Press-On Toenails: Not Nearly As Ridiculous As You May Think

Don't judge! They're a cute, easy way for those of us with ghastly toenails to wear open-toe shoes with confidence.
Publish date:
July 29, 2013
pedicures, fake nails, press-on nails, broadway nails, imPress, toenails

I haven't worn open-toe shoes to work or on a date even once this summer. Sure, I've thrown on flip-flops to run to the corner bodega, but if there's a chance anyone's going actually look at my toes? Forget it. The closest thing I bought to sandals this season was a strappy Zara pair with a pointy closed toe. I'll deal with saunafeet.

That's because I'm working with this:

As I've mentioned before, I have some pretty gnarly toenails. Genetically, they don't grow very long. Or maybe they do--I don't know, because one of my mindless habits when I'm sitting on my couch is to pick at them. I'm gross, OK? Sorry not sorry (but actually, I'm kind of sorry).

A few years ago, when I was a bridesmaid in a summer wedding, I'd been assigned a pair of silver kitten-heel sandals that all the other bridesmaids loved but that struck fear into whatever part of my brain feels embarrassment about body parts. I was going to have to expose my toenails, and I didn't have enough time to get them long enough for even a professional pedicure to make a difference in their presentability.

That's when I remembered that I'd been sent adhesive toenails: little sorta-square pieces of plastic that came with a tiny bottle of glue. They were French-tip-style--definitely not my personal style--but I applied them the morning of the wedding. Not only did they look convincingly real, but they lasted two more days, even through wearing closed-toe shoes.

I haven't resorted to press-on toenails in the last few years, though, mostly because of that damn French tip. It's the only style I could find! And I have to admit, a little bit of my reluctance was due to peer pressure. At least two Facebook friends have unsolicitedly posted photos of them when they've spotted them at the drugstore, mocking them in the captions for how "trashy" and "gross" they are.

But they're neither, you guys! In fact, they've only gotten better--read: cuter and more convenient--since that bridesmaid gig, which is why, today, I'm giving them another shot, for no reason other than I want to wear open-toe shoes before summer's over.

See, Broadway Nails has come out with the imPRESS Press-On Pedicure. Yes, they come in French tips, but that's not the only style they come in. I was really psyched to see that they come in some great solid colors. I went with Spotlight, a purply fuchsia.

No, I didn't forget to take a picture of the tiny glue bottle. THERE IS NO TINY GLUE BOTTLE. The adhesive is already on the nail! Hooray!

There are 12 different sizes in each package; two of each size. Your best bet is to figure out all of your sizes before you start sticking anything down. You line up the edge with the adhesive tab at the cuticle to see what works.

Once you've got your sizes picked out and lined up, you clean off your toenails with the included cleansing pad.

Then, one at a time, you remove the adhesive peel to expose the stickiness--it can be stubborn, but peeling from the side seems to work best--and carefully line it up with the nail, pressing firmly. I held down for 20 seconds per nail, which was probably excessive, but I'd rather play it safe. You know me, ol' play-it-safe Robin.

In about 15 minutes, my feet looked like this:

If you look carefully, you can see that some of the nails look a bit rough across the top. That because they have little handles to help you apply them, and you wiggle those handles off, leaving an uneven edge sometimes. I probably could've tried filing them, but I was scared that it would make it look worse or start a fire or something.

Besides, unless you're looking directly at my toes from a foot away, it's not really noticeable. I was really pleased with the results, and immediately threw on a pair of open-toe shoes so I could go get an iced coffee. Well, not immediately--it took me a while to find a pair because, hello, I never wear them.

I hope I've changed a few minds about press-on toenails. Have you ever tried them? Have you ever mocked them? Are you ready to apologize?