How to Apply Fake Nails at Home

There are so many types of artificial nail kits to choose from, but if you are new to applying fake nailsВ don't try to use acrylic or gel home kits. Instead start with the easiest ones and when you have tackled the basics then you can progress. Start with nails that already have shape that you can simply just glue on. This will enable you to have a full set of nails right away without having to shape them yourself.В There are several artificial nail kits you can purchase, and when shopping for them, be sure to look for shape, color, and length when looking for the right ones to invest in.В

What You'll Need

  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Cotton pads
  • Q-Tips
  • Orange stick
  • Pack of nails (*pack should include buffer and glue)
  • Nail buffer*
  • Glue* (Use nail glue only)
  • Scissors (In case you need to cut back the top of the glue)

NOTE: Don't apply fake nailsВ immediately after a manicure-wait at least 24 hours, as oils in the skin will cause your fake nails to lift off.


  1. Wash your hands and pay particular attention to drying nails and cuticles, you want to make sure that everything around the nail bed is completely dry.В
  2. Clean off any nail polishВ and give your nails a wipe over with the acetone-free polish remover to ensure there are no oils, natural or otherwise on the surface of your nail. This is to ensure that the glueВ lasts and doesn't bubble up or chip.
  3. Remove the fake nails from the pack and arrange which nail is going to be suitable for which finger. If you arrange the appropriate shapes first, then it will make things easier once you're applying them to already have the artificial nails set up.В
  4. Clip your natural nailВ down close to the finger tip. Keeping a short shape won't interfere with the artificial nail you're about to apply.
  5. Buff the surface of the natural nail to roughen it, this makes the fake nails adhere better.
  6. Very gently push your cuticles back using the orange stick. If your cuticles are sensitive, be sure to push them back slowly, going too fast can cut them and you won't be able to continue applying the artificial nails.В
  7. Apply the nails to your dominant hand first, e.g. if you are left-handed apply to left hand first. The reason for this is, your dominant hand has the most control, and makes it much easier to apply to the second hand.
  8. Put a dot of glue on to the fake nail and one on the real nail-try to avoid over-gluing. A very small drop is all that you need, because once it hits a flat surface it will expand.
  9. Place the fake nail just above cuticle (keep it straight as you don't want any crooked looking nails) and then press down onto nail bed. Keep pressure applied for 10 seconds to ensure no air bubbles are present before you go on to the next one.В This step is really important because if the fake nail is not secure to the nail bed, moisture will get in underneath and cause lifting or nail fungus.
  10. Take a Q-Tip and wipe around the cuticle to take up any glue that has seeped out from under the fake nail.


Fake nails can't really be reused if you mess up, so you want to be sure that you apply them accurately and precisely. If the application isn't pristine the first time, the glueВ that you have put on the underside will harden and prevent a smooth adhesion.

Keep the top of the nail glue as clean as you can (remember if you wipe it with soft tissue the tissue will stick) and keep the bottle upright so you can reuse.