The 5 Best Press On Nails

by Elysian Magazine
best press on nails

Despite COVID-19 changing the world around us, one thing has remained the same: I bite my nails. I’ve tried everything from bad-tasting nail polish to salon-quality manicures but, so far, nothing has broken the habit. A few weeks ago, a friend told me that press-on nails have been found to stop nail-biting so, as a last resort, I picked up a few different styles to try. Since then, I’ve used countless different brands of press-on nails – some with glue, some without – and I’m basically an expert! Below is a heavily researched list of the best press-on nails you can show off at your next Facetime date or Zoom girls night.

Kiss Gel Fantasy Ready-to-Wear Nails (Short Length)

At the top of my list for best press-on nails sits Kiss Gel Fantasy nails, a durable option for any event. The kit comes with both glue and adhesives, so you can choose which method of application you prefer. The Kiss Gel Fantasy glue lasts very long – I wore my nails for over a week before I decided to take them off, but they probably could have lasted me a few more days. There were a few nails I had to re-glue throughout the week, but overall I was impressed with how long-lasting these press-ons are.

Compared to other nails, these feel particularly hard and thick. This means that while they tend to look more natural and similar to salon gel nails, they also have a heavier feel that can take more getting used to. In addition to being slightly bulky, these nails – even the shortest length – are fairly long and require some trimming and filing to get them to a normal length.

Overall, the quality of these nails is quite impressive, especially at a drugstore price. Though they take a little more time to apply, it’s worth making room in your schedule it if you are looking for a long-lasting, affordable option.


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ImPRESS Press-On Manicure

ImPRESS, Kiss’s sister company, offers a wide variety of no-glue-needed fake nails that are easy and quick to apply. These nails don’t have the same holding power as Kiss Gel Fantasy nails, but they’re great if you’re looking for a quick manicure. The set comes with 30 nails so there are plenty of size options and each box also includes several accent nails that can spice up your look.

Similar to Kiss Gel Fantasy, ImPRESS nails are surprisingly sticky for glue-less drugstore nails. However, I will admit that just 24 hours into wear, two of my nails popped off: one while opening a Ziploc bag and the other while taking a shower. Because these press-ons are designed to stick to your fingernails with adhesive instead rather than glue, they’re nearly impossible to re-apply once they’ve fallen off. The solution to this problem is to have extra nail glue on hand from other press-on kits you may have used.

I prefer ImPRESS to Kiss Gel Fantasy because the nails are softer, thinner, and noticeably less bulky. While this does mean that they aren’t as similar to a gel-manicure look, they feel more natural and light on my hands. The ultra-fit design makes press-on application a seamless, quick, and clean process.

If you’re looking for a short-term solution to nasty nails, these press-ons are a great option that will feel natural and look fantastic.


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Dashing Diva Magic Press Gel Nails

Another great option for nails that look like new is Dashing Diva Magic Press Gel Nails. Though not readily available at drugstores like Kiss and ImPRESS, these nails can found at Ulta and other similar beauty stores.  While some press-on users like myself prefer a shorter, more natural looking nail, Dashing Diva has received many reviews complaining that the nails are too short, so if you’re looking for a super stylized nail aesthetic, this brand may not be for you.

The Dashing Diva nails are glue-less press-ons; to apply, simply peel off the clear backing to reveal the adhesive and press them on. As with ImPRESS, the adhesive has much less staying power than nail glue and these nails fell off rather quickly – much quicker than the five days the package boasts.

These nails come in a variety of designs and colors including glitter and jewel accent nails. While their press-ons may not be the best I’ve ever used, Dashing Diva offers another incredibly popular product that is worth trying: nail strips. Nail strips are essentially nail polish in sticker form that, according to the brand, will last up to 14 days.


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Static Nails

If you’re looking to invest a little more in your fake nail game, look no further than Static Nails. These press-ons are incredibly innovative; they’re both reusable and are said to withstand up to six reapplications. Because of this unique quality, Static Nails are slightly more difficult to find than the previous brands; you can only find the product on their website or at Nordstrom. The company also recently partnered with Urban Outfitters to offer a limited, branded selection.

Static Nails’ unique glue is quite impressive; it carries the strength of acrylic nail glue but is non-damaging to your cuticles and fingernails. The glue dissolves over time, making for an easy removal process that leaves no residue behind. According to the company website, the more glue you use, the longer the nails will hold – up to 18 days! While they may be a tad more difficult to find, Static Nails are worth it: as they fall off, you can simply put another dot of glue on the back and reapply them with no extra maintenance between uses.

These nails are arguably the most fashion-forward of them all with designs ranging from cool chrome finishes to trendy tortoise shell patterns. Of course, Static also offers your basic nudes and pretty pinks, but they are more well known for their designs that mimic the look you might get with salon acrylic nails.


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Marmalade Nails

Last on the list is Marmalade Nails, a brand that will up your manicure game without making you step foot in a salon. Unfortunately you can’t buy these nails in any old drugstore – they’re only available online, with the exception of select Morphe store locations.

These nails are definitely on the more adventurous side. Most of the sets feature shiny metallic finishes or sparkling jeweled accents, so they’re a fabulous choice for a fun night out.

Marmalade offers numerous different options for nail shape and length ranging from stiletto or square to coffin or round. These press-on sets also come with the brand’s patented nail-cleaning tool which makes the removal process easy and less likely to cause any damage to your fingernails or cuticles. While these nails are definitely the most difficult to buy in terms of convenience, they also offer the best designs. So if you want to spend a little more time to achieve a bold nail look, Marmalade Nails is the way to go.


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Written by Claire Kuwana

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