What are Acrylic Nails?

Everything You Need to Know Before You Try Acrylic Nails 

When you’re looking for a new way to get creative with your look, look no further than acrylic nails. There’s plenty of reasons to wear acrylic nails, and from this handy crash course, you’ll learn how they work, what they’re made of, and how to make the most of them. If you’re tired of going through the motions with your beauty routine, acrylic nails with an eye-catching design that you love can shake things up, boost your confidence and make you feel ready to take on the world.

What Are Acrylic Nails Made of?

Acrylic nails are made from a combination of liquid monomer and acrylic polymer. This mixture is applied to your nails and dried. The acrylic mixture is brushed on top of an extension, which seamlessly sticks to your natural nail to give it increased length and a more defined shape. This process might sound involved, but you can easily master it for applying your own acrylic nails at home. Getting your nails done by a manicurist can cost quite a bit and may end you up with artificial nails that don’t last as long as acrylics.

At-Home Acrylics: Getting Your Nails Ready 

The process of applying at-home acrylics starts with standard manicure procedures like trimming, buffing, and filing your nails. When you put on acrylics at home, take the opportunity to pamper yourself by getting your nails ready.

If you have old nail polish on, you’ll need to remove it before you start the process of applying acrylics. The best way to remove nail polish is with a pure acetone solution and a cotton ball. It may be tempting to try to peel off your old nail polish – after all, there’s acrylics to put on! But patience is key to this part of the process. Gently remove the nail polish you have on with acetone to keep from inadvertently damaging your nails. 

After you’ve removed your nail polish, it’s time to trim your nails. Acrylics will provide extra length and definition to your natural nails, so don’t be afraid to get your nails trimmed nice and short. Take your time with trimming, making sure not to underdo or overdo it. As with the rest of the acrylic application process, precision is key. 

The more you work towards mastering at-home acrylic application, the more you’ll realize it’s an art. An artist takes their time to prime their canvas, making sure everything behind the scenes is in good shape before adding any more elements on top. This is an ideal mindset to have when you’re doing at-home acrylics. You’re the artist, and your nails are the canvas! 

Trimming your nails is followed by filing. When you file your nails, it makes their surfaces slightly more abrasive, allowing the acrylic tips to stick more easily. You can use a soft nail buffer to avoid the discomfort of more abrasive nail files. The goal is to get the texture of your nails to aid in the application of the acrylic tips.  

Once your nails are filed, it’s time to make sure your cuticles are out of the way and won’t be interfering with the application of the acrylic tips. Your cuticles are the small folds of skin that extend onto your nails. To avoid the potential for discomfort, it’s best to push your cuticles back gently with a specialized tool. Being too rough with your cuticles can hurt and even cause bleeding, so use gentle motions and not too much force. The goal is to push your cuticles back towards your skin and away from your nails to make room for the acrylic product. 

Finally, before you start the application process, you’ll want to put a primer/bonder on your nails. Primer gets the canvas of your nails ready for acrylic tips by getting rid of any leftover moisture on your nails that would stop the acrylics from sticking. Primer is an essential part of the prepping process and should never be skipped!

At-Home Acrylics: Applying the Tips 

When you put on acrylics at home, you can make the experience just as fun and rewarding as getting a manicure by going through all the necessary steps. At this point in the process, you’ve already given your nails a professional-grade prep, and they’re ready for an acrylic product .

Tips come in different sizes, and it’s important to pick the size that best suits your fingers. The tips will directly cover and extend your natural nails, so they need to be the right size; if they’re too big or too small, you’ll notice and wearing the tips will feel uncomfortable and clumsy. Once you have tips that are the right size, you’re ready to put them on and start the application process.

Tips stick to your fingers by means of glue. You’ll want to put this glue on the bottom of the acrylic tip before you stick it to your finger. Make sure you put glue on the tip itself instead of on your natural nail. Putting the glue on the tip instead of on your finger gives you a more precise means of applying the tip. 

Each tip needs a few seconds of being held in place before it sticks to your finger. Take your time with this part of the process, making sure to give each nail enough time for the glue to dry and bond the tip to your nail.

When you apply the tips to your nails, they should cover the entirety of your natural free edge and extend past the end of each one. You can cut the tips to match your style preferences. Some prefer the look of longer and more pointed tips while others opt for just a little extra length. It’s up to you! 

Applying Your Acrylic Product 

Once you’ve glued the tips to your fingernails, you’re on to the fun part: applying your acrylic powder. At this point in the process, you’re going to start using the mixture of acrylic powder and liquid that you learned about earlier.

Put your acrylic powder in a bowl for easy access and put your liquid in a separate dish. You’ll use a brush to mix the powder and liquid for each nail, but you want to keep the two ingredients separate. You cannot  mix them beforehand. For each nail, take your brush and wet it in the liquid. Next, dip the wet brush into the powder, mixing liquid and powder to get a small ball formed at the tip of the brush. This is what you’ll be applying to each nail.

When you spread a ball of the acrylic mixture on your nail, start from the bottom and work to the top. This means the brush should be working upward from the part of the acrylic tip closest to your finger. Take care to avoid haphazard brushstrokes in many directions. Instead, brush the acrylic mixture gently from bottom to top on each nail. You’ll probably need to re-apply the mixture to your brush a few times for each nail. Remember, patience is key! You can enjoy listening to music or even put a movie on in the background while you go through the application process.

Once you are done applying the product on both hands, the hand you began with should be ready for the filing and smoothing of the acrylic product.  Finish filing the nail into desired shape. When completed you will be ready for top coat or to apply gel polish.   

As your nails grow, keep an eye on their length. Once your nails have two weeks worth of growth, you will be ready for a rebalance of the acrylic.  Keeping up with your rebalancing will ensure a longer wear for the product. 

Getting Creative

One of the most fun aspects of working with acrylic nails is the infinite potential for creativity. The acrylic nail format lets you experiment with different combinations of pigments, artistic designs, and more. There are so many ways to express yourself with acrylics, and getting creative with your nails can take your confidence to the next level.

 Whether you prefer a solid color look or a multicolored design, acrylics are the perfect option for leveling up your nails. Becoming your own personal nail artist is a great form of self-care and can help you unwind after a long day. So, take advantage of the many opportunities for creativity that acrylics give you! Your nails can be a work of art, and you should be proud of the way they look. If you’re tired of taking the same basic approach to painting your nails, it’s time to explore acrylics. With the knowledge you’ve gained from this article, you’re ready to pick the best combination of confidence-boosting tips, colors, and designs for you.