Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

I vividly remember the first time I got acrylic nails. I was 15 years old and my mother forced me to get them done for my quinceañera. I was a novice to the acrylic life, and immediately after getting them done I felt like a baby deer walking on its four legs for the first time — clumsy AF and unable to do literally anything. My nails felt so sore and sensitive afterwards that regular activities like buttoning my jeans, tying my shoes and doing my hair became super uncomfortable. Fast forward years later, I do enjoy acrylic nails for their long-lasting nature and complete customizability (I mean, have you seen all these acrylic nail art designs?), but I now only get them done for special occasions because I still get those tender and sore feelings post manicure. The last time it happened, it made me wonder what was really going on and if there was anything I could do to help ease the sensation. For all of you who feel my acrylic nail pain, we’re giving you the lowdown with the help of celebrity manicurist Gina Edwards.

What Causes Your Nails to Feel Sore After Getting Acrylics?
After getting acrylics, Edwards says some people may experience a tightening sensation due to the acrylic forming a firm seal over your nails. This new and sudden tightening feeling may cause your nails to feel sore and sensitive immediately after application. “This is something your nails may not be used to at first, but the feeling usually goes away within the first 24 hours,” she says. While it certainly is uncomfortable, rest assured that this soreness is only temporary and eventually becomes less noticeable as you continue to get acrylics. Another, more serious cause of soreness, however, can be from your nail technician filing your nails down too much in order to prepare for the acrylics, which is why you always want to make sure you do your research and go to a nail salon with skilled and professional technicians. Edwards says that if your nails still hurt after 24 hours, you should have them removed.

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Is There Anything You Can Do to Prevent Soreness?
This answer is twofold: If you're new to acrylics, there isn’t much you can do after the fact to avoid sensitivity and soreness. But you can talk to your tech beforehand to ensure things don’t feel so tight in the first place. “A little goes a long way,” says Edwards. “Tell your tech not to make the acrylic too thick.” Also, be mindful of the shape you choose. “Pointy nails are more susceptible to feeling soreness.” Having nails that are too long can be an issue because more pressure is added to the tip of the nail. It’s also more likely to get into little accidents every day, such as knocking into things, which can increase and potentially worsen the amount of pain felt.

Is There a Fake Nail Alternative that Offers Length That Might Be Better Than Acrylics?
If this soreness post acrylic appointment is a dealbreaker for you, don’t worry. You can still rock long, gorgeous nails for half the price and the same amount of compliments. Our solution? Press-on nails. If you’re not on the press-on nail bandwagon yet, please take a seat because they are such an easy option that offers beautiful results and can be seriously life-saving when you need a fresh mani, STAT. Try using the KISS Press-On Manicures, which comes in a variety of different sets, colors and designs.

Read More:
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Photo: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Melissa San Vicente, Visual Designer: Hannah Packer,Producer: Jessica Thiel, Production Assistant: Kaela Francesca, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Makeup Artist Assistant: Nana Kumi, Hair: Kiyo Igarashi, Model: Avi McClish

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