This Is Your Sign to Get Acrylic Nails (2024)

Claws and Q&As.

By Tatjana Freund
This Is Your Sign to Get Acrylic Nails (1)

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For a long time, I diligently applied nail strengtheners to my brittle nails in the hope that they would grow long and strong. When that didn’t make an immediate different, I focused on press-on nails to give me an instant mani. Finally, it hit me: all those long-nailed inspo pics I saved on my Pinterest weren’t natural–the models had acrylic nails.

What are acrylic nails?

“Acrylic nails are a type of nail enhancement, specifically a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that form a paste that is bonded to the natural nail. When combined, they harden on their own to create the enhancement,” says NYC-based nail artist Julie K. A great set of acrylic nails can last around a month, depending on your personal rate of nail growth. And while they will cost more than a typical mani, it also means you get more bang for your buck.

How are acrylic nails applied?

“When getting acrylics, the nail technician will prep your nails, manicure, push everything back then lightly remove the shine from your nail,” instructs Julie K. “When the technician removes the shine, it is crucial to try not to remove it too rough. Instead, it should be removed on a light to medium level for the product to stick. The nail technician will then either apply a plastic tip using nail adhesive or use a form to build the acrylic on top of it. It then takes about three minutes for the actual product to cure. You can tell when it’s cured if you can hear it tap. After three minutes, then it’s okay to file and then polish. One important thing to note is that acrylic shrinks slightly over the next 24 hours as it’s finishing to hardening. It is normal for your acrylic nails to feel a little bit tight for the next 24 hours as it does that.”

In my personal experience, it takes roughly an hour in the salon, but the timing also depends on what you’re walking in with. If you need a set of acrylic tips to be removed, the process may take longer.

What is aftercare like?

“When considering aftercare, any nail enhancement needs cuticle oil to keep the skin and everything supple,” adds Julie K. “I recommend CND SOLAROIL because [it] is designed to absorb liquid and powder enhancement. The oil prevents the nail from lifting and chipping when applied to the surface of the nail. I also recommend applying the oil under the free edge of the nail because it keeps the natural nail hydrated so that it doesn’t curl away from the enhancement, which is why most people get lifting from the corners because the nail is curling in. After all, they’re dry. Using cuticle oil prevents that.” Still searching for your favorite product? Check out our list of must-have cuticle oils.

How do you remove acrylic nails?

“The safest way to remove an acrylic or dip manicure at home is by using what I call the ‘soak and roll’ method,” says Julie K. These are the tools you will need:

  • 100 percent Pure Acetone
  • 2-3 coarse nail files (100/180 grit)
  • 1 padded buffer
  • 1-2 orangewood sticks
  • 1 medium-grit nail file (220/320 grit)
  • 1 fine grit nail file (400/600 grit)
  • Cuticle oil
  • A glass or ceramic bowl (never plastic!)

Next, follow these steps:

  1. First, soften the edge of your coarse files by rubbing them on the side of another coarse nail file so that you don’t cut your cuticles.
  2. Using the coarse, 100, or 180 grit file, file as much of the product off as you can–about 80 percent. This is important because it cuts down soaking time significantly. (Expert tip: leaving the surface extra rough will allow the acetone to penetrate easier. Also, never clip your enhancements because they will crack and cause damage to your nail!)
  3. Apply cuticle oil to the cuticle area and underneath the free edge. Use a dropper or Q-tip instead of the brush to stay germ-free.
  4. Pour about 3 inches of acetone into your bowl and place your hand in it. Beauty hack: do one hand at a time so you can text or snack.
  5. Cover your soaking hand with a towel to prevent evaporation and allow the acetone to work faster. (Another important tip: never use actual heat—acetone is very flammable!)
  6. When the acrylic is softened after 10-15 minutes, gently nudge it towards the tip of the nail using an orangewood stick (not metal). Never push towards the cuticle or against the grain just after they’ve been soaking in acetone.
  7. Use your medium grit file to roll the softened acrylic off the nail until it doesn’t roll anymore.
  8. Re-apply the cuticle oil and re-soak the nails. Repeat until all acrylic or dip is gone.
  9. Finish by lightly smoothing nails with your fine grit file.
  10. Apply cuticle oil to rehydrate your nails and skin, and you’re done.

How can you keep your nails healthy while wearing acrylics?

Take it from me, getting acrylics back-to-back can take a toll on your nail health. For that reason, it’s important to take certain precautions. “If you’re concerned about nail health, make sure that you go to a reputable nail technician,” says Julie K. “It’s important to know that when you’re getting your nails done, you shouldn’t see any red lines or what we like to call rings of fire. What that means is that the tech might be getting too close to the skin basically and is getting deeper into the nail bed, which is closer to the blood supply, and you can see the red color. Also, make sure you’re not ripping your acrylics off when it’s time for a new set. Any type of nail enhancement will work best on a healthy nail. If you rip them off yourself, you end up taking layers of your nail bed with them. That means your next set won’t last long enough because it doesn’t have much to stick to.”

