December 10, 2022

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The Best Press-On Nails of 2022 | People Tested

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Getting your nails done is a luxury to be sure — and while it’s great to treat yourself, if you’re needing to take matters into your own hands (literally), it’s totally possible to create at-home tips that would make even a Kardashian look twice. Press-on nails bring the spa home to you with a range of lengths, colors, and styles that are easy to apply, wear, and remove. Celebrities like Blake Lively are even pairing press-on nails with Gala couture so you know their versatility is undeniable.

In a world oversaturated with beauty products, it can be overwhelming to narrow the scope. That’s why our team spent the day trying on 13 of the most popular nail sets (so you don’t have to!). Our beauty team examined ease of application, overall look, strength of adhesive, and wear, and whittled the list down to six of the top performers.

“It’s really about shape and style and what you’re looking for in art,” celebrity nail artist Elle Gerstein tells PEOPLE of what to look for when choosing your own set. With her work donning the perfectly manicured hands of major clients like Beyoncé, JLo, and Gigi Hadid, Gerstein knows how the right set of nails can make or break a look. But when you’re on the go, a quick option is always preferable. “When you don’t have the time to sit for extravagant nail art (or the money) press-ons are a great option,” Gerstein says.

After a day of pampering, these were considered the best press-on nails, straight from the PEOPLE Tested lab, including our top pick, the Static Nails press-on set.

Best Overall: Static Nails Reusable Pop-On Manicure

Pros: The Static Nails set were well-designed, easy to apply, and held firm even while doing household tasks.

Cons: The glue was a little messy during application.

The Static Nails press-on set proved to be a tester favorite for its simple application, whimsical design, and durability (even after testing ended!). “They look very natural and classy,” said one tester. “The shape is great, and I was able to find the perfect size for each nail.”

These nails earned a near perfect score for application and overall look, meaning our tester thought the quality replicated what you’d find at a salon with the ease of home application. This set was also highly durable. After testing was completed, our tester wore these nails for over a week, doing household tasks like laundry and washing the dishes, and only one nail popped off during that time. Had she had glue, she could have reapplied the nail, but “since I didn’t take the glue home with me I decided to peel the rest of them off,” she said.

She opted not to soak the nails, but rather just peel them off. “I would say that the peeling process was tolerable and took about 15 minutes.” Our tester said her only complaint about the nails was the glue which “would sometimes stick on top of the nail” during application which “made the process more difficult.” Other than that, she found the nails “easy to apply.”

Overall, we believe the Static Nails press-on nails sets are an ideal option for at-home manicures because they offer a variety of sleek designs, shapes and sizes, are easy to apply and remove, and are long lasting. 

Yes (up to 18 days or 6x for shorter wear)

Yes, multiple sizes, shapes, and colors

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

Best Budget: Dashing Diva Magic Press Solid Color

Pros: These affordable nails have a strong adhesive that’s easy to apply from the comfort of home.

Cons: These nails aren’t reusable.

Earning a perfect score in every test we ran, the Dashing Diva nails are lightweight on your fingers but durable enough to last. Our tester said, “the adhesive made the process quick and simple and prepping wasn’t difficult either.”

These nails didn’t falter after repeated hand-washing and lightly bending the edge of the nail to test the adhesive. The nude color and glossy finish was also a hit with our team. “The nails look really amazing, and I’d prefer these than going to a salon to get them done professionally,” our tester said.

The only slight inconvenience is that these nails aren’t reusable, so once they fall off, they can’t simply be reapplied. However, the set comes with 30 nails in 12 sizes, a prep pad, nail file, and wooden manicure stick to help with application. Given the price (and ease of replacement!), we think these nails are a solid choice for those on a budget who want salon-quality nails at a reasonable price.

Yes, multiple sizes, shapes, and colors

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

Best Splurge: Olive & June The Press-On System

Pros: This high end nail set comes with all the beauty tools you’ll need for a perfect DIY manicure.

Cons: Applying the glue was a messy process.

For a little extra umph on your nails, look to Olive & June The Press-On System. Going above a single set of nails, this kit provides high quality press-on nails, a host of nail grooming tools and serums, a removal kit, and a pouch to keep it all organized. Our tester loved the design of these nails, and said, “The design on the tips of the nails is pretty — they look sturdy with a nice sheen. I also love that these are made of 94 percent post-consumer recycled materials.”

With top scores in most of our tests, this set of nails survived the sink test, and remained in place after our tester washed her hands three times. She chose to soak her nails when she was ready to remove them and said the process took about 25 to 30 minutes. “I will say these are better if your nails are naturally short,” she said, and explained how she filed off the glue since it didn’t come off with acetone.

The only hiccup was the glue involved in the application process. “I usually prefer press-on nails that already have glue on the back of the nails,” said our tester, adding “It’s impossible to not get glue on your skin as you apply these nails.” She did note that she only struggled applying one out of 10 nails and the others adhered easily. We think this set is a great choice for people who want to create high quality manicures at home. And for those who want the quality of O&J nails without the extra tools, you can buy a single pack of nails at retailers like Target for less.

Yes, multiple sizes, shapes, and colors

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

Best Damage-Free: ManiMe

Pros: These stick on nails are completely damage-free, long lasting, and come in a variety of fun patterns and designs.

Cons: If you use the standard size (vs. custom!) they don’t fit as well. 

One of the trickiest parts of press-on nails is ensuring you don’t damage your nails in the process, and these nails from ManiMe ensure an easy application and removal. “After realizing I’d put one of the press-ons upside down, it was easy to just peel right off and try again,” said our tester.

