Going to the nail salon for a professional manicure isn’t as easy as it once was. Instead of attempting your own, try using press-on nails instead.
Doing your own nails without making a mess requires a lot of practice and patience. And then once you’ve gotten the swing of things with your dominant hand, you have to do it all over again with your non-dominant hand, which is tough, to say the least. You’re usually left with spills and messy cuticles, and it’s definitely not relaxing.
Press-on nails don’t require any painting and you don’t have to sit around waiting for them to dry when you’re done. They’re also forgiving—even if you bite your nails down to a nub, press-ons can look long and perfectly shaped. Many come with fun designs and prints on them that you wouldn’t be able to master on your own. And on top of all that, most press-on nail kits are a lot cheaper than what you would pay at a salon.
Below are a few press-on nails that are simple to put on, look great (and not obviously fake), and last a long time (no chips included).
Best Overall: Kiss ImPRESS Press-On Manicure
Kiss ImPRESS Press-On Manicure kits get rave reviews for so many reasons: They’re inexpensive, they’re easy to use, they have every kind of design and color you could think of, and they really do last a while and look completely natural.
No glue is needed for these, instead you use their patented SuperHold adhesive to keep nails exactly where they should be for days, no peeling to be worried about. Removal is easy and they’re safe on your nails. Each kit comes with 30 nails, a prep pad, a file, and a wood stick.
This set in Wildflower includes six pink accent nails to find your perfect fit.
Most Trendy: Chillhouse Chill Tips
You might not be able to actually make it to Chillhouse, a trendy nail salon and cafe in New York City’s Lower East Side, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the Chillhouse look. The brand makes Chill Tips, chic press-on nails that show off some of their most popular nail art designs.
These are really easy to put on and come with everything you need: non-toxic glue, a dual-sided buffer and file, 24 nails in varying sizes to find the right fit, and a cuticle stick. The nails have the ideal almond shape and come in at the perfect length if you want something a bit on the longer side. They’re also remarkably authentic looking.
The Chill Tips Bundle Pack features all three of the designs: their most-loved Editor-in-Chill art, which is subtle but still fun; the black and white Wavy Baby featuring an edgy and modern design; and Dox Matrix, a green and white polka dot nail that is slimming and bold.
Best For Your Toes: Dashing Diva Magic Press
More into pedicures than manicures? Don’t worry—there are press-on nails for your toes, too. Dashing Diva Magic Press are no-glue-required press-ons that make your toes look perfectly painted with very little effort.
These are ideal for anyone who doesn’t love working with nail glue, and they’re also thin, flexible, and easy to use and apply. The kit comes with 24 different nails in varying sizes, an alcohol prep pad, a mini nail file, and a manicure stick, so you basically have everything you need.
They’re waterproof and chip-resistant so that you can wear them no matter what you’re doing, and they should stay on for up to seven days. The Red Sangria nails are a fun bold color that would look good during any season.
Best For Cool Colors: Marmalade Nails
If you want your manicures to be fun and bold rather than neutral and subtle, check out Marmalade nails. They offer lots of different cool colors: iridescent, chrome, matte, accent kits, glossy, jellies, and nudes and neutrals as well, with some designs in there.
You can also choose the nail shape you want. The brand has press-on nail kits in most of the popular shapes, including round, square, stiletto, and coffin. There’s a lot of versatility and really something for everyone.
Every Marmalade kit comes with everything you need: 24 nails, a nail file, glue, manicure stick, removal tool, and an application guide. The Sea Foam kit features a glitter-encrusted look that brings the beach to mind.
Best Drugstore: Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails
If you’re looking for something really inexpensive and accessible that still looks professional, you can’t go wrong with Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails. These are excellent quality at a great price point, ad they should last up to seven days.
One of the best things about these is that they come with the option to use adhesives (so, stick-on nails) or glue. If you don’t like how glue affects your nails, adhesives are the way to go. Each kit comes with 28 nails for more options, nail glue, adhesive tabs, a mini file, a manicure stick, and instructions.
There are tons of colors and designs to choose from, but for something neutral and pretty, opt for this color, If You Care Enough, which is a light nude that has a glossy finish.
Best Reusable: Static Nails
With most press-on nails, you use them and then discard them once you get them off. Static Nails are meant to be reusable, which is better for the planet and your wallet. The nails can be removed, reapplied, painted, and reshaped, so you can basically customize them however you want, and get weeks worth of wear out of them.
Each kit comes with the basics—a file, buffer, glue, and 24 nails—and there are so many different options. There are tons of different color choices, some subtle designs, and lots of shapes to choose from, so there’s something for everyone.
Static Nails are super-easy to use and look incredibly natural. These Cheery Liquor nails in a round shape are perfect for fall.
Best Custom: ManiMe
Probably the most annoying things about press-on nails is that they aren’t made to fit your specific nail. That’s why each kit comes with so many—you have to figure out which shape fits your nail best, then usually file and trim from there to make sure it looks good.
But ManiMe uses a 3D scan to make your own custom fit, which is really what makes them stand out. You then get an at-home gel mani kit with stick-on nails (no glue required!). They’re literally like nail stickers—you just press them on. They also have manicure and pedicure sets.
The company makes so many amazing designs (they also have neutrals), like this Enigma manicure. And 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this design will be donated to PBA COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports beauty professionals affected by COVID-19, and the Movement for Black Lives Fund, which supports the fight against violence and oppression of BIPOC.
Most Unique: The Nailest
If you want over-the-top nails full of glitz and glamour with no subtlety in sight, then The Nailest is for you. The company makes super-long fake nails that are embellished with little jewels and come in a variety of designs and colors.
The downside to these is that they don’t come with a prep kit like many of the other brands—you can order one separately for $5. However, you then have the option to apply these with glue or adhesives.
The Dazzle Baby Boomer Ombre with Crystal Accents is a good example of what to expect from The Nailest: an interesting shape, lots of sparkle, and a long length.