How Do They Fill Acrylic Nails?

How Do They Fill Acrylic Nails?

Like most everyone, you probably love having acrylic nails. And why wouldn’t you? Acrylic nails are great to have for the following reasons:

  • Gives your nails some much-needed length, especially if you like to keep them naturally short
  • They can be given any shape, size, or form. You can customize them to any length or shape that you like.
  • The design possibilities are endless. You can create all sorts of beautiful nail art designs with acrylic nails that you couldn’t necessarily do with natural nails.

However, if you have had acrylic nails in the past or have them now, you know that the process of nail growth can make them unsightly. If you have let them grow out in the past or removed them yourself because you didn’t know how to handle them once your natural nails started to grow back, you can actually extend the life of your acrylic nails.

This process allows the acrylic nail to be shaped and formed to the natural nail so that you can continue to keep your acrylic nails as beautiful as the day you got them. We’ve got the inside scoop on how this process works.

Check out below and see how the process works. 

Remove Old Polish

Before a nail technician begins attempting the process of filling in your acrylic nails, they will first need to make sure that they remove any and all old nail polish on the acrylic nail itself.

Nail technicians are able to do this will the following methods:

  • Use polish remover or Acetone - The nail technician will take a polish remover, typically with a cotton ball or something soft like cotton, and use this solution to remove any and all excess color left on the acrylic nail.
  • Clean nails with additional solutions - Having taken the polish off, the nail technician will use either wipes or another kind of mixture to remove any other excess polish left behind. At this point, they typically ask you to wash your hands as the final process for cleaning off the acrylic nails. 

At this point, your acrylic nails should be smooth and free of polish to complete the next step.

Buffing Away Excess

At this point in the process, the nail technician will begin using their tools to start buffing the cuticle area or acrylic that needs to be shaped for the fill-in.

Some of the tools that the nail technician will use are the following:

  • Hand nail file  - Since the growth of the nail has most likely lifted the acrylic nail, nail technicians will use an electric e-file or hand file,  to buff away where the acrylic nail has started to lift up from the natural nail until there is a nice blend between the natural nail the left over acrylic.  
  • Electric file with sanding bands - This is a more advanced tool for nail technicians, as it is a more detail-oriented tool to help reach the nooks and crannies of your nail bed to remove the lifted acrylic. Nail technicians prefer this tool because it gives them more control over buffing out the nail and reaching places on the nail acrylic that can’t be reached with a nail buffer.
  • Cuticle pusher - In order to maintain your natural nail’s health and overlook, the nail technician will use a cuticle pusher tool that will push back the excess cuticle growth or dry and dead skin. Once the excess cuticle is gone, your nail technician will then use a cleaning solution or wipes to clean off both the acrylic and natural nail plate before proceeding in the process.

By going through the buffing process, the nail technician is making sure that the acrylic nail is no longer lifted, is even, and is now smoothly buff into your natural nail so that it does not look like there is nail growth showing. 


After the acrylic nail has been successfully buffed and blended with the natural nail, the nail technician will now go through the process of priming it. Before the priming process begins, the nail technician will clean any debris left on your nails, from the buffing process.

With your hands now clean of the dust, your nail technician will be the process of dehydrating and  priming, which includes the following.

  • Nail dehydrator - The next step is using a nail prep dehydrator, which will be applied to your natural nail in order to remove any excess oil on the nail before the acrylic is applied. 
  • Nail primer or bonder  - after the natural nail dehydrator has been applied and dried, the nail technician will then use a nail primer or bonder that they will brush on your natural nail only.   

Nail technicians use these product ensure proper adhesion to the natural nail.  

Important things to remember:

  • Nail technicians use a primer also called bonder  because it is extremely important in acting like a sticky tape to help adhere the product to the natural nail.  

Use Acrylic Mixture

At this point in the acrylic nail filling process, the nail technician will begin to create the acrylic mixture to apply on the natural part of the nail. The nail technician will use the following to create the mixture:

  • Acrylic polymer 
  • Acrylic monomer 

After they have mixed the acrylic liquid and powder, it should form a pearl-like bead mixture. The nail technician will then take their nail brush and press  the bead on the natural nail and blend with the existing acrylic to create an even nail. 

Once the bead mixture is on the brush, the nail technician will gently apply it on the natural part of the nail evenly so that the gap between the acrylic nail edge and the cuticle is filled in. Your nail technician will know how to do this without flooding your cuticles so that it is a neat and clean fill-in and reduces future nail growth. 

Nail Maintenance

After the acrylic has dried, the nail technician will then begin to shape the nails to the customers desired look.  The nail technician will then buff all of the nails with the hand file or electric file using the soft side of a buffer to make sure that the acrylic nail surface is smooth and glossy.

Your nail technician may do this process a few times to ensure that the nail to create the desired result.  

Add Color Coat

After all of the polish removing, buffing, and applying the acrylic enhancement , now its time for the fun stuff of adding color to your new acrylic nails. Your nail technician will begin  applying your desired polish color or nail art design or leave as is depending on your desire. .

Once the polish is cured, you may apply another coat of polish or continue to top coat.  Cure the top coat for 60 seconds in an LED lamp and your service is done.  

Acrylic Nail Filling Is a Labor of Love for Your Nails

You don’t have to let your acrylic nails grow all the way out if you don’t want to. You also don’t have to try and take them off yourself when your nail growth is noticeable. In fact, we certainly don’t recommend that anyway as that can damage your nails.

Let’s recap the process once more:

  • Remove nail polish from the acrylic nail - This is a very important step before you begin the filing process. 
  • Buff the acrylic nail - Make sure all of the buildup and any lumps and bumps are buffed away so you can smooth it all out.
  •  Prep the natural nail - Once the acrylic nail has been prepped to a matte and clean finish,  a dehydrator and primer will need to be added to the natural nail to help the product adhere properly. 
  • Mix the product and  apply to the nail - A mixture of acrylic polymer  and monomer can be applied to the natural nail growth and blend into your existing acrylic nail. 
  • Acrylic shaping - Once the mixture has been applied and dried to the nail, it will then need to be shaped and blended  of any uneven or bumps that formed in the drying process.
  • Apply a coat of color or nail art design  if desired and enjoy - After the acrylic nail has been shaped and clean and is smooth, it is ready for your desired coat of color or nail art design. 

The acrylic nail application  process is a labor of love but it is definitely worth the investment to maintain your beautiful acrylic nails.

So next time that you start to see your natural nails growing in and starting to infringe on the look of your acrylic nail, fret not— the acrylic rebalancing process will save your nails and maintain its look for as long as you want it to.

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