Finally Got Up The Nerve to Do My Own Faux Nails!

My daughter-in-law, Nancy, always has the most beautiful, manicured fingernails. They are so pretty, she frequently gets compliments from friends and co-workers. That may not sound too surprising but it’s actually quite an accomplishment because she does them herself with store-bought, faux KISS nails!

The first time I complimented Nancy on her gorgeous nails and she told me she does them, I was in shock. I would never in a million years guess that she hadn’t spent hours and $$$ at the salon. A few times over the past few years she has taken the time to share the details of how she does it and makes them work. There are a few important tips that are crucial to a good outcome.

Have you ever attempted to do your own nails with store-bought nails? I have my nails professionally done maybe 8-10 times a year. It’s usually right before I attend a dressy engagement or sometimes before I’m traveling and just don’t want to have to worry about them during the trip. Because I usually prefer to spend my money on other stuff like handbags, jewelry, perfume, clothes and travel, most of the time I end up just polishing them with a clear polish, my favorite being Dior Nail Glow.

Last night, I finally got up the nerve to try and do my own using Nancy’s tips and suggestions. I didn’t take photos during the process because frankly, I expected my first attempt to be a blooming mess. lol I was shocked when that didn’t happen and they actually turned out half-decent! They turned out well enough I would not be embarrassed to have them seen in public, and that’s saying something!

Below you’ll find a bunch of photos taken in different lighting and at different angles in an attempt to share how they came out. I’ll share Nancy’s tips in between the photos.

When applying these, you’ll follow the general instructions that come with the KISS nails. These shown below were the ones I used for my first time applying them. You’ll find this pink “matte” finish nail available here: KISS Nails. I think I’ll try a shiny finish next time.


Here’s how mine look this morning. I’ve done a bit more shaping with a fingernail file since I took this photo. The nails I purchased came in a “short” length but they were really long to me so I whacked off a good bit. I would never be able to type with them as long as they were. Nancy buys whatever color nails she wants and does the same thing–cuts them down to length she wants.

As you look at these photos, please keep in mind this is the very first time I’ve ever used KISS nails. I expect I’ll get better each time I do it.

How to Use KISS Ready-to-Wear-Gel Nails for a professional salon manicure appearance


After you go through the box of KISS nails and choose which nail best fits each of your fingernails, you’ll lay them all out and prepare them. This is a crucial point for a successful application. Here’s how Nancy prepares her nails and how I did it last night:

  1. Choose which nail best fits each of your nails
  2. Lay them out with the surface facing down so you can put drops of glue on the underside. I’m a dork so I actually drew a little diagram of my left and right hand and placed a nail on each finger so I wouldn’t forget and use the wrong nail on the wrong finger. Ha!
  3. This step is important: Put 2-3 drops of the glue that comes with the nails, on each nail. The thumbs get a few extra drops, Nancy recommends 4-5 drops on each of the thumbnails.
  4. Spread the glue out on the nail with the little cuticle stick that comes in the box of nails, then leave them alone for about 20 minutes. This is a crucial step and one of the reasons Nancy feels her nails stay on for so long. Her nails normally stay on for 3 weeks or more before they start loosening up.

KISS Ready-to-Wear-Gel Nails Tutorial


While you’re letting the glue sit on each nail for about 20 minutes, that’s the time to prep your own nails. You’ll want to very lightly scuff the surface of each of your nails with a fingernail file. You don’t need to be aggressive, a very light scuffing of the surface of the nail will help the glue adhere. Wash your hands well afterward to ensure there’s no dirt/dust on the nail. Dry them well.

After the nails have been sitting for 20 minutes with glue on them, it’s time to start placing them.

Important: Start with the pinky fingers! Do one pinky, then the other. Next, you’ll do your ring fingers on either hand. Next, you’ll do the middle fingers on each hand. What you’re doing here is saving the pointer fingers and thumbs for last since those are needed during this process for pressing the other fingernails in place. If you do them first, you’ll be constantly pressing them against your other fingers which could risk making the nail on those four fingers pop off. So save the pointer fingers and thumbs for last!

