Review: imPress Gel Press-On Nails

I went looking for a quick and inexpensive way to spruce up my nail situation for a family get-together on Sunday. My nails aren’t in terrible shape, but they’re short, a little brittle (thanks, winter), and in need of some TLC that I simply couldn’t provide during the month of March. Prior to catching my flight, then, I popped into the cosmetics section in my local Walmart and grabbed the least expensive set of fake nails I could find.

I’ve worn fake nails before, and there seems to be little consistency even within brands as to the longevity of the product. Glue provides more seamless wear and ultimately last longer, but it is messy and can cause damage if applied or removed incorrectly. I also find that glue takes forever to clean off the nail. Adhesive pads, meanwhile, are less damaging, but I have yet to find ones that do not leave a gap between the false nail and the real nail. The adhesive wears much more quickly, resulting in shorter wear, but much more user friendly application and removal.

Overall, fake nails are a product I purchase knowing full-well I will get less than a week of wear out of them and have an awkward transition phase where some nails have peeled off while others have held strong. It’s a helpful mentality, since I always have the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of pleasant surprises, imPress Gel Nails held up to my week of travel surprisingly well.

Retailing for just under $9, imPress Gel Nail come with an adhesive pad already fixed to the nail. Application is simple and straightforward: after wiping the nails down with an alcohol swab (provided in the kit), simply peel off the backing on the adhesive and press nails down starting from the centre towards the sides. Always apply thumbs last (a lesson I have learned the hard way many, many times).

I did a little extra prep on my nails since I haven’t taken care of them in a long time. I used some cuticle remover to clean the surface of my nail. I then buffed my nails lightly with a file and swabbed them with alcohol the way I would before a gel manicure. Then I popped on the nails.

Unlike other fake nail brands, imPress all seem to fit small. I like their length, being only slightly longer than my natural nail. However, the nails are quite narrow, especially near the tip, meaning that parts of my natural nail were exposed. They weren’t evident to the casual onlooker, but closer inspection of my nails revealed the artifice. The instruction booklet that came with the kit recommended sizing down; I think this is sound advice, but I would have liked more seamless coverage or a larger style range.

The height of the adhesive varied between my nails: some, particularly the glitter nails, fit seamlessly, and I had no problems running my hands through my hair. However, the other nails sat slightly above my natural nail no matter how hard I pressed, meaning things would get caught on the sides of the adhesive.

That being said, the adhesive itself is one of the strongest I’ve ever worn. The nails did not move after application, even with traveling, showering, excessive moisturizing, the adhesive itself held tight. It was stronger than the actual fake nails themselves, which were more prone to damage. Hell if I could get them off my fingers without acetone though, because even if the nail wasn’t looking pretty, the adhesive was.

It didn’t help that I started picking at the edges of the matte nails late last night. I probably could have gotten my full week of wear if I had any sense of restraint. As it stands, the glitter nails that came as a part of my kit at the only ones currently holding onto my fingers; the matte nails were flimsier and more prone to damage. This is similar to other nail kits I’ve used: rhinestones and glitters tend to require a thicker base, so the false nails supporting them are more durable. They’re also more easy to remove than glitter polishes or gel products designed to hold rhinestones.

For a nail kit I purchased on the fly to see me through a week of travel, one that applied in the wee hours before I left the airport, imPress Gel Nails performed fabulously this week, and I highly recommend them for short-term wear, particularly their glitter nails.

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