A Complete Guide to Acrylic Nails

September 13, 2021
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By: Makeup.com | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
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Acrylic nails are more popular than ever. Trendy nail shapes like duck, almond and coffin would be nearly impossible to maintain with your natural nails. Plus, the longer the nail, the more nail art you’re able to fit onto a single finger. In addition to length, acrylic nails are harder and stronger than a gel manicure and can last up to two months (though you need to get them filled in between, but more on that later). 

Before you step into the salon to get your own set of claws (or attempt to DIY your own fake nails), there are some important things you should know first. Read on for our guide to getting acrylic nails.

Acrylic Nail Maintenance

The acrylic life is a committed life, and if you’re not ready or able to get to a salon every two to three weeks for a fill, then you might want to reconsider. Skipping fills can be dangerous for your natural nail because as the nail grows out, the likelihood for moisture getting in between your natural nail and the acrylic increases. When this happens, a fungus could grow, which isn’t fun for anyone involved.

Acrylic Nails Can Be a Splurge

This is not a cheap beauty indulgence. Much like lash extensions, acrylics can be a costly service to maintain. Prepare to spend about $50 a month to keep up your set.

Acrylic Nails Require Time to Get Used to

If this is your first time getting acrylics, it’s best to start at a shorter length and gradually work your way up to talon-length nails. This ensures you have time to get used to doing everyday things with them — trust us, pretty much everything feels weird in the beginning. Even though they feel hard, acrylics are delicate and it can take a few fills to get the hang of things like opening soda cans, typing, working out and even showering. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you experience some nail soreness in the beginning!

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Pick a Salon Wisely

So you’ve done your research and have chosen a salon. Once you get there, pay close attention to the salon itself. Make sure the nail salon is clean and the nail tech is using sanitized supplies on your hands. Bacteria can spread from unsanitary tools, and fire nails aren’t worth a nail infection or worse.

If You Break a Nail, Don’t Panic

If you break a nail, try to get it fixed quickly, but also give your nail some time to heal (especially if there’s blood). It might not be the prettiest sight, but nothing hurts more than having tender skin drilled and filed.

Remove Your Acrylics Safely

To safely remove acrylic nails, soak them in acetone until soft and file the acrylic off as you go. This process can take a while but is well worth it in the end. Never pop them off or try to pull them off. Not only does it hurt, but it can result in months of weak and brittle nails.

Try Press-On Nails

If you’re on a budget or are just trying to decide whether or not to get acrylics in the first place, press-on nails are a great way to get a feel for the look. You can choose from colorful designs or a blank fake nail set so you can paint them to your liking. 

Photos: Courtesy of Essie; Chaunte Vaughn

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