Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez loves a red lip (Stila Stay All Day in Beso, to be exact), hoop earrings, and bringing her millions of social-media followers behind-the-scenes on Capitol Hill. Another beauty tip, straight from AOC’s feed to you? Press-on nails. Yes, really!
Early Monday morning, Ocasio-Cortez posted a quick tutorial from her seat on an Amtrak train to Washington, D.C. It came after what she called a “TRAVEL DRAMA day,” in which her flight from LaGuardia Airport was first delayed and later cancelled due to the snow. But congressional votes don’t make exceptions for weather delays; 12 hours later, she was on a train to the capital. It was then, at 12:39 a.m., that she whipped out a box of KISS imPRESS Press-On nails in “So, So Stellar.”
“The trick,” she explained, “is to wait a bit and then file them down to your natural/desired shape. I usually go with plain nails but when I want a little pick me up or if an event is coming I’ll grab these at the drug store. They last for a week!” She also recommended keeping extra nails and glue in your bag for when a nail inevitably betrays you and falls off.
Stephanie Stone, a professional nail artist who works with Constance Wu and Lili Reinhart, agrees with AOC’s take that press-on nails “are not corny anymore.”
“I think there is a time and a place,” she told the Cut. “If you are in a major bind where you NEED to have your nails done in minutes, they are a great option to throw on. A lot of them come with a sticky tab already applied on the back of it so you don’t even need to worry about messy glue.”
In her own work, Stone often reaches for press-on nails “when I want to add a little bit of length or play with nail art I don’t want to leave on for the rest of the week. Rarely can anyone tell it’s a press-on.” But, she warned that they’re not foolproof: “Before using them, really think about if you’re willing to take the risk of one popping off because their easy removal also means they may not be as reliable.”
To help press-on nails last longer, Stone recommends prepping your nails as you would for a polish manicure. “Clean the nail bed of any natural oils before applying, and cut and shape the press-ons to make them look more natural and less plastic,” she explained. As for maintenance throughout the week, Stone had a list of do-nots: “Avoid doing things like picking, pulling, or scratching as this will lift the nail.” She also recommends avoiding oil around your fingertips as it can weaken the glue keeping your nail in place.
But what about when you do finally want to take your nails off? Stone recommends using nail oil or rubbing alcohol to avoid damaging your nails. “They are easy to remove as long as you’ve used a sticky tab, so they won’t harm your nail beds like gels or acrylics,” she points out. The only thing left to discern, then, is how Ocasio-Cortez’s critics will try to weaponize her nails against her before getting flamed out on Twitter.