All About Acrylic Nails

The good, the bad, the ugly - know it all before getting your acrylic nails done.

Reviewed by Angela Jackson, Licensed Cosmetologist Angela Jackson Angela JacksonLicensed Cosmetologist linkedin_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Comparative Literature) Vaishali Sinha MA (Comparative Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 5 years
Last Updated on

Acrylic nails, aka fashion nails, are ideal if you have non-existent nails or your nails lack strength. These nails mimic the appearance of natural nails. However, before getting them done, you should be aware of the pros and cons of acrylic nails.

Acrylic nails are for you if you want to attend every special occasion or wedding with stylish nails or appreciate well-groomed and manicured nails. In the 21st century, anything is possible. So go for it, don’t hesitate!

Blair, a blogger, shared her experience of getting acrylic nails and being obsessed with them. She said, “I have had a really good experience with acrylics. I’m sure there are horror stories out there and people saying they’ll never get them because they’re harmful and blah blah. I have to admit this is what kept me from getting acrylics for quite a while – just the whole stigma that my nails would be forever ruined and get infected. But finally, I just wanted to try them and figured it couldn’t be that dramatic, and went in to get them done. I was immediately hooked (i)!” Also, the blogger was pleased with the color after getting her nails done.

Experts say it is recommended to get acrylic nails done by a professional because you can not do it smoothly at your home. Moreover, it needs special training to be done. So, you should only attempt it at home if you are a manicurist or trained expert.

protip_icon Trivia
A dentist named Fred Slack created an artificial nail in 1954 as a temporary substitute after breaking his fingernail while at work. He and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version of their invention after conducting tests with various materials to refine it. They then established the company Patti Nails.

If you are enthusiastic to try these nails once, check out the step-by-step guide on how to do acrylic nails, along with the pros and cons. Keep scrolling to read more!
protip_icon Keep In Mind
  • Maintenance: Get your acrylic nails filed every two to three weeks to prevent damage and maintain their finesse.
  • Removal: It is preferable to have your acrylic nails professionally removed when it’s time to get rid of them in order to protect your natural nails.
  • Caution: The chemicals used in acrylic nails may cause adverse responses in people with sensitive skin. It’s important to check the ingredients before use.

Pros And Cons of Acrylic Nails

Pros

  • Acrylic extensions are suitable for women with brittle and weak nails.
  • Acrylics are good for women, who have a bad habit of chewing their nails as they are very hard to chew off. What better way to ward off an unwanted habit than making the damaged area as pretty as possible?
  • Acrylic nails have been around longer than their counterparts, so, most nail technicians at salons and spas have a lot of experience about how to apply and remove these nails. You don’t have to worry about side effects as such.
  • They have the affordability advantage. The lighter the wallet, the more the happiness. Agree?
  • One of the primary benefits of acrylic nails is that if one of them breaks, it can be fixed at home by using the right tools. You don’t have to spend a bomb again to get them rectified.
  • They last longer than gel nails.

Cons

  • They can damage your natural nail underneath, and it can be hard to grow out your nails with acrylic over them. Also, a damaged nail is a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
  • As Acrylic nails are artificial enhancements, they present a fake look. You need a very talented technician who can apply your acrylics as close to natural ones.
  • Application of acrylic nails involves the use of strong chemicals and formation of fumes. Some women may have an allergy to such substances.
  • You need refilling every month which means extra expenditure.

Now, let’s look at the steps to be followed to apply these nails.

How To Apply Acrylic Nails

Step 1: Prep The Nails

Applying acrylic nails step 1
Image: Shutterstock

Always start with clean nails. Providing a smooth base helps the acrylic material to go on better. Remove any nail polish and push back the cuticles.

Step 2: Trim Nails

Applying acrylic nails step 2
Image: Shutterstock

The manicurist will probably trim and file your nails while leaving a few millimeters so that the nail extension can be stuck.

Step 3: Buff Nails

Applying acrylic nails step 3
Image: Shutterstock

She will then buff your nails so that the surface of your nails are a little rough. This rough surface makes it easy for the acrylic to stick to.

Step 4: Nail Primer

Applying acrylic nails step 4
Image: Shutterstock

A nail primer would be used to remove any remaining moisture and oil from the nails. Use a cotton swab with acetone to clean the nails and then apply the primer over the nails. Some of the primers contain an acid called methacrylic acid. Be careful as it may burn. You can also use the acid-free primer if you are unsure.

Step 5: Application Of The Tips

Applying acrylic nails step 5
Image: Shutterstock

This is where the actual application begins. The tips would be filed according to your nails and will be applied with glue to your real nails. The glue should not touch your skin. The nail can be cut and sized according to your specifications.

Step 6: Prepare The Acrylic Material

Applying acrylic nails step 6
Image: Shutterstock

The acrylic liquid would be poured into an acrylic dish and some of the powder into another dish.

A word of caution: One of the drawbacks is that the fumes are strong while using acrylics so this should be done in a well ventilated area.

Step 7: Pick Up The Acrylic With The Brush

Applying acrylic nails step 7
Image: Shutterstock

The manicurist will dip the brush all the way down into the liquid. Make sure there are no bubbles. She will brush any excess liquid against the side of the dish to prevent it from dripping. Then, she will run the brush against the powder so that you get a moist ball. This is the material that is to be spread on the nail.

Step 8: Apply The Mixture

Applying acrylic nails step 8
Image: Shutterstock

Without touching the cuticles, she will apply the mixture over your nails and smoothen it out as it is being applied. The transition between the tip and your natural nails should be smooth. Apply another layer if required.

