A Beginner’s Walkthrough for Acrylic Nails

Jul. 29, 2020
Are you thinking of donning acrylics this summer (or fall) but don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick guide for you.  
Acrylics are not entirely a new concept seeing as they have been around for a while now. A growing number of people have lately been showing interest in them thanks to influencers and other celebrities on social media. Be that as it may, the fact is that acrylics help to strengthen the nails while offering a large surface area for creating visually appealing designs. If that sounds interesting to you but don’t know much about acrylics, well you’re in the right place. Let’s get started. 
What Are Acrylic Nails?
Acrylic nails are made by combining a polymer that is in powder form with a monomer that is in liquid form. This creates a dough-like or paste-like compound, which is then applied onto the nails, air-dried, and left to harden. The acrylic can be molded into various shapes for aesthetics using some kind of brush. There are two approaches for acrylic nails application: Form and Plastic tip application.
The form approach incorporates a sticker which is wrapped around the nail to provide guidance for shaping the acrylic nail. In the other method, nail artists glue a plastic tip on the edge of your natural nail and then sand it down to make a seamless transition between the two nails. 
How Long Can Acrylic Nails Last?
There isn’t a set period of time that acrylic nails are supposed to last because it all depends on a person’s day to day activities and lifestyle in general. However, the average duration that acrylic nails last, for most people, is between six and eight weeks. Hannah Lee, a seasoned manicurist at Sally Hansen, recommends that fill be done every couple of weeks. A fill is basically a re-touch that is done between the bottom of the nail and the cuticle. These fill help delay lifting, which occurs when your natural nail grows. 
If you want the acrylics to last a little longer, take extra care of your fingers – particularly in regard to performing labor-intensive tasks; for example, when doing domestic cleaning chores, make sure to wear gloves. Lee also recommends using cuticle oil and moisturizer to keep your nails healthy. When it comes to a manicure, attention to detail in nail care can make all the difference in extending the lifespan of your acrylic nails. Much of this can be addressed at the nail preparation stage – right before applying acrylic nails. So, let's find out more about this in the next part.
Preparing for Acrylic Nails
Acrylic nail problems can often be traced right back to the prepping stage. If you experience some pain or breakage or lifting, the odds are that you either filed your nail too much or didn't file at all. It is also likely that you didn't sanitize your hands properly. Remember the plastic tip method of acrylic nails that we mentioned earlier? Well, if you are using this approach, for example, you must sand down your nails properly to remove any oils and keep the plastic tip perfectly aligned with the nail. 
As for pain, manicurists believe that it shouldn’t hurt at all. In fact, any form of pain experienced after 24 hours of acrylic nails application, is a red flag that your nail artist did not do a good job. 
What About Gel Nails?
Gel extensions, just like acrylics, also add a strengthening layer to your nail. However, the latter uses UV light to initiate the setting process. In terms of strength, though, acrylics are much tougher hence durable. Gel extensions do offer a more natural look. This means that the decision of whether to use acrylic nails or gel nails will basically be informed by one’s desires. Do they want a more natural look? Or do they want longer nails?
Removing Acrylic Nails
The procedure for removing acrylic nails is much similar to that of removing a gel manicure. You must soak the acrylics in acetone for a while to weaken the bonds. Once they are soft enough, the acrylics can be removed. Ariela Zuniga, the director of operations at Vanity Projects, recommends that removal be done by a professional – otherwise, you risk severely damaging your nail if your nails of you don't know what you're doing.
Due to the extensive nature of work tasks involved in acrylic nails, the cost cannot be the same as getting a regular nail polish. The price of acrylics varies a lot based on the person's geographical location, but it's usually at least $50 (could be higher). The cost of labor also depends on the intricacy of the design. So anything between $2 and $20 per nail is the average range. 
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