10 Things to Know About Applying Fake Nails at Home

Some tips for your tip.

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

No appointment at the nail salon? No problem. If you can apply a coat of polish like the best of them, it’s worthwhile considering expanding your talents to applying fake nails at home. It might sound complicated, but it’s really not. If you’ve ever successfully attempted doing a DIY gel mani, you can apply false nails. Promise. To ensure that your application go smoothly, we’ve rounded some tips about things you need to know before you pick up that nail glue.

1. Find your correct size.

All nails are not the same. Thankfully, lots of manicure kits come with multiple size options so you can get the most realistic look. If you’re a false nails newbie, choose a kit with lots of sizing options until you become familiar with a brand that has the best size for you.

2. Ensure that your own nails are prepped.

Applying false nails starts with your own nails, not the acrylic ones. Make sure you’re not wearing any old polish. You can then file your nails so they’re all roughly the same shape and size.

3. Don’t forget about your cuticles.

Your cuticles may be small, but they’re still an important part of your mani. Gently push them back before you apply your fake nails so they’re properly prepped. However, save the cuticle oil for another time because that could potentially mess up the nail glue securing the falsies properly.

4. Consider the curve of your false nails.

Don’t get so focused on length that you forget about the curve. Some false nails are very straight while others have a curved design. Think about what you want your final look to be and what is going to be the easiest for doing all of your daily activities.

5. Think about the look you want.

Do you want a natural finish or do you want something fun? If you’re craving a bit of pizzazz, try a set of acrylic nails that is painted or already has nail art. It’ll save you so much time.

6. You will probably have to reshape the bottom of the nails.

You know that you have to trim and file the top part of your falsies, but you might not realize that you’ll probably have to do the same thing to the bottom. Everyone’s nail beds are different so no acrylic nail shape is going to fit yours perfectly. Use a nail file and manicure scissors to mold your acrylic nails to mimic your actual nail shape for the most realistic finish.

OPI Crystal Nail File

7. Allow the glue to dry fully.

You spent all that time applying your fake nails, so make sure you give them enough time to “set.” Letting your falsies dry fully is just as important as letting your nail polish dry. 

8. Try to maintain them.

If you applied falsies, don’t completely ignore them until it’s time to take them off. Do a quick check of them in your morning routine to ensure they’re all still adhering properly. It’s much better than having a nail randomly fall off in your lunch or on the subway.

9. You HAVE to remove them properly.

Don’t start ripping off those fake nails because that can damage your own digits. Follow the instructions on the back of your fake nails' package. Some suggest soaking your nails in nail polish remover while others recommend using a product especially designed to remove falsies.

10. Show your nails some TLC when you take off your acrylics.

What you do after you take off your falsies is just as important as your prep work. Show your nails some love by leaving them au naturel for a bit (read: no nail polish) and applying a strengthener and/or cuticle oil.

Essie Cuticle Oil, Apricot


What's your secret to keeping your nails healthy and groomed? Share with us your best tips!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller