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3 press-on nail brands that look natural and are a healthy alternative to gel nail polish

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There are lots of reasons to love a gel manicure: It lasts for a while, it dries fast, you can do more complicated designs without the polish getting too thick, and it feels natural. However, gel polish can also weaken your nails and make them feel extremely brittle.

I’m guilty of picking at my nail polish until it’s gone, even with gel. It’s a bad habit, resulting in even worse nails. With that in mind, I started experimenting with press-on nails for the same benefits as a gel polish — and my nails have never been healthier.

Press-on nails have come a long way since your mom’s press-on French manicures from the ’90s. You can buy some with adhesive already on them for the most gentle application, or you can glue them on for more staying power.

The key to making your press-on nails look natural is to find the right shape for your hands. Additionally, you can cut them down and file them to the size and shape you prefer. I have small hands and nail beds, so I always cut mine down to just a bit longer than my regular nail.

That said, some brands are better than others. Check out these three brands that make the best press-on nails, according to someone who’s tried many of them.

1. PAINTLAB Press-On Nails


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PAINTLAB’s press-on nails are unmatched when it comes to trendy designs. You can keep things simple with a colorfully modern French mani or go bolder with a strawberry print, wavy designs, smiley faces and more. Use the included nail glue to apply, and they’ll last up to 14 days.

2. KISS imPRESS Color Nails

Credit: KISS
Credit: KISS

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If you aren’t into designs and applying nail glue seems too difficult, try the KISS imPRESS Color Nails. They come in a range of solid colors, from red and light pink to lavender and blue. However, they also have adhesive already on them. Simply stick them on and go; they’ll last up to seven days. They’re perfect for anyone who wants a natural-looking, salon-worthy manicure in a hurry. The nails are shorter than most brands’ and have a more natural square shape.

3. Lottie London False Nails

Credit: Lottie London
Credit: Lottie London

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This one’s for the girls who want their manicures to stand out. Lottie London, perhaps known more for its colorful makeup, has a line of “false nails” with long shapes and nontraditional designs. Think Tortoiseshell with green accents or abstract swirls. You can apply them with nail glue or adhesive tabs that last up to seven days (each pack includes both).

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