My first time using KISS Gel Nails


As you press each nail in place, slide it as close to the cuticle as possible for a finished look. Nancy and I actually push the nail the tiniest bit under the edge of cuticle…not far enough to hurt, just nice and close. You can see a tiny bit of glue residue around this nail. That’s because I was a bit overly generous with the glue and didn’t wipe it away right away when it squished out. lol

After you press the nail in place and have it where you want it, hold it in place for about 30 seconds. Then using the cuticle stick, wipe away any access glue that may have squeezed out from under the tip of each KISS fingernail

You can see a little bit of glue residue around my thumbnail. If you forget to wipe off any access glue and it dries in place, don’t panic. Nancy told me that the glue normally scrapes off easily the next day.

How I Used KISS Ready-to-Wear-Gel Nails


Important: Nancy advises to not do anything strenuous with your nails or get them wet for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours after you’ve finished gluing them on. She feels that’s a big reason why so many people have trouble with faux nails. She doesn’t even cut and file her nails to the size she wants them until the next morning.

On this finger, I think I used a nail that was just slightly too narrow. KISS nails come with a lot of different of sizes in each box…soooo many to choose from! I just used one that was a little too small. It’s only noticeable if you look really close.

Needed a slightly wider KISS Gel Nail


I liked how my ring fingers turned out on each hand the best. The cuticle area seemed to be naturally shaped more like the KISS nails, I think–where some of my other fingers aren’t quite shaped that same way. I don’t know why the nail looks so short in this picture, must be the way I had my finger tilted when I took the photo In person, it appears longer and you don’t really see the tip of my finger.

Get Beautiful Nails using KISS Ready-to-Wear-Gel Nails


As mentioned, Nancy’s nails always stay on for 3-4 weeks. Her nails grow slowly so they look good for a long time. When they do start to grow out, she told me that normally the glue has loosened up a good bit and she can just pop them off. My nails grow pretty fast so I imagine I’ll be ready to pop them off by the 3rd week. I haven’t researched how to get them off if you want them off sooner. Will keep you posted on how the “removal” process goes for mine.

How to Use KISS Ready-to-Wear-Gel Nails for a professional salon manicure appearance


In summary, prep the faux nails as described in this post, then prep your own nails and make sure they are clean and dry.

Start with your pinky fingers and work your way across your hand saving the pointer fingers and thumbs for last.

Don’t get them wet or use them for anything strenuous the evening you do them and try to wait until the next day to cut and file them to the length you want. I didn’t know that part and cut mine last night, but they did okay. I used a lot of glue so that may be why. lol

Also, per Nancy, when you do file them, file them in one direction only. I think she files her’s toward the center of the nail and not away if I’m remembering correctly.

When I visit for Halloween at the end of October, I’ll take photos of her nails and add them to this post. She always wears some really fun nails for each holiday! Oh, wait a minute, I think  I have a photo of some she wore for a previous 4th of July.

Found it! I had posted it on my Instagram account. Are these not adorable?!!! I may have to do something fun for Halloween to surprise my grandsons. I wonder if they ever notice Nancy’s awesome holidays nails? lol


See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday!

Update: Here’s how Nancy’s nails currently look, she just texted over this photo for me. This nude look is available here: Nude Nails. I had purchased these to use while visiting my son/dil this past month, then chickened out and left them with Nancy so she could use them. So glad I finally got up the nerve to try them last night!


Have you ever used the KISS nails or another type of faux nail? Did you like them? Any tips or suggestions…love to hear those!

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  1. Cynthia Blaylock says

    Your new “nails” look great. I’d love to try these because I spend $100 every three weeks for my gel nails and pedicure. But my manicurist has become a good friend and I don’t want to hurt her feelings – or business!!:(

    • Wow, that is a dilemma. I know it’s expensive. It sure is nice to look down and see pretty nails, though. I love it when I get it done, but never like the expense, so I understand, Cynthia.

  2. Your nails look great! I used to do my own faux nails many, many years ago. Then I switched to having them done at the salon. I wish I had known that trick of starting at the pinkies and working toward the thumb when I was doing mine. I don’t do any faux anymore.

  3. I just did mine for the first time last night too! I had admired my young neighbor’s nails, and she told me they were KISS. She told me how to put them on, and I finally got brave enough to try. It was so easy, and so much better and cheaper than going to the salon!

    • It really is easier than you think it’s going to be! So cool that you were doing yours for the first time while I was doing mine for the first time! Love that!

  4. I use the impress version that already have the glue on them. They work great also.

  5. Those look great! Her 4th of July ones are super cute! No, I’ve never used any of those, have only had a few gel manicures and even abandoned that process after a few months.

