During COVID-19 lockdowns, we saw press-on nails surge in popularity. Far from a new concept, we had already been witnessing more fake nails (from brands like Kiss) being showcased on New York Fashion Week runways pre-pandemic, but when the pandemic hit, everyone brought their manicures inside. Professional nail artists even created customized press-on sets to offset business losses. Now that nail salons are up and running again, it’s no surprise that some people still prefer the convenience (and often lower price tag) of press-on nail kits.
A lineup of professional nail artists, including Eun Kyung Park, Gina Edwards, and Miss Pop have previously shared their expert tips to keep your manicure looking as fresh and lasting as long as possible. After you match each nail to the properly-sized press-on, push your cuticles back (many kits will come with a wooden tool) and wipe your nails clean with alcohol, so oils don’t prevent proper adhesion. From there, ensure the edges of each press-on lie flush up against the edges of your natural nail and seal it all in with glue — concentrate it in the center of the nail so it doesn’t spill over to the edges and onto your skin — or the provided, double-sided stickers.
When applied properly and carefully handled, they can look just as seamless as professional manicures — but at a fraction of the cost and with less damage incurred. “The biggest benefit of a press-on is you are in charge of your nail health,” nail artist Gina Edwards previously told Allure. Removal should be just as simple as application, as long as you are patient with soaking nail tapes in warm water or glued-on tips in acetone. In further contrast with gels and acrylics, press-ons also allow for more frequent experimentation of different shapes and colors.
Amazon might not be the first place you think of when it comes to buying a fresh set of fake nails, but for those searching for a good deal, it’s a very convenient place to start. (As always, read up on those reviews, and use customer photos as a point of reference of what to expect.)
Ahead, find 13 of the best press-on nails Amazon sells in a variety of lengths, colors, shapes, and designs for under $20 — including picks from Gabi Thorne, Allure‘s resident press-on nail expert.
1 .The Nailest Luxury Instant Acrylic Press-on Nails
The Nailest’s Acrylic Press-On Nails are perfect for people who can’t be bothered to sit at a salon for extended periods of time and don’t have the patience required to file each nail with patience and precision. These press-ons are an easy way to achieve the stiletto silhouette in 10 minutes or less, with reviewers swearing that they’re durable and far less fragile than your natural nails.
2. Kiss Nails Bare But Better
If you hate filing and cutting your own nails and prefer a barely-there nude color, check out Kiss’s Bare But Better TruNude Fake Nails. We get it: it’s annoying to pay for a manicure when you’re opting for ultra-light, neutral colors, but this set offers a salon-quality finish with a $9 price tag that won’t break the bank. In fact, that’s why the Bare But Better collection earned itself a 2022 Best of Beauty Award.
3. Glamnetic Press On Jelly UV Nails in Winter Storm
If nothing ruins your day quite like a chipped nail, Glamnetic’s Press-On Nails will efficiently spare you that heartache. This almond-shape set lasts up to three weeks and is uber-durable; one reviewer was even confident enough to wear the holographic Winter Storm color (seen above) to their wedding because they had previously bought them and knew that the “glue holds them on strongly enough to last the night.” Now, that’s amore.
4. PaintLab Press On Nails
Intricately detailed manicures will no longer require sighs of frustration, the stench of acetone, or a steady hand, thanks to PaintLab’s Press-On Nails. The designs are truly endless, ranging from mood-boosting smiley faces and Tumblr-era checkered prints to a slew of fruit-inspired sets. Besides, who wouldn’t want cheerful strawberries, avocados, lemons, and cherries on their nails?
5. Dashing Diva Magic Press Nails
Dashing Diva Magic Press Nails (particularly in the whimsical Holy Cow print) will likely be the reason you moo-ve from hours-long salon visits to finally nailing your at-home manicure. These press-on gel nails come with everything you need: 12 sizes to custom fit your nails, a prep pad, a nail file, and a wooden manicure stick to ensure the adhesive stays put for up to seven days.
