Press-on nails: the good, the bad, and the ugly

July 17, 2016

A while ago, I did a post on press-on nails. I have a thumb nail that continually splits down the center, and never seems to heal, and the press-on nails seemed to be the answer. That split actually heals up after wearing them (until the next time I bump it against anything). In fact, there are a number of advantages to wearing press-on nails.

The Good

They're cheap. A pack of 24 nails can be had for $7.98 or less at your local drug store. So that's about 4 bucks a manicure, versus $30 (not including tip) for gel nails at the salon.

Granted, the gel nails will last a couple weeks, but these nails have stayed on for up to 8 days  (I avoid letting them soak in water; I've always worn gloves for doing dishes and housework).

They look beautiful, in my opinion. Not tacky at all. Of course, I'm choosing the "safer," classic colors (only wore that striped nail that came in the packet once); some of the neon and striped ones might drift into that category.

Then again, sometimes tacky can be fun!

You can just press and go. It's so easy and quick.

 No touching up chips, filing nails, worrying about splits or peeling . . .

The Bad

A reader warned me that if you wear them too long, you can get nail fungus. Water can get trapped under the nail because of incomplete adhesion. I've been very careful about applying them properly, but unfortunately, after a couple months of wearing them (not full time; I did take some breaks), I got nail fungus.

The Ugly

The ring finger is affected. The middle finger has a smidge of fungus. Fortunately, all the other nails are okay. I'm treating this with tea tree oil and oregano oil spray. From experience years ago with fungus I got after having acrylic nails applied at a salon, I know this will take a few, or more, weeks to heal.

So, am I against press-on nails now?

Actually, no.

But, I'll only use them occasionally, and only for a few days at most. If I have a weekend of events, for example, I can put them on on Friday before going out, and take them off Sunday evening.

When this heals I might check out those at-home gel manicure kits (without the lamps). Why bother, you ask? Because I love pretty nails. I think unpolished, virgin nails are lovely, too, but mine just split and crack and peel . . . 

Or, I can just go back to doing them myself, a more time-consuming option.

Anyone ever deal with nail fungus before? Thoughts? Suggestions? How about those at-home gel manicure kits?

Linking with No Place Like Home.


  1. Hi dear Debiraht !! Que lindas esas uñas .. Espero que tengas un buen comienzo de semana

  2. I don't know anything about nail fungus and have never tried press on nails and never had a manicure; I like nail polish and apply it myself. I have a question; how do you remove press on nails?

    1. Just peel them off. Seriously. You would think that would really damage the nails, but it doesn't. Sometimes there may be a little tacky glue left on but it rubs right off. No product needed.

    2. Please for the love of God don't peel it off. Soak your hands in warm water for a few minutes until they're loosened. It could seriously damage your nail and skin around it depending how you applied it and how your your nail is. I actually know 2 people ( including myself) who had a perfectly healthy nail get completely pulled up when just "peeling it off". Sure you can get lucky and be successful (you'll have chips of glue residue to deal with though) but it's so much easier to just take a bath and peel them off in there.

  3. No, I have not and I am sorry that you are dealing with it. Looks as if you know what to do. Have you asked your doctor about what is causing your nails to be so fragile? There must be an answer to that dilemma. I like the look of the long-lasting gel polishes and these press-ons have that look, but I am going to pass...

  4. I have had nail fungus and infection in my fingernails from picking at my cuticles - took Lamisil and antibiotics - also had it in a toenail - took Lamisil for that too. Not a pretty or fun thing to have! With my treatment protocol from the dermatologist, I was able to wear polish so nobody but me knew how bad they looked. :(

  5. I've given up on trying for mid length nails and keep mine short Deborah. Like you some splits occasionally and although both my daughters swear by gel manicures I don't like the sounds of the procedure for removing it. I use either just a top coat for shine or add a light colour as well when I want a nicer look.
    I see an old friend with tea in your last photo. :-)

  6. I tried the press on nails about 5 years ago and I like the look too. I have not tried them since though. I would say to let your nails breathe from the press on nails until the fungus is gone. When healed you could occasionally do the press on nails. I have tried the OPI gel manicure without the UV lights and a manicure will last me 10 days with no chips. Maybe that would be a good option for you. :)

  7. The press on nails sound like a good and pretty quick fix. You're a smart cookie to wear gloves. My thumbnails and index nail tend to split and peel. As I age, new little (annoying) problems seem to crop up. P.S. Love your silver hair in your profile photo!

