Can You Put Gel Polish on Press-On Nails?

Press-on nails are considered to be one of the better options when choosing faux nails. Gel polish, popular in more recent years, is fantastic for its flexibility and color variety.

So, imagine you find a set of press-on nails that fit perfectly, but you want to change its design or color to match your skin tone, eyes, or even your outfit! Ideally, you want something firm and almost natural.

So you may ponder the question; “Can you put gel polish on press-on nails?” 

Can You Put Gel Polish on Press-On Nails?

As a general rule, you can put gel polish on press-on nails to give them another look, but the nails must be completely dry before painting to avoid easy chipping. Press-on nails have smooth surfaces that make it difficult for the gel polish to stick to, unlike bare nails. Consequently, most nail salons avoid putting gel polish on press-on nails.

Press-on nails are excellent for saving time and money with several artistic designs available. Yet, people want to showcase their individuality by repainting them with gel polish. It is essential to find out if you can put gel polish on press-on nails and why!

painting gel polish onto press-on nails

Why Put Gel Polish on Press-On Nails?

Press-on nails are designed to make them ready to wear. While some people glue them on without adding anything extra, such as nail polish, gems, or stickers, others experiment with painting them with gel polish. It is the perfect way to explore your nail creativity, especially if you are always unsure what nail type or color to wear. 

Even though press-on nails are made of plastic, you can still cure them under a UV lamp after applying gel polish. Alternatively, you can paint them before gluing them onto your finger. This lets you go all out with your creative nail art designs, as you’re able to use your dominant hand when designing all ten nails! 

Although putting gel polish on press-on nails will not make them harder or chip-resistant beyond the standard two to three weeks, they provide an excellent means of self-expression for those who do not want to grow or groom their natural nails.

Below are a few more reasons for putting gel polish on press-on nails:

1. Gel Polish Gives Press-on Nails a Flawless Finish

Perfection is an essential requirement in the beauty and style industry. As a result, there is a general thought that “if A is good, it can be better.” Even though there are different designs and styles of press-on nails, people tend to be unsatisfied with what is available on the market—they want their nails to look perfect and won’t settle for less. 

So painting press-on nails give you ample choice and endless possibilities in terms of what you can achieve with your nails.

2. Gel Polish On Press-on Nails Enhances your Individuality and Style

Press-on nails are, ultimately, mass-produced and therefore you risk wearing the same nails as everyone around you unless you customize them with nail polish. 

However, for some, nothing adds to self-esteem more than standing out from the crowd. Painting press-on nails are one way to achieve uniqueness and make a statement. By painting your press-on nails, you’ll have a unique design, handmade by you!

3. Press-on Nails Protect Your Natural Nails From UV Rays

Press-on nails do not require the direct treatment of UV rays. Painting your press-on nails and curing them under UV light first, before fixing them onto your natural nails, saves you from keeping your hands under UV rays. 

Also, press-on nails do not contain some of the harmful materials used to make acrylic nails. In contrast, other nail types do not afford the luxury of curing before attaching to your natural nails.

a nail technician putting gel polish onto press-on nails

A Step-by-step Guide To Putting Gel Polish on Press-on Nails

Putting gel polish on press-on nails works the same way as painting your natural nails. The only difference is the attachment of the press-on nails. You can paint your press-on nails before or after gluing them onto your natural nails.

So whether you want to paint before or after, below is an easy step-by-step guide to putting gel polish on press-on nails:

1. Prepare Your Natural Nails

a nail technician cutting the cuticles

To begin, it is essential that you clean your natural nails to remove any dirt.  It is recommended that you cut or trim your nails to your desired length. Then, push back your cuticles and buff the top of your nails. 

This exposes the sub-layer of your natural nails to allow perfect adhesion of the press-on nails. After buffing, clean your nails using a cotton ball dipped in methylated spirit or 90% alcohol.

2. Apply Your Adhesive Measure

Your adhesive measure is an essential ingredient when working with press-on nails. If you want to wear your nails as a temporary fix (fewer than five days), then sticky tapes are appropriate. 

However, if you intend to wear your press-on nails for longer (two weeks), you are better off working with adhesive glue. It is essential to know that the nature of your nail bed (dry or oily) and your lifestyle greatly influence how long your press-on nails last, irrespective of what glue you use.

3. Apply your press-on nails

applying press on nails onto nails

Applying press-on nails is quite different to applying nail polish because they are essentially extensions. The idea behind press-on nails is to add extra length to your own nails. 

As a result, you must be careful to consistently apply your press-on nails at an angle by placing the press-ons up to your cuticle line and using downward pressure to hold them in place. Afterward, you can apply the same pressure to the middle of the nails while pinching the sides. This way, you can secure the press-on nails in proper alignment with your nail bed.

4. File the uneven edges

a nail technician buffing nail polish using a manual nail buffer

After fixing your press-on nails and waiting for them to dry correctly, the next step is to file off the rough edges. This is in preparation for painting with gel polish. 

You should always file from the sides toward the center, adding a little filling and buffing of the nail center to get the perfect nail shape. Buffing also primes the press-on nails so that, when it comes to painting them, the gel polish grips better creating a much better outcome. After filing, you should clean with a 90% alcohol-damp cotton pad.

5. Paint with gel polish

painting gel polish over press-on nails

This is the final step when you use gel polish to alter the press-on nail design and give it your desired taste and color. 

Applying gel polish on press-on nails follows the same procedure as your natural nails, from base coat to color gel polish and finishing with a top coat.

6. Cure under UV Light

uv curing gel polish

After painting your press-on nail base coat, you need to cure it under UV light. Keep in mind that you must cure each coat in between applications.

In case you don’t know how long to cure gel polish, check out my article where I discussed it in depth.

Factors To Consider When Putting Gel Polish On Press-On Nails

Painting press-on nails are more complex than you think. Many of them are made of plastic or gel material and, if you are not careful, you could end up with a messy finish. 

Here are three critical factors to consider when putting gel polish on press-on nails:

1. Consider the Nail Size and Fit

Size and fitting are crucial for a perfect manicure because press-on nails are designed to cover your nail bed entirely. Therefore how each nail fits determines how long the nails will last and how comfortable it feels. As a precaution, you should test each nail before gluing on it. 

Fun Fact: All nail beds are not equal, and if your size falls between press-on nail sizes, the best course of action is to choose a bigger one and file down the nails by the sides to fit your natural size after fixing. 

2. Consider Your Application Style

If you choose to put gel polish on press-on nails, painting them before fixing them makes for an effortless application. Press-on nails are better on clean buffed nails. This way, your nails will last longer and not damage your natural nails. 

Also, you should refrain from pressing the fake nails hard on the glue to avoid spilling from the sides and drying along the cuticle line to give flaky nails.

3. Consider Adhesives and Drying

Whether you work with nail glue or gel, your adhesive is vital when using press-on nails. You should avoid adhesives made from harsh chemicals to preserve your natural nails. Press-ons can air dry after fixing them, but if you put gel polish on them, you will have to use a UV lamp to cure them.

Final Thoughts 

Putting gel polish on press-on nails is a trend to create more nail styles and encourage longer wear. However, you will only have the standard two weeks’ wear. If you use adhesive tabs, you can reuse your press-on nails up to five times because sticky tabs encourage short-term wear.