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The 8 Best Press On Nails According to Celebrity Manicurists — They’re So Much Better Than They Used To Be!

Beautify nails in under five minutes with these affordable kits that come in every shape and size


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Gone are the days when wearing press on nails results in a more fake than fabulous look. That’s because the press ons of the past were extra-long in length, looked like plastic and came in limited shades, but today’s versions “come in a multitude of colors, lengths and shapes,” says Tee Hundley, a celebrity manicurist and founder of Suite Tee Salon in Jersey City, New Jersey. “You can get anything ranging from a simple French manicure to fun nail art, and they’re also available at every price point.” But with so many kits to choose from, we turned to manicurists for the best press on nails that create the look of an in-salon manicure for less — and they come with age-defying perks, too.

The benefits of press on nails

First and foremost, press-ons are a major timesaver, which is a big reason why they’re trending now, notes celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein. “Women today have such busy lifestyles that they don’t have the time to spend at the salon,” she explains, adding that they’re also a more budget-friendly choice.

Plus, nails act like an accessory today, says Gerstein since they are a great finishing touch to any look. So if you want to be able to quickly and easily change up your manicure, press ons are the perfect way to do that. And to that point, they’re also low-commitment, which allows you to easily experiment with a look you may not have tried before or to dial up the glamour for a special event, adds Hundley.

Why press on nails are great for women over 50

Our nails start to show signs of aging as we get older, just like our hair and skin. And for nails, they tend to become shorter in length and thin/brittle in texture. This makes press ons a great option for women over 50 as they create the illusion of both thickness and length, says Hundley. Not to mention that a gorgeous manicure can also pull attention away from signs of aging on your hands like dark spots and crepey skin. (Click through to learn what is crepey skin and how to reverse it.)

The 8 best press on nails of 2023

The 3 steps to apply press-on nails

1. Start by cleaning nails

Gerstein recommends first cleaning your nails thoroughly with soap and water, then swiping a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol along each nail. “This will dehydrate the nail plate, ultimately helping the glue and nails adhere better,” she explains. These are two important prep steps because the better the fake nails adhere, the longer they will last.

2. Select the size of press ons for each nail

Next, organize your nails by size as most packs come with 12 different sizes. It’s best to lay them all out and choose the right size for each finger, which will help prevent the fake nails from lifting at the cuticle, says Hundley. Once you’ve determined the best size for each finger, set them out in the order you’re going to apply them.

3. Adhere the press on nails with glue

Apply 1-2 drops of nail glue to the base of the natural nail close to the cuticle, then take the press on nail and stick it on top of the glue. Start by pushing the press on down at the base of your natural nail, rocking it toward the tip. Then, hold it in place for 5-10 seconds so that it fully adheres, says Gerstein. Tip: If you’re using press ons that come with adhesive tabs, Hundley adds that it’s still a good idea to place a dot of glue on both the press on and your natural nails in order to ensure maximum adhesion. After following these steps, Gerstein notes that press on nails should get 7-14 days of wear.

For an in-depth tutorial on how to apply press on nails, check out this video from @AlexandrasGirlyTalk on YouTube.

Shop our top picks for the best press on nails

Ready to try an updated pair of press ons yourself? Read on for the top press on picks from celebrity manicurists.

Kiss imPRESS Nails

Best drugstore Press on nails
Kiss imPRESS Press-On Nails in red.

Buy from Kiss, $8

Why we like it:

  • Affordable
  • Comes in a wide range of colors and lengths

Both experts we spoke with sang the praises of the press on offerings from this brand that can be found at drugstores. There’s no shortage of shapes, sizes, lengths, colors and designs to pick from. Plus, at this price point, you can experiment and try a variety of different styles without breaking the bank.