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This Is Your Sign to Get Acrylic Nails (3)

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This Is Your Sign to Get Acrylic Nails (2024)


Who should get acrylic nails? ›

They're Durable

They can last up to six weeks without chipping or peeling, which is much longer than natural nails. Additionally, acrylic nails are less likely to break than natural nails, so they can be a good option for people who have weak or brittle nails.

What is the normal age to get acrylics? ›

Nail salons typically allow 11-15-year-old children to get them so long as they are somewhat short, and mom, dad, and guardian agree. Children under the age of 16 will need parental consent to receive Nail treatments. Yes, it is okay for a 12 or 13-year-old maybe even 11 years old to get acrylic nails.

What does getting acrylic nails mean? ›

What are acrylic nails? Acrylics are fake nails made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer. The mixture is applied to your natural nails, then molded into the shape and length you want. They're strong and durable, and a lot of people like them because they make your nails look long and strong.

Are acrylics bad for your nails? ›

In short, artificial nails can leave your nails thin, brittle, and parched. Still, some people love the look of artificial nails. If you're one of them, these tips from dermatologists can help you reduce the damage: Choose soak-off gel nails instead of acrylic nails.

Should I get acrylic or dip nails? ›

It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you're looking for the most durable option possible, acrylic nails are the way to go. However, if you're looking for an option that is easier to remove, dip nails may be a better choice.

Are gel nails better than acrylic? ›

If durability and dramatic length are key, acrylics are the way to go. They're tougher and can be sculpted into long, elaborate designs. However, if you crave a more natural look and prioritize nail health, then a gel manicure might be better.

Should I let my 13 year old get acrylic nails? ›

Gel and acrylics last 2-3 weeks! The patience of liking something for that long of a time, along with not picking at lifting or growing out nails is not something younger tweens and kids can handle.

How often do girls get acrylics? ›

The hard truth: Acrylics require a lot of upkeep. Zuniga noted that most clients with acrylics generally come in every two to three weeks to get them filled. However, as long as any lifting of the acrylic is filled in, a set can be worn for six to eight weeks before it needs to be removed.

Should I let my ten year old get acrylics? ›

She said that some children under the age of 12 required surgery to repair their damaged nail beds. Nugent said: "We would advise children to use nail varnish in place of artificial nails—it is much safer, can be just as fun and colorful, and save them from potentially having an operation."

How many times can you refill acrylic nails? ›

Refills are typically performed once every two weeks, at maximum [3]. Some people may choose to get infills every three weeks [2]. The frequency of infills can also depend on the growth rate of your natural nails and how well you maintain your acrylic nails.

Is acrylic nails fake? ›

Acrylics and Gels are fake nails placed over your natural ones. Both can be made to match the shape of the nail, or to extend it. So, when you want longer nails, you are asking for either Acrylic or Gel extensions.

What are the cons of acrylic nails? ›

  • They can cause damage to natural nail beds.
  • They sometimes look less natural than gel nails.
  • When applied, the process involves unpleasant chemicals and fumes.
  • Unlike regular manicures where nail polish can easily be removed, acrylic nails have to be soaked in potentially harmful acetone.
Dec 4, 2018

What is the average price for a full set of acrylic nails? ›

Full Acrylic Set

The salon you go to or work at and the skill level of the nail technicians, as well as the ambiance, will contribute to the amount you charge or get charged for a full set of acrylics. At the average level, a full set of acrylics alone usually costs between $30 and $35.

What is the healthiest way to get your nails done? ›

Overall, Dip Powder Manicures are a great way to get a healthy manicure that will protect and strengthen your nails without causing any damage. Just like any nail treatment, you do have to make sure you properly remove it to keep your nails safe and healthy – Don't pick at your manicure!

Can I get acrylics with short nails? ›

The truth is you can get acrylic nails even when your natural nails are short. If, however, your natural nails are damaged or diseased, you must postpone the idea of getting a nail art with acrylic nails till your nails are healthy again. Yes, you can have short acrylic nails.

How careful do you have to be with acrylic nails? ›

Don't do activities that involve holding heavy objects- Don't put anything heavy on your acrylic nails, or they could break. Don't leave your acrylics without proper maintenance - Acrylics can last three to four weeks, but they should be properly maintained during wear.

Is 10 a good age to get acrylic nails? ›

She said that some children under the age of 12 required surgery to repair their damaged nail beds. Nugent said: "We would advise children to use nail varnish in place of artificial nails—it is much safer, can be just as fun and colorful, and save them from potentially having an operation."


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