Acrylic nails can be a complicated process, especially for those just starting out at home. With the current state of the world, more and more women are deciding to take control of their manicures and learn to do their own acrylics. However, it might be confusing to those without any professional experience.
Keep reading to learn more about acrylic on your natural nails.
How Does Acrylic Work?
Acrylic is a powder used to build a fake nail on top of the natural nail bed with a special liquid and a brush. This liquid is called monomer solution, and it ‘activates’ the acrylic powder, creating bonds. The brush spreads the powder over the natural nail and/or nail tip, shaping and smoothing it. The acrylic quickly dries (think cement) and becomes very hard.
Acrylic comes in thousands of different colors and finishes and is truly customizable.
Natural Nails and Acrylic
Here’s the big question: can acrylic be used on natural nails? The answer is yes. However, the nails must be properly prepped before you can slather on any sort of acrylic. In fact, without proper prep, your acrylics might just pop off whole or crack.
Additionally, some acrylics contain toxic chemicals, especially cheap brands not made in the USA. These chemicals can seep into your nail beds and cause infection or weaken your nails, leaving your natural nails cracked, brittle, and yellowed. Always do your research before using any type of nail product.
Proper Nail Prep
In order to get acrylic to stick to your natural nails, you must prep your nail beds. Skimping out on prep will surely lead to a short-lasting manicure, so don’t forget this important process.
Begin by washing your hands with gentle soap and a nail brush to remove any dirt from underneath your nails. Dry thoroughly; acrylic won’t stick to wet nails. Push your cuticles back and clip them if necessary; we don’t recommend attempting this if you’re a beginner because it’s easy to clip too much. Use a light grit nail file (avoid using a heavy grit; this can damage your nails and cause pain) to gently buff the shiny top layer of your nails that contains the most oil. Brush away any nail powder with a fluffy brush and use an alcohol wipe to dehydrate the nails more.
Once your nails are properly prepped, you’re ready to apply acrylic directly to your natural nails.
If you need more help with nail prep, check out our guide to prepping your nails at home. The prep process for dip powder and acrylic is the same.
Try Dip Powder Instead
If you’re looking to thicken and add color to your natural nails rather than add length, dip powder is an easier option than acrylic. Nail dip powder contains many of the same ingredients as acrylic powder, and some brands are 2-in-1 acrylic and dip powders. If you’re good at painting your nails, you’ll be an expert at nail dip powder in no time.
Using dip powder at home is a straightforward process. In fact, you’ll probably be able to complete both hands in 20 minutes or less. Dip powder systems consist of a few special liquids and a powder. These liquids include bond & base, activator, and gel top coat.
To complete a dip powder set, prep your nails the same as you would for acrylics. Paint a thin layer of base & bond, and dip your nail into the powder. Wait 30 seconds for it to dry. Paint another layer of base & bond, and dip back into the powder. Wait another 30 seconds. Apply a layer of activator to cure the powder and wait for it to dry for about one minute. Paint a layer of gel top coat and cure with a UV lamp for extra protection and shine.
For a more detailed description of dip powder, view our guide to dip powder at home.
Which Acrylic Should I Use?
With thousands of acrylic powders available on the market, it might be confusing to find one that works for you. Additionally, you’ll want to find the highest possible quality to avoid causing damage to your natural nails.
Fairy Glamor is based in Texas, USA. We hand make artisan-quality acrylic and dip powders for beginners to professionals and have hundreds of color options available. In fact, all of our powders are 2-in-1 dip AND acrylic powders!
Our nail powders are non-toxic and, when applied correctly, won’t cause damage to your natural nails. An at-home spa experience should be a safe one.