With salons continuing to battle COVID-19 restrictions without a clear end in sight, at-home manicures and press-on nails have been surging in popularity. Since the onset of the pandemic, professional nail artists have been creating customized press-on sets to offset business losses. And even prior to the pandemic, we started spotting more fake nails (from brands like Kiss) sent down New York Fashion Week runways. Allure editors, like Nicola Dall’Asen, have also been adamant fans of the paint-on alternatives for quite some time now.
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 nine of our favorite kits in a variety of lengths, colors, shapes, and designs for under $20 — most are even $10 or less — including picks from Gabi Thorne, Allure‘s resident press-on nail expert.
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