, you’ll want to buff them until they’re no longer smooth. This helps the gel stick to your nails.

You’ll want to focus on one nail at a time for this to work.

Apply a gel base coat to your nail, then press the fake nail on top.

Place it under your UV or LED light right away, continuing to press down on the nail to keep it secure. Leave your nail under the light for 30 seconds.

Repeat with the rest of your nails.

Once all your nails are done, apply the base coat on top of your fake nails, then let them sit under the light for 60 seconds. This will help further secure them.

4. DIY Nail Glue

You can create a quick and easy DIY nail glue if you mix clear glue and a base coat.

While it isn’t very durable, it should be able to last you a day or two until you can find a better nail glue alternative.

To make DIY nail glue, you’re going to need a small container, PVA (clear) glue, and a base coat.

Pour your PVA glue into your container until it’s half full. Add half a bottle of the base boat.

Apply your new glue to your natural nail, then hold your fake nail down over the glue for a minute or so.

Be very careful going about your day with them, as it will take approximately 15 minutes for the glue to dry down completely.

Can I Use Eyelash Glue as Nail Glue?

Eyelash glue is very similar to nail glue, so it will work when you’re in a pinch.

But only when you’re in a pinch.

Eyelash glue isn’t as sticky as nail glue. It’s meant to last the day and be removed at night, coming off when you wash your face.

It probably won’t stay for more than a day or two, and if you’re not careful, your new manicure will pop right off.

It’ll work just fine until you can get your hands on something stronger, though!

Can I Use Regular Glue?

School glue or white liquid glue can actually work really well as a nail glue alternative.

It’s a great choice if you find nail glue or other options to be too harsh.

This kind of glue is safe for your skin. If you have sensitive skin or are allergic to certain chemicals, this may be your best choice.

Can I Use Super Glue Or Gorilla Glue?

Do not use gorilla glue, Krazy glue, or super glue to apply fake nails.

Gorilla glue expands as it dries, can create bubbles, and is very difficult to remove. You’re likely to find that it won’t come off your nails for a very, very long time.

Super glue is also a no-go. It can cause harm to your skin or natural nails and is extremely difficult to remove.

Its label even advises that it should never come in contact with your skin. So keep it far away from your press-on nail journey.

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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).