Despite being more of a sticker than a hard faux nail (without any glue!) these nails hold up surprisingly well against water and everyday use. “These nails stayed on after multiple rounds of washing with hot water and even after the shower,” said our tester. To remove them, she suggests soaking them in hot soapy water for about 10 minutes before peeling them off. Acetone works to remove any residue as well.

The only flaw we could find is when you buy the sample sizes, they are harder to apply for a perfect fit. “I like the pattern and look of the nail design, but when they went on some of them looked messy on my nails,” our tester said. The testing team used the sample sizes so it should be noted that custom nails fit much more seamlessly. All you have to do is send in a photo of your nails and the press-ons are 3D printed to match. You can also modify the fit with nail clippers and seal with a top coat for a glossy finish. 

Yes, multiple sizes, shapes, and colors

Varies, some matte, some glossy

Best Customizable: Très She Talons Press-On Acrylic Nails

Pros: These fierce nails bring the drama with almost 70 designs, eight styles, and three shapes to choose from.

Cons: So durable, they’re a little tough to remove.

If you like options, then the Très She Talons Press-On Acrylic Nails should be on your radar. “They come with both nail stickers and nail glue which is great to have the options,” praised our tester. “I did the nail glue and found the whole process to be quick and stress-free. The glue dried quickly and applied without much of a mess.”

Our tester thought the nails had a professional quality, and said, “I loved the shape and color.” The particular ones our team tried had a pink “jelly nail look” which was slightly translucent. During the waterproof test, the nails “did not budge,” and proved to have an “overall sturdy quality.”

Of course, while their durability is great for long term wear, it makes removing these nails slightly challenging. “I used the soaking method and it took about 20 minutes for the nails to start getting loose enough to pull off,” said our tester, noting that her nails felt somewhat brittle after removal. Considering the quality and customization options (three shapes! eight styles! Almost 70 designs!), we believe this nail set is ideal for those who want their nails to stand out from the crowd. 

Yes, multiple shapes, styles, and colors

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

Best Designs: PaintLab Press-On Nails

Pros: With an array of whimsical designs, these nails are durable, easy to apply, and provide a seamless look.

Cons: No notable cons found.

With more than 30 different press-on nail designs in an assortment of bold and brilliant colors, PaintLab has a nail set for each taste preference. Our tester found these nails to be “very easy to apply” and said they created a “seamless ready for date night” look.

In addition to application and looks, this nail set also received a perfect score in our strength of adhesive test. After thorough hand washing on our tester’s part, these talons did not come off. “The nails fused incredibly well,” he said. To remove them, simply soak them in warm soapy water and use the included wooden nail stick to peel them off from the side (removing any glue residue as well). 

These nails are highly durable and you can reuse them so you don’t have to worry about one falling off (simply glue it back on!). Overall, this is a dazzling press-on nail brand with design options for every mood, preference, and whim.

Yes, multiple sizes, shapes, and colors

Varies, some matte, some glossy

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

Things to Consider Before Buying Press-On Nails

Durability

If you’re someone who’s always got their hands in something — be it washing clothes and dishes, or playing in the dirt in your garden — the durability and the longevity of your press-on nails should play a factor. Durability generally has to do with the strength of the adhesive (either glue or a sticker backing!) and the material of the nail itself. For instance, a sticker nail won’t last as long as a thicker nail applied with glue. 

Damage Control

One of the best perks of press-on nails is that they *generally* cause less damage to your nails than acrylics, gel or powder manicures. That’s because most of these nails can peel off after soaking them for about 15 minutes in warm soapy water and using a small wooden tool to lift the edge. Mind you, take caution when showering for the same reason — the hot water can loosen the adhesive.

Shape

When considering what kind of press-on nails will be the best fit, shape should not be forgotten. If you’re going for stylish talons, you might prefer stiletto or ballerina shaped nails, whereas a shorter rounded or square nail might be best for those doing more work with their hands. Gerstein says press-on nails “also make great blank canvases for DIY nail art” so if you’re feeling crafty, you might want a longer nail to create more space.

Technique

Gerstein shared a few techniques that help with applying and removing press-on nails. “Like any manicure, pushing back cuticles and making sure the nail is free of oil, lint, and dust is important,” she says. “Always swipe with alcohol and let nails dry before applying tabs/glue. Tabs are for temporary wear, [and] glue, if applied correctly, can get up to 2.5 weeks of wear.” As far as removal goes, Gerstein suggests clipping the press-on down to the size of your natural nail and soaking in acetone for 10 minutes.

Credit: People / Tamara Staples

How We Tested Press-On Nails

Our team rounded up several beauty testers for a day of grooming and manicures to test 13 sets of press-on nails. For each set of nails, they considered the ease of application, overall look, and strength of adhesive (as well as wear in a few cases!). 

Starting with clean buffed nails, our testers applied a full set of nails using the instructions on the packaging. They considered the time and effort it took to apply each nail, the level of glue required, and how the nails looked on their fingers once in place. Do they look professional-grade or like a child’s arts and crafts project? After initial assessments (and once the glue dried!) the nails were put to the test with each person washing their hands three times with hot soapy water. After drying off, the testers gently pushed the tip of the nail backwards and forwards to see if it would pop off. Some testers continued providing insights on how their nails lasted throughout the week and what the removal process was like, checking for signs of damage along the way.

What Is People Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

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