These $16 Press-On Nails Take Only 5 Minutes to Apply—And Look Like a Million Bucks

Photo: Stocksy / Lucas Ottone
I have been biting my nails since before I can remember, and I've been self-conscious about them just as long. I've tried every trick in the book to get myself to stop, to no avail. The habit got even worse during the pandemic—I'd doomscroll late into the night, biting my nails to the quick without even realizing I was doing it. Which is why I got really into doing my nails. This makeover gave me a sense of control in a world full of chaos.

For the majority of the past year I used gel extensions (a type of artificial nails made from gel polish that you apply with a UV light). While they look great—and keep me from biting my nails—it can take up to two hours to meticulously apply them. And because my natural nails are bitten down to tiny little stubs, there's not a lot of real estate for any sort of nail extension to adhere to. I often found myself back at my UV light once or twice a day to replace a nail that had popped off. If I didn't replace it right away, I was tempted to bite my actual nail.

After a few months of this, I was ready to abandon my nice nails and go back to a full set of bitten ones when Nails of LA Press-On Extensions ($16) came into my life.

Nails of LA is a nail salon in Beverly Hills founded by celebrity nail artist Brittney Boyce. The salon is known for chic, minimalist nail art, and this is reflected in its relatively new press-on nail offerings (the brand launched its first collection in November 2020). Currently, the brand offers press-on nails in six different designs that all manage to be subtle but so cool. The summer collection features pops of color on neutral backgrounds, while its launch collection plays with minimal, neutral patterns. The extensions have a gentle oval shape, and they're a nice length—long enough to get the tap-tap-tap when you text, but not so long that you have to type with your hands completely parallel to your keyboard. They also feel sturdy, but not heavy.

In addition to looking fantastic, these nails are also easy to apply. Most press-on nails I've tried have required me to tinker with them in an attempt to get the look I was after, but not these ones. Right out of the package I was able to find sizes that fit my nail beds, no tailoring required. All in all, it only takes me about five minutes to put them on using nail glue, which comes with each set. (You can also use stickers, but the nail glue is meant to help the press-ons last longer.)

As mentioned, I am someone who has had difficulty getting any kind of extension to stay on for longer than a few days. This was especially true with press-ons I've tried in the past. (I have experienced the unique horror of frantically digging through a lover's sheets post-sex trying to find an errant nail before they get back from the bathroom.) When I first used the Nails of LA press-ons, I did not have to replace a single one for an entire week.

For only $16, they're an incredible way to get salon-quality manicures at home. I frequently get unsolicited compliments on them from almost everyone I encounter (including men whom I know for a fact would not notice if I got my hair cut). When people asked where I got them done, I got to casually be like, oh these are press-ons, I did them in like five minutes. Not to be dramatic, but people were flabbergasted. One stranger had me write down the brand's name for her so that she could be sure to get them.

Well, internet strangers, my secret to incredible nails is officially out. I hope you use this knowledge wisely.

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