Is Nail Glue Same As Super Glue?

You might have heard this “hack” from a Youtube nail guru: replace nail glue with super glue; it’s a lot cheaper.

Indeed, this is an attractive appeal. Still, it is a good idea to check is nail glue the same as super glue? We will give you the answer in this article here. Keep reading to find out. 

Is Nail Glue Same As Super Glue?

Nail glue and super glue have an ingredient in common: cyanoacrylate—an adhesive. But they are not exactly the same. Continue reading to find the details on how they differ.

What Is Super Glue?

Super Glue
Super Glue

Super glue’s industrial name is Cyanoacrylate adhesive. It is a type of ‘instant’ adhesive that works with most common materials, such as plastic, wood, metal, glass, stone, and paper.

Thanks to its versatility, super glue can be used in various applications, including forensics, archery, woodworking, etc. Super glue is also valued for its high strength and ability to bond fast. 

Usually, it comes in liquid or gel forms. The former is great for fixing fractures or cracks and can dry quickly. On the other hand, the latter is best for applications requiring more precision or vertical dispensing because it has a higher viscosity. 

What Is Nail Glue?

Nail glue
Nail glue

Nail glue is like super glue in that its ingredient is cyanoacrylate—an adhesive. However, nail glue has lower concentrations and contains other additives that give it characteristics that are different from super glue (as you will later find out). 

Nail glue is primarily sold for fake nail application. But it can also be found in the market as false eyelash glue. In this case, its chemical makeup is a mix of cyanoacrylate, alcohol, and photo-bonded methacrylate. 

Super Glue vs. Nail Glue

As said above, nail glue is not super glue, however, super glue and nail glue share the same ingredient: cyanoacrylate, which is an adhesive. The difference lies in nail glues’ additives. 

The additives allow nail glues to:

  1. Last longer and deal with moisture better unlike super glue that saps with time when exposed to moisture, 
  2. Be more flexible and less brittle so it is easier to remove from our skin and nails, and will not cause damage, while super glue is tough to remove and can hurt the layers of our skin and nails. 
  3. Avoid causing skin irritation unlike super glue with high levels of cyanoacrylates that are unfriendly for our skin and nails. 

However, with these qualities, nail glues are pricier than super glue across the board. 

Moving on from the question, “Is nail glue and super glue the same?” Let’s answer… 

Is super glue stronger than nail glue?

Not necessarily. Some super glue appears to offer stronger holds because their formulas contain extra components for specific applications. But standard super glue would have the same strength as nail glue. 

Can You Use Super Glue As Nail Glue? 

You can use super glue as nail glue. However, we do not recommend it because it was not made for this particular purpose.

Super glue’s chemical makeup can ruin your nails and initiate allergic reactions on sensitive skin. In addition, it is not tested for use on the human body; you can typically find manufacturers caution to avoid using it on the skin. 

It is best to keep to nail glue while working with fake nails, even if it is a bit more pricey. That being said, it is important to know how to use nail glue and what the best options are. Find these in the following sections! 

What Happens If You Use Super Glue For Fake Nails?

Because of the different chemical makeup, super glue is not always safe on the skin, and it can cause your nails to turn yellow. 

In addition, when you remove the glue by pulling/peeling it off without a solvent, it can tear off the top layer of your nail, causing damage. If this happens repeatedly, your nails can become weak and sensitive. 

According to some users who have tried using super glue as a substitute for nail glue, it can also be temporarily painful if it is applied too close to the cuticles. 

What Can You Use Instead Of Nail Glue For Fake Nails? 

Alternatives include double-sided tape, clear polish, or white glue with a base coat. 

Double-Sided Tape 

Here is how you can use double-sided tape to put on your fake nails: 

  1. Cut a piece of double-sided tape. It should be just slightly bigger than your nail. 
  2. Put the tape on your fake nail, leaving space at the tip. 
  3. Cut the excess tape around your nail carefully. 
  4. Degrease your natural nail using a Q-tip dipped in isopropanol. 
  5. Wait a bit for your natural nail to dry. 
  6. Take off the paper side of the tape; be sure to not touch the revealed adhesive. 
  7. Press-stick the fake nail onto your natural nail and push it tight to secure. 

You can also watch Dani do it in this video here. 

Clear Polish 

Follow these steps to use clear polish for your fake nail application: 

  1. Have clear polish ready. 
  2. Coat a thin layer on your nail. 
  3. Put your fake nail on top of your natural one while the clear polish is still wet.
  4. Hold the fake nail with moderate pressure for 1 to 2 minutes before moving on. 

