Ultimate Guide to Acrylic Nails: Application, Designs & Care

Discover the ultimate guide to acrylic nails, covering application, designs, and care tips for women seeking a stylish and long-lasting manicure.

by grace ashi
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acrylic nails

What are Acrylic Nails? Everything you need to know before your manicure

Acrylic nails have become increasingly popular among women. They offer a stylish and durable alternative to natural nails. In this guide, We’ll explore the pros and cons of getting acrylics, discuss cost considerations, and provide safety tips for applying and wearing these artificial nail enhancements. Additionally, we’ll cover different types of acrylics available on the market as well as some popular design ideas that can elevate your manicure game. 

Finally, for those who prefer DIY or  applications by nail salons, we will compare both options while providing essential tools needed for at-home application. We’ll also share expert advice on finding a skilled nail technician and caring for your natural nail bed after removing your artificial enhancements. Get ready to master the art of acrylic nails!

Table of Contents:

Acrylic Nails: What You Need to Know

If you’re looking for an easy way to glam up your nails, acrylics might be the perfect solution. In this section , we’ll cover everything you need to know about acrylic nails.  From what they are and their benefits, to application and maintenance tips.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are artificial nail enhancements made by combining a liquid monomer with a powder polymer. This mixture forms a soft paste that can be sculpted onto your natural nail bed or over extensions. Once applied and exposed to air, it hardens into a durable surface that can last for weeks with proper care.

Benefits of Acrylic Nails

  • Durability: One of the main advantages of acrylics is their durability – they resist chipping and breaking better than most other types of artificial nails.
  • Versatility: With endless design possibilities available in terms of length, shape, color, and artistry; acrylics allow you to express your personal style like never before.
  • Nail Biting Deterrent: If you struggle with biting your nails or picking at cuticles; having beautiful long-lasting manicures may help deter this habit.
  • Strength: Acrylics can add strength to weak or brittle nails, allowing them to grow longer and healthier underneath the enhancement.

How are Acrylic Nails Applied

How do you wear artificial nails? If you’re considering applying acrylic nails at home, be prepared for a learning curve. However, with practice and patience, it’s possible. To get your acyclic nails applied follow these  basic steps:

  1. Gather your supplies: liquid monomer, powder polymer (acrylic), nail tips/extensions (if desired), primer/bonder, brush for application.
  2. Cleanse and prep your natural nails by removing any polish or oils. Push back cuticles gently using an orange stick or cuticle pusher.
  3. If using nail extensions tips; apply them now following manufacturer instructions. Otherwise skip this step if sculpting directly onto natural nail bed….

Acrylic nails can be a great way to add some style and glamour to your look, but it’s important that you understand the basics of application, maintenance, removal and safety before making any decisions. Make sure you have the right nail products. Now let us consider the benefits and drawbacks of having acrylic nails, as well as other available choices in the present day.

Important Takeaway: 

Get ready to glam up your nails with acrylics, the durable and versatile artificial nail enhancements that can last for weeks. Acrylics are made by combining a liquid monomer with a powder polymer, which forms a soft paste that hardens into a strong surface. With endless design possibilities available in terms of length, shape, color and artistry; acrylics allow you to express your personal style like never before.

Pros and Cons of Getting Acrylic Nails

However, before you decide to get acrylics, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. In this section, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of getting acrylic nails, as well as alternatives to consider if you’re not sure about committing to them.

Pros of Getting Acrylic Nails 

  • Durability: One of the main benefits of acrylic nails is their durability. They are made from a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer that creates a strong bond when applied on your natural nail bed. This makes them less likely to chip or break compared with regular nail polish.
  • Versatility: With acrylics, you can achieve various designs ranging from simple solid colors to intricate patterns like marble or glitter ombre. The possibilities are endless.
  • Nail Length: If you struggle with growing long nails due to brittleness or constant breakage, acrylics can provide an instant solution by adding length without waiting for your natural nails grow out.
  • Maintenance: Although they require some upkeep (more on that later), many people find maintaining their manicure easier with acrylics because they don’t chip easily like traditional polish does.

