A perfectly polished manicure can make a real difference in helping you feel your best. But going to a salon can be time-consuming — and nail art can be tricky. Enter the classic press-on nails. These faux nails are a great way to add length or an eye-catching design without the commitment and long application time.
Press-ons are super easy to apply and can last up to two weeks depending on how well you apply and take care of them. You can shower or go swimming with them on (just be careful with hot water, which can loosen them). Best of all, they can even be better for your nails, as they're less likely to cause damage than a gel or acrylic manicure, and you can reuse them! Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab, our experts have found the best press-on nails on the market with our in-lab testing, top-rated and reviewed picks as well as favorites from our editors. These are the best press-on fake nails you can buy:
- Great price
- No glue needed
- Can't expose to water within first hour of application
This Good Housekeeping Beauty Award-winner from Kiss is loved by lab experts and received glowing reviews from our testers. “The nails were still in perfect condition after seven days of wear, and I didn’t notice any damage after removal,” a Beauty Award tester raved. The best part is you can achieve this nail salon-quality look for $7 and you don't need to fiddle with glue to do it. You can choose from so many beautiful colors and designs, from neutrals to striking bold shades and sparkling accents. They're easy to put on and very gentle on your nails.
- Comes with file and cuticle stick
- Strong adhesive
- Some reviewers found the glue dried too quickly
Ardell's classic press-on nails are elegant and trendy, yet they hardly take any time to put on. The kit comes with everything you need to apply them, including glue, a file and a cuticle stick. Reviewers raved about how great the glue worked and how long the nails lasted. If you're new to press-on nails, you should definitely give these ones a shot.
- Custom made
- Quality construction
- Sizes run small
Gift yourself a set of The Nailest's luxury press-on acrylic nails that will catch everyone's eyes. These extravagant press-ons are completely handmade and customizable, down to the shape and size of each nail. Each set comes with exactly 10 nails, so order a sample sizing pack ($1) beforehand to get the right fit. The brand does have some sets ready to ship, but those that are made to order can take up to four weeks to process — so plan early if you need them for a special occasion!
- No glue needed
- Easy to apply
- Great value
- Sizes run small — not great for those with long nail beds
If you love how long gel manicures last but hate the damage they can do to your nails, try Dashing Diva's Magic Press press-on nails made with gel base color. There's no need for glue with these sets, and they're extremely quick and easy to apply. All you need to do is prep your nails, peel off the back tab, and press! The brand says that the press-ons can last up to seven days, but some customers say their manicure lasts longer.
- Great neutral shade range
- Good selection of sizes
- Paintable and shapeable
Static nailed it (pun intended) with their nude-colored press-on nails. They have a huge selection of gorgeous neutral shades that can complement a wide range of skin tones, plus other neutral colors like whites, grays, and dusty pinks. The set can be reused over and over again, and if you get tired of the design you chose, you can paint them with nail polish.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Great selection of designs
- Glue can be messy
- Must plan ahead and get the right size
Minimalist designs are so trendy right now, and Marmalade has some of the chicest press-on nail looks. But they also offer a variety of nail shapes, colors and finishes. Some of the sets even include nail accents inlaid with Swarovski crystals. According to the brand, they'll last up to two weeks, and the kit comes with a removal tool so you can gently take them off when you're ready to swap them for a new design.
- Customizable designs
- Not best for small nail beds
Create your own design with these professional-grade clear press-on nails. Aprés Nail's press-on nails are made from a soft gel, which is lightweight but very durable. Each box contains 500 nails with 10 different sizes, and you can choose from a wide array of shapes and lengths. Aprés also sells professional nail art tools and accessories, like glitter, foil, brushes, and gel polishes. While these faux nails are intended to be adhered with Aprés Extend Gel, you can also use nail glue or sticky tabs.
- No glue needed
- Create your own design
- Limited selection — square or almond shape
Nail artist Pattie Yankee's Inspire Nails are a pro go-to and a great canvas to use to create your own designs. These press-on nails come pre-glued, so you don't have to worry about making a mess. However, they're best for temporary use (one to two days), so save them for a special occasion.
- Various nail shapes
- Can be used with glue or sticky adhesive tabs
Mari by Marsai is the latest from multitalented young CEO and actress Marsai Martin, whose love for nail art inspired her to start her very own line that launched in 2022. Available in a multitude of styles, lengths and shapes from emerald cut to pear cut, Mari has options for all nail lovers. "They look so expensive, and are easy to apply," says one reviewer. Each set comes with 24 nail options for the best fit, glue and adhesive pads so you can easily achieve your glam nail look.
- Bridal-specific designs
- Customizable size and shape
- May need to order a sizing kit first
If you're planning on walking down the aisle, a set of opulent press-on nails from Lilium's Wedding Collection will look stunning on the big day. You can find a ton of gorgeous bridal looks and plenty of designs for other occasions as well. Some of the sets can be a bit pricey, but it's totally worth it considering the high quality and artistry. Since a set only comes with 10 press-ons, you'll need to plan ahead and get the sample sizing kit if you don't already know your size.
- Prep your nails by clipping them and removing any flaky cuticle skin on your nail beds.
- Buff nails for a smooth surface.
- Wipe your natural nails down with some rubbing alcohol to remove any oil that could interfere with the adhesive. You can apply a base coat before adding the glue to ensure a damage-free application.
- Choose the right size press-on for each nail, then add nail glue or nail adhesive tabs if needed.
- Press and hold each one onto your natural nails for a few seconds until they feel secure. It's important to make sure your press-on nails are applied with no air gaps to protect the glue from water.
It may be tempting, but don't rip them off, as doing so can damage your nail bed. And if you’d like to reuse your press-ons, avoid using acetone, which can disturb the design. Instead, here's how to gently remove them:
- Soak your press-on nails in hot soapy water for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are loose enough to gently pull off.
- If hot soapy water doesn't do the trick, try lifting a corner of your press-on nail and saturating it with rubbing alcohol to help dissolve the adhesive.
- Once your press-ons are all off, remove any sticky residue with a cotton ball and a dab of baby oil, or you can use a nail buffer to buff it off.
For this roundup, we worked closely with Good Housekeeping's Beauty Director, April Franzino and GHI Beauty Lab Chemist, Danusia Wnek. Franzino has over 15 years of experience researching, writing and editing nail-related content utilizing the expertise of the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists and top industry professionals such as nail artists and technicians and dermatologists. She is an expert in all nail product categories, including nail color, nail treatments, nail art, professional services and more. April works closely with the GH Beauty Lab to coordinate nail product testing and translate test results into best-in-class compelling, factually accurate science-backed content.
Wnek is a chemist in the Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab. She has a B.S. in chemistry from St. John’s University, a M.S. in pharmaceutical sciences with a concentration in cosmetic science from the University of Cincinnati, and 10 years of experience in the personal care industry including formulation, product development, claim evaluation and efficacy testing. Since joining the team in 2014, she has been developing and overseeing the testing of anti-aging serums, eye creams, flat irons, hairdryer brushes, moisturizing creams and more utilizing both lab instrumentation and consumer feedback to recommend the best products on the market.