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These days, press-on nails are reigning supreme in the manicure world. Known for their convenience, easy application, and budget-friendly price tag, it’s a significant win for the girls that refuse to spend nearly $100 for a full set. Plus, they last just as long and, in some cases, even longer than other nail trends. However, even though it’s easy to apply and forget about your press-ons, failing to remove them properly can take a toll on your natural nails.

Like removing your acrylics and gel manicures, press-ons require special attention to be removed safely. After all, improper removal methods can cause tearing and breakage to become a factor. Truth be told, press-on nails are pretty easy to take off since they’re made out of plastic. However, depending on your application method — sticky tabs or glue — you may have to put in some work to remove them effectively.

That said, it’s crucial to have all the information you need to get the job done. This is where celebrity nail artist and KISS Nails Ambassador Gina Edwards comes into play. The nail guru is giving us the full breakdown on how to remove press-on nails along with aftercare tips so you can keep your nails underneath in tip-top shape. Grab a pen, pad, or simply add this article to your bookmark list to keep this information close.

1. Press-on nails should be removed within one and a half to two weeks post-application.

Leaving your press-on nails for too long is a recipe for disaster. Since press-on nails naturally loosen the longer you wear them, keeping them on for too long can cause cracking and breaking to both the press-ons and your nails. “Once the nails start to grow away from the cuticle line, which starts at about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks, you should remove,” Gina tells us.

2. Prep your press-on nails for removal.

As with all beauty treatments and services, prep work is an absolute must for press-on nails. Simply attempting to separate your press-ons from your nails will not do your nails underneath any justice. “Always cut down the press ons and remove the first clear layer off the nails with a light file,” Gina says. “This breaks the seal and helps the process move a lot faster when soaking.”

3. Stick tab press-on manicures only require a soaking session to be removed.

The beauty of using stick tabs to apply your press-on manicures is that you won’t have to rely on acetone to remove them. Since acetone can be super-drying to your nails, limiting its use is always a safe bet. Thanks to stick tabs, a simple soak is all you need to be press-on-free. Gina suggests using “warm water and some cuticle or olive oil” in a bowl to help loosen the tabs. Then, you’ll be able to remove them with ease or they’ll fall off on their own.

4. Acetone-free nail polish remover or dish soap soaks are great methods for press-on manicure removal.

There are a few methods you can try to remove your manicure for folks who prefer to glue on their press-on nails. Opting for an acetone-free nail polish remover to soak your nails is a great way to melt your press-ons. If you’re more partial to using a more natural method, place your hand in a bowl with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to get the job done. You should soak your nails for 15 minutes before attempting to remove them. Keep in mind you’ll need to use an orange stick to help gently lift the press-ons from your nail. If the nails don’t budge, you’ll need to repeat the process.

5. Buff your natural nails.

Once your press-ons are removed, your work is not done. Take the time to buff your nails to remove any leftover adhesive gently. If you find that a large amount of glue is left on your nails and is hard to remove, re-soak your nails for 5 minutes. This will help loosen the adhesive so you won’t make the mistake of over-buffing your nails. After all, super-thin nails are a no-no.

6. Hydrate and moisturize your nails. 

Last but certainly not least, it’s time to welcome some hydration into the mix. Since the soaking process can cause dryness to become a factor, adding some TLC is always a smart call. “Aftercare is an important final step,” Gina explains. “My advice is to hydrate and moisturize and add a keratin-based strengthener.”

I love using the Sally Hansen Nail Treatment ($7.29, It is formulated with aloe and Vitamin E, and apricot kernel oil that works wonders to deeply penetrate your cuticles and nail bed with moisture sans the greasy feel.


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#ManicureTalk: How To Properly Remove Press-On Nails At Home  was originally published on