White Glue with a Base Coat 

Apply your fake nail using white glue with a base coat by following these steps: 

  1. Apply the white glue with a base coat on your nail. 
  2. Press the fake nail on and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. 
  3. Repeat the process for all your fake nails. Let them dry altogether for 5 minutes. 

If you cannot find white glue with a base coat, go with one of these two options: 

  1. Mix your own white glue with a base. 
  2. Apply a base layer first, then white glue while the base layer is still wet. 

DIY Nail Glue 

Another option is to make your own nail glue. 

This should take no more than 10 minutes. Here are the steps to DIY your nail glue: 

  1. First, gather the following materials: a Q-tip, a pair of sharp scissors, 1 cup of PVA glue, 7.4ml of clear nail polish, and a bowl. 
  2. Next, get the Q-tip and cut the end off to turn it into a makeshift stirrer. 
  3. In a bowl, pour 1 cup of PVA glue. It won’t matter if you use white or clear glue. 
  4. In the same bowl, add 7.4ml of clear nail polish. Use a measuring spoon if needed. 
  5. Mix the ingredients using your makeshift stirrer. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes. 
    1. You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl to combine well. 
    2. Make sure you are holding the stirrer by the end with the cotton. 

You can now use this as nail glue! 

You can store any leftover glue in a clean nail polish bottle. Make sure you screw the lid tightly so the glue will not dry out.

It is best to get a new bottle, but if you have old ones lying around that you do not want to waste, soak it in nail polish remover and rinse with water thoroughly to clean it. 

How to Use Nail Glue To Apply Fake Nails 

Stage 1: Prepping your hands and nails 

  1. Clean your hands and nails. Then, dry them. 
  2. Go over them again with polish remover. This ensures the glue won’t bubble or chip. 
  3. Wash your hands again with warm water and soap. 
  4. Fill a small bowl with warm water and soak your nails in it for 5 minutes. 
  5. Dry your hands and nails with a fresh towel. 
  6. Trim your nails with a clipper or pair of nail scissors. Then, file them. 
  7. Push your cuticles back softly using an orange stick. This ensures you will be gluing the nail on your nail and not your skin. 
  8. Buff your nails and wipe off the dust afterward. 

Stage 2: Using the glue with the fake nails 

  1. Dab a drop of glue on the fake nail and one on your natural nail, starting with the nails on your dominant hand. 
  2. Place the nail slightly above your cuticle and press it down softly, slowly. 
  3. Apply pressure for 10 seconds and make sure no bubbling occurs.
  4. Clean any excess glue around the cuticle using a Q-tip. 
  5. Repeat the process for all of your nails. 
Use nail glue to apply fake nails
Use nail glue to apply fake nails

You can also use nail glue to fix a broken or split nail. In this case, simply brush on a coat of glue, let it dry, do a second coat, dry again, and finally, buff it to complete. 

Our Top 5 Nail Glue Picks 

Here are our five favorite nail glues; browse through them and consider adopting one as your own! 

Best For Repairs: Jessica Nail Repair Adhesive Glue

This is the go-to glue for broken or split nails. 

It works like magic in mending breaks and bonding splits on real or fake nails. A bottle is 14.1g and accompanied by a brush for easy and quick application. 

Best For Acrylic Nails: ES Super Strong Nail Glue 

This is a glue designed specifically for acrylic nails. It comes with a built-in brush and in a 7g, 10g, or 15g bottle. You can use it for nail art and nail extensions. It works excellently for both fake nail applications and repairs. 

Best For Press-On Nails: NYK1 Nailbond Strong Nail Glue

This glue is an ultra-strong nail glue recommended by many nail technicians. It is the IT glue for press-on nails and nail stickers. An extra bonus is that its formula is anti-fungal. 

Best For Nail Art: Pinpai 2-in-1 Glue Pen 

This is an innovative 2-in-1 product; one side dispenses glue while the other serves as a decorative gem fixer. It is ideal for intricate, complex nail art, particularly those with the fancy rhinestones. 

Best For Quick-Drying: Ultra Quick Nailene Nail Glue 

As suggested in the name, this nail glue’s best feature is its capability to dry QUICK. The brand claims to dry in less than 5 seconds, and users all over the Internet have attested to this. You will surely appreciate it when you are tight on time but still want nice nails. 

