How To Stop Press On Nails From Falling Off

You're standing at the Starbucks counter, about to pay for your overpriced but oh-so-good morning latte. You reach into your bag to fetch your purse, grab your money and pay the cute barista behind the counter.  As you hand over the cash and flash a subtle grin his way, your eyes drift down to the area your hands are in and are greeted by a single stubby, flesh-coloured nub, nestled in amongst your perfectly manicured talons.  You hurriedly thrust your hand into your pocket, grab your coffee with the other hand, and scurry out of there, cursing your nail glue under your breath as you go.  It's a familiar scenario for most press-on nail wearers, whether it's actually happened to you, or just something you've experienced in your nightmares.

Unfortunately, there's no way to make your nails stay on indefinitely.  No nail extension can ever be truly permanent, (and how boring would that be, anyway.) But if you follow the tips below, it will certainly put some distance between you and the nightmare scenario above!


#1 - File Them

This is number one on the list because it is so important.  If you want the nails to stay on, you need them to fit your nail without touching the cuticle.  If the false nail is touching anything that isn't your nail plate, you will have problems with lifting.  Once you have lifting, it's just a waiting game.  If you've not filed your nails in this way before, or you're not exactly sure you're doing it right, check out this blog post. I think you'll find it very helpful.


#2 - Dehydrate


Removing the natural oils from your nails before applying the false ones will really help, too. This works similarly to buffing the surface of your natural nail, except it won't leave you with paper thin nails after a few uses. I provide prep wipes with all of my nail sets for this purpose, so just wipe your nails after washing your hands, and you're good to go. If you don't have a prep wipe, using pure isopropyl alcohol or pure acetone will also work.  (Don't use nail polish remover, though, even if it's acetone-based. This will have some kind of moisturising agent in it which does the exact opposite.)

#3 - Push Back

This one is kind of tied in with number one, but pushing back and removing your excess cuticle is always a good idea. (Unless you have any kind of wound around your cuticles. Broken skin + cuticle remover = hell.) 

It's surprising just how far down your nail your cuticle can grow, even if you can't see it at first.  To check this, I like to gently run the pointy end of an orange wood stick around my nail, just below the live part of my cuticle. (That's the bit that hurts if you jab it) You'll be surprised how much old dead cuticle starts lifting away.

Removing this excess cuticle is actually really easy, and you don't even need to cut them! With an orange wood stick and a bottle of cuticle remover, it only takes about 5-10 minutes, and doing this once a fortnight should be enough to keep them well maintained.  Just apply the remover to your cuticles, and let it sit for the time specified by the maker (usually a minute or so.)  Then use the flat side of the stick to gently push your cuticles back towards your body.  This should be gentle and completely painless, so if it hurts even a little bit, you're pushing too hard.  You'll notice little blobs of milky gel appearing as you do this, so you'll want to wipe your stick off on some tissue now and then.  Once you've pushed back all of your cuticles, wash your hands thoroughly to remove all trace of the product, trim any hangnails with cuticle nippers, and you're good to go.  

You can get liquid/gel cuticle removers from many different brands, but my favourite is Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover. (a blue/aqua coloured gel - pictured above) It's widely available, very effective, and the gel formula and small nozzle make it very easy to apply.    





#4 - Avoid Water

Not the whole time you're wearing them, obviously.  At some point, your nails will need to make contact with water, *because ewwwwww* but the longer you can leave it after just applying your nails, the more chance your adhesive will have to fully bond.  Rubber gloves and hand sanitizer can be powerful allies here.

And that's it, folks.  Nothing too hard, expensive, or fancy.  Just a few little tips to help those nails stay right where they belong.  I've created a handy little infographic summing up these tips below, so please feel free to save or share it wherever you like. <3


I hope you've found this blog post useful, and I'd love to hear from you about your experience with these tips.  Do you do any of these already?  Have a tip or trick that isn't mentioned here? Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below......


  • Kathie Nell

    Thank you so much, Sarah. I have been wearing the Impress Nails for years and I mostly love them, but I hate when they pop off especially the thumbs. I have very large thumbs and usually, there is only one set that will fit so if those pop off, I am really in trouble. I will try to be more exact in using the wipes and keeping my nails away from water for the first hour or so. I had not thought of anti-bacterial wipes in place of water for that little while, so thanks for that tip as well.

    Be safe.

  • Claire Paquin

    Take charge of nails

  • Crystal m Barker

    thank you

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