The 14 Best Press On Nails to Try Now (And How to Apply Them So They Fit Better)

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When you think about press on nails, it may conjure up memories of junior high school (and those aggressively pink-and-white French tips that were all the rage back then). However, in recent years, we’ve seen press ons evolve from borderline cheesy to undeniably chic.

We’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of applying nail polish strips and press ons because they allow us to experiment with different designs, lengths and shapes. Plus, they are cheaper, easier and quicker than a trip to the nail salon. And who doesn’t like a temporary, low maintenance look every once in a while?

How should I apply my press on nails? What are the best practices?

Before we reveal our favorite press on nails, we had Nails by Mei (who has worked with everyone from the Hadid sisters to Ariana Grande) share some of her top tips for getting the best application at home.

  1. For starters, you always want to prep your nails by pushing back your cuticles (FYI: most kits include a cuticle stick for this) and wiping each nail down with acetone or polish remover to clean off any oils sitting on the surface. According to Mei, this will make sure that your press ons adhere better, which means they’ll last longer.
  2. To find the best fit for each nail, Mei recommends picking slightly smaller nails over larger ones for a closer, more flattering (and believable) finish.
  3. When it comes to the actual application, the key is to be conservative with how much glue you use. A small drop (like a pea-size amount) is usually enough for each nail unless otherwise specified in the instructions. (Some press on nails might skip the glue and come with adhesive tabs or stickers instead.) Once the adhesive is on, place each nail down the cuticle first, and then firmly press down on the rest of the nail, holding it for a few seconds.
  4. Last but not least, clip or file them into your desired shape. Mei advises shaping from either side and meeting in the center of the nail. She also notes that rounder shapes generally look better on short nails, while squared-off tips are better on longer nails. Seal them in with a top coat if you please, and enjoy your chip-proof mani.

OK, now that you have the application down, are you ready to shop for some nails?

best press on nails static nails

1. Static Nails Reusable Pop-on Manicures

Why We Love It: Lasts up to 18 days, can be reapplied up to six times

This was the first set of press on nails we saw that got us to reconsider the category altogether. With sleek, on-trend designs like tortoiseshell French tips and matte black finishes, the brand offers easy access to editorial nails from the comforts of your couch. Each pack comes with 24 nails in 12 sizes, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Plus, a glue, a buffer and nail file is included to get your shape just right. One of our editors even raved about how easy the application and removal were and how the nails let her “live a glam fantasy” while she wore them.

best press on nails popsockets nails rose gold mirror

2. Popsockets Nails

Why We Love It: Nails are lined with the adhesive, easy to apply and remove

Think about when you look down at your hands the most. It’s likely when you’re tapping or scrolling through your phone, right? Well, the folks at PopSocket (you know, the makers of the circular phone grip holder) decided to bless us with press on nails that perfectly match your phone grip. Each set includes 30 ready-to-wear nails in varying sizes that are lined with thin gel adhesive tabs that you peel off to apply. Also included are two prep pads, a cuticle stick and a mini file. Choose from fun designs like stars or marbled nails—or our favorite rose gold mirror nails, which shine like no other.

best press on nails nails of la
Nails of LA

3. Nails Of La Press-on Extensions

Why We Love It: Seven choices, nude bases, gloss finish

Created by Brittney Boyce, an editorial and celebrity manicurist who specializes in gel extensions and nail art, this tightly curated set of press ons are inspired by some of her most requested designs. Of them, we chose “The Minimalist,” (shown above) but you really can’t go wrong with any of them, as they all come in flattering nude shades and sleek, minimalist designs that you won’t get tired of looking at. Each kit includes 24 glossy nails, a file and buffer duo for shaping, a cuticle stick and both adhesive tabs and nail glue that you can alternate between pending how long you want to wear them.

best press on nails dashing diva magic press barely bougie press on gel nails
Dashing Diva

4. Dashing Diva Magic Press Barely Bougie Press-on Gel Nails

Why We Love It: No glue required, affordable price tag

For anyone who loves lots of options, we’d recommend Dashing Diva’s magic press nails. They come in a variety of colors, styles and lengths, as well as special seasonal launches around the holidays. The nails themselves are a breeze to apply thanks to their adhesive tabs (in case you don’t want to fumble around with glue) and they’re durable, too. In each pack, you’ll find 30 nails, an alcohol pad, mini file and a cuticle stick.

best press on nails kiss

5. Kiss Be Jelly Gel Fantasy Nails

Why We Love It: A large variety of styles, fan favorite

Here’s another budget option with a robust selection of nails to choose from. A fashion week favorite, Kiss has the largest inventory of press ons for your tips (and toes!). Choose from three standard lengths (short, medium and long) and a variety of trendy or classic shapes like coffin of oval. For just under 10 bucks a pop, you get 28 nails, nail glue, a stick and a mini file.

