Acrylic Nails Guide – Which Nail Types Are Right for You?

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard about acrylic nails. The fashionable icons have been staples of nail salons since they were first invented in 1954. Yep, you read that correctly. You might also be surprised to know they were invented by a dentist.

The story goes that Dr. Fred Slack broke his fingernail and created an artificial nail to replace it. He experimented with chemicals and the use of dental acrylics to create an artificial nail that fit over his old, broken nail.

Acrylic nails were born.

But actually, that’s only partially true. Acrylic nails were used as far back as ancient Egypt. Egyptian women wore long, fake nails as a status symbol. Some of the artificial nails uncovered by archeologists were made of bone, but others were made of ivory and gold.

The material acrylic that we associate with artificial nails today was discovered in the late seventies by Doctor Stuart Nordstrom. The good doctor invented the liquid and acrylic powder system many of us now associate with our local nail salon.

Acrylic nails can be molded into any shape and decorated according to your whims and interests. That’s what makes acrylics so fun. They offer minimal upkeep and look great for any occasion, whether you’re hanging out around the house or heading out on the town.

If you’re considering acrylic nails but tend to freeze when the nail technician asks for your preference, here is a handy guide to help you out. What follows is everything you need to know before, during, and after getting your new acrylic nails done.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

We’ve spent so much time talking about acrylic nails. Now let’s define them.

Acrylic nails are created by combining liquid acrylic and acrylic powders to form a hardened substance that fits over your natural nail. This nail salon alchemy is quite common and popular, and technicians require skills and techniques they’ve honed over years of practice to make your nails look exquisite. 

Technicians follow a delicate process to apply acrylic nails. The application process is followed by arduous work with a buffing block to ensure the nails shimmer and shine and to get all the bubbles out. The nail artist may use nail clippers and nail scissors to shape the nails into your preferred style. The nails are then filed and molded before a cuticle pusher is used to ensure a perfect match with your natural nail bed. 

If you prefer, this stage is where the nail artist can create an outstanding design or paint the nail tips with your regular nail polish, whichever style of nails you prefer. 

The application process is a simple one and uses no harsh chemicals, though you may be minorly inconvenienced by the smell of the acrylic mixture when your nails are filed down.

Types of Manicures for Acrylic Nails – Pick Your Ideal Nail Shape

There are seven distinct acrylic nail types.

Round Nail Style

Round acrylic nails are ideal if your natural nails are usually kept short. The style lends a simple look to your fingertips that is easy to maintain.

Square Nail Style

Square nails look terrific on long nails and short nails. With this desired shape, you can harken back to a classic look that fits with any holiday party or family get-together.

Oval Nail Style

Oval-shaped nails offer a modern look. The nails tend to be thinner than the round nail variety.

Squoval Nail Style

Can’t decide between square and oval? Why not go with a bit of both? This shape offers curved corners for a natural look that goes with everything.

Coffin Nail Style

Coffin acrylics are incredibly popular, even by celebrity standards. The tips of these nails come to a straight line and then are squared off, making your nails look like, well, coffins. Wear these during an evening out and prepare to turn heads.

Stiletto Nail Style

Stiletto nails are ideal for long nails and are filed to a fine point. This nail care style is perfect for the newly single woman on the prowl.

Almond Nail Style

Almond nails grow thinner at the top of the nail but are rounded instead of filed down to a point. Wear these on a first date to make an excellent first impression.

Wait, Doesn’t Acrylic Harm Your Natural Nail Bed?

Some people are deterred from getting acrylics because they’ve heard rumors that the style is bad for the health of their natural nail beds. The truth is acrylic can be bad for your nails only if you don’t maintain them properly.

Acrylic-style nails should be applied and removed correctly by a trained nail technician. Wearing them often could end up thinning your natural nails, as filing is required before the acrylic covering is applied. For this reason, it might be a good idea to take a break every three to six months to give your natural nails a breather.

The bottom line is that when properly applied, and with the right aftercare and regular maintenance, acrylics shouldn’t cause any serious, permanent damage.

Are Acrylic Nails Hard to Maintain?

The key to acrylic nail upkeep is to get on a routine schedule. Many people visit the nail salon to get any parts of the acrylic that have lifted away from the cuticles filled in, usually every couple of weeks.

