When 2020 happened, a lot of us stopped our monthly trips to the nail salons and had to figure out a game plan for keeping our nails looking presentable at home. And that’s where press on nails came into play! We’re not talking about your grandma’s press on nails, either! We’re talking about customizable, highly designed [or neutral – your call!], high end, low end, and everything in between nails. There are truly SO many options out there we had to know which ones were the best. So for several weeks, we tested nail after nail, watching for durability, wear and tear, lifting, and overall fit to bring you the best press on nails we could find.
Now as nail salons have opened back up, several of us on the LIY Team are actually finding that with these options we might just stick to our at-home approach, especially when in a pinch! Maybe you’ll feel the same way after trying a few of these too!
Nail Application Tips:
What we’ve learned along the way is that user error can greatly impact the length of time your nails stay on [if you have one nail pop off the second day, it was probably not applied as well as the others]. Here are a few tips to get the most wear out of your nails:
- When applying nails, we HIGHLY recommend following the brands step by step instructions [read them before getting started!] as each provides their own helpful hints!
- Apply your nails as the VERY last thing you do for the evening. This will keep them from getting wet [affecting the glue or adhesive], and allow them to just set overnight. This will improve longevity! Whenever I know I’m going to be putting on nails, I do every single thing I can think of before putting the nails on so I can touch them as little as possible.
- Push the nails a little bit under your cuticle! That will help with lifting and getting your hair caught in them!
- Press down on each nail for at least 15-30 seconds each after you’ve put them on the nails. REALLY press them in, pushing on all areas.
- Always save the extra nails [and glue] in case a nail pops off within a day or two! If they all start falling off it’s a different story, but sometimes it was probably user error on a certain nail when they pop off that fast!
The Nails We Tested:
Drumroll please! And the winners are….
Best Budget Friendly Reusable Nail [Glue On]
Static Nails Award: Best Budget Friendly Reusable Nail [Glue On]
Static Nails were the favorites of two of the girls on the team for a longer wear, glue on nail, at an affordable price. They’re sold at a few stores, including Nordstrom, and have some great on-trend shape and color options. They’re considered to be reusable, so more bang for your buck! Some testers had a nail or two pop off within the first 24 hours of application, but then after re-glueing they lasted another 4-6 days! Static nails have a natural, realistic look as they are thinner, but this can also make some of the color choices see-through [you could see the glue through the nails!]. Maybe stick to darker colors with these!
Static Pros: Realistic looking, affordable, long lasting
Static Cons: One-size fits all – you may have trouble finding a press-on nail that perfectly fits each fingernail. Some colors are see through.
Color Camp Nails
Best Higher Price Reusable Nail [Glue On]
Color Camp Award: Best Higher Price Reusable Nail [Glue On]
Color Camp nails are a pretty cool DIY nail concept. They send you a home-try on kit so that they know your exact size for every single nail. They then produce those nails custom to you in the colors/designs/shapes that you want! There are a ton of designs available! They’re considered to be reusable up to 3 times, and last anywhere from 2-4 weeks per wear [depending on how rough you are on them!]. The girls on the team rave about these for their durability and fit! However, they’re on the higher end for price! NOTE: Some of the girls did square tips and some did oval, and the square ones seemed a LOT thicker than the oval – like as thick as acrylics! So maybe stick to the oval if you want a more natural look!
Color Camp Pros: Long lasting, durable, 2-3 re-wears, customizable.
Color Camp Cons: The cost. They’re about $50 per set, which is pretty pricey. The square shapes seem very thick. Not sold in stores – only online.
Red Aspen Nails
Best One-Time-Use Nail [Glue On]
Red Aspen Award: Best One-Time-Use Nail [Glue On]
Red Aspen Nails were loved by two of the girls on the team for a one-time use, glue on nail for wider, shorter length nails. Lauren used to get dip powder on her nails, and these reminder her the most of that material! On average, we got about 5 days wear out of the nails before we started to notice consistent lifting. NOTE: If you have long thin nailbeds, these are probably not for you. These are a wider nail, so you might have a hard time finding the right fit!
Red Aspen Pros: Durable, realistic looking [for average to wide nail beds – NOT long, thin nailbeds]
Red Aspen Cons: not sold in stores – only online. Not many color/shape options. Not good for long, thin nailbeds – these are wider!
Best No-Mess Nail [No Glue]
imPress Nails Award: Best No-Mess Nail [No Glue]
imPress Nails are truly just press on. There is no messy glue to deal with, which makes for an easy on and off experience! They have adhesive tabs on the backside of each nail that simply get pressed onto your nailbeds. While these are a great clean [and affordable! – under $10!] option, don’t expect them to last weeks. On average, we see these lasting 4-7 days, so they’re great for a weekend event, or for during the work week! They come in several color and shape options, including a collaboration with OPI! Since these don’t come with glue, you’ll want to keep the extra nails around in case one pops off and you need to get a new one on for a few days!
imPress Pros: No messy glue, affordable [under $10], plenty of nail sizes in each pack,
imPress Cons: Last 4-7 days, need to be cautious while wearing [not super durable]
Founder and creator of LIY, Erin turned her dream of a hobby blog into a full-time career which she now runs alongside the LIY team! When not in front of her computer screen [with a La Croix or wine in hand] or in front of a mirror taking mirror selfies, you can find Erin spending time on the water, cuddled up with her two pups and husband most likely watching the latest Shark Tank episode, or getting lost in an easy beach read.