Nail Glue

Nail Glue Alternatives

Now that press-on nails or fake nails have a broader range compared to a few years ago, it’s no wonder it’s getting quite the attention these days.

They’re budget-friendly, easy to apply and have hundreds of designs and shapes to choose from.

If you’re a big fan of doing your nails, then you’ve probably tried on some fun fake nails. 

But with press-on nails, you’d have to use nail glue to attach. 

Now, if you’re reading this, we’re guessing either you’ve run out of nail glue and need to change up your manicure ASAP, or you’re worried about the nail glue containing harsh chemicals or allergens. Either way, you’re probably looking for effective nail glue alternatives. 

Don’t worry; you’re in the right place. A good alternative to nail glue should be safe to apply to your natural nail so that it won’t cause any breakage or damage.  

So follow along as we look into various nail glue alternatives and find out which are the best ones.

What can you use if you have no nail glue?

How do you stick fake nails on without nail glue? Can you use just any glue?

The temptation to use any glue you can find at home may be strong, but using just any glue could leave damaging effects on your nails. 

Think about it, the idea of your fake nails being permanently attached to your natural nails is a very scary thought.

Adhesives like super glue, gorilla glue, eyelash glue, shoe glue, or craft glue are made for different uses. The question is, can they be used as nail glue?

CHECK OUT: Nail glue vs super glue

Alternative to nail glue

Here’s a quick guide to figure out the best fake nail glue alternative:

Alternative to nail glue

Can I use super glue for fake nails? 

Can you use super glue instead of nail glue? The thought probably crossed your mind. But is it actually safe to use super glue on your nails?

Super glue is made for industrial purposes, so it’s more concentrated than nail glue.

They both contain the same main ingredient, cyanoacrylate, but since super glue is not made to be used on your skin, it can cause irritations or dermatitis. 

Plus, super glue is usually manufactured in less sterile conditions, unlike nail glue and medical-grade glue, so there’s a possibility of chemical contaminants that your body can absorb.

Another thing is that super glue sticks better on rough surfaces; that’s why most brands add etching agents to make them work better. This will cause your nails to lose their top layer, making them thinner and visibly damaged. 

Finally, superglue is extremely difficult to remove. Since it’s a concentrated adhesive, you’ll need to soak your nails in acetone for a very long time, making your nails and cuticles dry.

Can I use Gorilla glue for fake nails?

Gorilla glue and super glue may be made for industrial uses, but they differ in their main component.

Gorilla glue is made from moisture-activated polyurethane that expands into materials to stick better. If used for sticking fake nails, it can form air bubbles in between your nails, making it the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to grow.

Gorilla glue is also extremely hard to remove from your nails since it’s meant for heavy-duty use. Their official website does not recommend using acetone to remove Gorilla glue on your nails or skin. 

Also, forcefully ripping out fake nails with dried Gorilla glue could remove your entire natural nail from its nail bed, making the old saying, beauty is pain, really come into your mind. 

Can I use eyelash glue instead of nail glue?

Eyelash glue and nail glue have the same ingredients. So technically, eyelash glue can be used as an alternative for nail glue.

But since fake eyelashes are lighter than fake nails, they don’t need as much adhesive power, so they’re not as concentrated as nail glue. 

When you use eyelash glue for sticking on fake nails, it won’t last as long as when you use nail glue. 

Can I use shoe glue for fake nails?

There are three common types of shoe glues available: urethane, neoprene cement, and super glue. 

Super glue is the most common type of glue available as it dries faster than the other two. 

As mentioned above, super glue can thin out your nails as it contains etching agents. It can also dry out your nails and cuticles as you need to soak them in acetone for an extended period of time to remove fake nails.

Can you use gel polish as nail glue?

Can you use gel polish as nail glue

Finally, a nail glue alternative that’s actually made for nails! 

Gel nail polish may not be the first thing you’ll think of as a nail glue alternative, but it turns out it can actually work. 

Gel nail polish is a special kind of nail polish that contains gel and uses UV or LED light to harden, so it lasts longer than regular nail polishes. 

Who knew you could also use it as a nail glue alternative? The only condition is, the fake or press-on nail color must have light colors or be transparent, as the UV or LED light can’t penetrate through opaque or dark colors.  

If used correctly, gel nail polish can stick your fake nails on for 1-2 weeks.

CHECK OUT: Why is my gel polish sticky

Can you use real glue on fake nails?

Real glue (or the most recognizable craft glue brand, Elmer’s glue) is used for school or craft projects. 

The question is, can you use Elmer’s glue for fake nails? Is it durable enough to keep your fake nails on?

Elmer’s glue can’t attach your fake nails onto your natural nails if used alone. But if it’s mixed with clear nail polish, it can harden into a temporary nail glue. 

You can only use this DIY glue for emergency manicure fixes or for a short period of time, like attending a party, since Elmer’s glue is not designed to stick on your nails.

How do you make homemade nail glue?

How do you make homemade nail glue

If the DIY nail glue we mentioned has piqued your curiosity, then here’s an easy recipe for an emergency nail glue alternative:

You’ll only need 3 things:

  • Clear nail polish
  • White or PVA glue 
  • Empty nail polish bottle


  1. Clean the empty nail polish bottle with soap and water to prevent nail fungus from using dirty containers
  2. Once dried, fill in half of the nail polish bottle with PVA glue
  3. Fill in the top half of the bottle with clear nail polish
  4. Mix the two ingredients using the nail polish brush, or a clean toothpick

And that’s it! An easy temporary nail glue alternative that won’t harm your nails. 

Just make sure to close the bottle if you’re not using it to prevent the mixture from drying up.

CHECK OUT: How to clean underneath acrylic nails

Final Thoughts

Press-on or fake nails are a fun way of adding color or design to your nails without spending a lot of money. 

But sometimes you run out of nail glue, so, no, this doesn’t mean you can use the first glue you see at home. 

Various glues are made for specific purposes, so it’s a good idea to stop and think about whether that glue can cause damage to your nails.

Thankfully, there are nail glue alternatives that are actually effective. Gel nail polish and DIY nail glue are great alternatives, even if it’s only temporary.

It’s still always best to use good quality nail glue, though, to make sure you won’t damage your nails in the long run.

CHECK OUT: How to protect your nails from nail glue

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