Do Acrylic Fingernails Last a Long Time?

As long as regular fill-ins are performed, a set of acrylic nails should last between six and eight weeks before they need to be removed.

It all depends on your rate of nail growth and the activities you engage in. Nail glue is quite strong, but acrylics can be brittle. If a nail tip breaks off, a follow-up acrylic manicure can ensure your nails stay looking sharp. A good nail artist can even preserve your old nail polish when changing out the broken acrylic nail. 

How Do You Remove Acrylic Nails?

Removing acrylic nail enhancements consists of filing off the top layers of the artificial nail before soaking the nails in an acetone solution. The soaking takes around ten minutes. Heat is sometimes added to accelerate the breakdown process, making the acrylic material easier to remove. The nails are then moisturized, since acetone can dry your natural nails, making them brittle.

Can Anything be Done About Grown-Out Acrylic Nails?

“My acrylics are grown out. What can be done?” is a common question nail artists often get from those new to acrylic-style nails. What do you do when you find yourself asking this very question?

Ask for a Nail In-Fill at Your Next Appointment

Your natural fingernails will keep growing, which could pose a problem for the artificial nails infused on top. The more your nails grow, the more a gap can form between the cuticle and the bottom portion of the fake nail.

A skilled nail artist can find ways to infill the gap, which can extend your wear time.

If you don’t have time to run to the nail salon, a few layers of thick nail polish can camouflage the gap temporarily. Glitter nail varnish works well for covering up acrylic nails that have become grown out.

Other Facts About Acrylic Nails You Should Know

You May Not Like Acrylic Nails at First

If this is your first foray into acrylics, the new length and style you request may take time to get used to. It’s best to go short at first. Longer nails can get caught on things when you least expect it. Everything you were accustomed to doing earlier can become more difficult, like typing, cooking, driving – darned near everything.

To compound the difficulty, acrylic nails feel hard, but they are actually quite delicate. It might take a few fills before you start getting the hang of things like working out, typing, and opening soda cans. You may also have some soreness after getting acrylic nails, though this sensation should soon pass.

Acrylic Nails Break. It’s No Big Deal.

While attempting to get used to acrylic nails, one or a few nail tips might break in the process. If you break a nail, don’t fret. Get it fixed as soon as you can. If there’s blood present after the breakage, give your nail time to heal before getting a replacement. Though you may feel your broken nail is unsightly, it’s better than aggravating a wound that could get infected if not cared for properly.

Only Let a Professional Remove Your Acrylics

Acrylic nails must be removed by a slow, deliberate removal process that nail artists spend years perfecting. It may seem like you can look up the process online and replicate it at home, but beware. You could be left with a mess and brittle nails to boot. Never pry acrylic nails off or try to pop them off. Not only will you feel pain, but the tenderness can persist for months. You also risk damaging your natural nails by trying the do-it-yourself method. Schedule an appointment with your nail technician if you hope to conserve your nail health and keep your nails looking their best.

How Much Do Acrylics Cost?

The cost of acrylic fake nails varies depending on which nail salon you choose. At Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa, a full set of acrylics starts at $70.00, with additional fees added for more experienced nail technician personnel. Call us for details at one of our four locations throughout the Cincinnati area. All of our nail technicians are trained internally before they hit the floor, giving you the confidence in knowing you’re getting the best service at the best price. 

Choose Your Nail Salon Wisely

Do your research and choose the nail salon that makes you feel most at ease about your wish to get acrylic nails. Once you find a location you like online, visit the salon, and pay attention to the atmosphere, aesthetics of the salon, organizational style of the salon, and the professionalism exhibited by the staff.

Make sure the nail salon is clean and that the nail tech uses sanitized tools on your hands. Bacteria can spread from tools that have not been thoroughly cleaned, so listen to your gut. Even the best-looking nails aren’t worth a nail infection later on. Bacterial nail infections are not fun.

Ready for Beautiful Acrylic Nails Created in Your Preferred Style?

The next time you’re in the mood for acrylic nails, toss out your press-on nails and stop into Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa for an acrylic manicure makeover instead. Our nail salon is clean, organized, and ready to give you a relaxing experience to remember. Choose the style and perfect shade of nail polish, complete with or without nail art, and let us amaze you. Call now to book your nail salon appointment.