TikTok Hacks To Make Press-On Nails Last Longer

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Anyone who wants to save money and time should consider making the swap from the salon to press-on nails. After all, there are many press-on nail kits you can buy, so there are excellent options for everyone's style. However, one notorious downside of opting for press-on nails is that they don't last super long. Many nail lovers feel frustration or embarrassment when their press-on nails fall off at the most inconvenient times — and often not too long after they've applied their press-ons. One way to prevent that too-frequent scenario is to put on the right amount of glue.


"The key to long-lasting press-ons is prepping and applying an appropriate amount of glue ... Press on the nail and immediately look to see if there's air bubbles. If there are, it means you didn't apply enough glue, so immediately take it off and apply more glue and press it back on," Ann McFerran, a nail expert and the CEO and co-founder of Glamnetic, told Makeup.com. And enough glue isn't the only hack to keeping your nails in place. TikTokers have press-on nail tips galore to help your at-home mani last longer, involving everything from nail files to rubbing alcohol.

Sticky tabs can help

Do you only use glue to secure your press-on nails and wonder why they don't last? According to TikToker @SisaBeauty7, you should also incorporate sticky tabs into the application process. In her video, she puts a sticky tab on her nail, takes it off, and then adds the glue and press-on nails, leading to more reliable results. "It really works," she says. Impressed viewers commented, "did this and it lasted almost 3 weeks" and "worked great for me."


Anyone looking for sticky tabs existing specifically for press-on nails should check out the Glamnetic Press 'n Go Instant Nail Adhesive Tabs, available for $9.99 on Amazon. The pack of 90 tabs has four out of five stars. Or, if you want to start with just one sheet of sticky tabs for press-on nails and see how it goes, you can opt for the five-star rated 30 Press on Nail Adhesive Tabs from Etsy for $1.95.

File the nail itself

Not only should you file your nails for length control, but filing them also helps press-on nails last longer. TikToker @megshomeedit noted that her press-on nails stay on for at least two weeks, as the TikTok user applies a nail file to her nails before adding her press-ons. The TikToker said, "You have to file on the nail ... it'll create grooves within your nails, and that will give the glue something to adhere to ... if you were to put glue on a smooth nail, it would just pop right off a lot sooner ... And then what you want to do is just take some sort of swab, so that you can wipe off the dust created by the nail file." She notes that removing the nail dust is an extra important step — without it, the dust can create air bubbles, making the press-on nails pop off more easily.


The TikToker used a miniature nail file as smaller nail files will be easier to handle for this hack than longer, more traditional options. If you want to try the TikTok tip but are worried you'll lose such a petite item, check out the KISSER Mini Nail Files Bulk, 100 Pcs Disposable Double Sided Emery Boards Travel Size, available for $5.49 on Amazon with 4.4 stars and over 2,800 ratings.

Use rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol helps kill germs and allows your press-on nails to last longer. Indya Ajai — a TikToker with over 372,000 followers — shared a video, saying, "Grab some rubbing alcohol, put it on a cotton pad, and wipe off each of your nail beds." That quick extra step of adding a touch of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad to your nails will lead to longer-lasting press-on nails — as noted by the TikToker who says her press-on mani stays on for three weeks. Impressed viewers commented, "Prep is key to making them last longer," "needed this lol," and "Great job."


"The alcohol pad cleans, sanitizes, and dehydrates all at once," Ann McFerran told Makeup.com. In addition to having a longer-lasting press-on manicure, the alcohol can help your nails stay clean, so, if you think about it, it's a win-win. With just one more (easy) step, you'll have a healthier but no-less-beautiful manicure.

Invest in a nail buffer

Nail filing helps prep your nails for the press-on manicure, but believe it or not, adding a nail buffer into the process is arguably even more helpful. For instance, TikTok user @keepingitkiara uploaded a video applying press-on nails and using a nail buffer in addition to the nail file. The TikToker said, "The buffering really helps with the stay-on process for the two weeks that it does stay on."


If you're willing to start using a nail buffer for longer-lasting press-on nails, the Beauty Secrets Orange Med Fine Buffer Block is available for only $1.49 at Sally Beauty. The four-sided nail buffer has 4.8 out of five stars; meanwhile, if you want a full-sized nail buffer in addition to a couple of mini options, the Olive & June Nail Buffer in a 3-pack sells for $3.99 at Target. This set of three buffers has 4.2 stars with over 200 ratings, and a happy reviewer even wrote, "These are the best for smoothing the surface of the nail. Would be lost without them!"

Don't forget about the cuticles

One more crucial yet often overlooked prep step is to push back your cuticles and allow the right amount of space for the press-on nails. TikToker @CeeMyNails explained this in a video, saying, "It really is all in how you push back your cuticles. So, you can use a cuticle pusher, or you can use the back of the nail ... you want to make sure, when you're pushing back your cuticle, it kind of matches how the shape of the cuticle area of the press-on looks ... after you push back your cuticles, you're going to carefully slide your nail into the cuticle area."


If you want to invest in a cuticle pusher, check out the Japonesque Soft Touch Cuticle Pusher, selling for $5.49 at Sally Beauty. The double-ended nail tool features one flat end and one pointier end to carefully work with your cuticles and has a near-perfect rating of 4.9 stars. One pleased reviewer even wrote, "Won't break and is gentle on nails." Another highly rated cuticle pusher is the ULTA Beauty Collection Cuticle Pusher, available for $12.50 at Ulta. The cruelty-free item has 4.7 stars and a 97% recommendation rate.