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Color Me imPRESSed?

If you follow me on Instagram you are already familiar with my love for weekly manicures. I do my own nails at home because it's cheaper and lasts longer than any professional mani I've ever had. It actually holds a deeper meaning for me as well that someday I hope to share, but I consider it my favorite #metime activity every week.

When a professional gel manicure-loving friend recently raved about the Kiss imPRESS press-on manicure kit - and I mean RAVED - I was intrigued. She claimed they had been on for longer than a week with no signs of wear and none had gotten loose or fallen off even though she had been extra tough on her hands. She had been a skeptic too!

Let me keep this story short for those who have a child calling for them or dinner boiling over - I really, really liked them! They're not an every week manicure product for me, but I will absolutely use them again for trips or other special occasions. Keep reading for a more thorough review and some tips for getting an awesome result (8 days of solid wear) like I did!

I decided a trip to visit family in Texas would be a great excuse to give one of the imPRESS kits a try and create a pretty rigorous testing scenario. I couldn't find an exact match to the kit I purchased online, but the one pictured above is close. My set was called "How I Roll". The kits come with 30 colored nails and 6 accent nails plus all the tools you need for one application.

Although I had a great result, there was one issue I had with the nails that would have been resolved by watching this video because it shares helpful tips that are not covered in the enclosed instructions. From start to finish the imPRESS manicure took me about the same time as my regular at-home manicures (about 30 minutes) minus the dry time. I'm sure subsequent applications would go even faster and a pretty significant portion of the time was spent cutting and filing down the nails after application because I like my nails so short.

I didn't snap a pic as soon as I finished them (it was nearly midnight the night before our trip) but this is a picture from Day 3 of wear. I was finally getting used to the thickness and the feeling of having something on top of my nails by this point. I think this would be a non-issue for anyone used to professional gel manicures because the design is really sleek and non-clunky, it's just a noticeable change from traditional polish..

Finally on Day 8 (above) I decided the nails needed to go because the box states, "Wear beyond 7 days is not recommended," and I'm a rule follower. I'll share tips for removal below, but let me tell you - they might have lasted another week. I had to work much harder than expected to get them off. My nails were not damaged in the removal process or at least not anymore than when my regular polish has started chipping and I start peeling it off. In fact, I think there would have been zero evidence that the imPRESS nails were ever on if I had been more patient with the removal process. Not my strong suit.

Tips for awesome results with the imPRESS press-on manicure:

1. Read all of the instructions enclosed with the kit and watch the video I linked above before you get started. This How To Apply (HTA) page has a lot of helpful information too!

2. Be sure to use your own or the included manicure stick to gently push back your cuticles. Applying the nail along the pushed-back cuticle will mean grow-out is much less obvious.

3. To make picking nail sizes faster, select the correct size for the nails on one hand and then use the little numbers on the underside of the nails to quickly locate the same size for the other hand. Double check those sizes with your second hand and adjust as needed, always sizing down if between sizes.

4. Don't skimp when it comes to "pressing firmly". I don't know how much this contributed to my result, but I took my time and pressed down on each nail in the suggested pattern and held for at least 30-60 seconds. The adhesive technology requires pressure to bond one layer to your nail and one to the fake nail which gives the nails their impressive durability.

5. I did NOT follow the tip about waiting an hour to file my nails. (For the record, this isn't in the enclosed instructions and I hadn't seen the video or HTA page yet.) I also cut my nails with a traditional nail clipper quite a bit before I even started filing. I was worried about this but, again, it was almost midnight and we had an early wake-up for our flight so it was a now-or-never situation.

6. My main issue with the imPRESS nails (that would have been solved if I had found the HTA page sooner) was the residual adhesive on the underside of the nails that was not covered by my natural nail. It balled up and felt like it was catching all kinds of dirt for the first few days and continued "leaking" out to a lesser extent for the first 5 days. The easy fix is to cover this and seal the filed nail edge with clear nail polish. I will definitely use this trick next time.

7. At Day 8 of wear I started to notice my hair getting caught under the edge of some of the nails. I expected they must be loose and removal would be quick and easy. Trying to pull at the corner of the nail told me I might be wrong - they weren't budging. I filled the cap of my nail polish remover bottle with a half inch of the solution and soaked each nail for about 30 seconds. I peeled from the corner of each nail and had to "re-dip" several of the nails to get them fully removed. There was no real damage beyond what I had caused by being impatient and pulling more than I should have. Be patient and continue soaking in remover or scraping with the manicure stick for a damage-free removal.

My nails seemed a little pale immediately after removal but otherwise normal. I haven't painted them since to see if they "felt" any different and I haven't noticed any changes.

I really am so imPRESSed ; ) with this product! I won't use these all the time, but I will definitely use another kit for my cruise later this year. If you want to save some money on a professional gel mani or give your nails a break from the damage of removal these would be a great alternative. The kit is also perfect for anyone who doesn't have the time or budget for a pro job but is also not an at-home mani whiz. Kits in mass retail stores run between $6-7 but stock has been limited anytime I've checked. The website price is $7.99, but there are often promotions (free shipping in March) and a much better selection.

Have you tried these press-on nails yet? Was your result similar to mine?

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