The DIY Manicure Set That Lasted Throughout My Three-Week Honeymoon

I have found the perfect manicure. It does not exist in a fancy downtown salon where they serve you a glass of champagne and a hand massage, nor did it come from a dear friend-turned-nail technician who insisted that she only uses organic, cruelty-free products which “make all the difference.” This discovery came when I took matters into my own hands (quite literally) and decided to do my own nails. I’m not talking about using actual polish, where your less dominant hand usually comes out acceptable for polite society but your other should live under a bridge with the trolls; I’m talking about a DIY press-on manicure from the best in town, imPress.

I first discovered imPress when somebody gave me a set as a gift. Packaged in a small rectangular container, I was surprised to find that one package contained 30 individual nails allowing you to create three distinct manicures for less than $10. Yes, less than $10 for all three ready-to-wear manicures. Sit down, take a breath. I know, you’re questioning all the times you spent four times that for a single manicure that chipped after four days. Speaking of chipping, I have never, not once, had any nails chip when using imPress. Not from wearing them at the gym, swimming in the ocean, or washing the unending amount of dishes my husband and I go through on a daily basis. And maybe the best part? I can apply a full manicure in five minutes–including shaping and filing.

The beauty of imPress when compared to other ready-to-wear manicures is that you don’t need to bother with any nail glue when applying. The nails come pre-adhesed, where one layer comes stuck to the nail itself and the other is revealed when you peel off a small piece of plastic from the opposite side which you place on your natural nail much like a super strong sticker. You peel, press, maybe do a quick file (a small filing tool is included in every package you purchase), and you’re set.

imPRESS press-on manicure

Now, I bet you’re asking, what about the damage to your nails? If you’re anything like me, I steered clear of artificial nails my entire twenties because I heard how much they could harm your natural nail beds. Not with this gift from the heavens, my friend. When you’re ready to remove your nails, usually after seven to 10 days as the adhesive begins to wear off and the nail may start to lift in places, you simply use the small wooden tool that comes in every nail set and pop the artificial nail off. You may have some residual glue left behind, but your natural nails will be just fine.

I have been wearing imPress nails for over four years now and their large selection–from single colors to designed patterns–truly lets me dress to any mood or occasion. In fact, I wore imPress’s couture collection to my own wedding last year and they lasted me all the way through my three-week long Italian honeymoon. Because they’re so compact and require nothing additional to apply, I was able to throw them in my carry-on at no risk to luggage space or weight, and swapped out the old set for a new one during our last week of gorging ourselves on homemade pasta and Aperol spritzes.

These press-ons remain my go-to travel prep before any trip and ensure I won’t need to find a salon in a foreign country for touch-ups or risk chipped nails plaguing every travel photo.

It’s a simple thing, feeling good about your nails. But it also feeds into something bigger–feeling confident, prioritizing self care, and putting your best self forward in the world. And while nothing demands you must have fabulous nails in order to have fun in life, for $3 a manicure, why not?

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