Makeup Monday: Testing At-Home Nail Kits

Emma Frankart Henterly

Today’s Makeup Monday post starts just before last Halloween. I was shopping for a cheap nail kit with “talon” nails—that super-sharp, super-long nail trend that was hot for a second last year—to go with my costume.

I picked up two types: A a glue-on variety from a well-known brand and a press-on style that I hadn’t used before. I ultimately went with the glue-ons and was dismayed to find that I had to re-glue three or four of the nails during the course of the evening. Assuming they’d be the same, I left the press-ons in my vanity for a few months.

I’ve always struggled with my nails. I’ve been told I have oily nail beds—a gel manicure lasts an average of three days before it starts chipping and peeling—and I’m pretty rough with my hands. A manicurist once chided me by saying that my nails should be jewels, not tools, and I was so annoyed I never went back. So while I was irritated at having to re-glue my Halloween nails, I wasn’t entirely surprised.

So when I re-discovered the press-on nails in my drawer—they were purple and sharp, from a brand called imPRESS—I decided to pop them on one day, just for fun. Imagine my shock when, five days later, they were still going strong on my hands. 

Since then, I’ve purchased and worn multiple kits ($8 at my local CVS), and I always get compliments. In fact, my favorite pastime while wearing them of late has been watching the astonishment on complimenters’ faces when I tell them where the nails are from; most people can’t believe that my nails aren’t from a salon.

But I think my favorite part of these kits is the removal. Instead of soaking them off in acetone, as one would with acrylics, a gel manicure or glue-on nails, I can just peel them off. No residue, no damage—just a clean nail. 

Most of the kits on the imPRESS website are better suited for everyday wear, an engagement party or a bridal shower (I especially recommend these, these, these, these and these) or for a bachelorette party (I’ve worn and loved both of these), there are a few classic French manicure styles that would be excellent for your actual wedding day (see these and these).

Of course, the accent nails are extraneous; depending on your nail size and shape, you typically can expect to get a full set of nails without the accents, giving the kits even more wearability. 

You can check out the full range of nails on the imPRESS website and the Kiss website; I’ve also seen them locally at CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart.