Press-on vs Glue On Nails: Are they the Same?

One of my favorite things to have come out of the lockdown is the increased popularity of press-on nails. 

But as time passed by, I began to hear about another type of quick-fix manicure called glue on nails. A friend of mine asked me a while ago if I knew anything about this supposedly new trend.

Let me clear up the air because I think there’s a little misunderstanding. Glue-on nails are NOT different from press-on nails. It is just another term used to refer to press-on nails. 

What are Press-on Nails?

Press On Nails

Press-on nails are artificial nails that have already been made ready to fix on your natural nail. They are made from an acrylic resin and if applied correctly, can look and feel like regular acrylic nails.

Press-on nails have many different names with which people refer to them: glue on nails, fake nails, false nails, but press-on is the more popular term.

Press-on nails are a great alternative when you don’t have enough time to go to the salon. They have evolved from those tacky nails that one saw at the supermarket in the past.

Press-on nails have always been around, but they got more popular during the lockdown and they became a source of income for nail technicians.

I can’t count the number of times they’ve saved me when I couldn’t get my nails done at the salon. Nowadays, they come in different shapes, lengths, and designs.

How Long do Press-on Nails Last?

Press-on nails are not a strong installment, but some people say they last two weeks. The longest a set has lasted for me is a week.

The key to getting your press-on to last longer is proper preparation before application and care.

How to Apply Press-on Nails

Press-on nails usually come in kits containing nail glue or these double-sided gel glue strips. I recommend buying nail glue though.

Step 1

Fit the nails to your fingernails to select the right size for each of them. I usually select the proper size and arrange them in order so I don’t get confused later on.

Step 2

If you need to, file down the fake nails to your preferred shape and size. If you got the one you wanted, you can go right ahead and skip this step.

Step 3

Remove any polish from your nails and wash your hands thoroughly. Cut and file your fingernails, then push back the cuticles.

Step 4

You can buff your nails lightly, then use an alcohol wipe to clean the remaining dirt and oil residue left on your fingernails. 

Step 5

Now, you can start applying the press-on. Put some glue on the artificial and press it onto your natural nail for 30 seconds. 

This will let the adhesive spread fully across the nail to create a stronger bond. 

When applying the press-ons to your natural nails, always start from your pinkie and work your way to your thumb. It will make your work easier.

What are the Benefits of Press-on Nails?

  1. First of all, they are cost-effective. They are very affordable – a set costs around $8 to $10 on average, although you can spend up to $20 for some particular designers.

This is still cheaper than most manicure types and the best part is that you can reuse your press-on nails.

  1. It doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to get your press-on nails installed although it may take some more time if you’ve not gotten used to doing them yet.
  1. They are very easy to remove and they have no damaging effects on your nails. The only thing that might disturb your natural nails a bit is the chemicals in the nail glue.
  1. Last, but not least, they come in so many designs and colors, shapes, and lengths that it is almost impossible to not find something you like.

Do Press-on Nails Damage Your Natural Nails?

Press-on nails pose no health hazard to your natural nails especially if you follow the proper instructions for the application and removal processes.

Most damage comes from the nail glue, but you can protect your nails by applying a layer of clear nail polish before applying the glue. That will act as protection for your nails.

Where Can One Get Press-on Nails?

Many press-on nail producers are rolling out new designs regularly. Some of the more common ones you will see are Kiss Nails and imPRESS.

You can find those easily at your local supermarket. There are some more expensive ones sold online.

If you don’t trust online stores, you can get your nail technician to do a set for you. Or, if you’re into DIYs, you can easily make yourself a set at home.

Press-on Nails FAQs

How long do press-on nails last?

You can expect press-on nails that use adhesive glue to stick on for around a week and the type that uses glue stickers might stay on for three to five days. If improperly applied, your press-on nails might start to look tacky a few days in.

How to quickly apply press-on nails?

Put a drop of glue on your natural nail or the press-on and press the false nail onto your fingernail firmly. Wait for the glue to dry, and you’re done.

Do press-on nails damage your natural nail?

They shouldn’t damage your natural nails if you are careful. Some damage can occur if you are too rough during the removal process.

Can press-on nails fall off?

They sometimes fall off in a matter of days and this is due to improper application or lack of care once the press-on nails are applied.