Cons of Getting Acrylic Nails

  • Potential Damage:The application process involves filing down your natural nail surface which may weaken them over time if done too frequently or improperly.
  • Infections: If proper hygiene isn’t maintained during the application process, there’s a risk of developing infections. Make sure you choose a reputable salon or technician to avoid this issue.
  • Cost:Acrylic nails can be more expensive than regular manicures, especially if you opt for intricate designs and frequent touch-ups.

    Alternatives to Acrylics

    If you’re not entirely sold on acrylic nails but still want something long-lasting and stylish, consider these alternatives:

    • Gel Nails: Similar in appearance to acrylics but with a different chemical composition that requires curing under UV light. They are less damaging to your natural nail bed compared with acrylics.
    • Dip Powder Nails: A combination of colored powder and adhesive is applied onto your natural nails without any need for sculpting or filing down the nail surface. This makes them less harmful while still providing durability similar to acrylics.
    • Polygel Nails: A hybrid between gel and acrylic systems that offers flexibility like gels but strength comparable to acrylics. It’s also odorless which can be an added benefit for those sensitive to strong smells associated with traditional monomers used in making acrylic nails 
    • Acrylic Nails Cost
    • The cost of getting acrylic nails varies depending on factors such as location, design complexity, and technician experience. On average, expect prices ranging from $30-$60 per set (not including tips) at most salons. With frequent maintenance appointments necessary every few weeks, it is important to consider the long-term cost of acrylic nails.
    • Safety Tips for Applying and Wearing Acrylics When it comes to acrylic nails, safety should always be a priority. Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience:

    • Choose a Reputable Salon or Technician: Do your research before booking an appointment by reading reviews online or asking friends for recommendations.
    • Maintain Proper Hygiene: Make sure the salon follows proper sanitation procedures like sterilizing tools between clients and using disposable items when necessary.
    • Avoid Prolonged Exposure To Water: To prevent lifting of the acrylic nail from your natural nail bed, avoid soaking hands in water for extended periods (e.g., while doing dishes). Use gloves if needed during such activities.

Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of acrylic nails is a crucial step in determining if they are suitable for you. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some different types of acrylics and designs available on the market today.

Important Takeaway: 

Acrylics are a common choice for women due to their strength and the ability to customize, but it is wise to consider all aspects before getting them. While they provide nail length and various design options, potential damage to natural nails during application and risk of infections should be considered. Alternatives such as gel or dip powder nails can also provide long-lasting results with less harm to natural nails. It’s crucial to choose a reputable salon or technician for safety reasons, maintain proper hygiene, and avoid prolonged exposure to water after application.

3. Different Types of Acrylics and Designs

If you’re considering getting acrylic nails, it’s essential to know the different types available and some popular design ideas to help you choose the perfect manicure for your style. In this section, we’ll delve into the various acrylic nail enhancements that are out there and provide advice for picking the ideal shade and design.

Types of Acrylics Available

There are several types of acrylic nail enhancements available, each with its unique features:

  • Traditional Acrylics: These are made from a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer that hardens when exposed to air. They offer excellent durability but can be more challenging to remove than other options.
  • Gel-based Acrylics: Gel manicure also known as “soft” or “soak-off” acrylics, these use a gel-like substance instead of traditional liquid/powder mixtures. To remove gel nails, it is easier than removing acrylic nails. Gel nail polish may not last as long.
  • Dip Powder Nails: This technique involves dipping your nails into colored powder before applying an activator that hardens the material onto your natural nail bed. Dip powder nails tend to be thinner and more lightweight compared to traditional or gel-based acrylics. Learn more about dip powder nails here.

Popular Design Ideas for Your Manicure

The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing your perfect set of acrylic nails. Here are some trendy ideas you might want to consider:

  1. Ombre Nails: This acrylic nail design features a gradual color transition from one shade to another, usually from light to dark. It’s an elegant and versatile look that works well with various colors.
  2. Coffin/Ballerina Nails: Named for their unique shape, coffin or ballerina nails are long and tapered at the tip, resembling either a coffin or ballet slipper. This style is perfect for those who want a bold statement manicure.
  3. Marble Effect: Using swirling techniques, you can create stunning marble-like patterns on your acrylics. Marble effect nails are both eye-catching and sophisticated. Check out these gorgeous marble nail designs for inspiration.

