Body + Wellness

How to take off press-on nails without ruining your natural nails


By Redzhanna Jazmin

How to take off press-on nails without ruining your natural nails

Nothing makes a woman feel more powerful than a long and gloriously impractical set of acrylics. The feminine urge to stick ridiculous stubs of plastic onto your fingertips—an endeavour that, mind you, makes day-to-day actions like buckling up a pair of heels and, well, existing nearly impossible—is overwhelming.

But what makes the fake nail so appealing to the human psyche? Sure, pretty designs are the obvious answer, but anyone who has ever donned a truly grotesque set will know that the real attraction lies in something deeper; it’s something primal.

Picture it: The gentle click of your fresh manicure as it strums up against itself. The sound of your obscene claws going tap-tap-tap against your office desk as your coworkers glower on (they’re mad because they’re jealous… right?). The feeling of pure ecstasy you feel as you #girlboss your sensible-nailed companions into doing up the zip on your dress for you (okay, maybe they’re only doing it because you’re practically useless with the nails on and you’re late for dinner, but still!). The feeling of the fake nail hits every serotonin receptor in your brain, and then some.


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READ: 5 Easy nail art ideas that don’t require professional tools

The appeal is only broadened with the press-on variety. Perfect for the indecisive, press-on nails offer a certain versatility that the acrylic manicure does not. For starters, the market for press-on nails is huge—you can get a wide range of designs (including custom designs from local nail salons and international sellers), which you can then swap out on a whim. Further, as long as you’re not too rough with them, they can be reused many times over. There’s just one drawback—they can be a real (and literal) pain to remove.

Fret not, though—if you’re looking for a way to get your press-ons off with little to no repercussions for your nail health, look no further. Ahead, find our guide to ditching your set without ruining your nails, whether you’ve used adhesive tabs or nail glue:

READHow to perfectly paint your nails every time


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To remove press-on nails attached with adhesive tabs:

1. Use rubbing alcohol around the edges of the nailsBefore you rip your press-ons off willy-nilly, take a breather. Yes, the adhesive tabs are far easier to budge than nail glue, but they can still reap havoc on your nails. Instead of going right in and pulling the nail off, work gently to loosen up the edges with rubbing alcohol.

2. Keep applying rubbing alcohol to the nail while gently shuffling them from side to sideThe idea here is that the more you rock the nail from side to side, the better the alcohol is going to be able to penetrate underneath. This will help to gradually loosen the glue and keep your nail safe.

3. Wipe the back of the press on nail with more alcohol and follow up with some cuticle oilIf you’re keen on using the nail again, make sure you clear off any excess adhesive with another healthy helping of rubbing alcohol. Then, to keep your own nails happy, give it a boost of nourishment with some cuticle oil and, if you’re feeling crazy, a little hand cream. Voila!


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To remove press-on nails attached with nail glue:

1. Wait at least a day, but ideally until your nails have started to loosen themselvesNail glue was made to be a more resilient choice for the press-on gang, so with any luck, your nails will last around two to three weeks. If you’d like to remove them earlier, wait as long as you possibly can as premature removal can cause nail damage. If, however, you’re absolutely desperate, wait at least a day before taking action.

2. Soak your hands in warm, soapy waterThe key to getting your pincers off in good time is a sudsy bath—we’d recommend sticking your mitts in a warm bath for at least five minutes to soften the glue and loosen the nail.

3. Apply any oil to your nail, wiggling the nail from side to side as you goThe key here is to really get the oils between the press-ons and your natural nail, so make sure that you’re really working the oils into your nails. Eventually, the nail should pop off on its own. Bingo!

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