How to Avoid Air Bubbles When Applying Press-on Nails

October 06, 2023
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
A box of press-on nails and nail glue on a blue and pink background

There’s nothing better than a manicure that looks fresh from the salon, especially one that is a fraction of the usual price — hence, our obsession with press-on nails. From classic French tips to elaborate mermaidcore and chrome designs, you can find press-on nails in almost any style you can dream of nowadays. 

Once you decide on a set you love, however, it can be tricky to know how to apply the nails. During application, you might notice small air bubbles start to form. These can happen for a lot of reasons, but most often they’re due to not using the correct nail size, skimping on glue, or pressing down too hard on the nail, says Ann McFerran, CEO and co-founder of Glamnetic. “Air bubbles are not only unattractive, but can make the nails fall off sooner and can trap unwanted moisture,” McFerran explains. Below, the pro shares how to apply press-on nails and avoid pesky air bubbles.

How to Prevent Air Bubbles When Applying Press-on Nails

Clean Your Nails

Similar to how you apply primer under makeup for a smoother base, you’ll also want to prep your nails for press-on application. Clean and dry your nails thoroughly before you start the process, making sure they are free of any oils or residue that could prevent the press-ons from adhering.

Pick the Correct Size Nail

Most press-on sets, including the Glamnetic kit pictured below, come with more than just 10 nail options, so that you can experiment with different sizes to find your ideal fit. “You can find a number to help with nail sizing under the tips of our Glamnetic Press-ons,” says McFerran. Apply a small dot of glue to the nail and allow it to get slightly tacky before you apply.

Glamnetic Press-ons

Apply at an Angle

“Applying at an angle can also prevent any air bubbles from getting trapped under the nail,” says McFerran. “It is important to apply the nail starting at the cuticle at a 45-degree angle and pressing downward until it lays flat on your nail beds.” 

Don’t worry if you don’t apply your nails perfectly on the first try— if you start to notice air bubbles, it’s best to gently remove the press-on (you can use the Glamnetic Press-On Nail Remover to thoroughly dissolve the glue). “Rinse, dry your hands and prep your nails as instructed prior to re-applying a new press-on nail,” says McFerran.

Once you’ve mastered your press-on application, give your nails that salon-worthy sheen and moisture with a drop of cuticle oil, like the Essie On a Roll Apricot Cuticle Oil.

Essie On a Roll Apricot Cuticle Oil
Photo: Getty Images

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