    • Not only do I dislike the expense, but I hate sitting there having it done. I’d rather be home watching something online. At least when I’m getting a pedicure, I can use my phone to reply to emails, etc… But when you’re getting a manicure, you can’t do anything except just sit there. I think that bothers me as much as the cost. lol

  6. These are great tips! I’ve been using the kiss ones for a while and I love them! I usually get about 8 days of good wear on them but I wear the medium length and they’re pretty long. The only warning I have is to keep an eye out for air pockets as I’ve had water trapped under there before and had discoloration in my natural nail.

  7. Nancy was a great teacher and you nailed it!!!

  8. Oh that’s fascinating, Susan! I’ve never used the full nail like that, but I do my own shellac nails all the time – I have the little light machine – and it’s really great. I’m so interested to know how you like yours after a week or so. They look fabulous! (And so do Nancy’s festive 4th of July nails!) 🙂 Thanks for the tutorial!

    • That’s awesome that you do them at home! How long does it normally take to do your own, Barbara? I’ll try to remember to report back in a post how they are working out. Feel free to remind me in a comment in a few weeks if I forget and don’t mention it in a post.

  9. Brenda Lawrence says

    Your “nails” look great Susan and you did a great job for the first time! I use the Kiss faux nails as well. With my health issues, my nails aren’t always so good. Sometimes I can grow great nails and other times I can’t. This is one of those times I can’t, so I use the Kiss nails. I love them and love how natural they look. They wear well too. I knew about the starting with the pinkies and working your way to the forefinger and thumb, but did not know about the putting the glue on and letting it sit for 20 minutes. Also, you can get Kiss nails in RS=real short, but even they are to long for me as I have such a short nail inset. So I do what you and Nancy do, cut or file them babies down. lol Can’t wait to see your next set! Oh I usually get two weeks out of mine, but I would love to get 3 to 4 weeks out of them. So will be trying that trick. Hugs, Brenda

    • I just discovered they come in Real Short last night. I def need to buy those next time. I will probably still end up cutting them some. I hope I can get at least two weeks from these, longer would be even better. I’m pretty hard on nails though…washing dishes, washing molding, etc… I really need to start wearing gloves now! Thanks, Brenda!

  10. Hi Nancy

    Just saw your post for Kiss Nails and I want to tell you that I have tried them
    but I bought the nails that have the glue already on the nail so much easier
    they stayed on just as long all you do is line up your nails and there is a
    plastic little paper on the back the nail you just pull it off and set your
    nail on you own nail sticks on strong and stays jus t great. Maybe next time
    you will try the stick on. Good Luck I know you will like them also no glue

    • Mary, do those stay on well? I was sure how well they stayed on so would love to know your experience with them. That does sound even easier and no excess glue to worry about. I think I may try a set of those next, just to see how that works. Thanks for any info on that! XXX

      • Sandra D in Joliet says

        I too have used the ImPress Nails (also by KISS). If you follow the directions and really press down as long as they tell you, they lasted about 3 weeks for me also. They really do have a new improved adhesive from the “old” press on nails we used way back. I bought a box of KISS and was afraid of the glue when it’s time to take them off so I’ll be looking for the update. My nails have always been thin, they peel in layers and rip. I don’t bite my nails and I’m so disappointed in them. I’ve tried eating liver, Jell-O, Knox, vitamins for hair and nails. Well after using ImPress for about 4 times (I let my nails breath for a week or two in-between) the last set peeled my top layer of nail off so I quit using them. I don’t think it’s the faux nails, I think it’s my nails-I don’t know what’s wrong but I’m definitely lacking something. Buy one pack and see what you think because they come in fun colors and designs too.

        • Sandra, your nails sound like mine, mine are very thin, too. My natural nails always peel/separate into layers at the tip, too. I once took a really strong Biotin and it initially helped but eventually my body seemed to get used to it and it no longer helped. I’ve tried gelatin and hair/nail vitamins, also. They help initially then it quits working. So frustrating! I’ll try to remember to give an update on how these hold up.

      • Hi Nancy
        I just read your reply to my comment on Kiss Nails. When I gave it a try
        on my nails I was so pleased they lasted 3 weeks when you press the nail
        on your finger you can feel how tight the kiss nail is on your real nail very
        strong I know you will love the nails that already have glue on them and
        once again so easy next time give it a try and when you do your shopping
        pick up a pair the company is-imPRESS One-Step Gel NoGlue Needed.

