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Best nail glue 2023: For at-home manicures or nail emergencies

The best nail glue can keep your false nails on for weeks, saving you an expensive trip to the salon

Everyone loves a nice manicure, but at what cost? Sure, a set of acrylic or gel nails can last months but they are also pretty expensive, not to mention the price of getting them refilled every few weeks. False nails are a great way to get around that, as they are very inexpensive and come in all types of unique designs and shapes. The downfall with press-ons is that they don’t have the same holding power as acrylic or gel – unless, that is, you find the best nail glue for the job.

False nail sets will come with a small tube of nail adhesive, but they usually only hold for a few days at most. However, there are a ton of really great nail glues on the market that can hold your press-ons in place for weeks.

What’s more, nail glue isn’t just for false nails: it can be used for a variety of things, like repairing broken nails, securing nail tips for acrylics, and adding different decorative pieces to a nail design. Whether you just love pretty nails or you’re a professional nail technician, nail glue is an essential product to have in your beauty toolkit.

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How to choose the best nail glue for you

Although most nail glues are made of ethyl cyanoacrylate, they can vary a lot in strength, consistency, application, and longevity. That’s why it’s important to find the right adhesive to meet your manicure expectations.

What features should I look for in a good nail glue?

  • Longevity: How long a nail glue can keep your press-ons attached is the number one priority in terms of things to consider when looking for the best nail glue to buy. Having a nail glue that can last a few weeks or even a couple of months will mean less re-application and not having to worry about your nails lifting or randomly popping off.
  • Strength: Strength goes hand and hand with longevity; although just because a nail glue can last doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the strongest. A strong nail glue will not only last for a longer time, but it can also take the abuse of daily activities, like typing, showering, dishwashing, and exercising.
  • Drying time: Most nail glues tend to dry pretty quickly, but some may have faster setting times than others. Having a quick dry time will prevent you from having to keep the nails pressed, one by one, for minutes at a time, just to make sure they hold. This will allow you to get your manicure done as quickly as possible.

Are all nail glues equally easy to apply?

Other than the performance of a nail glue, there is really one feature that truly sets nail glues apart, and that is their design. The type of bottle and application head can determine how easy the product will be to apply and how long it will last. Given that you want to avoid getting nail glue on your skin, a good applicator can make all the difference.

Squeeze bottle: This type of design has an extended tip that can be really great for precisely placing a drop of glue on a nail tip, but it can come with problems. Glue often gets stuck in the applicator tip, and when exposed to air for too long, the whole tube gets blocked off with dried-up glue, preventing further use. With proper care, this might not always be the case. Some squeeze bottles might be harder to get product out of than others, causing hand fatigue, but this can vary between different brands depending on the flexibility of the plastic.

Brush tip: A lot of nail glues have adopted this design as the brush applicator is really easy to work with, just like nail polish. It also allows you to get a perfectly even coat. The cap can prevent blockages from dried-up glue, but it can come with issues if you aren’t careful, such as the cap getting stuck to the bottle or the brush itself drying up.

How we test nail glue

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. When it comes to nail glue, we apply the product to nails, trying various application options and tracking the long-term quality of the product. Where nail glues are recommended for a particular nail type or use, we test appropriately to ensure we make an accurate recommendation.

We closely follow the product directions and evaluate a product for its overall ease of use, its strength of hold, and the length of time it keeps press-on nails attached. We also note how well the glue keeps nails in place while doing daily activities. Finally, we confirm the size of the product.

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The best nail glue to buy in 2023

1. Elegant Touch Brush-On Nail Glue: The best nail glue overall

Price when reviewed: £2.95 | Check price at Amazon

False nails can be very convenient, but when you can’t get them to stay on for more than a few days, they end up being more hassle than they’re worth. The Elegant Touch Brush-On nail glue is an extremely tough adhesive that allows you to get a perfect manicure that won’t budge – some reviewers were able to get their nails to stay on for up to a month using this nail glue.

The bottle comes with a thin brush applicator which makes it easy to get a nice and even coat, plus the glue only takes just four seconds to dry, making it the perfect adhesive for a last-minute manicure.