6. GoldFinger Gel Glam Ready to Wear Gel Manicure
With New Year’s Eve peeking over the horizon, you may want to snag Gold Finger’s Gel Glam Ready to Wear Gel Manicure. A geometric design adds zhuzh to any dressy ensemble while the shimmery champagne accent hue ensures you stay on-theme for ringing in 2023. At last — long salon visits will no longer be required for every ritzy, champagne-flute-having event.
7. Allkem Beauty Extra Long Press-Ons
As far as monochromatic sets with major length go, the Allkem Beauty Extra Long Press-Ons simply nail it. Choose from bright reds, yellows, and blues in glossy finishes and either stiletto or coffin styles. One reviewer says she always receives compliments on “the shape and vibrancy of these nails.” Each 20-piece set comes in a range of 10 different sizes to ensure the perfect fit for each finger. Just be sure to pick up a bottle of strong nail glue since this set doesn’t come with any.
8. Glamnetic Press On French-Tip Nails in Sprinkles
Glamnetic’s French Tip Nails in Sprinkles takes the classic French manicure on a colorful spin, adding vibrant pink, yellow, blue, and orange hues in favor of neutral white and ballerina pink. Aesthetics aside, each set of 24 nails offers a seamless fit, thanks to a tapered design that fit neatly into the corner of your nail beds.
9. Kiss Impress Press-On Manicure
The Kiss Impress Press-On Manicure impressed us so much that we awarded it a 2020 Best of Beauty Award. Oh, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a fan, too. While there are countless colors and designs to choose from, we love Flawless’s (pictured above) muted eggplant vibe with a few pops of multicolored sparkles. Each kit includes 30 nails with pre-applied glue, an alcohol prep pad to ensure the best possible adhesion, a nail file, and a wooden stick to push back cuticles. It’s basically foolproof.
10. CoolNail Sharp False Nails
When we tapped professional nail artists for their 2021 trend predictions, embellished and pre-painted nails made the cut. For a truly dazzling look on the fly, check out CoolNail’s Sharp False Nails for bejeweled, marbled, and ombré styles that will capture everyone’s attention over Zoom. Each set comes with 24 nails and one sheet of double-sided adhesive tabs, which can be used in place of nail glue — but either works.
11. Socu Ladying Matte Press-On Nails
For a dose of understated glam, look no further than Socu’s Matte Press-On Nails, which are offered in a variety of muted gray, brown, burgundy, pink, purple, and black shades. Each set comes with a whopping 72 nails in three different colors, as well as three sheets of adhesive nail tabs and a small nail file, so you truly get your money’s worth. Since they naturally come in shorter lengths, these fake nails are ideal for people who want to cut down on the time they usually spend on filing and shaping. Consider them a one-and-done sort of situation.
12. Kiss Salon Acrylic Natural Nails
Consider Kiss Salon Acrylic Natural Nails to be the manicure equivalent of the “my lips but better” nude lipsticks; these press-ons have a neat and sophisticated finish that look as if you meticulously cut, filed, and cleaned your nail beds (even when you didn’t). These can be applied over chipped polish, making them the perfect beauty tool to have on-hand in preparation for last-minute events, dates, meetings, or whatever the day throws your way.
13. Uranian Ballerina Press-On Nails
If you follow Kylie Jenner’s ever-evolving manicures, you’ll notice that her preferred shape is ballerina (also known as coffin), which is the name for a tapered, square cut. If you’re curious about trying it out for yourself, these Uranian Ballerina Press-On Nails will only run you $10 at most. The 24-piece sets come in nine glossy shades, including an alluring forest green (pictured above) and bold neon green. They’re compatible with the included adhesive tape or whatever glue you already own. When it comes to removal, soak your nails in warm water for two minutes to loosen up the tape to avoid leaving marks on your natural nails.
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