Acrylic nails are back in style! This nail extension method has gathered a quite large and loyal following, since it makes it easy for you to get the nails of your dreams in only about 40 minutes. When done correctly, they become quite a sight to behold and a great finishing touch to your look! If you want to change the length and shape of your nails, getting fake nails can be an excellent option for you. The good news is that we have compiled an easy step-by-step guide on how to do acrylic nails at home. Spoiler alert: anyone can do it!
Doing your nails at home may not be particularly easy, but still very much achievable. With some practice, you can do perfect acrylic nails at home all on your own! All you need is some patience, a little practice and a few supplies to get you started.
So if you want to learn how to do acrylic nails at home, but you’re wondering about the right steps to do so, we are here to help you out! In this article, we have explained all the necessary steps in detail, as well as featured some product options fo you to explore. Stay tuned 🙂
How to Do Acrylic Nails at Home: 15 Easy Steps
We will be demonstrating everything, from prepping to the actual application of acrylics on your nail. You might be new to the world of acrylic nails or you might be someone who does nails regularly, either way we are sure that everyone will find something useful in our detailed guide on how to do acrylic nails!
So, without further ado, let’s get into it 🙂
Step #1: Buying the Kit to Learn How to Do Acrylic Nails
If you are looking into how to do acrylic nails, consider purchasing an acrylic nail kit. If you are doing acrylic nails for the first time, you might want to start with an all-included kit. These kits have all the things that we list in our guide, along with some necessary instructions to help you get started. To get started, your kit has to include the following: a brush, acrylic powder (usually comes as white powder or colored powder), acrylic liquid and some acrylic tips. You will need to purchase a nail file, a nail buffer and nail clippers or scissors separately.
However, make sure that the ingredients do not contain Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), especially the monomer. The MMA acrylic can be too harsh for the natural nail. Instead, try to look for Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) ingredients.
You can search for brands that nail technicians use or other kits that are recommended by professionals. Here’s a few kits that you can look at before investing in your first acrylic nail kit:
Step #2: Getting Your Nails Ready
The first thing that you need to do is clean your nails – prepping your nails for acrylics is an essential first step. The acrylic application requires clean nails, so take off any old nail polish that you are wearing. It would help if you used an acetone-based and oil-free nail polish remover for this purpose.
If you have any gels on your nail, soak them thoroughly and remove the gel before applying acrylics to avoid causing unnecessary damage to your nails.
Even if you don’t have any old polish or gels, it is good practice to apply some remover to clean away any existing dust particles. Plus, the acrylic nail will stick to your natural nail better, and stay on for longer when you have prepped your nails correctly.
Step #3: Trimming Your Nails
Your nails need to be of an even (short) length for an easy acrylic application. So it works best if you trimmed your natural nails with nail clippers or nail scissors, and that will provide a good base for the acrylic.
We would advise you to leave just a few extra millimeters, though. The extra length will help you glue to the acrylic’s tips with the nail’s natural “smile line”. After that, use a nail file to polish them evenly. Here’s a few greatly reviewed nail files for you to consider:
Either way, when learning how to do acrylic nails at home, you want your nails to be short. That is because the acrylic tips are going to be attached to the nails themselves. But if you try to attach those same tips to longer nails, the natural nail can likely snap off. This, in turn, can cause your acrylic to snap off as well.
It is also good practice to buff your nails once you trim them. First, you should file and clip your nails as it makes them evenly free of any snags. After that, buff each nail so that your acrylic tips can find something they can easily grip. There is a wide variety of nail buffers available for purchase online, and here’s a few options you can look at:
Step #4: Pushing Back Your Cuticles
Almost every nail technician you come across will advise you against cutting your cuticles, especially if you are inexperienced. It is because you are more likely to clip your skin and accidentally get a nail infection.
Instead, it would be best if you soaked your nails in warm water to soften the area. Soaking will allow you to use special tools to push your cuticles back gently. If you have experience doing nails at home, and if you have a steady hand – gently try trimming your cuticles. However, be extremely careful and very gentle: you don’t want to accidentally cut yourself while doing so.
Plus, it is better to have the acrylic adhering to your natural nails instead of your skin. For this, you would need to trim the cuticles or push them back to keep them out of the way. A cuticle pusher makes this job very easy, preferably a wooden cuticle pusher instead of a metallic one. Here’s a few options you can look at when picking the right tool for your cuticles:
So, try soaking your fingers in some lukewarm water with some soap before using the cuticle pusher. Make sure that you do this step right before doing your nails so that everything is in great shape before your acrylic application.
Step #5: Using the Nail Primer Before Starting To Do Acrylic Nails
Once all your nails and cuticles are trimmed, your nails are buffed, and once you have cleaned them with some nail polish remover – apply a nail primer on your natural nail bed. It removes any remaining moisture and oil from your nails, preparing them for the application of the acrylic nails. The acrylic will not stick properly if there is any oil, moisture, dirt or residue found on your nails.
Step #6: Application of the Nail Tips
First, you need to lay out all of the tips in front of you and then choose the appropriately sized tips for your nails. If they do not perfectly fit your nail, file them down to your right size. The acrylic application tips tend to have an indent on the inside of their tips, apply the indent to your nail and make sure it fits your nail perfectly. That is the key to get your acrylics to stay on for as long as possible. Also, make sure that the free edge of your natural nail fits perfectly underneath.