best press on nails misud

6. Misud Long Coffin Press On Nails

Why We Love It: Lasts between 1-3 weeks, adhesive tape included, affordable price tag

Y2K nails are all the rage these days and MISUD is making it possible to them all year long. Choose between 33 different designs in bold hues and fun prints. The press ons will have people doing a double take because they look exactly like a fresh acrylic set from the salon. Each kit comes with 24 nails and every nail is labeled so you know exactly which finger they go on. The kit also includes adhesive tabs, so you can skip the glue for a clean finish.

best press on nails glamnetic

7. Glamnetic Wild Card Short Almond Nails

Why We Love It: BIPOC-owned, waterproof, lasts for up to two weeks

Yup, Glamnetic has more to offer than their voluminous lashes. The brand also offers 39 different press ons in almond, round and coffin shapes. Whether you’re looking for a colorful French tip or a 70s-inspired line design, you’ll get a durable, chip-resistant and natural looking mani every time.

best press on nails thenailest

8. Thenailest Instant Luxury Acrylic Press On Nails

Why We Love It: Combo sets, 187 options to choose from

If you’re looking for a next level mani that mimics your go-to acrylics like no other, these handmade tips by The Nailest are for you. In each kit, you’ll get 30 tips, two sheets of nail tabs, a nail glue, a nail file and a cuticle push stick. While the brand offers short almond shapes, we tend to go for their long coffin styles. And if you can’t pick just one design (which we totally get), the brand also offers custom sets that feature three different styles, so you can switch things up whenever you want.

best press on nails impress

9. Impress Press-on Manicure Wider Fit

Why We Love It: Waterproof, adhesive tabs included, vegan

Don’t let the budget price tag fool you, these faux nails look every bit as good as some more expensive options we’ve tried. We especially appreciate that they’re designed to fit wider nail beds. The set provides 30 nail sizes, a prep pad, a mini file and a manicure stick. While imPress has a wide selection of colors and designs, we can’t help but gravitate towards these sparkling pink numbers that are great for wedding season.

best press on nails olive and june
Olive & June

10. Olive & June The Instant Mani Press-on Nails

Why We Love It: Size inclusive, 57 choices, on trend designs

Olive & June makes some of our favorite healthy polishes of all time, but have you seen their press ons? Whether you want to keep things casual with a neutral mani (as shown above) or add some pizzazz with a funky design, their Instant Mani sets are inclusive of every aesthetic. Each box comes with 42 (yes 42) nails in 21 different sizes to fit perfectly on top of your natural nails. Also included: A nail glue, cuticle pusher, 2-in-1 file and buffer and a prep pad.

best press on nails chillhouse

11. Chillhouse Chill Tips Press-on Nails

Why We Love It: Flexible, 16 choices

Chillhouse has become a mecca for non-toxic manicures, massages and matcha drinks in NYC. But for those who can’t book a ticket to the Big Apple anytime soon, the brand has graced us with a line of snazzy press ons (aka chill tips) that are modeled after their trendy in-salon designs. Each set comes with 24 nails, a 2-in1 file and buffer, a cuticle stick and nail glue. Plus, the nails themselves are flexible and longer lasting than most, allowing us to re-wear them on multiple occasions.

best press on nails luxxi nails
Luxxi Nails

12. Luxxi Nails

Why We Love It: Lasts for up to two weeks, can be reapplied, 49 designs

CEO Jasmine Shamberger was tired of the outdated designs she found when shopping for press ons, so she decided to make her own chic sets. Whether you prefer a nude, French or bold mani, Luxxi Nails offers salon quality tips in modern shapes and styles.

best press on nails tella nails
Tella Nails

13. Tella Nails

Why We Love It: 26 choices, glue and adhesives are included, shorter shapes

If you like to keep things short, Tella Nails has a wide selection of options for you to choose from. Whether you prefer a neon green hue or a silver chrome finish, the length stays the same so you don’t have to worry about taking your contact lenses out at night or having a nail fly off in your workout class. Each box includes 24 nails, nail glue, sticker adhesives, a nail file and a cuticle pusher.

best press on nails paintlab
Urban Outfitters

14. Paintlab Press-on Gel Nail Set

Why We Love It: Mixed design sets, lasts for up to two weeks

Not committed to just one design? No problem. PaintLab’s sets feature a variety of whimsical designs for each nail, so you can mix and match your mani as you please. Each kit offers 24 gel-like nails, a dual-sided nail file and buffer, a cuticle stick and nail glue. From the strawberry prints to the bright smiley faces, you’ll feel happier every time you look down at your nails.

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Jenny Jin

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...
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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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