What can I substitute for nail glue?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for nail glue?” with an in-depth analysis of nail glue, the purpose of nail glue and the possible substitutes for nail glue.

What can I substitute for nail glue?

We can have several substitutes for nail glue which includes nail tabs, gel nail polish, DIY nail glue, and acrylic mixture. Some of these substituted products for nail glue are more durable and long-lasting as compared to nail glue itself.

Substitutes for nail glue

Nail Tabs

Nail tabs are an alternative substitute for nail glue which are considered one of the safest methods for attaching fake nails. Nail tabs are double-sided tape that can be used to press fake nails onto your nails.

Nail tabs are available in different sizes that are comfortable to various nail sizes. But the only drawback with the nail tab is that it is not a long-term glue replacement and is not durable as nail glue. Nail tabs are not hard to touch and are gentle and milder on the nails.

Some pros of nail tabs

  • Very gentle on your nails: Nail tabs are gentle in texture and they do not require any toxic chemical to remove the nails and it also does not damage the plate of nails.
  • Easy to remove: These are very easy to use and can also be easily removed by dipping nails in warm soapy water just for a few minutes.
  • Press-on nails can be recycled: Nail tabs do not harm or damage the press-on nails. So, pressing on nails can be used again.
  • Affordable: These are affordable, that everyone can easily manage.

How nail tabs can be used to glue press on nails

  1. Firstly, prepare the nails for nail tabs. For this purpose, nails should be washed with warm water in which soap should be mixed.
  2. Then, use a cuticle pusher to remove the extra part of the cuticle from the nail.
  3. Then nails should be buffed by using a gentle nail buffer.
  4. The final step is to wipe the nails, this wiping should be done by rubbing acetone or alcohol.
  5. Before applying the nail tabs after prepping the nails allow the nail tabs to attach better to your natural nails.
  6. It is mostly recommended to adhere to the nail tab directly rather than using the press on the nail.
  7. Place the nail tab exactly on that place where you want to attach press on a nail, place the same that it covers the nail exactly.
  8. Then, remove the cover of the nail tab and place the press-on nail onto the nail and firmly grip it for 20 to 30 seconds.
  9. After the whole procedure, gently rub the press on the nail onto the nail that will remove any air bubble between the nail and the press on the nail, and will also eradicate the gap.

The cons of nail tabs

These are not very long-lasting and can last for only 1 to 2 days.

Some brands form bulky nail tabs

Some nail tabs are bulky that can make the press on a nail in a raised form.

Where to get nail tabs?

These are available in cosmetics shops or also online on different websites such as amazon.

Acrylic mixture

The acrylic mixture is another substitute for nail glue which is used to attach fake nails, or to adhere press on nails onto your nails. While using the acrylic mixture, it is suggested to use powder and liquid in both the mixture of acrylic to form acrylic nails.

Acrylics are considered as one of the most durable and also long-term alternatives of nail glue for press-on nails or fake nails.

The pros of using the acrylic nails 

  • These are very durable, which can bear heat, pressure, and also water exposure
  • Once these are applied, they can stay for 3 weeks in good condition.

The cons of using the acrylic nails 

  • Acrylic is hard to glue, it can’t be removed gently from the nails.
  • It also takes some special precautions for removal like we have to dip fingers in acetone for 10 to 15 minutes to remove acrylic nails.
  • It is a more expensive substitute product.
  • It also has some techniques to apply rather than nail glue or nail tabs.

Gel nail polish

In some cases, gel nail polish is also used as an adherent material for fake nails or press-on nails. The only drawback of gel nail polish is that it is more consistent which changes the colour of nail paint.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for nail glue?” with an in-depth analysis of nail glue, the purpose of nail glue and the possible substitutes for nail glue.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.