Tips for Choosing the Right Color and Design

Selecting the perfect color and design can be overwhelming due to countless options available. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Consider your lifestyle: If you have a more conservative job or prefer low-maintenance looks, opt for neutral shades like nude or soft pink. For those who love making bold statements with their nails, don’t shy away from bright colors or intricate designs.
  • Skin tone matters: Choose colors that complement your skin tone – lighter shades tend to work better on fair skin tones while darker hues look great on deeper complexions.
  • Mix it up.: Don’t be afraid to mix different styles together – combine ombre with glitter accents or try adding rhinestones onto marbled nails for added flair.

Why not have some fun and explore the numerous acrylics and patterns out there to discover a look that truly reflects you? Be daring and explore with various hues, outlines, and adornments – it’s a great way to show your individuality.

From the classic French tips to daring ombre designs, there are many artificial nails. With the array of options, you can select a design that reflects your individual style and preference. Now let’s explore how to get those perfect manicures – at home or with a professional nail tech

Important Takeaway: 

Learn about the different types of acrylic nails available, including traditional, gel-based, and dip powder. Get inspiration for your next manicure with popular design ideas such as ombre nails, coffin/ballerina nails, and marble effect. Consider your lifestyle and skin tone when choosing the right color and design to express yourself through your nails.

4. At Home vs Professional Application of Acrylics

Deciding between DIY and professional application of acrylics is an important step when considering getting them. Comparing the pros and cons of DIY vs professional application options, discussing tools needed for DIY application, providing tips to find a professional technician and suggesting questions before booking an appointment are all considerations when deciding between home or salon acrylic nail applications. 

DIY vs Professional Application Options

DIY Application: Applying acrylic nail extension at home can be cost-effective and convenient since you don’t need to schedule an appointment at the nail salon. However, there’s also a learning curve involved in applying acrylics yourself – especially if you’re new to it.

Professional Application: Opting for a professional nail tech ensures that your acrylic nails are applied correctly and safely. A professional manicurist can provide intricate designs that might be difficult to achieve by oneself, due to their expertise in various products and methods.

Pros and Cons of DIY vs Professional Application

  • + Cost savings: You can save money by doing your own acrylic nails instead of going to a nail salon.
  • – Learning curve: The process may take longer initially as you learn how to properly apply the product.
  • + Customization: You have complete control over colors, designs, length & shape when doing your own nails.
  • – Limited design options: Your skills may limit some design possibilities compared with what professionals offer.
  • + Convenience: No need for appointments; simply work on your nails whenever it suits your schedule.
  • – Risk of damage: Improper application or removal can lead to damaged natural nails.

Tools Needed for DIY Application

If you decide to apply acrylic nails at home, here are some essential tools and supplies you’ll need:

  1. Nail file & buffer
  2. Cuticle pusher & nipper
  3. Acrylic nail tips (or forms)
  4. Acrylic powder & liquid monomer-li] -Nail primer -Dappen dish -Acrylic brush -Nail glue (if using tips) -UV/LED lamp (if using gel polish)

Tips for Finding a Professional Technician

If you prefer having your acrylics done by a nail tech, follow these tips to find the right nail techs. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Read online reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google My Business. Check out the salon’s social media profiles to see examples of their work. Look for technicians who have completed training courses in nail technology or hold certifications from reputable organizations such as CND or OPI.

Questions To Ask Before Booking An Appointment Before booking an appointment with a nail technician, consider asking them the following questions: 1. Enquire what kind of items they utilize and ascertain that the quality is safe. Make sure they’re high-quality and safe. 2. Do they offer any guarantees if there is an issue with your nails? 3. How long does it typically take them to complete a full set of acrylics? 4. Can they accommodate specific design requests? By considering all aspects discussed above, you can make an informed decision about whether applying acrylic nails at home or visiting a professional technician is the best option for you.

Overall, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both professional application and DIY when considering acrylic nails. However, if you have already had them applied professionally or are looking for ways to care for your natural nail bed after removing artificial enhancements, then the next heading will provide helpful tips on how best to do so.