It’s also great value: it contains 6 ml of adhesive. That’s enough glue to last for several months and the nice twist-on cap seals tightly to stop it drying out prematurely.

Key specs – Size: 6 ml; Type: Brush

2. MXBON Pro’s Choice Nail Glue: The best nail glue set

Price when reviewed: £4.99 | Check price at Amazon

Professional nail artists or salon owners can go through a ton of nail glue quickly. The same is true for those who wear false nails religiously. For those people, MXBON Pro’s Choice nail glue is a go-to. This product is sold as a set of three 7-gram bottles that will last for ages.

Although this is a very affordable set, it is still high quality. The brush head makes it nice and easy to apply, and the high viscosity keeps the nail tip from sliding around. This consistency also prevents glue from dripping down onto the skin.

Most importantly, this glue is pretty strong, as reviewers found their manicure lasted for up to a week. The formula is even non-toxic and doesn’t have that typical harsh smell.

Key specs – Size: 7 g; Type: Brush

3. NYK1 Nailbond Strong Nail Glue: The best anti-fungal nail glue

Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at Amazon

The NYK1 Nailbond Strong nail glue has a thicker consistency that allows it to have an intense hold that lasts for weeks. Due to its water-resistant formula, the adhesive holds firm through daily showering and dishwashing.

NYK1 supplies clear instructions to help users with easy, effective application, and following these instructions ensures that your false nails will last as long as possible. The glue bottle also has a precise brush to make that whole process even more efficient.

As this glue retains nail extensions so tenaciously, it’s reassuring to note that the anti-fungal formula will keep your nail beds healthy during weeks of wear.

Some reviewers also found that soaking their nails and carefully following the removal process left little to no damage to their real nails, which is great news.

Key specs – Size: 8 ml; Type: Brush

4. AIRRE Extra Strong Nail Glue with Brush Tip: The best nail glue for easy application

Price when reviewed: £5.99 | Check price at Amazon

The AIRRE Extra Strong nail glue is far easier to apply than the standard skinny tubes you might see on cheaper nail glues. The brush applicator makes life easier, and the glue dries in just seconds, so you can stick your nails on and go.

AIRRE supplies a miniature nail file for shaping your natural nails to match the tips. This file is also incredibly helpful in buffing down the nail’s surface to get a good canvas for the adhesive to take hold.

Not only is this glue simple to work with, but once applied, it will keep your manicure intact without any lifting or popping. Some users even had their false nails adhere for up to two weeks, and others praised the mess-free application process.

Key specs – Size: 8 ml; Type: Brush

5. Makartt Nail Glue with Built-In Brush: The best long-lasting nail glue

Price when reviewed: £3.99 | Check price at Amazon

When you put on a pair of false nails, you want to be able to continue with your daily activities without worrying that you’re going to lose a few nails in the process. Unfortunately, a lot of basic nail glues won’t allow that, but not the Makartt nail glue. This adhesive is very durable and reliable, even under a ton of activity.

Many reviewers found that this glue held strong for up to three weeks at a time without any unwanted missing nails or lifting. Some even said that this is the best glue they have tested after multiple failures with other brands.

Although this glue has an extreme hold, users found that with a good soak in some acetone, their false nails came off just fine. The manufacturer does recommend that for the longest wear, users should get rid of any water on the nail beds first and smooth out any air bubbles in the glue.

Key specs – Size: 7 ml; Type: Brush

6. The Edge Nail Glue: The best affordable nail glue

Price when reviewed: £2.97 | Check price at Amazon

False nails can save you a monthly trip to the nail salon, and the Edge nail glue saves you even more money while still getting super long wear. Although the squeeze bottle is smaller than others on the market, some found that the included amount lasted a surprisingly long time.

The adhesive has a low viscosity that spreads easily all over the whole nail, and this aids the process of getting an even coat and clean application. The glue dries very quickly and instantly forms a strong hold to securely bond your nail to the plastic tip of the false nail.

Reviewers were impressed by how long their nails lasted, and some users claimed that The Edge’s formula held firm for two months.

Key specs – Size: 3 g; Type: Squeeze bottle

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