If your formative beauty experiences were anything like ours, then press-on nails (or stick-on nails, or whatever you want to call them) are products that you’ve probably consigned to your teenage, or even pre-teen, days: much like Sun-In and colourful body glitter, they were fun, easy to use but perhaps not the most sophisticated, meaning we’ve since graduated to other manicure options. But just as those other two products appear to be enjoying an unexpected comeback (courtesy of Jen Atkin’s Ouai haircare and Fenty Beauty respectively), press-ons have also had a surprise renaissance - at the Met Gala, of all places.
Let’s start with Kim Kardashian. When a fan account posted a photo of a winged Katy Perry admiring the reality star’s nails at Monday’s event, another replied with the message: ‘I can already hear Kim. “I don’t usually do long nails so I decided to switch it up tonight.”’ Kim herself eventually chimed in (because what better way to recover from the biggest party of the year than by lurking in your Twitter mentions?), explaining that ‘Katy actually flew my nails on her plane over to me from LA,’ and adding that ‘they are just glued on! So had to show her!’ Stick-on nails: so good, they’re worth the private jet treatment, apparently.
Kim wasn’t the only star to opt for stick-ons over, say, Shellac or acrylic extensions. Blake Lively, whose custom Versace gown took over 600 hours to make, gave the trend her seal of approval by wearing fake nails from US drugstore brand Kiss in a deep red shade with a metallic finish.
For Nickie Rhodes-Hill, a session manicurist and celebrity nail technician, the key lies in matching the shape of the false nail to the natural nail. ‘Hold each press-on nail to your natural nail and look left, right, up and down: if you see any of your natural nail, it is too small,’ she says. ‘When applying, dehydrate the surface of the natural nail with an acetone-based product and then apply the adhesive tabs. Elegant Touch do press-on adhesive tabs (£2.65, www.feelunique.com) which can be removed easily if you want a more temporary look.’
When you wish to remove the nails, it’s important to protect the natural nail by taking them off carefully (read: no picking). ‘When removing press on nails, gently apply cuticle oil so that it seeps under the press on nail to the tab,’ Nickie recommends. ‘Then put your hands in a bowl of warm water and gently rock the press ons left to right and up and down: they should release easily.’
Now look back at the best beauty from the Met Gala 2018...
Kerry Washington took the 'heavenly' in this year's exhibition title and ran with it, in terms of both her liquid-gold gown and her beauty look: brushed out curls, eye-catching hair jewellery, subtly sculpted brows and rose pink lips.
For her first Met Gala, American Honey star Sasha added extra drama to her up-do with a silver chain embellishment, while keeping her eye make-up classic in burnished bronze and gold.
What's a Met beauty round-up without a hymn to Blake Lively's latest red carpet look, which is definitive proof that warm, reddish tones needn't be kept to the lips: done subtly, they can look just as good on the lids.
Did we mention we're glad that Emma Stone has reverted to her redhead ways? We're going to reiterate that sentiment all the same, while noting that a super-loose, super-low pony tail is a novel way to style mid-length hair for the red carpet.
There's a lot to take in when it comes to Bella Hadid's latest Met look, but don't let the latex and leather of the main event overshadow the beauty details: the gold clips crowning an intricate up-do, the touch of gold on the lids and the Glossier campaign-worthy skin.
Yes, the beaded coif automatically draws the eye, but so do the '20-style finger waves, the dramatic brows and the berry shade on the lips. A look that's coming to a royal wedding near you? We can only hope...
Jasmine's long floral braid is the Met style we're most likely to try this summer: a 2018 spin on the flower garland, perhaps?
This year's co-host stuck to her preferred red carpet formula when it came to her Met make-up - powerful brows, subtle bronzes on the eyes and an orange-red lip - while wearing her hair in a laidback updo that we'd love to see her wearing more often.
Once again, Gigi proves that outré doesn't always equal effective on the steps of the Met: a more polished version of her go-to California girl beauty look can prove just as head-turning as graphic liner or gothic lips.