We all love press-on nails. They are lifesavers when you must make your nails on short notice for an important event. You can install the whole set in under five minutes – without the help of a nail tech. Most importantly, you can recycle press-on nails for years.
But can you pick the right stick-on set for your nails? Unfortunately, many people need help selecting, resulting in visibly over or undersized press-on pieces. This guide explains everything you need to know.
Press-On Nail Sizes: How Do You Size Press-On Nails?
Press-on nails come in packs of 24-30 nails. The 24-30 pieces are of varying widths from 9mm to 18mm. Therefore, you get 10-12 nail sizes depending on the brand.
The easiest way to find the right size for your nails is by measuring the widest part of your nails using a transparent ruler and finding the matching nail sizes from the set.
Do Press-On Nails Come in Different Sizes?
Yes, press-on nails come in different sizes. The sizes are measured in millimeters (mm) at the widest part of the nail. But you don’t have to worry about the sheer number, as each nail is numbered for easy identification.
For instance, some manufacturers number their nails from #1 to #10. Meanwhile, others are numbered #0 to #9. The larger the number, the smaller the nail width, and vice versa.
Each number corresponds to a unique nail size. For instance, #2 nails measure 16 mm at the widest part while #6 nails measure 12 mm. So, your job is to determine the width of the natural nails at the widest part and find a corresponding press-on nail.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to measure all nail sizes. Instead, you only need to measure the little finger or the thumb. Then you can easily pick the remaining nail sizes.
You’re probably wondering how. The reason is that, in many cases, our nail sizes (widths) vary by one millimeter from the widest (thumbnail) to the narrowest (little fingernail).
For instance, if you begin with the little fingernail, pick the next four press-on nail sizes in descending order to complete the set. Say the little finger is #9 (9mm). In that case, #8, #7, #6, and #5 press-on nails complete the set. The reverse is true if starting with the thumb.
The best part is that each pack contains two or more nails of the same size. For instance, you may find three #1s, two #2s, etc. That way, you can choose the best nail shape and length and have extras for rainy days.
What are the Standard Sizes for Press-Ons?
There are two main ways to size press on nails. The first approach is the 0-9 sizing chart, while the other is the 1-10 chart. The 0-9 chart is the most popular.
Here’s what each number in the #0-#9 sizing chart signifies;
#0 = 18mm nails
#1 = 16mm nails
#2 = 15mm nails
#3 = 14mm nails
#4 = 13mm nails
#5 = 12mm nails
#6 = 11mm nails
#7 = 10mm nails
#8 = 9mm nails
#9 = 8mm nails
Most people’s nails fit this standard sizing, making picking fake nails for each hand easy. Unfortunately, a few people have unique nails that don’t fit the standard sizing approach. In that case, consider ordering a custom nail set from a platform like Etsy.
Besides the #0-#9 sizing chart, some manufacturers group press-on nail sizes into small, medium, and large packages. This can be confusing initially. But it’s quite simple.
The size (small, medium, or large) refers to the average size of your hand. Some people have large hands, others medium, and the rest small. A large package provides five large press-on nails, ditto medium, and small false nail sets.
Here’s what to expect from each package;
- Large: 0-4-3-4-7
- Medium: 1-6-4-5-8
- Small: 2-6-5-6-8
The first number is the size of the thumbnail. Then the next is the index fingernail, then the middle finger, ring finger, and little fingernail.
A few press-on nail manufacturers even have extra-small (XS) and extra-large (XL) sets. Where this is the case, each package contains the following nail sizes;
- Extra-Small = 3-6-5-7-9
- Small = 2-6-5-6-9
- Medium = 1-5-4-5-8
- Large = 0-4-3-4-7
- Extra-Large = 0-3-2-4-6
What Press-On Nail Sizes Should I Use?
The easiest way to determine the right size fake nails for you is to measure your nails at the widest part and find false nail kits matching your size.
But be warned that you may find that your nails don’t fit any size. If so, use larger sizes and file them down at the edges. It slows you down a little. But it’s better than buying press-on nails that won’t fit.
Similarly, you may discover several of your nails are the same size. Again, that’s completely fine. The only problem is that you may need to purchase a set with multiple similar-sized nails. Alternatively, order a custom kit.
