If your formative beauty experiences were anything like ours, then press-on nails (or stick-on nails, or whatever you want to call them) are products that you’ve probably consigned to your teenage, or even pre-teen days.
This is much like Sun-In and colourful body glitter, they were fun, easy to use but perhaps not the most sophisticated, meaning we’ve since graduated to other manicure options. But just as those other two products appear to be enjoying an unexpected comeback (courtesy of Jen Atkin’s Ouai haircare and Fenty Beauty respectively), press-ons have also had a surprise renaissance – at the Met Gala, of all places.
Starting with Kim Kardashian: When a fan account posted a photo of a winged Katy Perry admiring the reality star’s nails at Monday’s event, another replied with the message: ‘I can already hear Kim. “I don’t usually do long nails so I decided to switch it up tonight.”’ Kim herself eventually chimed in (because what better way to recover from the biggest party of the year than by lurking in your Twitter mentions?), explaining that ‘Katy actually flew my nails on her plane over to me from LA,’ and adding that ‘they are just glued on! So had to show her!’ Stick-on nails: so good, they’re worth the private jet treatment, apparently.
Kim wasn’t the only star to opt for stick-ons over, say, Shellac or acrylic extensions. Blake Lively, whose custom Versace gown took over 600 hours to make, gave the trend her seal of approval by wearing fake nails from US drugstore brand Kiss in a deep red shade with a metallic finish.
For Nickie Rhodes-Hill, a session manicurist and celebrity nail technician, the key lies in matching the shape of the false nail to the natural nail. ‘Hold each press-on nail to your natural nail and look left, right, up and down: if you see any of your natural nail, it is too small,’ she says. ‘When applying, dehydrate the surface of the natural nail with an acetone-based product and then apply the adhesive tabs, which can be removed easily if you want a more temporary look.’
When you wish to remove the nails, it’s important to protect the natural nail by taking them off carefully (read: no picking). ‘When removing press on nails, gently apply cuticle oil so that it seeps under the press on nail to the tab,’ Nickie recommends. ‘Then put your hands in a bowl of warm water and gently rock the press ons left to right and up and down: they should release easily.’