  8. First of all, I am so sorry your got nail fungus :( I so appreciate you letting us know and being honest about the press on nails. I still think I would like to try them for a special occassion, but now, thanks to you, know not to leave them on too long :)

    Love, love, LOVE that tea cup in the last photo! Love to you, my friend!

  9. Deb, your nails are so pretty! I have tried the press-on nails but it has been a long time ago and I'm sure they have improved them by now...they were probably a knock-off version of the real Press On nails. I left them on w-a-y too long, and when I removed them, I had to with remover. My nails were so damaged, thin and rough. Just last year, I went to a Jam Berry nail party and got the wraps...also a mistake. They lasted for about 2 weeks and getting them off removed a whole layer of my nail! I normally do not wear anything on my finger nails because I just can't keep them looking nice. I, too, have splitting nails but only my thumbs...they have deep ridges and just look awful. I have never had fungus on my fingernails but did get some on my toes after leaving polish on too long in the winter, under socks & shoes. I wear nothing but open toes and flip flops in the summer and I got rid of it, thank goodness! Back to the fingers, I would definitely wear press-on type nails again for a quick sprucing up for a special occasion. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  10. Hi Deborah, So sorry you got a nail fungus. I hope it heals quickly. I have never gotten a fungus on my nails even with getting them done about every month in a french manicure. I don't get the gel nails that has to be cured with the light. Not good to place the hands inside that light machine not only for the germs but the UV rays too. I just get an acrylic placed over my real nails with white painted on the tips and that's it.
    I tried the press on nails years ago before I started getting regular manicures but since I work with my hands so much and have my hands in a lot of water too, they would not stay on and would pop off.
    Glad you found some treatment for the fungus too and thank you for sharing this info with everyone. Love the patriotic pic and the last one too. Really pretty color. Love that pretty tea cup too.
    Have a great week. Blessings to you xo

  11. Hi Deborah! No, I've never had nail fungus, but I'm glad that you've found a treatment for yours. I think I told you that I don't get manicures because the polish chips so easily. I just file my nails and that's about it. I like the look of your press on nails, as they look so pretty. I'm not good about wearing gloves, so they wouldn't work for me, unless for a special occasion.
    Your teacup is soooo pretty!!

  12. Dearest Deborah,
    Too bad that you ran into this 'new' problem! No, I've never dealt with nail fungus on my hands; luckily so far.
    Hope you will recover soon from it.

  13. Boo to the nail fungus! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Deborah. Your honest opinions and reviews are always greatly appreciated!

  14. Oh! I'm so sorry you got a nail fungus!!! The Tea Tree Oil should do the trick though. That stuff works miracles. I appreciate you visiting my blog! I've been following yours for awhile now and love it!
    Blessings to you,

  15. Hi Deborah. I'm a first time visitor from No Place like Home. I'm interested in this too. I've been using Jamberry vinyl wraps and they're fab. No I don't sell! I'm sorry about the nail fungus. Wow. It's something of which to be aware! Great post. Mimi xxx

  16. Oh no....not good to get the nail fungus:( I have not used press-on nails for years, but what a good idea for a special occasion! I have read articles about the gel nails being extremely bad for your nails, so I don't get manicures. I just give my nails a quick polish with pale pink right before going out anywhere. I am always in the garden......Hope your nails recover soon! xx K

  17. I have never had nail fungus. But like you, I do have split nails only mine split from the sides about half way down the nail. So annoying and sore too. Hope you get the fungus cleaned up quickly. Take care, Deborah, and thank you sharing the info on the press on nails.


  18. I love those red white and blue nails! So patriotic : )
    I have never been able to do nails because I seem to be allergic to everything, but if I could I would love it. I am sorry I don't know much about nail fungus. But I would guess that probiotics would help from the inside out. The gut has so much to do with fungus. Culturelle is a great probiotic found just about everywhere. Wishing you the best,

  19. That essential oil is awesome in so many ways! You have a lovely teacup!

  20. I have pitiful fingernails, and after turning 50, they got even worse. I keep them trimmed as short as possible -- almost no white showing. I always have a few splits too. Just how it is! Rarely will I polish them, but I don't pay for nail finery :)

  21. I've never had a nail fungus...I tried having nails done at the nail salon but waaay too expensive. I just keep them short and polish them myself...


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