I Get Dozens of Compliments on My Manicure, and No One Can Tell They Are $16 Press-Ons

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington
POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

My nails are one of my biggest pain points — they're incredibly weak, making breaks and splits almost a guarantee. I have to keep them painted 24/7 if there's any hope of them growing to a medium length, and even still, it's short-lived before one (usually the index finger) meets its demise. I found myself in a similar situation last week just days before my sister was coming to visit to celebrate her 21st birthday in New York City. Within just 48 hours, I went from having 10 beautiful, natural nails to seven broken ones.

In desperate need of a manicure but no time to visit the nail salon, I dipped into my stash of press-on nails and pulled out a new pack that I had yet to try by Nails of LA.

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

LA-based celebrity manicurist Brittney Boyce (aka Nails of LA on Instagram) founded the brand to give people the ability to get her trendy nail-art designs — as seen on Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly, Shay Mitchell, and more — from the comfort of their own homes. I just so happened to have her entire Hot Girl Summer collection, which features three different designs, so I decided to give them a try.

Press-on nails have come a very long way in recent years, and they just keep getting better and better. For my sister's birthday weekend, I decided to put Nails of LA to the test rather than relying on my usual tried, true, and tested brands. They did not disappoint.

I chose The Realist ($16) design, which features oval-shaped nails with colorful outlined french tips on a neutral nail-polish base. The press-on extension packs include everything you need to apply the manicure at home — a file/buffer, adhesive tabs, nail glue, and 24 nail sizes.

Nails of LA

Step one is to clean, buff, and shape your natural nails. Mine were already bare and cut short, so I buffed the surface and wiped away any filing dust with nail-polish remover. The next step is to find the right nail size for each finger by laying it over your bare nail. The right size should fit perfectly without overlapping. There are tiny numbers on the underside of the nails to make finding the size for your opposite hand easier. I like to lay out my correct sizes in front of me in order of thumb to pinky so I don't get the fingers mixed up.

With all 10 nails selected, it's time to glue them on. I've used both the liquid glue and adhesive glue tabs before (the glue makes for a stronger, longer hold), but for this manicure, I decided to go with the glue tabs. I recommend you start by applying your pinky first and work your way in toward your index finger, repeat on the other hand, and leave your thumbs for last. The adhesive tabs are easy to peel and stick onto your nails (especially if you use tweezers). Then, peel off the plastic coating, line up the fake nail with your cuticle, and press down firmly to adhere it to your nail. The directions recommend you hold it in place for 30 seconds. Once all of the nails were on, I made sure I wasn't too rough with my fingers for the rest of the day to really make sure they stuck.

POPSUGAR Photography | Jessica Harrington

The Nails of LA extensions are beautifully shaped and fit over my nails perfectly, making the manicure extremely natural-looking. The medium-length, oval-shaped tips require no additional shaping after they're applied, which is a major plus if you're in a rush. The nail-art design looked like something I'd get in a salon — except this manicure only cost $16, as opposed to upward of $75.

The entire weekend, people, including my sister, complimented me on my manicure and asked where I got it done. They were shocked when I explained they were press-ons. With the adhesive tabs, the nails lasted the entire weekend plus an additional day for a total of four days before they started to lift a little around the edges; had I used the liquid glue, they probably would have lasted a couple more days.

The Nails of LA press-on extensions blew me away, and I'm already considering buying a refill — the nail-art designs are too cute not to.