How to Apply Press On Nails - The Right Way

A couple of common questions pop into our minds when we start to consider whether or not to purchase that cute set of press on nails we just saw on the internet.

Do press on nails look fake?

How long do press on nails even last?

How do I even put these things on???

All valid questions.

A high quality pair of press on nails will look just as real as any other trip to the nail salon - maybe even better. And when adhered properly, these babies can last you up to two weeks (we’ve heard down the grapevine that they can last even longer than that too!).

But how do you know if the press on nails are high-quality?

Luckily for you, any set of press on nails from Chromatic are made with careful attention, precision, and the highest quality gels and materials. So you can rest assured that your nails will not only look real, but they’re also built to last. We also provide all the nail tools you’ll need to prep your nails before application.

You can find a set of instructions for how to use press on nails on any of our Chromatic nails product pages, but in the following post, we’ll walk through a step-by-step guide on how to apply press on nails - the right way.

Before we begin, here’s the good news: putting on press on nails is a lot easier than you think, and once you realize that it’s all just a piece of cake, you’ll wonder why you were even going to salons in the first place!

Step 1: Find Your Nail Size

At Chromatic, any press on nail sets you purchase comes with 24 nails - which means you don’t have to measure your nails before placing an order on our store, or worry about ordering the wrong size in the process.

Everyone has a different nail bed width, which determines which nails out of the set you should use. While one set of nail sizes may work for your friend, they may not work for you. So it’s important to find right sized press ons for your nails.

So how to tell which fake nails go on which finger?

When you open up your box of Chromatic nails, go ahead and start with finding the right nail for your thumb. The largest three nail sizes available are the three shapes that are made to fit any thumb. Without adding any glue or tape, physically place any of the nails you think looks like a match on top of the desired nail. If it fits from wall to wall on each side of your nail bed, you’ve just found your Cinderella slipper.

Continue going through finding a match for each of your nails until you’re done with your pinky, and then set them aside in order.

Next, it’s time for nail prep.

Step 2: Cleanse and Prep Your Nails

We know you're eager to get those fake nails on as soon as you've got them out of the box, we can’t blame you. But making sure to prep your nails before you start any application is extremely important.

If you want to make sure your nails last longer and fit properly to your nails, you should follow these steps for nail prep.

  1. Push back your cuticles towards the base of the nail bed. This helps the press on nail fit perfectly onto your nail, and leaves the nail clean which allows for even adhesion and prevents lifting. 
  2. Dehydrate and cleanse your nails. This can be done by using an alcohol prep pad and wiping your nails to remove any natural oils or dirt on your hands. You can also soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover as an alternative.

Once you’ve selected the right nails for your hands and have executed the proper nail prep steps, you’re ready to add some glue.

Step 3: Apply Nail Glue

Apply a thin drop or line of nail glue down the middle of your nail bed. You do not want to spread it all over the entire nail because when the fake nails are applied onto the nails surface, the glue will be forced out from under if there is too much (which tends to happen if you put glue over the entire nail's surface) and spread onto the rest of your fingers, which can lead to a sticky, messy, and distressing situation. Trust us, we've been there.

A drop of nail glue on your nail bed may not seem like enough glue, but you’ll be surprised. If a nail happens to not stick well and falls off, this is an indicator that you probably need to add a little more glue. Because press on nails are reusable, just take your nail glue, add more this time around - and you should be set.

Step 4: Press On Fake Nails

The last step is, you guessed it - pressing on the nails (they’re called press ons for a reason).

Wait for the nail glue to dry a little, just a couple of seconds, before moving on to applying press on nails.

When you apply your press-ons, take the nail and line it right up against your cuticle line. Then apply the press on nail at a downward angle like a see-saw. Apply pressure to the center of the nail, and press down on both the left and right side of the nail to ensure that everything is solidified evenly.

Step 5: Admire Your New Manicure (Not Optional)

And voila, you’ve now got an at home, yet professional, salon-worthy manicure from the comfort of your own bed or couch, or wherever you are when you pulled off this amazing feat.

Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’re good to go and enjoy your lovely new manicure. However, if you’re interested in learning how you can make your press on nails last even longer, continue on and check out the tips below.

Press On Nail Tips: How to Enhance Press On Nails

Nail Glue Vs. Double Sided Tape

Chromatic nails come with two different options: nail glue and double-sided tape.

If you only need to wear your press ons temporarily, let’s say like a short event or a photo shoot, then instead of using glue, stick on a piece of double-sided nail tape onto each of your nails. If you’re careful with your nails and don't bring them into harm's way, your press ons can last around 7 hours with this method. Using nail tape makes removal easy and quick.

Now when it comes to nail glue and making press on nails last longer, how much glue you apply to your nails will impact both how long your press ons will last, and also how much of a mess you could make.

If you want your nails to get wear time beyond just two weeks, here are some steps you can take to help make that happen:

  1. Apply a layer of glue to the back of your Chromatic press on nail.
  2. Apply a generous layer of glue to the surface of your whole nail bed.
  3. Take your press on and rest the bottom of the nail against your cuticle, then press down with your thumb. Place pressure on the nail and hold it for around 25 seconds so that the glue is secured.

Filing Your Fake Nails

Once you have finished glueing down the full set of nails, take your Chromatic nail file and start tapering the sidewalls of each of your fake nails to shape them so that they match the sides of the natural nail.

Be Careful With Your Nails

Most people who try press on nails for the first time are filled with wonder the moment they realize that they can do normal things like opening soda cans and typing on a keyboard, because their press ons are stuck on like a second skin.

However, just because your nails are doing what they're supposed to do doesn’t mean you should go around giving them a beating. How well you take care of your nails will have a huge impact on how long they last.

Press on nails are kind of like getting lash extensions - if you want to be extremely careful, hold off on washing your hands or placing your nails under arm water within the first 24 hours of nail application. Remember how we dehydrated the nails in step two of this guide? Keeping moisture out of our nails, especially within the first day of application, will help the fake nails settle and mold themselves to your natural nails.