For years now, I've longed to be the girl with her nails perfectly done at all times. After going through a phase in college where I gave myself a polish change nearly every other day, I grew tired of constantly caring for my cuticles, and went sans-polish cold turkey, up until the point at which I realized almost everyone around me at work had a fresh, flawless manicure every single week. I envied their great nail game, so I started shelling out money for bi-weekly manis, which, spoiler alert, are expensive — finally, I've found a solution that works for me, which is why I'm bringing you this Masterpiece Nails By KISS review today. Hold for applause.
I know what you're thinking, so let me fess up: Until about three weeks ago, I would've never even dreamt of wearing press-on nails. For some reason, I associated the whole thing with tweens trying to emulate adult manicures, and even though the low price tag was more my speed than that of gel nails every two weeks, I was sure I'd chosen the better option in staying far away from the press-on nail aisle at the drugstore. Admitting that now, I realize I was being stuck up and silly. Lo and behold, this whole time I could've had the fab nails of my dreams for cheap. If I'd only taken a chance!
Really and truly, it wasn't until I tried my first fake nails, the Masterpiece Nails By KISS in "Over The Top" ($12, kissusa.com) that I realized what I'd been missing:
I wish I'd taken a better picture, but you get the gist. These babies were fierce, and suddenly, I started to wonder why I was shelling out $35 plus tip every other week when my natural nails didn't even look this great freshly gelled. My nails are weak, short, and wide, and even with the help of a great nail tech, they never really looked ~amazing~ until I had these fake nails on.
Please enjoy this photo of a Natasha Denona palette I treated myself to, as a way for me to showcase just how short and stubby my natural nails are at all times:
Meh, right? It's okay, I think so, too, so I'm letting you agree without feeling impolite. So when I went from boring fingernails to Cardi B talons with a $12 set of press-ons and some glue? I was over-the-top impressed with the "Over The Top" set, and tons of friends complimented my new nails. While for me personally, it took a little while to get used to having long nails, the products themselves were incredible: They felt comfortable, stayed on perfectly, and when one did start to pop off a week later, all it took was a little of the glue that comes with the kit to have it back in action in seconds. As a beauty writer, I'm constantly using my hands, and while I obviously had to be reasonable, I didn't feel worried that my nails would snap off at any second. With New York Fashion Week right around the corner, I decided I needn't book a manicure appointment to prepare.
Because I knew I'd prefer a shorter nail for running around shows backstage, I decided to try out a different version of the KISS nails, the imPRESS Press-On Manicure ($8, kissusa.com):
I can't find this exact pair online, but the imPRESS Special FX Gel Manicure in "Goal Digger" ($8, kissusa.com) is slightly similar and very fun. This time around, the nails were my perfect length, and they had an adhesive backing, so no need for glue. TBH though, I was sort of scared, and at this point I'd committed myself to a serious relationship with my nail glue, so I put a little dab on each nail as backup. They stayed on like a dream, but when I mentioned this to a KISS Nails expert backstage at the Rebecca Minkoff fashion show, where models all wore KISS manis and pedis, she actually informed me that the adhesive would've be even stronger had I not tried to double up. Duly noted for next time, but they still looked amazing and wore perfectly. Under $10, people!
The third and final trial was where I really hit my stride, and combined the two things I loved most: the glue-on approach and the shorter length:
Third time's the charm, they say, and they mean it. With the ombre Masterpiece Nails By KISS In "Hot Like Fire" ($12, kissusa.com), I took a risk and decided to trim and re-shape them before applying, and used your standard fingernail clipper and nail file to create a shape more similar to that of the shorter imPRESS nails. The result was literal perfection, and from now on, this will be my go-to move when I want the glamour of the Masterpiece Nails with the convenience of the imPRESS length. Out of all three, these were my most-complimented nails, and the ones I was most proud to show off.
Get this: It turns out, I'm not the only one who originally wasn't a believer in the fake nail life. Tons of friends let me know how much they loved my new nails, and virtually all of them were shocked to find out I hadn't gotten acrylics or tips. They couldn't believe I was wearing press-on, drugstore nails, and I couldn't have been happier to tell them! It felty like I was keeping a majorly important secret, and I didnt want others to miss out on having great nails on a budget. I'm not the only one who's hip to the trend, though, as celebs like Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian wear press-on nails for big events, and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even posted an entire tutorial on Instagram Stories in which she applied her go-to imPRESS mani whilst on a train. Iconic.
KISS also did the nails for the Alice + Olivia presentation at New York Fashion Week, and OMG, I wish I could wear this deamy butterfly pair next:
These major butterflies aren't sold in stores, but the brand does actually have an entire imPRESS collaboration with Alice + Olivia, my favorites from which feature the fashion brand's iconic "Stace Face" ($8, impressmanicure.com):
The past few weeks have certainly been a journey in nail discovery, and while I assumed there'd be a few bumps in the road, I have to admit, it was pretty seamless. Each set of nails nails lasted at least a week before showing signs of falling off, and when a nail or two did pop off, a dab of glue had it back in place in seconds. It happens! Prior to trying these out, I held fears of being the girl with half a set of nails, running around frantic for some spares, but this was in fact not the case. In fact, the only place I'll be running is to the store to buy more nails, so I can keep changing up my look.