Acrylic nails offer a convenient and versatile option for improving the appearance of natural nails. Among various options, acrylic nails are one of the most sought-after choices. From enhancing the length of nails to providing a sturdy base for intricate designs, acrylic nails have become a staple in the world of manicures. However, weighing the pros and cons and taking proper precautions to minimize damage and ensure healthy nail growth is essential.

Understanding Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails, also known as artificial nails or nail extensions, are cosmetic enhancements applied to natural nails to alter their appearance or length. They are typically made from a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer, which forms a hard, durable layer when applied to the nails. Acrylic nails can be customized in length, shape, and design, offering individuals the flexibility to achieve their desired look.

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Pros and Cons of Acrylic Nails

There are various benefits and drawbacks of acrylic nails. At BeautyGARDE, we recommend not using artificial nails of any kind, including acrylics. Fake nails can severely damage your natural nails, even if you get them done by a professional at a nail salon.


  • Durability: Acrylic nails are known for their strength and durability, making them suitable for individuals with weak or brittle nails.
  • Versatility: They can be customized with various colors, designs, and embellishments, allowing endless creative possibilities.
  • Longevity: With proper maintenance, acrylic nails can last several weeks without chipping or lifting.
  • Instant Length: Acrylic nails provide instant length to natural nails, making them ideal for those who struggle to grow their nails.
  • Nail Protection: They act as a protective barrier for the natural nails, reducing the risk of breakage and damage.


  • Potential damage: Improper application or removal of acrylic nails can cause damage to the natural nail bed, leading to weakness, thinning, and peeling.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance appointments are required to fill in the gaps between the natural nail and the acrylic overlay, which can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Chemical odor: The acrylic application involves strong-smelling chemicals, which may cause discomfort for some individuals.
  • Allergic reactions: Some people may experience allergic reactions to the chemicals in acrylic products, resulting in redness, itching, or swelling.
  • Thickness: Acrylic nails can appear thicker than natural nails, which may take some time getting used to.

How Acrylic Nails Can Damage Your Natural Nail Beds

While gel and acrylic nails offer numerous benefits, they also come with risks, particularly when it comes to damaging the natural nail beds.

  • Improper application: If acrylic nails are applied incorrectly, such as using too much pressure or applying the product too close to the cuticle, it can cause trauma to the nail bed.
  • Trapping moisture: Moisture trapped between the acrylic overlay and the natural nail can lead to fungal infections or bacterial growth, resulting in nail damage.
  • Chemical exposure: The chemicals used in acrylic powder and products, such as ethyl methacrylate (EMA) and methyl methacrylate (MMA), can be harsh on the nails and surrounding skin, causing irritation or allergic reactions.

  • Over-filing: Excessive filing of the natural nail to prep it for acrylic application can weaken the nail bed and make it more susceptible to damage.
  • Improper removal process: It can be tempting to remove acrylic nails by peeling them off when you start to see them separate from your nail bed. Peeling them off can remove a layer of your nails, which can cause further damage and even painful injury.

Alternatives to Acrylic Nails

While acrylic nails are popular, there are several alternatives available, including:

  • Gel nail polish: Gel nails are another type of artificial nail enhancement that offers a more natural look and feel compared to acrylics. They are cured under LED or UV light and can be easily soaked off for removal.
  • Dip powder nails: Dip powder nails involve dipping the nails into colored powder to create a durable and long-lasting manicure. They require no UV or LED curing and can be removed without soaking.
  • Nail wraps: Nail wraps are thin adhesive stickers applied to the nail surface to add color or design. They are easy to apply and remove and less damaging to natural nails than acrylics.
  • Nail extensions with silk or fiberglass: These alternatives involve using silk or fiberglass wraps to extend the length of the nails without the use of acrylic or gel products. They provide strength and durability while allowing the natural nails to breathe.

BeautyGARDE tip: Although the options above may offer a longer-lasting nail solution than natural nails or regular nail polish, all types of artificial nails damage your overall nail health and are not recommended.

How Acrylic Nails Are Applied

The application process of acrylic nails typically involves the following steps:

  • Preparation: The natural nails are cleaned, trimmed, and filed to the desired shape.
  • Priming: A primer is applied to the natural nails to promote adhesion.
  • Acrylic application: A small brush is used to apply a liquid monomer and powder polymer mixture to the nails, forming a thick paste that is molded into the desired shape.
  • Shaping and buffing: Once the acrylic has dried, the nails are shaped and buffed to smooth any rough edges or imperfections.
  • Color or design: To enhance the appearance of acrylic nails, nail polish, gel polish, or nail art designs can be applied.
  • Sealing: A top coat is applied to seal and protect the acrylic nails, giving them a glossy finish.

How Acrylic Nails are Removed

Removing acrylic nails should be done carefully to minimize damage to the natural nails. The process typically involves the following steps:

  • Soaking: The nails are soaked in acetone to dissolve the acrylic overlay. This can be done by soaking the nails in acetone-filled bowls or using acetone-soaked cotton pads wrapped around the nails.
  • Gentle Removal: Once the acrylic has softened, it can be gently scraped off using a wooden or metal cuticle pusher. It's essential to avoid forcefully pulling or prying the acrylic, as this can cause damage to the natural nails.
  • Buffing: Any remaining acrylic residue can be buffed away using a nail buffer or file.
  • Moisturizing: After the acrylic nails have been removed, it's crucial to moisturize the nails and surrounding skin to replenish moisture and prevent dryness or brittleness.

BeautyGARDE tip: After removing your acrylic nails, you may notice your nail beds are damaged, especially if you didn't have them removed by a nail tech. Don't worry; your natural nails will grow back, and there are products you can use to help repair them and stimulate healthy growth.