Glamnetic Silver Belle

Best short press on nails
Glamnetic Press-On Nails with silver metallic design

Buy from Glamnetic, $20

Why we like it:

  • Short lengths are very natural-looking
  • Can be applied in 5 minutes

Who says short nails have to be boring? Glamnetic makes a variety of short press on options, all of which feature a subtle design element that adds pizzazz to nails. Take this style for example, which has a small stripe of metallic silver along the bottom that gives fingers a touch of sophisticated sparkle. And best of all, they are very quick to apply as the process takes 5 minutes or less.

Dashing Diva Magic Press Premium Sangria Glaze

Best long press on nails
Dashing Diva Press-On Nails in rosey chrome color
Dashing Diva Press-On Nails in rosey chrome color Dashing Diva

Buy from Dashing Diva, $9

Why we like it:

  • Can be applied without glue
  • On-trend colors and finishes

On the flip side, if you want to try press ons to add extra length, consider these from Dashing Diva. Hundley is a fan of the brand as she loves how quick they are to apply. Plus, they have an adhesive backing so no glue is required — just press on and go! And this particular set is long without looking too fake and comes in a pretty rose hue with an on-trend chrome finish.

OPI Xpress/On Iconic Shades

Best solid color press on nails
OPI Press-On Nails in orangey-red color

Buy from OPI, $14

Why we like it:

  • Available in a wide range of classic solid hues
  • Comes in short and long lengths

One of the most well-known polish brands also makes amazing press ons that Gerstein is a fan of. OPI is beloved for its range of iconic colors, and these come in those same cult-classic hues. For example, this orangey-red is a top pick, although there are plenty more bright, neutral and dark shades to choose from. And all of the colors are available in both long and short lengths to suit what’s best for you.

Ardell Nail Addict Subtle French

Best French manicure press on nails
Ardell Press-On Nails in ombre French tip design

Buy from Ardell, $8

Why we like it:

  • Low price
  • Subtle take on a French manicure

Creating a DIY French manicure has never been easier — all you have to do is pop on these affordable press ons. Rather than the traditional bold white tip, they instead feature a subtle ombre effect. This is a more modern take on a classic French mani that also creates the illusion of longer nails.

Chillhouse Chill Tips

Best nail art press on nails
Chillhouse Chill Tips Press-On Nails in black swirl design

Buy from Revolve, $16

Why we like it:

  • Wide range of nail art styles
  • Nails are reusable

Chillhouse is a New York City nail salon known for nail art. Their at-home press ons make it easy to score the same effect anytime, anywhere. Whether you want something more bold (tie-dye tips, perhaps?) or a little more toned down, they have a wide array of press ons with fun nail designs to choose from. Additonally, you can get multiple wears out of them — just remove any excess glue off the back in between wears.

Olive & June GH Press-Ons

Best natural-looking press on nails
Olive & June Press-On nails on light pink color
Olive & June

Buy from Olive & June, $10

Why we like it:

  • Has an ultra natural look
  • Comes with 42 nails in 21 different sizes

For those who want their press-ons to look like their own nails, just better, try the kits from Olive & June. Hundley recommends this brand for those who favor a simpler manicure. This particular set features a natural, medium-length and oval shape, combined with an opaque pink hue for a timeless manicure that’s universally-flattering. Even better? If you have a hard time finding press ons that fit your nails, each kit comes with 21 different sizes (most kits only come with 10-12 different sizes) to help you get a perfect fit.

Static Nails Reusable Pop-On Manicure

Best reusable press on nails

Buy from Walmart, $18

Why we like it:

  • Set can be reused up to six times
  • Waterproof

While this pick is slightly more expensive, these nails can be reused up to six times, making the cost per wear well worth the price. And even if you are going to wear them just once, they’ll last up to 30 days since they are waterproof, which is why Hundley says they’re great if you are looking for a long-lasting option. Plus, there are a ton of colors and nail shapes to choose from. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a classic red shade.

For more affordable beauty products to shop, click through these stories:

The Best Tinted Moisturizers For Mature Skin, According to Celebrity Makeup Artists

Best Scalp Massagers to Help Boost Hair Growth for Women Over 40

The 9 Best Undereye Concealers for Mature Skin That Brighten, Smooth and Hydrate

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