Best Glue for Press-on Nails (And Other Questions Answered)

Social media photo-sharing websites like Instagram and Pinterest have made nail art more popular than ever.

Often people don’t paint their real nails, but instead glue acrylic or ceramic nails on over top. Another method is to use pre-glued sticky gel nails that attach and bond to your natural fingernails.

These give your nails a longer, more manicured appearance.

Are Glue-On Nails Bad For You?

If done right, and if precautions are followed, glue-on nails are usually harmless.

In some cases nail glue can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, damage and dehydration to your natural fingernails underneath the fake ones, and even fungal infections!

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use glue-on nails if you want to, but it’s very important to follow any safety instructions that come with the glue package.

Never wear fake nails for longer than what the package says, never use a glue bottle that has been tampered with, and visit a salon to have your nails glued on professionally if possible.

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Which glue is the best type though, and what are the risks of using glue for press-on nails?

If you have sensitive skin the best type of glue to go with is something like

Big Bondini Hypo-Allergenic Nail Glue


Big Bondini Hypo-Allergenic Nail Glue .14oz (1 Unit)
This is not always as sticky as other types of glue though.

If you want something super sticky you are better off going with a product like:

Nailene Ultra Quick Nail Glue


Nailene Ultra Quick Nail Glue

Are Glue-on Nails Better Than Acrylic?

It depends on who you ask. Glue-on gel nails are usually cheaper than acrylic or ceramic nails and come pre-packaged with their own sticky bond coated to them. This is so you don’t have to go out and buy a separate glue product.

Pre-glued gel nails can often be cut with nail clippers as well to fit your specific finger size.

Some people swear by acrylic nails because they are fairly durable. This is great if you use your hands a lot for work in rough conditions.

But they are much more expensive than gel nails.

Ceramic nails look great but can be difficult to maintain, and are the most expensive choice to go with.

Usually, ceramic nails are more popular for specific nail art purposes and aren’t intended to be a functional, everyday accessory.

Are Glue-on nails Damaging?

They can be if you don’t maintain them. Glue-on nails should not be worn all the time. They are a temporary accessory.

It’ is important to keep your natural fingernails hydrated (there are hydration products you can buy in the cosmetics section of most pharmacies) and if you have a bad reaction to the glue, you should discontinue wearing them immediately.

There are literally thousands of glue-on nails on the market, and some are cheaper and less sanitary than others.

Always read product reviews and seller information before buying any brand of glue-on nails.

Are Glue-on Nails Safe During Pregnancy?

No studies have been done on whether or not the glue or epoxy on any type or brand of fake nails is safe while pregnant.

There’s a lot of controversy over this, and it may be a personal choice that you wish to make on your own.

If you are pregnant, avoid glues containing harsh chemicals as a safety precaution, and opt instead for more natural products.

You can also buy many nail polishes that promise a “gel effect” or a “ceramic effect”, meant to give your natural fingernails the appearance of being professionally manicured.

Do They Look Tacky?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

There are some people who find fake nails to look kind of tacky and gaudy, but if done right, they can look very nice and realistic.

To avoid a tacky look, don’t overdo the glue, avoid bright, clashing colors and avoid add-ons like fake rhinestones and jewels, unless you’re going to a special event like prom or a birthday party. But remember, it’s your nails and your life, so if you want to experiment and express your creative side, regardless of what other people think, go for it!

You might be able to pull off a whole new style that’s totally unique.

Are Glue-on Nails Waterproof?

Usually no, unfortunately.

When you submerge your hands in water, for example while swimming or doing dishes, your natural nails and fingers will expand from the moisture, and the nail glue will begin to fall apart. Chlorine from swimming pools and saltwater from the beach are especially bad for fake nails.

If you’re required to do household chores, wear rubber gloves to protect your nails. If you’re swimming, you may wish to wait to apply your fake nails until you’re finished at the pool.

Some stick-on nails can be reused, so if you’re a regular swimmer, you may want to buy these ones specifically and remove them while in the water, and then reapply them when you get home.

Are Glue-On Nails Acrylic?

Acrylic nails are formed from plaster-like powder and liquid, which dries and bonds temporarily to your natural nails. Glue-on nails either stick on because they already have a backing of glue, or you can buy glue that comes in a small pot and dries under UV light.

Acrylic nails are not the same as glue-ons, but like glue-ons, they bond to your natural fingernails by way of a sticky substance, which may either be referred to as glue or epoxy.

Because there are so many different nail products on the market, you might want to shop around and choose what you prefer personally.

Avoid stick-on nails from dollar stores and liquidation stores. Often these are mass-produced very cheaply in factories that don’t follow proper safety regulations, and the glue could cause a bad reaction with your skin.

Buy from a trusted salon or pharmacy if possible, and talk to the staff at the cosmetics counter if you have any questions or concerns.

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