No, you don't have the spend a small fortune for a manicure.

By Nicole Bradley
Updated March 02, 2020
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For as long as I can remember, I've been a nail biter. I'm embarrassed to say that (or type it) out loud, but it's one of my nervous habits. The one thing that keeps me from biting my nails is having them done. As long as there is a color on my nails, my teeth will stay far away. So, as I was doing my regular supermarket perusing the other week and saw the imPRESS press-on manicure set for less than $6, I couldn't walk out of the store without it.

I'm usually all about dip manicures. I've had dips that lasted over a month, and as many times as I've tried to walk away from another perfect manicure, I'm always been reeled back in. However, after about three years of getting dip manicures regularly, my nails were toast—they were getting so brittle and thin that I could feel the cold air on my nail beds.

Credit: Courtesy of imPRESS

Now, let's talk about an at-home manicure. This is the most budget-friendly option for most people. I don't know about you, but I've accumulated several bottles of nail polish from gift bags and as stocking stuffers. Although I do find painting my nails relaxing, I've yet to try a nail polish or topcoat that has the staying power I'm looking for, as chipping in the shower is always an issue. So when my eye caught the press-on nails pack, I thought it might be worth a shot.

A little bit about these press-on nails: They're self-adhering, so they don't need glue, which is a huge perk. (If you've ever tried using traditional nail glue before, you understand the struggle of sticky glue fingertips). I decided to go with matte navy because I was intrigued by the matte finish. Each pack comes with 30 nails, a few of which are accent nails (when you use a different color on one finger, typically your ring finger). Currently, you can buy a pack on Amazon that includes red nails and a few gold sparkly accent nails. Each package also comes with an alcohol prep pad, a mini nail file, and a cuticle stick.

Credit: Courtesy of imPRESS

How to Apply Press-On Nails

First, I held the fake nails up to my fingernails to find the best fit. It was reasonably easy to find a natural fit for each nail bed, which is surprising because I have tiny fingers. I didn't use the nail file and cuticle stick because I'd filed my nails earlier that week, and my cuticles looked pretty good. Before I started, I used the provided alcohol pad to ensure my nails were debris-free.

On to the applying: There's not much to say about the process, except that it was SO easy! Each nail has a plastic backing to protect the adhesive. You peel the backing off, firmly press the fake nail onto your fingernail, and voila: a beautiful $6 manicure.

The Results

Flash forward a week and a half. Aside from my loose left index finger and thumb, the rest of the fingernails were still intact. Because my cuticle beds were starting to peek through, I decided it was probably time to take the nails off. This was definitely the toughest part of the whole process. My most exercised fingers, such as my thumbs and forefingers, peeled off easily, but it seemed like the rest of the nails were pretty stuck. I removed the rest with a pair of tweezers. There was still some glue residue on my nails afterward, so I used an acetone-based nail polish remover to take it off.

Aside from needing some elbow grease during removal, these press-on nails were a dream. If you're like me and are itching to have a pristine manicure but don't want to pay the price, try these out.

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