Acrylic Nails are one of the most popular forms of manicures available. And one of the main reasons why they are so popular is because once applied correctly acrylic nails are durable and extremely long-lasting.
Now in this article, I am gonna explain exactly how long acrylic nails can potentially last for you.
And I am gonna share with you how you can prevent your acrylic nails from peeling, lifting, and chipping prematurely to make them last longer.
How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last
Once applied and cared for correctly acrylic nails can last for 6-8 weeks without chipping, peeling, lifting, or cracking.
But acrylic nails will need to be filled in every 2-3 weeks to cover the gap at the back of your nails created from the growth of your natural nails.
Now even if the acrylic nails are applied correctly, the exact lifespan of the nails will vary, this is mostly due to:
- The type of nails that the individual has – people with naturally oily nails tend to have premature lifting.
- The environment that the acrylics are exposed to
- The quality of the acrylic monomer and polymer used.
Tips to Make Acrylic Nails Last Longer
1- Ensure Your Nails are Prepped Correctly Before Application
The most important factor that determines the lifespan of your acrylic nails is how well your natural nails were prepped before the acrylic application.
You see proper preparation allows the acrylic nails to adhere better onto your natural nails which reduces the chances of the acrylic nails lifting or chipping.
For your nails to be prepped correctly, the following things need to be done:
- The cuticle and the area around it needs to be pushed back and aligned.
- The natural nails need to be filed.
- The nails need be completely clean.
How to Prep Your Cuticles For Acrylic Application
The cuticle is the clear skin at the back of your nails. Now before applying your acrylic your cuticles needs to be pushed back and the area around it needs to be filed.
You see if you dont prep your cuticles the acrylic would adhere to it instead of the nail plate which can lead to serious lifting.
I recommend using a cuticle pusher to gently push back and align your cuticles.
How to File Your Nails For Acrylic Application
Once your cuticles have been pushed back you then need to gently file your nails.
Ensure that you file the entire surface for each nail and pay special attention to the back end of your nails – which is the area close to your cuticles.
Filing is important because it helps to:
- Remove the oily sheen from your nails – which prevents the acrylic from adhering well
- Make the surface of the nail plate rougher – this allows the acrylic to grip onto your nails better.
I recommend that you file with a medium grit nail I usually use a 180 grit. You can click here to see the price for a great 100/180 grit nail file on Amazon.
How to Properly Clean Your Nails For Acrylic Application
After you have prepped your cuticles and filed your nails you then need to dust and clean your nails.
To clean your nails you need to wipe them with cotton pads soaked in pure acetone or pure rubbing alcohol.
This helps to remove any dust, dirt, and some of the oils on your nails all of which can prevent your acrylic nails from bonding to your natural nails.
Cleaning your nails also helps to kill any bacteria or germs on the nail plate which can potentially develop into a nail infection.
Recommended Cleaning Method
When cleaning your nails I recommend using pure cosmetic acetone.
Pure acetone will dissolve most of the oil on your nails and remove all of the dirt, dust, and germs. And since it’s pure it won’t contain any oil or chemicals that might hinder your acrylic nails from bonding to your nail plate.
Video Of How to Prep Your Nails For Acrylic Application
2- Use a Nail Dehydrator and A Nail Primer
A Nail Dehydrator and a Nail Primer are absolutely essential for acrylic application without them your acrylic nails would lift easily and won’t last very long.
They are as important as a base coat is for your gel manicure.
So once your nails have been prepped it is essential that you or your nail tech apply a coat of a nail dehydrator and then a coat of a nail primer.
Nail Dehydrators work by removing all of the moisture and oil on your nails which allows the acrylic to bond better to your nail plate.
Nail Primers work by either:
- Making microscopic holes onto your nail plate allowing the acrylic to grip onto your nail plate
- Or they act like glue bonding the acrylic onto your nails.
Mia Secret has a great combo set that comes with a nail dehydrator and a nail primer. Their primers and dehydrators will work with any brand of acrylic.
3- Use a Top Coat
A Top Coat will form a hard protective layer over your acrylic nails.
This hard layer helps to:
- Acts as a seal to keep out water, detergent and other strong chemicals that can wear away at your acrylic nails.
- Protect your acrylic nails from getting scratched and damaged.
- Give your acrylic nails a nice smooth glossy sheen.