Best For Sensitive Skin: Big Bondini All-Purpose Nail Glue

This glue is a savior for those with sensitive skin and requires a hypoallergenic option. It comes in a 4g bottle, which is enough for some 200 drops. But unfortunately, it does not have a brush applicator. 


How long do glued-on nails last? 

There is no fixed time duration. However, most glued-on nails last up to two weeks. The better you sized, prepped, and glued your fake nails, the longer they will last. 

Can you unharden nail glue? 

Yes, you can. 

If the nail glue is hardened in its bottle, let it sit in a container with hot water for a few minutes to soften up. If it is hardened around your cuticles, use a damp Q-tip or cotton swab to wipe it away. 

How to remove nail glue along with fake nails? 

You can remove nail glue from your nails in two ways: with or without acetone. 

With Acetone:

  1. Clip your nails as short as possible. 
  2. File the fake nails’ glossy surface off. 
  3. Wipe dust off with a dry, fresh cloth. 
  4. Apply petroleum jelly on the skin surrounding the nails. 
  5. Soak a cotton ball or cotton pad in acetone and place it over your nail. Do this one hand and one nail at a time. 
  6. Wrap the nail with the cotton ball/pad on top with a piece of aluminum foil. 
    1. The foil piece should be about 2.5 cm by 25.1 cm.
    2. Do this one hand at a time. 
  7. Remove the foil and cotton balls/pads after 20 minutes. 
  8. Push off the now squishy fake nails with a dry, fresh cloth. 
  9. Buff any excess glue or paint off with a nail file. 
  10. Rinse the nails with water to remove any powder. 

Note: Avoid inhaling the acetone and placing the acetone-soaked balls/pads on wooden or plastic surfaces as it can cause damage. 

Without Acetone: 

  1. Prepare a bowl or basin of warm water and mild hand soap. 
  2. Soak your nails in the bowl or basin for 15 minutes. Make sure that your nails are completely submerged. 
  3. When the glue softens, pry your fake nails off but do not yank them. 
    1. Start from a spot that has already begun to detach. If there aren’t any, try to slip a nail file’s tip under the edges of your fake nail to lift it. 
    2. Re-soak the nail in water if the glue needs to be softened even more. 
  4. File off any remaining glue with a nail buffer.  
  5. Rinse the nails with water to get rid of any persisting powder. 

Alternatively, you can soften up the nail glue with cuticle oils. In this case, you will need to let it soak for several seconds. 

How to take care of your nails after removing nail glue? 

You should wash your hands with soap and warm water, then moisturize your hands and nails with natural skin oil, such as olive oil or almond oil. Try not to wear fake nails again for at least another week so your natural ones can rest and recover. 

How to remove nail glue from the skin? 

Although we try to avoid getting glue on our skin and entangling in a sticky mess, it still happens. Fortunately, removing nail glue from the skin is not complicated. 

There are a few ways you can go about it: 

Method 1 

  1. Soak your hands in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes to loosen the glue. 
  2. Dampen a cotton ball or pad in acetone and press it on the glue area. 
  3. Hold with moderate pressure for approximately 10 minutes. Acetone can sting, so avoid areas of open skin, ie., paper cuts or hangnails.
  4. Brush the glue area gently to remove any glue remnants.
  5. Apply oil or petroleum jelly to the area. This moisturizes your skin and gets rid of any glue residue.

Method 2

  1. Plug up a large basin and fill it with boiled water. 
  2. Place a mini container of acetone-based nail polish remover into the basin. The water should not get into the acetone; this will dilute it. 
  3. Soak your skin in the acetone for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Buff or brush off the glue.
  5. Rub oil or petroleum jelly into the area, and remove any glue remnants. 

In any case, do NOT: 

  • Pull, yank, or forcefully peel nail glue off your skin. 
  • Use acetone on glued skin in the eyelids or the lips. In this case, soak with warm water and consult a doctor. 


Nail glue and super glue both have cyanoacrylate. But they are not exactly the same. For nail purposes like fake nail applications, we do recommend using super glue.

It is best to stick to nail glue. If you need to put on fake nails but cannot get your hands on nail glue, you can consider alternatives, such as double-sided tape, clear polish, white glue with a base coat, or DIY your nail glue. 

Hopefully, you have found this article on is nail glue the same as super glue helpful. Let us know what you thought in the comments below. Leave any questions there as well!


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