Press on nails have become an increasingly popular at-home manicure option. Unlike more complex salon services like acrylics or gel manicures that require professional application, press on nails can easily be applied yourself in minutes. Their convenience and low cost make press on nails a tempting choice. But many wonder – are press on nails actually safe for your natural nails?
In this article, we’ll explore what press on nails are, whether they damage natural nails, proper application and removal, nail care tips, and final thoughts on the safety of press on nails.
What Are Press on Nails?
Press on nails are pre-made artificial nails made out of acrylic resin to mimic the look and feel of professional salon acrylics. Press on nails are a semi-permanent nail option designed for easy self-application at home.
Here’s what you need to know about press on nails:
- Made of lightweight acrylic resin material that looks like salon acrylics.
- Far less permanent and easier to apply yourself than salon acrylic or gel manicures.
- Don’t require exposure to harsh salon chemicals like acrylic powder and primer.
- Can be applied in just a few minutes at home with adhesive tabs or nail glue.
- When high quality, press on nails can look as natural and beautiful as salon acrylics without the high price tag.
- Available in endless styles – short, long, different shapes, designs, and colors.
The main appeal of press on nails is their simplicity. With just a few minutes and a steady hand, you can achieve salon-quality nails from the comfort of home. But how safe are they for your natural nails?
Do Press on Nails Ruin Your Real Nails?
A major concern about press on nails is potential damage to the natural nail. Traditional salon services like acrylics and gel manicures require significant filing and exposure to harsh chemicals. This can often lead to weakened, thin nails after removal.
Unlike acrylics and gels, press on nails don’t inherently damage natural nails when applied and removed properly. Here’s why:
- Press on nails only use small amounts of adhesive or nail glue rather than acrylic powder or gel polish cured under UV lamps.
- The adhesive tabs and nail glue used are much gentler on real nails than salon acrylic and gel application methods.
- Many have concerns that press ons ruin nails, but they are actually safer for your natural nails if done correctly.
- Proper press on nail application and removal technique is key for avoiding real nail damage.
The bottom line is press on nails don’t have to wreck your nails. Their wear time is temporary, so your natural nails remain intact as long as you apply and remove them carefully.
How to Properly Apply Press on Nails
Applying press on nails correctly is vital for getting them to look amazing and last while keeping your real nails healthy.
Follow these steps for safe, salon-quality press on nail application:
- Prep your natural nails first. Wash hands thoroughly, remove old nail polish if present, trim nails, file into desired shape, push back cuticles gently with a cuticle pusher.
- Optional but recommended – apply a base coat on your natural nails before press on application. This creates a protective barrier between your real nail and the glue.
- Press on nails have pre-applied adhesive tabs, but you can use nail glue for extra holding power. Avoid excessive glue – small amount is all you need.
- Go through the press on nails to find the best size and shape for each nail. Mix and match for ideal fit.
- One by one, peel off the pre-applied adhesive backing and add a small dot of nail glue to the press on nail and your real nail if wanted.
- Line up the fake nail precisely at the cuticle area and firmly press down from cuticle to sidewalls to center then top.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds so the adhesive or glue can fully seal the bond between the press on nail and your real nail.
- Once all nails are pressed on, apply a top coat for shine and to further seal the press on nails on.
With attention to detail, you can get a long lasting professional-looking manicure with press on nails applied properly at home.
How to Safely Remove Press on Nails
Removing press on nails is just as important as applying them properly. You want to get them off without causing damage to your natural nail.
Here are some safe, effective methods for press on nail removal:
- Soak fingers in pure acetone – the active ingredient in nail polish remover that breaks down nail glue. Gently wiggle nails while soaking to help loosen the adhesive or glue.
- Continue soaking and wiggling until the press on nails can gently slide off without too much pulling or tension. Avoid ripping press ons off to prevent natural nail damage.
- For a less harsh option, soak in acetone-free nail polish remover. This takes more time to dissolve the glue but is gentler on nails.
- Soak nails in warm soapy water, moving press on nails around while soaking for 15-20 minutes until glue dissolves.
- Apply cuticle oil-soaked cotton balls or pads under the nails. Leave for 3-5 minutes before attempting to remove press on nails.
- Once glue is loosened, gently slide press on nails off to avoid pulling on the natural nail. Don’t force them off.
The key is patience and using the right solvents like acetone to gently dissolve the press on nail glue over 10-20 minutes. Avoid ripping them off forcefully at all costs.
Nail Care Tips for Healthy Natural Nails
To keep your natural nails looking and feeling their best, follow these nail care tips:
- Apply moisturizing creams or cuticle oils with nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba oil or shea butter daily.
- Never pick or pull at your cuticles, which can cause damage. Gently push them back instead.
- Buff natural nails instead of polishing frequently to let them breathe and reduce chemical exposure.
- When you do polish, use gentle formulas without harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, DBP and camphor.
- File nails with soft emery boards – avoid metal nail files or boards that are too rough or abrasive.
- Stay hydrated and drink at least half a gallon of water daily for healthy, strong nails.
- Avoid excessive use of acetone-based nail polish removers. Opt for acetone-free versions when possible.
- Never pick off press on nails or nail polish. The tearing motion can take layers of natural nail with it.
Following a diligent natural nail care routine helps keep your nails in optimal shape for press on application.
At the end of the day, are press on nails safe for your natural nails? With the right application and removal technique, press ons are gentler on nails than salon acrylics or gels. They don’t require intensive filing or expose nails to harsh chemicals found in the salon.
However, you still need to take care when applying and removing press on nails. Ripping them off forcefully or using excessive glue near the cuticles can cause nail damage. Follow the proper press on nail methods outlined above for best results.
If you notice your natural nails becoming thin, brittle or peeling after press on use, take a break and focus on moisturizing nail recovery. With some common sense press on nail precautions, you can safely enjoy beautiful, salon-worthy manicures at home with press on nails.
Sophia Rodriguez is the creative force behind IGXO Cosmetics, a popular beauty blog and brand. As a long-time makeup artist and beauty industry insider, Sophia realized there was a lack of authentic, relatable content for the everyday woman. This inspired her to launch IGXO Cosmetics in 2018 as a platform to share her passion for beauty.