  11. You did a nice job with the KISS nails, first time or not. Oh love those July 4th nails!

    • Thanks, Mia! Aren’t the 4th of July ones fun! I HAVE to do something like that! Maybe for Halloween I can do a pumpkin or witch design on one nail on each hand. 🙂

  12. Have issues with the glue on my nails, but I sure do like your bracelet.

  13. Come on now, Susan. We all know that artists and decorators have the worst nails (and ballerinas have the worst feet!) Stop this futile pursuit, right now!

  14. I have been using the KISS nails for about a year now. I was amazed at how great they look and how easy to put on. I haven’t tried waiting 20 minutes for the glue to set up but will do that next time. I like a natural nail unless going to something special. I use the KISS Salon Acrylic Nude Nails in the Real Short size. I get them at WalMart. I have found that slipping a piece of dental floss under a loose edge and slowly working it across the nail is a good way to remove them.

    • Thanks for that tip, Cathy! I’ll remember that when it comes time to remove and change to new ones. I’m going to check out all the colors and choices in Wally World and Target over the weekend. I’ll look for the Acrylic Nude ones, too!

  15. You make it look easy. I am going to look for Halloween nails tomorrow

  16. Robin Lambert says

    My nails grow fast. I’m wondering how they look after a couple of weeks. I’d want to fill in the grown out part by my cuticles. Can you polish them?

  17. Kimberly -KKABSHERWRITES says

    I’ve used Kiss nails on and off for years. I used the French nails for my wedding 10 years ago and that seems to be my go to. Mine last about 2 weeks. If needed, I soak them off in nail polish remover with acetone. Enjoy!

  18. Susan, did you cut your natural nails short before applying the KISS nails? The only thing I don’t like is seeing someone’s natural nail on the underside as they move their hands around.

    • They were already short, they never grow out past the end of my finger because as soon as they do, they start to split and peel. So I keep them cut very short. As long as I’m doing the KISS nails I’ll continue to do that each time because they will probably try to grow out under the nails, but I’ll just cut them back each time I redo the nails.

  19. I think you need to find some nails with dinosaurs on them for Halloween for your grandsons when you go visit next! Wouldn’t that be a hoot!

    • That would be a hoot! I think I’ll look to see if I can find some, even if I just did one finger in a dinosaur themed,it would be so much fun!

  20. I get my nails done every two weeks at home in Mexico with a combo of tips and gel. It’s so inexpensive that I wouldn’t bother trying to do it myself plus I’m not good at that sort of thing and besides, with 4 dogs always nosy about what I’m doing it could be a disaster! It only costs about the equivalent of $12.50 every 2 weeks but I can see how these Kiss nails would be a lifesaver for others. You did a great job!

  21. Thanks for sharing. I have a SIL that uses Kiss nails and that is all she uses and they look awesome! I pay to have acrylic put over my real nails and then gel paint about every 3 weeks. Runs into money. Maybe I need to try the KISS nails. Thanks so much. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  22. Looking very good as a first attempt, Susan and Nancy does a marvelous job on hers as well! Years ago when my daughter was getting married I opted for faux acrylic nails to ensure I wouldn’t have to fuss with them. Can’t recall the entire procedure as had them done professionally however a powder was used to sculpt them and they lasted for about two months which was beneficial to me as my dtr. had a destination wedding in the tropics and three weeks later a follow-up celebration for those who couldn’t attend.

    That said; I currently do my own nails that involves the following process: removal of old polish / soak / trim and shape / one clear base coat on entire nail /followup with a natural looking polish on entire nail / two shades lighter of polish only on nail tip / follow-up with the same clear polish on the entire nail. Result; they look fake as I have been asked so many times what brand they are being complimented at the same time … ☺. Do them about every other week. For ‘each’ hand; takes about seven minutes of prep and twenty minutes for application of polishes (drying time included). Application of polishes are the same as you described leaving the pointing finger and thumb until last. For the entire nail — one stroke of the brush in the center with a stroke on each side of it working from the cuticle up to the tip. For the nail tip itself – similar to that used for French Nails with one stroke across in one direction then swept back in the opposite. Seldom experience breakage no matter how hard I am on them as pop the occasional Gelatin Caplet that helps keep them strong.

    As for a list of supplies if interested I use the following: Cutex Nail Polish Removal Pad ‘Swipe & Go’ / Dawn dish washing soap ‘n warm water for soaking / nail scissors (seldom clippers) / standard Emery Board and Cuticle Stick / Salley Hansen ‘Kwik Dry Base and Top Coat / L’Oreal Paris Colors 170 (Honeysuckle) and 150 (In The Buff) .

