How to Make Press On Nails Last

Press on nails are having a comeback. 

When fake nails can look just as good as getting your nails professionally done at the salon, and at half the price (sometimes even less), why wouldn't you make the switch?

That’s the line of thought we tend to have until we’ve put on a beautiful set of press ons… only to have them pop off one hour later.

So we reapply them with some more glue. And they pop off again.

When you have to keep reapplying your press-ons, the repetitive process can start to get really frustrating and annoying, and not worth the effort. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Nothing lasts forever, and manicures are no exception. As the natural nail grows, the base of the nail bed will start to reveal itself and eventually the nail will dislodge itself from your nail bed’s surface. But there are steps to take that can help extend the life of your press ons. 

Read on to find out what our top tips are here at Chromatic for making press on nails last longer.

What are Press On Nails?

Press ons, fake nails, artificial nails. Whatever you call them, press-ons are pre-made manicures that can be done from the comfort of your own home. 

Press on nails generally come with a full set of nails and the tools you’ll need to put them on. Unlike regular nail polish or gel manicures, you don’t have to worry about making a mess or accidentally messing up your polish.

The ease of application, ability to apply these nails wherever you are on your own, and numerous options and styles available make press ons such an attractive alternative to an appointment at the salon. 

How Long Do Press On Nails Last?

Press on nails when adhered properly can last up to two weeks.

Yep, you heard that right. Two weeks. Sometimes even longer.

But when the application process is rushed, press ons can fall off within two hours. 

Press on nails have had a longstanding rep of being cheap and exceedingly temporary because of popular drugstore products like KISS nails. If you’ve ever had to rush out to grab a set of press ons from the store before a last minute event, and swore to never wear another set again, we really couldn’t blame you.

But not all press ons are made the same. When applied properly, press on nails are extremely durable, and can even pass the “open a soda can without losing a nail” test. 

At Chromatic, our dream is to give you your dream, and that’s why we’ve designed press on nails that are made only of the highest quality materials. We wear them ourselves, and that’s why we can assure you that these nails will stay on.

How long your press ons will last depends on three main factors:

  1. Press On Quality
  2. Nails Before Application
  3. How Much You Put Your Nails Through

Once you’ve bought yourself a high quality set of nails, the next important item on your list will require a couple extra steps to assure a secure application.

Before we begin, if you need to learn how to apply press on nails, we’ve created a simple yet thorough guide  on Chromatic that walks you through the process step by step. 

If you already know how to apply press on nails but are struggling to figure out how to make them last longer, then this guide is for you. Below, we’ll summarize the top press on nail tips that should be taken if you want to extend the lifespan of your press on manicure!

Tips to Make Press On Nails Last Longer

  1. Nail Prep is Key
  2. Apply Your Nails Before Bed
  3. Use More Nail Glue

Tip #1: Nail Prep is Key

Be thorough, thorough, thorough. 

While it’s much easier and less time consuming (and also really really hard to contain your excitement) to just pop your press on nails out of the box and hastily glue them onto your nails, the essential step for how to keep press on nails from falling off is getting your nails ready for application.

If you follow the instructions on a box of drugstore nails, it isn’t likely that they will last very long. However, there are certain steps you can take to make sure even cheap nails last longer, which is why the number one factor impacting the time your manicure survives is nail preparation.

Here are our top steps for nail preparation:

  • Dehydrate your nails: removing natural oils is important to remove any lingering moistures in your nail bed. To do this, use an alcohol prep pad and wipe your nails to remove any natural oils or dirt on your hands. You can also soak a cotton ball in pure isopropyl alcohol or pure acetone. Do not use a regular nail polish remover - these may have some form of moisturizing agent in the product, which we do not want.
  1. Extract your cuticles: use a cuticle remover and a cuticle pusher or wood stick to push back your cuticles towards the base of the nail bed: this helps the press on nail fit perfectly onto your nail. If the fake nail is touching anything that isn't your nail plate when you attempt to glue it on, you will eventually have problems with lifting. Pushing back the cuticles leaves the nail clean which allows for even adhesion and prevents lifting. You can use a wood stick or cuticle pusher. 
  2. Cut and file your nails: use a nail clipper to get your nails as short as possible before applying your press on nails. If you apply the fake nails with outgrown fingernails, it can cause the artificial nail to pop off easier.
  3. Buff your nails: using a buffing block, buff the surface of your nails to create a smooth and shine-free surface. This creates a better grip between the press-on and the nail glue.

Tip #2: Apply Your Nails Before Bed

What in the world does time of day have to do with making your nails last longer?

Right after you’ve applied the nails, you want to avoid contact with water and any form of moisture. Water prevents the glue from adhering properly.

During the day, you’ll need to clean your hands, wash your dishes, and might even decide to go for a swim - all no-nos when you’ve just done your nails. Getting press-ons are kind of like going to the salon for lash extensions. Your lash esthetician will advise you about not getting your lashes extensions wet for at least 24 hours in order to ensure the lash glue stays.

The first 24 hours are crucial, and doing what you can to prevent any water from seeping in between your press on and nail plate is important if you want them to stay. 

That’s why one of the best ways to make press on nails last longer is simply by putting them on right before bed. At the end of the day, you’ve done all you will involving your hands and water, and you’ve likely taken a shower or bath before you hop into your bed sheets. 

Doing your nails before bed means giving them around 8 hours without any contact with water. This allows the glue adequate time to dry, which means they will last longer!

Tip #3: Use More Nail Glue

Less is more doesn’t always apply. 

Puns aside, using less glue to apply your nails can play a significant role in how long your nails last. If you’re planning to wear press-ons for an event, and want to easily pop them off right after, then a single drop of glue on your nail plate is enough to get it to stick without worrying about it falling off.

But we’re here to talk about how to make press on nails last longer. So here’s what to do.

Use more nail glue, but not too much. The more glue you add, the longer the nails will stick. But if you put glue over the whole entire nail, pressing the fake nail on will squeeze the nail glue onto your skin, which can ooze onto the top of the press on nail surface, and lead to a whole sticky mess. 

The best way to get the right amount of glue on your nail is to place a thin line of glue down the middle of your nail, careful to keep a little bit of distance between the glue and the edge of your nails.

Bonus Tip: Always Carry Nail Glue for Emergencies

Even with all of these steps and tips, sometimes a random act of God can cause one of your nails to pop off. Luckily, press ons are reusable, and all you have to do is add a drop of glue to your nail and a drop to the back of the press on and reapply. 

Every set of Chromatic press on nails comes with 24 different nails, so if you happen to accidentally lose a nail that’s fallen off and aren’t able to locate it, you’ve got backup nails ready to go.