Then, apply glue evenly to the tip and place it on your natural nail so that the bottom edge of the acrylic tip lies halfway down your nail bed.
Leave the glue to dry for five seconds by holding the tip in place. Do this on all ten nails, then trim the nails to your desired length.
Here’s a few options you can explore when you’re shopping for the materials mentioned above:
Step #7: Getting All The Materials To Do Acrylic Nails Ready
Prepare the acrylic materials and lay them out in front of you. Be sure to protect the surface you are working on with some kind of a layer – either a paper towel or a regular towel, since the acrylic liquid can leave stains on a table surface that will be very hard to remove. Pour some acrylic powder into a separate dish and the liquid acrylic into the acrylic dish. It might produce some potent chemical fumes, so make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area. It is important to avoid inhaling these fumes, so it is recommended to wear a mask while you’re doing your nails.
Step #8: Forming an Acrylic “Bead” With a Brush
Dip the tip of your acrylic brush inside the acrylic liquid dish. Push it down to make sure all the bubbles are gone. Then, to remove excess liquid, brush it against the side of the bowl.
Now, take the wet tip of your nail brush and gently dip it into the dish containing the acrylic powder. At this point, the powder will form a little moist “ball” at the tip of your nail brush – usually referred to as a “bead”. Now, it is important to act quick before your perfect bead dries out and becomes hard to work with. Timing is crucial!
On a side note, check out our recommended nail brush options:
Moving on to the next step!
Step #9: Applying the Acrylic Bead To Your Nail
When applying the little acrylic powder “ball” to your nail, begin at the smile line or the bottom edge of the acrylic tip. Brush the acrylic ball down to the tip after flattening it over the line. Spread it lightly and evenly to smoothen the area between your actual nail and the false nail tip.
Place the second ball of acrylic near (but not too close) your cuticle. Try using small circular movements to brush the acrylic down for a smooth transition. Make sure that the acrylic mixture covers your entire nail bed, as well as the tip. Repeat this process with all your nails. This part of the process is a little bit tricky, but with enough practice you will soon notice that it gets easier and easier every time!
Step #10: Letting the Acrylic Dry
The acrylic should take around ten to fifteen seconds to harden completely. It is important to wait until your nails are completely dry before proceeding to the next step. Once completely dried, tap your unpolished acrylic nails surface with your brush to see if it makes a clicking sound. If it does, it is ready for the next step! Good job! 🙂
Step #11: Shaping Your Acrylic Nails
Once the acrylics have properly dried, use a nail file to file the tips to your desired length and shape.
Here’s a few shapes you can choose from when learning how to do acrylic nails:
A 180 grit coarse nail file can work great here. After that, use a buffer to buff the surface, and lastly, use a 4000 grit nail file if you’re looking for some extra shine and smoothness!
Step #12: Applying Nail Polish or a Gel Base. Or Both! 🙂
You can either apply a clear coat of nail polish or paint them with colored nail polish. In order to create a smooth, even surface, apply the polish to the entire nail. You can also be innovative with different patterns or mix multiple colors.
For best results, it is recommended to put a layer of gel on top of your acrylics – that way, your nails will last significantly longer. For these purposes, it is best to first clean and dehydrate the nail surface with nail polish remover, then apply a clear gel base, then a colored gel polish. For gel applications, you will also need a UV light lamp for curing the nail polish. You can find everything you need for a gel manicure in these kits:
Step #13: Applying a Top Coat on Your Acrylics
There you go, now your acrylic nails are ready! Use a top coat to give it a little extra shine. It also keeps the nail paint intact and helps your nails last longer. You can pick a matte or glossy top coat, and here’s just a few options to consider:
Step #14: Drying and Finishing Touches
Allow one to two minutes to cure your nails under a UV lamp if you are using gel-based nail polish. Congratulations, you’re all done! Now finish it off by applying some cuticle oil to the cuticle area of all of your the nails. Lastly, rub it in and massage it with your fingers. This will moisturize your skin and your nails, so that they can last even longer! Now is the time to enjoy your beautiful acrylic nails 🙂
Step #15: Maintaining Your Acrylic Nails
Naturally, as your nails keep growing, you will notice that your acrylic nails have noticeably grown out in about two weeks. Then, you can either “fill in” the acrylic on the grown-out nail, reapply the entire acrylic nail, or choose to remove the artificial nail completely.
Removing an acrylic nail will require you to soak off the nail polish, and then buff the acrylic off your nail with a nail buffer. Be careful not to injure your natural nail while buffing the acrylic material off! Start slowly and gently 🙂
Also, if you’re looking to maintain the health of your nails while wearing acrylics, it is important to choose the right nail care products. Applying nail strengtheners, hand moisturizers and cuticle oil will make a huge difference in how long your nails last! Check out our best-reviewed recommendations for healthy, strong nails:
We hope you found our guide on how to do acrylic nails useful, and we hope that you can now practice it at home! Doing your nails from the comfort of your home can be a great way to give your nails a fresh, new look and save you a lot of money in the process.
You may need some practice at first, but we are sure that you will become a professional in no time! So, why wait? 🙂 Go ahead, get started and buy an acrylic kit today!