Step 9: Let It Dry

Applying acrylic nails step 9
Image: Shutterstock

It should take about ten minutes to dry. Once this is done, buff and file the nails to make them smooth.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Applying acrylic nails step 10
Image: Shutterstock

Your nails are ready to be painted!

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can select any nail paint, including glossy, matte, and metallic colors. However, make sure the nail paint is acetone-free, as this will shorten the life of your acrylic nails.

There are a few things you would want to consider before getting acrylic nails. Let’s check them out.

Things You Must Remember When Getting Acrylic Nails

  • Keep Your Nails Healthy: It is extremely important to keep cleaning your nails. Especially since there is an entire layer covering your real nails. Make it a point to regularly clean your acrylic nails. Use a soft bristle brush under and around the nails to clean hard dirt. Then use a cotton swab with some alcohol to clean around the cuticles and under the nails.
  • Find Yourself A Regular Manicurist: Finding a manicurist that you can regularly go to makes life so much easier. She will understand your concerns, and since she knows your nail’s weaknesses, negative aspects, and your problems as well as the good points, you can save time trying to explain.
  • Keep Your Nails Dry: Whenever you wash your hands, dry them completely! If you leave them wet, there are chances for your acrylic layers to lift and also a fungal growth! This may be considered a disadvantage, but you need to wear gloves if you are doing the dishes.
  • Oil Your Nails: Dry nails can break easily. Use a neutral oil such as rapeseed oil to keep them moisturized.
Painted acrylic nails
Image: Shutterstock

Besides acrylic, gel nails are also widely used in nail styling. But there are some differences between these two. Scroll down to know more.

Acrylic Vs. Gel Nails

Acrylic nails are created with liquid monomer and powder polymer that hardens when exposed to air. They are durable, long-lasting, and offer a robust extension for nails, ideal for those seeking added length and strength. However, they can appear thicker and require regular maintenance.

Gel nails, on the other hand, involve applying gel polish that is cured under LED or UV lamps. They provide a natural, glossy look and tend to be more flexible and lightweight compared to acrylics. Gel nails offer a smoother finish and are less likely to cause damage to the natural nail during removal, but they may not be as durable as acrylics.

Both offer beautiful results, so selecting the right option often comes down to individual needs and nail care habits.

That’s all about acrylic nails.

Infographic: Steps For Easy Application Of Acrylic Nails

Applying acrylic nails at home is a great way to save money and still look fabulous. With the right supplies and a little practice, you can get a professional-looking manicure in the comfort of your home. We have put together an easy step-by-step process in the infographic below to help you master the art. Check it out!

steps for easy application of acrylic nails (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Make sure you are very much thorough with the various pros and cons of acrylic nails before you go for them. Get your acrylic nails done by a professional manicurist, as it can be a hassle to do them on your own. Also, always clean your nails after the procedure is over since you would definitely not want any dirt or germs to cause complications later. Acrylic nails have many positive aspects. They are long-lasting and if done in the right way, they look gorgeous, make your nails appear well-groomed, and enhance the overall appearance of your hands. You can also find amazing acrylic nail ideas online. Go ahead and give it a try.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do acrylics ruin your nails?

Prolonged use of acrylics has downsides and will weaken and stain your natural nails. Additionally, poor application and removal of acrylics can leave your nails thin and brittle.

Is acrylic better than gel nails?

Acrylic nails are sturdy and have a more creative scope. However, gel nails last longer without chipping and may also be healthier for your nails as they do not contain toxic chemicals like toluene or methyl methacrylate. Consult a professional and understand your options before choosing the one that is suitable for you.

Do acrylics help your nails grow?

No, acrylics are not capable of making your nails grow.

Key Takeaways

  • Acrylic nails are durable, cheaper, and offer you a broader range of creativity to engage in.
  • You need to prep your nails properly before getting acrylic nails to ensure they last longer and your nails are healthy.
  • However, prolonged use may weaken your natural nails and discolor them.
  • If you suffer from the undesirable habit of chewing your nails, acrylic nails offer a more sturdy and harder-to-chew alternative to stem your habit.
pros and cons of acrylic nails

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Explore the pros and cons of acrylic nails and details about the latest nail trends! Play this video to decide what is right for you or to pick something completely new.

Personal Experience: Source

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Angela Jackson
Angela JacksonLicensed Cosmetologist
Angela Jackson is a Maryland board-certified cosmetologist with over 28 years of experience. She received her cosmetology education from Dudley Beauty College in Washington, DC. She has trained under various hair and makeup artists and served bridal and in-salon clients and worked on various photoshoots and branding events.

Read full bio of Angela Jackson
Joyce Joyson
Joyce JoysonBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Joyce Joyson is a beauty and lifestyle writer with over a year of experience crafting short-form content for the beauty, fashion, and lifestyle niches. She has a triple majors bachelor’s degree in History, Political Science, and Geography from IIS University and a master’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Kristu Jayanti College.

Read full bio of Joyce Joyson
Asmita De
Asmita DeAssociate Editor
Asmita De is an associate editor with over three years of experience. She graduated in English Literature from the University of Calcutta. She has collaborated with several digital companies and reputed publishing houses as an editor.

Read full bio of Asmita De
Vaishali Sinha
Vaishali SinhaBeauty & Lifestyle Writer
Vaishali Sinha is a beauty and lifestyle writer with five years of experience in writing for various genres. She has a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University. She combines her passion for beauty and lifestyle topics with her artistic background as an Indian classical vocalist to bring a fresh and creative perspective to her writing.

Read full bio of Vaishali Sinha
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