Now any type of top coat can work but for best results I recommend using a UV Gel Top Coat. Since they are by far the most durable and long-lasting.
So the next time you are getting acrylic nails I highly recommend getting a UV Gel Top Coat – most nail techs will happily apply a coat for you at no extra cost.
4- Avoid Putting Too Much Strain on the Acrylics
Too much pressure and force on your acrylic nails can slowly weaken them which can lead to lifting.
So avoid using your acrylic nails to do activities that place force and stress directly onto the acrylic nails.
Activities such as; scratching, lifting, scraping, opening containers and typing should be avoided.
When you are typing I recommend using the pads of your fingers instead of your nails.
5- Avoid Having Your Acrylic Nails Exposed to Harsh Conditions & Chemicals
Harsh conditions such as extremely high or low temperatures and exposure to strong chemicals can greatly weaken your acrylic nails which can lead to peeling and chipping.
This is why you need to avoid these activities as much as possible or wear gloves to protect your nails.
Some common activities that weaken acrylic nails are:
- Cleaning and doing the dishes – Detergents such as soap and bleach tend to eat away at the acrylics.
- Hot Baths – The warm soapy water will weaken your acrylic nails
- Prolong exposure to highly chlorinated water from your pool can damage your acrylic nails.
- Gardening – especially if you use strong pesticides can harm your acrylics
- Cooking – intense heat has a negative effect on your acrylic nails.
6- Go for a Fill-in When Needed
Since acrylic nails are so long-lasting your natural nails tend to grow out which leaves a gap at the back of your nails near the cuticle area.
Now, this gap can be filled in and covered up allowing your manicure to look brand new.
Fill-ins can be done by your nail tech or if you are skilled enough by yourself. They also help to prevent lifting.
I recommend going for a fill-in every 2-3 weeks depending on the amount of growth that occurs. You can also do fill-ins at home click here to read how.
7- Keep Your Nails Healthy & Moisturized
If your natural nails constantly dry out they can be prone to cracking and peeling which can weaken your acrylic nails.
You see the acrylic nails are anchored onto your nail plate and if the nail plate starts to crack and peel then the acrylic wouldn’t have a good foundation and will likely start to lift and peel too.
This is why it is essential that keep your nails and cuticles well moisturized and hydrated.
Recommended Cuticle and Nail Oil
I recommend using a cuticle oil pen which is very portable and allows you to easily moisturize your nails and your cuticles to keep them healthy and prevent them from cracking.
Now one of the biggest causes of drying out is when you constantly wash your hands. So I highly recommend moisturizing your nails and cuticles every time you wash your hands.
And a Cuticle oil pen allows you to quickly and easily moisturize your nails – you can click here to see the price for the brand that I recommend on Amazon.
It contains Jojoba Oil which is by far the best oil to moisturize your cuticles and nails.
8- Use High-Quality Products
Not all acrylic products are created equal some of them are low quality and won’t last as long acrylic nails should.
I recommend sticking with well-known brands and with nail salons that use good products.
9- Strengthen Your Natural Nails
The stronger your nails are the more you can properly file and prep them for the acrylic nails.
Stronger nails help your acrylic nails to last longer because they:
- Are a stronger foundation for your acrylic nails to adhere onto -if your nails are breaking and peeling then your acrylic nails will do the same as well
- You can properly prep your nails without having to worry about damaging them which will allow your acrylic nails to adhere better.
10- Have Longer Natural Nails
Acrylic Nails are less likely to lift when they are applied onto nails that have some amount of length.
You see when acrylic is applied to extra short nails they have less surface area to hold onto which makes them weaker.
So it is highly recommended that you don’t cut your natural nails before getting acrylic nails.
11- Go For Shorter Acrylic Nails
The longer your acrylic nails the more likely they are to lift prematurely. This is why I recommend going for a shorter design if you want your acrylic nails to last extra long.
You see the longer your acrylic nails are the more likely they are to:
- Have more pressure and strain applied to them during your normal everyday activites. This is because they have a larger surface area for force to act on.
- To get caught and hooked in different situations, such as on fabrics, which puts alot of pressure on them.
Now the more pressure and strain applied to your acrylic nails tend to weaken the strength of the glue which will cause the nails to lift more quickly
Other Resources & Articles on Acrylic Application
Citation and References