How To Remove Press-On Nails Without Damaging Your Natural Ones

All you need is a kitchen essential you probably already have.

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For nail art aficionados, beauty lovers that just can’t spend hours upon hours at the salon, and everyone in between — press-on nails just so happen to be having their main character moment (Even Kim Kardashian is a fan). And when it comes to natural nail health without ever compromising on maintaining a fresh new set, the major benefits of press-on nails may be enough to make you a convert no matter what your current routine looks like.

Bailey Stanworth — the Canadian-based founder of press-on brand Quickies (and total press-on nail lover herself, of course) — gives Bustle the full scoop on how the understated nail hero is completely life-changing for your wallet, time, and nail health.

How Long Do Press-On Nails Last?

Press-ons are always in sync with the hottest trends, with intricate designs, glazed donut finishes, and classic options for the minimal girlies — but how long do they really last? Stanworth shares: “Typically, press-ons last one to two weeks if applied properly, [and it’s important to] make sure to follow instructions for a lasting mani. Quickies takes you through our five signature steps — and step two is definitely key. [We recommend to] gently buff your natural nails to create texture and grip so the press-ons keep from popping off.”

How To Remove Press-On Nails

For at-home nail polish painters and salon mainstays alike, you all know how time-consuming painting and even removing can be (especially when dealing with ultra-long tips or detailed designs). As for a press-on routine? Not only do you have gorgeous nails in minutes — but the removal process is more pampering than it is damaging. Plus, you probably have everything you need in your kitchen already.

Stanworth explains: “Our glue (and most press-on nail brands’) is designed to dissolve over time, which helps eliminate the risk of damage to your natural nails. The safest way to remove your press-ons once you’re ready for a new set is by soaking your nails in a bowl of warm water with dish soap and olive oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Using [this method] versus acetone will preserve the press-ons so that you can use them again — but if you are done with your set, you can alternatively use acetone or nail polish remover.” Olive oil? Hello, ultimate nail hydration.

“Once your nails have finished soaking, I personally like to press down on the tip of the nail to loosen the base, and from there you can run your nail or [a gentle nail tool] around the base of the press-on, which should pop it right off,” Stanworth continues. “The removal process should feel quite effortless with no intense force to remove the press-ons — never pry your press-ons off as this can cause trauma to your natural nail underneath.”

If it’s taking a bit longer than you would like, be patient and soak just a little bit longer. And you can even give your cuticles and nail beds a little extra T.L.C. with a nourishing salve like Keys Soulcare Comforting Balm ($12; that has hydrating camellia seed oil and shea butter.

The Benefits Of Press-On Nails Are Real

As if the nourishing olive oil removal hack wasn’t reason enough to make the switch — Stanworth breaks down some more benefits to consider: “Press-on nails are a serious game-changer when it comes to saving time and money, [as] you can give yourself an on-trend mani in less than five minutes and for a fraction of the cost that it would be in-salon.”

2023’s press-ons are also more realistic-looking than ever, and Stanworth shared a quick tip for customization: You can always lightly use a nail file around the base of the press-on to be sure it fits your unique nail shape. “Personally, one of my favorite parts of having a press-on manicure is the daily compliments and seeing people’s reactions when they find out they’re press-ons. They’re always shocked at how natural they look.”