top of page
  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

Press-Ons or Salon Nails: Here's the Rundown

By Aubrey Cline


When it comes to achieving beautiful, well-manicured nails, there are various options to choose from. Two popular choices are press-on nails and salon nails. Each has advantages and drawbacks, and deciding between the two is a matter of personal preference. 


I used to go to a salon every 2 weeks for a nail appointment. Now, as a broke college student, I use press-on nails frequently, and they are super low maintenance, affordable, and have the cutest styles to choose from. In this blog post, we'll break down each nail type, its pros and cons, and how I achieve my nail care. 



Salon Nails 

Salon nails are often called acrylic or gel nails and are artificial extensions or enhancements applied to the natural nails. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, offering a wide range of possibilities for personalization. The process typically involves visiting a nail salon, where a trained nail technician will apply the extensions, shape them, and finish with a polish or nail art.


Advantages of Salon Nails 

1. Enhanced Aesthetics: Salon nails instantly elevate your overall appearance. They provide a polished, put-together look that can boost your confidence and complement your style. 

2. Durability: Unlike natural nails, which can chip and break easily, salon nails tend to be more durable. They can withstand daily wear and tear, making them a long-lasting option. 

3. Quick Fixes: For those with brittle or short natural nails, salon nails can be a quick fix. They can instantly add length and strength to your nails, allowing you to achieve the desired look. 


Drawbacks of Salon Nails 

Maintaining salon nails can be expensive. Frequent touch-ups and removals add up over time, making it a financial commitment. There is also a possibility of potential damage to your natural nail if not applied, removed, or taken care of correctly. The salon nail look may be difficult to achieve at home, which is why people may pay the price for a nail service as such. 




Press-On Nails 

Press-on nails have come a long way from the flimsy, plastic options of the past. Modern press-on nails are designed to be a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional salon nails.


Advantages of Press-On Nails

1. Affordability: One of the biggest advantages of press-on nails is their cost-effectiveness. They are a budget-friendly option for those looking to achieve salon-like results without breaking the bank. 

2. Convenience: Press-on nails are incredibly convenient. You can apply them at home, saving you time and eliminating the need for salon appointments. They are also ideal for special occasions when you need a quick nail makeover. 

3. No Damage: Press-on nails do not require any harsh chemicals or drilling so that they won't damage your natural nails. This makes them a great choice when wanting to maintain the health of your nails. 

4. Variety: Press-on nails come in various styles, colors, and designs, allowing you to switch up your look as often as you like without commitment. 


Drawbacks of Press-On Nails

While press-on nails can last several days, they are less durable than salon nails. They may pop off or show signs of wear and tear sooner, especially if not applied correctly. Achieving a flawless application of press-on nails can be tricky, and it may take some practice to get it right. If not applied correctly, they can look unnatural or fall off prematurely. 

I have cracked the code to applying my press-ons- having them last for about 2 ½ weeks, which is around the same time you might need to get a nail balance or a new set at the nail salon. 


My tips and tricks for applying press-ons are:

- Always ensure your nails/cuticles are clean and nicely trimmed before prepping your press-on nails. Make sure to constantly push back the cuticle or get cuticle remover cream to help your press-ons look natural. 

- Prepare your natural nails by buffing the nail bed frequently. 

- In between buffing, dehydrate your nails with 100% acetone nail polish - During this whole process, do not touch your natural nail bed with your fingers. The oils from your fingertips will make the nail bed slippery and will likely not adhere to the nail glue well. 

- To apply your nails, start with a thin coat of nail glue on the natural nail and a small dot of nail glue on the press-on nail. Make sure you push back the cuticle just enough with

the press-on the nail and lay the nail down into your nail bed at a 90-degree angle. This ensures that there are no air bubbles under the nail. 



In the press-on nails vs. salon nails debate, the choice ultimately comes down to your preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Press-on nails offer convenience, affordability, and versatility, making them an excellent option for quick transformations and occasional use. On the other hand, salon nails provide long-lasting, professionally finished nails but come with a higher price tag and the potential for natural nail damage. 


Consider your means of understanding convenience, affordability, and versatility with these two nail options. You can always experiment with both to see which option suits you best!


4 views0 comments
bottom of page