What are Acrylic Nails? Application, Designs & Nail 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
acrylic nails

Table of Contents:

What are acrylic nails?What You Need to Know for Your Acrylic Manicure

What are Acrylic nails? 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 about acrylic nails.  From what they are and their benefits to application, to Acrylic nail Designs, maintenance tips and Acrylic nails shapes .

acrylic nails
What are Acrylic Nails? Application, Designs & Nail Care 7

Acrylic nails are artificial nail enhancements that combine 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 lasting two to three 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 fake nails.
  • Versatility: With endless design possibilities in length, shape, color, and artistry, acrylics allow you to express your 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 strengthen weak or brittle nails, allowing them to grow longer and healthier underneath the enhancement.

How are Acrylic Nails Applied to Natural nails?

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, removing acrylic nails yourself is 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 extension tips, apply them now following manufacturer instructions. Otherwise, skip this step if sculpting directly onto a natural nail bed….

Acrylic nails can be a great way to add style and glamour to your natural. Learn 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 and other available choices in the present day.

Pros and Cons of Getting Acrylic Nails

However, before you decide to get acrylic Nails, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons. This section will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of getting acrylic nails and alternatives if you’re unsure 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, creating a strong bond when applied to your natural nail bed. This makes them less likely to chip or break than regular nail polish.
  • Versatility: With acrylics, you can achieve 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 to grow.
  • Maintenance: Although they require some upkeep (more later), many people find maintaining their manicures easier with acrylics because they don’t chip as easily as traditional polish.

Cons of Getting Acrylic Nails

  • Potential Damage: The application process involves filing down your natural nail surface, which may weaken 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.

Alternative to Acrylic Nails

Polygel Nails

  • Polygel Nails: A hybrid between gel and acrylic systems that offers flexibility like gels but strength comparable to acrylics. It’s also odorless, benefiting those sensitive to strong smells associated with traditional monomers used in making acrylic nails. 

Dip Powder Nails

  • Dip Powder Nails: A combination of colored powder and adhesive is applied onto your natural nails without needing sculpting or filing down the nail surface. This makes them less harmful while still providing durability similar to acrylics.

Gel Nails

  • 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.

How Much Do Acrylic Nails Cost?

  • The cost of acrylic nails varies depending on 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 essential to consider the long-term cost of acrylic nails.
  • Safety Tips for Applying and Wearing Acrylics Regarding 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 research before booking an appointment by reading reviews online or asking friends for recommendations.
  • Maintain Proper Hygiene: Ensure the salon follows proper sanitation procedures like sterilizing tools between clients and using disposable items when necessary.
  • Avoid Prolonged Exposure To Water: To prevent the lifting of the acrylic nail from your natural nail bed, avoid soaking your hands in water for extended periods (e.g. while doing dishes). Use gloves if needed during such activities.

Types of Acrylics and Nail Art Designs

If you’re considering getting acrylic nails, knowing the different types available and some popular design ideas is essential 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 nail tip, desired length, shade, and design.

Traditional Acrylic Nails:

  • These are made from a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer that hardens when air is exposed. They offer excellent durability but can be more challenging to remove than other options.

Gel-based Acrylic Nails:

  • Gel manicures, known as “soft” or “soak-off” acrylics, use a gel-like substance instead of traditional liquid/powder mixtures. Remove gel nails, and 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 are thinner and more lightweight than traditional or gel-based acrylics. Learn more about dip powder nails here.

Popular Acrylic Design Ideas for Your Manicure

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

  1. Ombre Nails: This 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 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 RightAcrylic Nail Color and Design

Selecting the perfect color and nail design can be overwhelming due to the 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 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 – combine ombre with glitter accents or add rhinestones onto marbled nails for added flair.

There are many artificial nails, from classic French tips to daring ombre designs. You can select a design that reflects your style and preference with various options. Now, let’s explore how to get those perfect manicures – at home or with a professional nail artist tech.

At Home vs. Professional Application of Acrylic Nails

Deciding between DIY and professional application of acrylics is essential. We will Compare the pros and cons of DIY vs professional application options. Learn about tools needed for DIY applications and tips from experienced technicians. This will answer the basics when deciding between home or salon acrylic nail applications. 

DIY vs. Professional Application Options

DIY Application: Applying acrylic nail extensions 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. You may want to consider buying an acrylic nail kit for beginners.

Professional Application: Opting for a professional nail tech ensures that your acrylic nails are applied correctly and safely. A professional nail artist or manicurist can provide intricate designs that might be difficult to achieve at home.

Pros and Cons of DIY vs Professional Application

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

Tools Needed for DIY Acrylic Nails 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 and 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 acrylic nails 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 nail art 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 items they utilize and ascertain that the quality is safe. Please 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? Considering all aspects discussed above, you can decide whether applying acrylic nails at home or visiting a professional technician is the best option.

How do you remove Acrylic nails?

1. To remove acrylic Nails, start by soaking your nails in Acetone. Begin drowning 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, scrape off the softened acrylic from each nail slowly and gently.

3. Buff & File: Once all of the old acrylic nails have 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 Acrylic 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

Tips For Maintaining Healthy Natural Nail Beds

  • Keep them clean: Use gentle soap and water to clean your nails. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the nail bed.
  • Maintain moisture balance: Apply a nourishing cuticle oil daily to moisturize the skin around your nails 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 are 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 are specially formulated polishes containing proteins designed to fortify weakened nails. Some popular options include Natural Nail Strengthener.

FAQ 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 acrylic nail supplies, 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 enhancements made from acrylic liquid monomer and powder polymer. Combined, they form a hard protective layer over natural nails that can be shaped and styled according to preference. Acrylics strengthen 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 Natural Nails?

Professionals apply minimal damage to your natural nail bed during application or removal processes if applied correctly. Improper care may weaken or damage underlying structures, such as infections and fungal growth under artificial surfaces. Some may require medical attention at times


Acrylic nails are a popular and versatile option for enhancing their natural nails. From learning what acrylic nails are and how to apply them to explore different nail forms and designs, there is much to consider regarding this nail enhancement method. With proper care and regular maintenance, acrylic nails can be an excellent addition to your beauty routine. Whether you choose an at-home or professional application, ensure you’re informed about the process before diving in.

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

Related Articles