Important Takeaway: 

Deciding whether to apply acrylic nails at home or go to a professional is important. DIY application can save money, but there’s a learning curve and risk of damage; whereas professional application ensures correct and safe results with more intricate designs. Essential tools for DIY include nail file, buffer, cuticle pusher & nipper, acrylic powder & liquid monomer-li], primer, dappen dish, acrylic brush & UV/LED lamp (if using gel polish). Tips for finding the right technician include asking friends/family members for recommendations or checking online reviews/social media profiles/certifications from reputable organizations like CND or OPI before booking an appointment.

How do you remove Acrylic nails

1. Soak Nails in Acetone : Begin by soaking your nails in an acetone-based solution for about 10 minutes to loosen the acrylic from your natural nails.

2. Remove Acrylic Carefully: Using an orange wood stick or a cuticle pusher, slowly and gently scrape off the softened acrylic from each nail.

3.Buff & File: Once all of the acrylic has been removed, use a buffing block to even out the surface of your natural nails and file off any sharp edges that may remain.

4. Cleanse Nails with Cleanser : Dip a cotton ball into an alcohol-based cleanser and rub across each nail to remove any remaining debris or glue from them .

5..Moisturize : Finally, apply a generous amount of moisturizer or cuticle oil onto the nails to keep them hydrated and healthy

Caring For Your Natural Nail Bed After Removing Your Artificial Nail Enhancements

After removing your artificial nail enhancements, it’s essential to take proper care of your natural nails. This section will provide you with tips for maintaining healthy natural nail beds,  products to use to strengthen them, how to repair damaged or weak ones, and when to seek professional help.

Tips For Maintaining Healthy Natural Nail Beds

  • Keep them clean: Make sure you cleanse your nails regularly using a gentle soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the nail bed.
  • Maintain moisture balance: Apply a nourishing cuticle oil daily to keep the skin around your nails moisturized and prevent dryness.
  • Avoid excessive filing: Filing too much can weaken the nail bed. Be gentle when shaping your nails and avoid using metal files as they tend to be more abrasive than other types.
  • Growth-boosting treatments: Use growth-stimulating treatments like biotin supplements or specialized nail serums containing vitamins A, C & E which promote healthy growth.

Products To Use To Strengthen Natural Nail Beds

In addition to following these maintenance tips, consider incorporating some strengthening products into your routine such as:

  • Nail hardeners: These are specially formulated polishes that contain proteins designed to fortify weakened nails. Some popular options include OPI’sNatural Nail Strengthener.

Frequently Asked Questions Acrylic Nails

What are some fun facts about acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails have been around since the 1950s, initially developed as a dental product. They gained popularity in the 1970s and became a fashion statement in the 1980s. Today, they’re available in various nail shapes, sizes, and designs to suit individual preferences. Celebrities like Rihanna and Kylie Jenner often showcase unique acrylic nail art on social media.

What is the basic information about acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails are artificial nails enhancements made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer. When combined, they form a hard protective layer over natural nails that can be shaped and styled according to preference. Acrylics provide added strength for weak or brittle natural nails while offering an attractive appearance with endless design possibilities.

What is the importance of acrylic nails?

The primary purpose of acrylic nails is to enhance one’s overall appearance by providing beautiful manicures that last longer than regular polish applications. Additionally, they offer protection for weak or damaged natural nails by adding extra strength through their durable material composition.

 Do Acrylic Nails Damage nails?

If applied correctly by professionals using high-quality products, minimal damage occurs to your natural nail bed during application or removal processes; however improper care may lead to weakened or damaged underlying structures such as infections fungal growth under artificial surfaces which require medical attention at times


Acrylic nails are a popular and versatile option for those looking to enhance their natural nails. From learning what acrylic nails are and how to apply them, to exploring different types of designs, there is a lot to consider when it comes to this nail enhancement method.

With proper care and maintenance, acrylic nails can be an excellent addition to your beauty routine. Whether you choose at-home or professional application, make sure you’re informed about the process before diving in.

For all the beauty buffs out there, check out Metropolitan Girl’s blog for advice on fashion trends, makeup techniques, skin care regimens and more!

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