You’re rushing to a big event. Your hair, makeup, and nails all look amazing. You’re trying to get there on time, so you cross the road and flag down a cab. You get where you need to go, and the only thing stopping you from being right on time is paying the driver and getting out of the car.
But, as you wrestle with your clutch’s zipper to pull out your wallet, the unthinkable happens: one of your meticulously placed fake nails pops off!
Thoughts start rushing through your mind. Do you leave the nail in the car and get to the party, hoping that nobody notices one of your fingernails is missing? Hoping that nobody realizes you wore press-on nails to an important event?
Or do you pick the nail up off the floor of the car and waste more time running down the street in hopes of finding a drugstore where you can buy some nail glue to save your dignity?
You remember that there’s a drugstore down the street that definitely sells super glue. That’ll be much quicker than running around town looking for a beauty store. And after all, nail glue is not that different from super glue, right?
If this sounds like a bit of a dramatic story, it is. And maybe stuff like that doesn’t happen to you. But if you’ve ever wondered whether super glue can be used as nail glue, you’re not alone. There are lots of situations when you need to put your faux nails on and realize you’re completely out of nail glue.
So, can you use super glue as nail glue? No, you cannot use super glue as nail glue. Although they work similarly and both have strong binding qualities, they are not the same, and you risk the health of your nails if you use the wrong one.
If you’re curious why these types of glue are too different after all, keep reading to find out.
Super Glue Vs. Nail Glue
Although these types of glue have a lot of similarities, they are not the same. The ingredients are different, and the way the glue behaves once it dries is different, too.
Both super glue and nail glue contain the active ingredient cyanoacrylate but super glue contains way more of it, so it’s harsher.
Nail glue has some additives that make it gentler on the nail and the skin around it. These additives include citric acid, hydroxypropyl methacrylate, and polymethyl methacrylate, among others. These ingredients create a safe environment for the nail by adding flexibility, antimicrobial properties, and protection to the nail.
This may be a surprise, but super glue actually doesn’t last as long as nail glue when used on the human body. This is because super glue can weaken pretty quickly when exposed to heat and moisture, which are inevitable on your hands.
Nail glue is usually designed to withstand moisture better and tends to last longer on the fingernails.
Nail glue is usually a bit more expensive than super glue. It can also be harder to find – you have to go to a beauty supply store, drugstore or online store, whereas super glue is widely available at department stores, convenience stores, and even supermarkets.
Nail glue does not damage your nails if you use it correctly. When you remove nail glue, it peels off without taking the top layer of your nail with it.
Super glue can be hard to remove and usually causes damage to the nail surface. Even if you remove super glue gently, there are ingredients in it that are harmful to the body, so wearing it for any amount of time is not recommended.
What Happens If You Use Super Glue On Your Nails?
Below, we will go over some things that you can expect if you use super glue instead of nail glue to attach your fake nails.
The main reason you should never use super glue on your nails is because of how damaging it can be.
Both nail glue and super glue contain the active ingredient cyanoacrylate, which is what gives them that strong binding power and quick drying time.
But that’s where the similarities end. Super glue contains higher levels of cyanoacrylate and contains etching agents that are designed to rough up the surface that the glue is applied to give it a stronger hold.
If you put it on your nail, the surface that’s being “roughed up” is your nailbed. This can lead to a lot of damage that can take months to repair. With the nail surface so damaged, your nails can become soft, brittle, and difficult to grow out.
If the super glue gets on your skin – you guessed it – it can break and damage your skin as well. This can lead to irritation, microscopic cuts, and infections. But that’s just the beginning.
Super glue is known for its powerful hold, so how do you imagine you’ll remove your fake nails when the time comes?
If you used super glue, they won’t be easy to remove. In fact, you’ll probably have to pull and tug to get them off your nail. We’re sure you can imagine how dangerous that can be. In most cases, you will, at the very least, end up pulling off the top layer of your nail.
Soaking your super-glued nails in acetone can help with the removal process, but you’d have to soak them for a very long time to get any traction. Prolonged contact with acetone can damage your nails and cuticles, too.
Nail glue is made specifically to be used on your body. This means that everything – from ingredients to manufacturing conditions – is designed with that in mind.
Ingredients in nail glue are safe for contact with the human body.
There are special additives that protect the nail, handle the body’s natural temperature changes and moisture, and enable the glue to be more flexible so that it moves with your fingernail without causing breakage.
Nail glue is also manufactured in sterile conditions, much like medicinal-grade glue. This ensures that no damaging chemicals, contaminants, or bacteria make their way into it.
Superglue, on the other hand, is not designed to go anywhere near your body. It even has a warning on the packaging that putting it on your skin or anywhere else on your body can be dangerous.
The chemicals within superglue have not been tested on the human body and can cause irritation, allergies, and other harm. It is also not created in a cleanroom environment, meaning it can contain contaminants that are not good for you.
That’s right – if you use super glue to attach a faux nail, expect to lose the faux nail within a day or two. Superglue may seem like an easy emergency solution, but it will likely just lead to more emergencies.
Since super glue does not withstand moisture or a lot of movement, you can’t expect it to hold your nails that well. You will keep discovering that you’ve lost a nail here or there, which can lead you to reapply more superglue and risk your health.
To make matters worse, some nails that go through less movement will have the opposite problem: the fake nail will be holding on for dear life. When the time comes to remove your fake nails, you’ll have a lot of trouble removing some of them if you used super glue.
As previously mentioned, this could lead to more damage to the nail bed and even losing a whole nail. A real nail.
What To Do If You Used Super Glue On Your Nails
If you already used super glue to attach a fake nail, don’t panic. You can take some steps to remove the glue as gently as possible with minimal damage.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Don’t force any of the nails off. Wait for the superglue to weaken naturally and for the nails to fall off on their own. This might mean walking around with mismatched nails for a few days.
- Soak your nails in warm water with soap for 20-30 minutes to soften the nails and help the super glue loosen up.
- If all else fails, you can soak your fingertips in acetone nail polish remover for 15-20 minutes. We do not recommend soaking longer than that because acetone can dry out and damage the skin around your nails.
- If there is any glue left on your nails after you were able to remove the fake nails, gently buff it with a nail file. You can also leave it there for a few days until it naturally falls off.
As you can see, it’s not the end of the world if you do end up using superglue as nail glue, but we definitely don’t recommend it. It’s always better to use glue that is safe for the body and won’t damage your nails.
If you don’t have access to nail glue, it’s better to go without the faux nails than to risk damaging your own.
How Do You Apply Press On Nails Properly?
If you’re just now realizing you have a lot to learn about the wonderful world of fake nails, here’s a great video from Faye In The City On YouTube explaining the best tips and tricks for perfect press-ons!
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