    Do apologize for being so long-winded and hope you aren’t sorry that you asked … lol! -Brenda-

    • That is so cool that you do your own! My nails are so thin, it’s awful…have been that way my who life. You can just bend them with little effort if I’m able to get them to grow a tiny bit…usually that split in layers. That’s too funny about people thinking yours are fake. Folks just aren’t use to see such awesome real nails! 🙂 Thanks for the list of supplies! You always leave the most helpful, well-thought-out comments, Brenda! Appreciate them so much! XXX

    • Brenda, a great tutorial! I really admire all the gel nails and faux nails on everyone; they look so beautiful and clean. But I’ve always just done my own nails with ordinary nail enamel. Mine are pretty strong, too, but my days of long red “talons” is over! So I’m loving your tutorial on pretty, natural nails. I’ll definitely try it, with your color suggestions.
      Susan, your nails came out magnifique, particularly since this was your first time. A triumph!! In your signature pink!!

  23. I just bought the real short nails in French tip! I can’t wait to try them! I haven’t been to the salon since my twins were born—I have no time! I never thought these fake nails you do yourself would stay on so I’m excited to give this a shot!

  24. Cyndi Raines says

    Great job! Towards the end of fall, when all my gardening is done and I can primp and spend time on my nails, I can get them to look half way decent in time for the holidays and winter, but forget it for spring and summer, just too busy in the yard and having summer fun! This sounds like a fun solution for my weak, splitting nails. Will have to check out Walmart also! Thanks Susan.

  25. Always having soft nails I decided to go to salon nails. In the beginning it was finally nice to have nice nails and it was “treat” to having them done. I had a great nail tech that was good and fast. After moving I had to find a new place. None was as good, I decided that I was wasting time and $$$. After going through the process of growing out my nails after years of salon nails I finally have nails that I can polish. I would like to pass along some things that have helped with this process. Try OPI – Nail Envy original. Follow the directions, I have nails that I now need to cut down. What not to try – American Classics Gelous (sold at Sally Beauty Supply). This stuff wreaked my nails, they were in worse shape than when I took off my salon nails. Peeling, splitting it took months to get them back again, so save your $$$ but save your nails. I also take a collagen supplement that I feel helps both my nails, hair and skin. My next trip to Walmart I will check out the Kiss nails. I think these could be a fast alternative to doing my nails every week. Thanks Susan – love your blog! The castle Irish trip is on my wish list.

    • Thanks so much, Pamela! Appreciate that so much! XXX
      So amazing that you mention the OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener. I ordered that on Amazon right before I tried the KISS nails, so I do have a bottle of it, but I haven’t opened/tried it yet. I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to try the Nail Envy I purchased. I really want to keep doing the KISS nails right now, they just look so good and were so easy to do! You will love the Castle trip…it was amazing! Definitely recommend it!

  26. Hi Susan, my nails are also soft, tend to peel and split. My dermatologist recommended applying “nailtiques” Formula 2 Nail Protein to my nails. It is now available at Walgreen’s in 3 formulas. Formula 2 is for soft problematic nails like ours. There is also a maintenance formula for after your nails improve. Formula 2 is a clear polish and so easy to apply and remove. Have you heard of this product solution or tried it?

  27. Your tutorial on your nails was very informative! They look great! I have to look for these in the store. I love the color too! Right now my hands look as though I am a scrub woman & I was going to make an appointment for a mani & pedi. I may rethink this whole thing!!

  28. Your nails look great! I am so glad you posted a picture of the package. As I was roaming The Dollar Store today, had to do a fast stop and back up! There on a side kick, the side of an end cap for those not into retail logo, was a shipper pack of “kiss Glue On Nails”. They came in different lengths, colors, and designs. I remember seeing them once before and think they came in preglued and ones you glue. All for $1.00. They even sell the nail glue on same display. Different packaging from what you show. Hmm, wonder what the difference is?

  29. Cecilia from Georgia says

    I’m having a Color Street nail party and love how they stay on without chipping or peeling. I have worked in the flower beds, scrubbed dishes, and sanded a piece of furniture and they still look good. Check out the website.

  30. So pretty. I will wait until fall planting ends, as I know I will be digging and getting my hands dirty until October. Hopefully I will remember these tricks for the holidays. Thanks for sharing.

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