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How to Make Press On Nails Look Real: A Comprehensive Guide

on May 26, 2024

Press on nails have revolutionized the beauty industry, offering an easy and affordable way to achieve salon-quality nails at home. However, one of the most common concerns is how to make press on nails look real. This guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to ensure your press on nails look as natural as possible, from application to finishing touches. We will also explore different styles, such as mid length nails and press on square nails.


Why Choose Press On Nails?

Press on nails are a fantastic alternative to traditional manicures for several reasons:

  • Convenience: You can apply them at home, saving time and money.
  • Variety: There is a vast range of designs, shapes, and lengths to choose from, including coffin press on nails and mid length nails.
  • Damage-Free: When applied and removed correctly, press on nails cause less damage to your natural nails compared to acrylics or gels.


Steps to Make Press On Nails Look Real

To achieve a realistic look with press on nails, follow these detailed steps:


1. Choose the Right Size and Shape

Selecting the correct size and shape is crucial for a natural appearance. Here’s how to do it:

  • Measure Your Nails: Before purchasing, measure the width of your natural nails to ensure a perfect fit. Most press on nails come in various sizes to match nails of different widths.
  • Shape Matters: Opt for a shape that complements your natural nail shape and finger length. Popular shapes include square, coffin, and round. Explore press on square nails for a chic look.


2. Prepare Your Natural Nails

Proper preparation of your natural nails is essential for a smooth application and a realistic finish:

  • Clean and Dry: Ensure your nails are clean and dry. Remove any old polish and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • File and Buff: Gently file your nails to your desired shape and buff the surface to remove any shine. This helps the adhesive bond better.
  • Cuticle Care: Push back your cuticles using a cuticle pusher to create a neat base for the press on nails.


3. Apply the Press On Nails Correctly

Correct application is key to making press on nails look real. Follow these steps:

  • Use High-Quality Adhesive: Some press on nails come with adhesive tabs, while others require glue. Choose a high-quality adhesive for a secure and lasting hold.
  • Apply Evenly: Apply a thin, even layer of glue to your natural nail and the back of the press on nail. Avoid using too much glue, as it can cause the nail to lift or create air bubbles.
  • Press and Hold: Place the press on nail onto your natural nail and press firmly for about 30 seconds. Ensure there are no gaps or air bubbles.


4. Customize for a Natural Look

Customization is what makes press on nails look truly realistic:

  • File and Shape: After applying the press on nails, file them to match the shape and length of your natural nails. For a more natural look, consider mid length nails.
  • Blend the Edges: Gently buff the edges of the press on nails where they meet your natural nails to create a seamless transition.
  • Polish and Top Coat: Apply a thin layer of nail polish, preferably in a natural or nude shade. Finish with a high-quality top coat to add shine and durability.


5. Maintain Your Press On Nails

Proper maintenance ensures your press on nails continue to look real and last longer:

  • Avoid Water Exposure: Minimize exposure to water, especially in the first 24 hours after application, to prevent the adhesive from weakening.
  • Moisturize: Keep your cuticles and hands moisturized to maintain a healthy and natural look.
  • Be Gentle: Treat your nails gently, avoiding activities that could cause them to lift or break.


Styles and Options for Realistic Press On Nails

Exploring different styles can enhance the realism of your press on nails. Here are some popular options:


Coffin Press On Nails

Coffin-shaped nails, also known as ballerina nails, are a trendy option that can look incredibly natural when done correctly. They have a tapered shape with a flat tip, providing a sleek and modern look. Check out these stunning coffin press on nails for inspiration.


coffin press on nails


Mid Length Nails

Mid length nails strike a perfect balance between short and long nails. They are practical for everyday wear while still providing a stylish appearance. Explore a variety of mid length nails to find your perfect match.

solid purple glossy square medium fake nails



Press On Square Nails

Square nails are a classic and versatile shape that suits many hand shapes and sizes. They offer a clean, polished look that can be easily customized for a natural finish. Browse through the collection of press on square nails to find a style that suits you.



Tips for Achieving a Professional Finish

To further enhance the natural look of your press on nails, consider these professional tips:

  • Nail Art and Design: Adding subtle nail art or design can distract from any imperfections and make the nails look more custom and less artificial.
  • Matte Top Coat: For a more natural finish, consider using a matte top coat instead of a glossy one. This can make the nails look more like natural nail beds.
  • Cuticle Oil: Regularly applying cuticle oil can keep the skin around your nails healthy and hydrated, contributing to an overall natural appearance.


FAQs About Making Press On Nails Look Real

How long do press on nails last?

Press on nails can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks, depending on the quality of the adhesive and how well they are maintained.


Can I paint over press on nails?

Yes, you can paint over press on nails. This can help customize the look and make them appear more natural. Just be sure to use a good quality nail polish and top coat.


Are press on nails reusable?

Some press on nails are reusable if they are removed carefully and cleaned properly. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions.


What should I do if a press on nail starts to lift?

If a press on nail starts to lift, you can reapply it using a small amount of nail glue. Ensure the area is clean and dry before reapplying.


How can I remove press on nails without damaging my natural nails?

Soak your nails in warm, soapy water for about 10-15 minutes to loosen the adhesive. Gently peel off the nails starting from the sides. Avoid pulling or forcing them off.

Do press on nails damage your natural nails? When applied and removed correctly, press on nails should not damage your natural nails. It’s important to follow proper application and removal techniques to keep your nails healthy.



Achieving a natural and realistic look with press on nails is entirely possible with the right techniques and products. By carefully selecting the right size, shape, and style, and following proper application and maintenance steps, you can enjoy beautiful, salon-quality nails at home. Whether you prefer mid length nails, press on square nails, or coffin press on nails, there's a perfect style for everyone. Explore the wide variety of options at Match Nails to find your ideal match and elevate your nail game.

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