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Press-on nails are back, but they’re not what you remember

Press-on nails are back, but they’re not what you remember
New press-on nail options are a far cry from the cheap, fake-looking and flimsy options of the 80s and 90s.

Nail polish lovers have been lucky over the last decade or so.

Traditional polish formulas now last longer than ever and come in a kaleidoscope of shades and the advent of light-cured gel polish means a manicure can last weeks rather than days. Acrylic services can also extend your nail length well beyond what you naturally grow.

These approaches have their upsides, but they have their downsides too. Traditional polish chips and acrylics can damage natural nails underneath and there have been concerns around the health implications of UV lamps and chemicals used in gel manis.

Enter a third option that began reemerging during pandemic lockdowns when we couldn’t access a nail salon, but still wanted the perfected look: Press-on nail sets.

Les Tomes Press On Nails
Les Tomes nails are subtle, with modern colour options

Press-on nails first turned up in the eighties with gaudy colours and ill-fitting designs, but given their cheap plastic-y feel and tendency to flick off at the worst possible moment, didn’t last as a realistic manicure option.

Now, they are experiencing a renaissance with those that want a perfected look without hours in a salon, and the ability to change up a colour and style with ease.

They are now made from better materials that look realistic on and feel strong but flexible.  Colours are much more in line with those you can get in a bottle and tip shapes make indulging in a long, pointy or oval nails something you can wear when it suits, say a weekend or special event.

Celebrities are also in favour, wearing the short-term tips for dramatic effect.

Helping bring some credibility to the press-on nail game is Aucklander Sarah Johnston’s new brand Les Tomes. Offering a collection of full nail sets in modern colours and shapes, contained in vegan croc leather packaging, there are over 20 styles of different lengths, most of them a solid colour you might buy in a bottle.

Johnston says using the brand’s adhesive nail tabs, the nails are applied at home can be worn for 2-3 days. With care and the use of the brand’s nail glue, they can last for 2-3 weeks.

Removing them involves soaking them in water warm water, olive oil and hand soap before lifting off. Any sticky residue can be buffed away.

We spoke to Johnston about why press-on nails are a great DIY beauty option:

What inspired you to offer press-on nails?

Les Tomes started as a conversation about press-on nails lacking style and quality, all housed in basic throw-away packaging. We wanted to cut through the clutter and create an elevated everyday collection that you could trust. Seamlessly blending a low-key timeless aesthetic with a touch of luxury for the stylish professional.

Do you agree there has been a bit of a stigma around them? 

Some people still might perceive press-on nails as a ‘cheap’ alternative to salon acrylic nails. Les Tomes is a new brand designed to cater to individuals who appreciate convenience without compromising on style and quality.

Cheap brands are often to blame for bad experiences. The most common question we get is ‘will they last as long as salon nails?’ Les Tomes nails aim to win back the trust, showing customers press-on nails not only last just as long as salon nails, but also save you money, time and are non-damaging to your natural nails.
What makes these different from what’s already out there?

We pride ourselves on using the highest quality materials to create better-performing nails that do not chip or break and with strong-holding long-lasting glue.

Les Tomes sits at the intersection of elevation and innovation with our signature vegan leather packaging. Designed with intention to compliment your style and keep in your handbag for on-the-go adjustments. Grounded in an ethos of sustainability, our pouches can be refilled over and over again or repurposed as a wallet, jewellery or beauty travel case.

What are your favourite styles?

We have been wearing Peach Chrome on repeat. A peachy nude with an iridescent shimmer. Also Crème Nue, Grey Amethyst and Cashmere all add length, complement any outfit and are shaped for an elegant elongating feeling.

Is there a nail trend you think will be big this year?

We are loving the cream/beige tone trend and think the natural neutrals will continue to shine.
Images: Les Tomes / Supplied


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