It’s 2022 and Y2K trends are still dominating the beauty industry. One of the latest to make a comeback is press-on nails. Yes, the drugstore staple is back but with a modern-day twist. Some of the top names in nails have released their own line of press-ons, but one is particularly stand-out: Brittney Boyce’s Nails of LA Press-On Extensions.
At first, I was hesitant because when I think of press-ons, I think of something that I used to play with as a child: incredibly fake-looking pieces of plastic that wore uncomfortably but still made me feel glam. Now, as an adult who primarily switches between pale pink, “Lincoln Park After Dark”-esque shades and minimalistic nail art, I was hoping the press-ons wouldn’t be appear too loud on my fingertips. So, curious to see if this manicure replacement is all that? Read on for my honest thoughts.
About My Nails: Brittle and small
I have very thin nails that are prone to breaking. Without polish, they look like a mess—made even worse by my terrible habit of picking at them. They’re also very small in size and I envy those who have long nails that can fit intricate nail designs on their fingertips. I’ve considered gel extensions, but I never wanted to commit in case I didn’t like them. (Hey, they can be pricey!) I’ve never tried press-on nails before, so I was excited to see what my nails will look like with a bit of lengthening.
How to Apply: It’s a process
Since this was my first time as an adult using press-on nails, I wasn’t sure what to expect during the application process. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even though you have to go through a series of steps, it was completely sweat-free. Here’s a TL;DR on how to apply them:
- Start by prepping your nails just as you would for painting them. The kit comes with a file and buffer duo. So I used that and filed my nails to an even length. After that, I used the cuticle stick to push down my cuticles to have a clean base to apply the nail.
- Next up, you are going to sort through the 24 nails in the kit to find the size that fits closest to your nail. For me, this was the most challenging part of the whole process. Unfortunately, after digging through all the nails, I figured out that the on the back of each nail is a tiny number that will tell you which nails match to which so you will have the same size on both hands.
- Choose if you want to use the adhesive tabs or the nail glue to apply the nail. (I tested both methods on each hand, but I’ll save my results for later.) To use the adhesive tabs, pull the matching size tab of your nail off and apply the sticky side to your nail. Then, peel off the backing and apply the nail at a 45-degree angle. The most important part is pressing down on the nail for 30 seconds. Without doing this, your nail will not stick as well. For the nail glue, apply a dot to the back of the press-on and your natural nail. Again, you apply the nail at a 45-degree angle and hold it for 30 seconds. The nail glue is very sticky, so don’t get it on your skin, or you’ll have a big mess, speaking from experience.
The Results: A total nail transformation
Right after applying my nails, I was shocked at the results. My nails have truly never looked better with the brand’s oh-so-cool Minimalist design. The length was a bit long for me, so I filed them down a bit.
My long-term results with the adhesive tab method were very different from the nail glue. Immediately, I found myself being much more careful with the adhesive hand in fear that they might fall off. The day after applying, I took a shower, and one of the adhesive nails fell off. Luckily, the kit comes with extra adhesives, so I was able to reapply it. After two days, I felt the adhesive hand lifting.
On the other hand (literally), the nail glue was extremely strong and I didn’t feel any lifting at all. I didn’t keep them as long as I could have, but they felt like they would over a week. To remove them, I soaked my nails in warm soapy water for about seven minutes, and they came right off. After the nails came off, my natural nails looked completely normal and not damaged, which I feared. All in all, it was a great experience.
The Value: A great deal
For $16 you get a reusable set of high-quality press-on nails, which is a steal in my opinion. Any salon manicure that you would get would be double that if you wanted nail art. As long as you treat the nails with care while taking them on and off they should last you a long while. Plus, the kit also comes with a cuticle stick and a file so you don’t need to purchase those tools separately. Most high-quality press-ons fall around this price range so I don’t think you’ll be able to find a set less than this outside of the drugstore.
Similar Products: You have options
Chillhouse Chill Tips: These press-on nails ($16) from Chillhouse are comparable to Nails of LA except they don’t come with an adhesive tab option. The nails come in 15 different designs and the glue is non-toxic and non-damaging glue.
Kiss Press-On Nails: For a budget-friendly press-on nail option, Kiss Press-On Nails ($7) is a classic. Plus, there are endless colors and styles to choose from. Adhesive-tab nails and glue nails are sold separately.
As someone who struggles with picking brittle nails when my nails are bare, this product is a lifesaver. It’s great for when I’m in a pinch for time and can’t paint my own or go to the salon. The nail art element adds a noncommital trendy touch that will have everybody asking where you got your nails done.