It all started with a 90’s party in Philly. My friend threw a theme party based around our favorite decade, and challenged the guests to come in their best gear. Naturally, I was up for the challenge. I had my high ponytail extensions, pink metallic fanny pack, Reebok hi-tops, and 2-inch press on nails. My nails turned out to be the highlight of the ‘fit. Not only did I not lose a nail all day, when I got home, I couldn’t take them off. I was officially hooked, no pun intended.

Between how expensive a good manicure can cost, the time commitment of getting nails done (and touched up), and the state of my natural nails after all the product buildup, I just can’t commit to a salon regimen. I’m also always trying new nail accessories, polishes, and products, so I don’t want to be tied to any nail look for too long.

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These Kiss Salon Acrylic nails look just as good as salon professional jobs that I’ve gotten. With different shapes and nail lengths, you can vary the look of your nails for the occasion. And if you don’t have tons of time, or a steady enough hand for DIY polish, you can get the pre-painted nails for a few dollars more.

The nails are thin the way I like them without being flimsy, which is the one thing I struggle with when I get acrylic or gel from a salon. I’m always conscious of how bulky the added layers make my nails look. My nails also don’t feel weak when I take off the press on nails because they don’t contain chemicals that strip them of natural oils. With the right glue, they’ll stay on for at least a week (mine stayed for two), and they’re easy to pop off once they’ve gotten enough wear. I’ve tried press on nails in the past and they went horribly wrong, so I’m so happy I stumbled on these. After just a couple of applications I’ve racked up a few tips on how to make them work:

  1. Have a kit on hand when you’re about to apply the nails. It should include a nail file, emery board, nail glue, and polish products if you’re going to paint them yourself.
  2. Get the glue right. Sometimes the glue that comes with the nails is truly for temporary use. If you want longer wear, try super strength glue.
  3. Fit the nails before you glue them on. Think about it like lashes, you always measure before you attach.
  4. Use the emery board to shape the base before you apply to your nail beds. Most of the time you can find nails in the pack that fit perfectly but if it’s not the case, shape them to fit, don’t just settle.

I consider this one of my best manicures because it only cost a few dollars, was easy for me to do one my own from the comfort of home, was quick (I did this before heading to work), and lasted for as long as I need it to. I wouldn’t say this is the very best my nails have ever looked, and clearly my polishing skills still need some work—which is what tools like The Poppy are for. But I’m well on my way to cutting salon manis down to once in a while for special occasions and that makes me and my wallet happy.

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