How to Measure Press-On Nails
You can measure press-on nails in four ways; using a standard press-on nail sizing chart, a DIY sizing kit, scotch tape, or a measuring tape.
How to Use a Professional Sizing Kit
The best way to measure press on nails is by using professional sizing kits supplied by various brands. You can find a nail sizing kit at most salons and beauty shops. Alternatively, order one from your favorite online store.
Professional sizing kits contain all ten nail sizes. Your job is to place each press-on nail against your real nails until you find one that matches. Mark it, then repeat for the rest of the fingers. Then send the list to your supplier.
The supplier will sort all the requested nails and package them nicely for shipment to your address.
How to Create your Own Nail Sizing Kit
You may not have a professional sizing chart. In that case, consider making your own nail sizing kit. It’s a great option for a nail business keen to cut costs.
The first step is to purchase a standard pack of press-on nails. Next, cut a piece of paper or cardboard into a rectangle large enough to mark the nail numbers. Then try out one false nail after another, noting the numbers. Mark the smallest nail #9, and the smallest, #0.
Now you have a DIY nail sizing chart for your manicures. Prepare to file down some press-on nails, given not everyone’s nails perfectly match standard sizes.
How to Measure Nail Sizes Using Scotch Tape
This is another practical solution for DIYers keen to customize their press-on nail shapes. You need scotch tape and a pen. Also, you need a flat working surface such as a tabletop.
First, stick a piece of scotch tape to your nail, holding it firmly to show your shape. Then use the pen to mark the widest part between the first sidewall and the other. Avoid markers as they draw thick lines.
Then take off the tape, lay it flat, and measure the distance between the marks. Alternatively, stick it to a record card. Then mark it appropriately. Repeat for all your nails until you have a complete nail size chart.
Use a Measuring Tape
Finally, you can easily measure your nails using a tape measure to create a custom sizing chart. Again, this is a simple process requiring no tech support.
All you need is a tape measure and somewhere to record your measurements. Use the tape to determine the widest point between the nail edges. Then record the mm reading. Repeat the process for all your nails to complete the set.
Now you can use the recordings to determine the perfect press-on nails. Individuals can use the chart to order press-on nails from home. Similarly, new salons can use them to pick the right nail sizes for customers.
Measuring Press-On Nails Perfectly
Measuring artificial nails is easy. But you better know how to measure them correctly. Otherwise, you may order the wrong nail sizes.
The best approach is to use a tape measure to determine the widest distance between the edges of the press-on nail, measuring at the bottom, not the top. This is very important as measuring from the top gives misleading figures.
Placing the tape measure inside the nail curve on the underside is just as important. Press it down so it curves nicely inside the press-on nail without wrinkles or bumps.
Note that wrinkles increase the measured width, which is longer than the actual width. Then record the measurement in millimeters.
We recommend transparent false nails for this project so you can see what you’re doing more clearly.
The nail length and shape are not critical. But keep it at the back of your mind, given some nail shapes appear larger. For instance, coffin-shaped acrylics appear bigger than their actual sizes.
Matching the false nails to a customer’s natural nails is easy. Again, grab a tape measure and determine the widest distance between the nail edges. Then compare it with your press-on nail chart.
If you can’t find the perfect match, choose the next large size and file it down to match the natural nail.
Press on Nails for Small Nails
The most common way to find the perfect press-on nails for small nails is to measure your nails and order custom press-on pieces. Alternatively, order small-size or extra-small-size kits.
Typically, a small-size press-on nail kit contains #2-6-5-6-8 nails. However, if the merchant has extra-small nails, the small-size package contains #2-6-5-6-9 nails, whereas the extra-small nail package contains #3-6-5-7-9.
Press on Nails for Wide Nail Beds
Standard press-on nail packages contain enough pieces for all sizes, including wide nail beds. However, you can order custom sets or choose a large or extra-large set of press-on pieces for greater comfort.
Large-nail packages contain #0-4-3-4-7 nails. Meanwhile, extra-large nail packages often contain #0-3-2-4-6 nails. These are very large press-on nails suited for wide nail beds.
Press-on nails come in a variety of sizes to suit every unique need. But don’t worry; they arrive in standard kits with 24-30 false nails covering all natural nail sizes.
Alternatively, you can order custom press-on nails to fit your nails perfectly. If so, measure your natural nails at the widest points, then send the figures to the supplier.