acrylic nails

Acrylic Nails Guide - Shapes, Colors, Pros And Cons - 2024

Shalu Bhati

Updated At  08 Jan 24


Are you a fan of acrylic nails? Do you want to join in on the trend but are confused about how to begin? Then, keep reading our complete acrylic nails guide.

Artificial nails are an ongoing trend and refuse to budge from their position of the most sought after style for nails. Out of the various artificial nails doing the rounds in the beauty industry, acrylic nails seem to be a popular choice. Our guide on acrylic nails aims to explain everything about them and we specifically cover what are acrylic nails, how to get acrylic nails, their pros, cons, and the latest acrylic nail shapes as well as acrylic nail colors.

We also answer some of the frequently asked questions on acrylic nails.

So, let’s begin with this nail guide.




What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are one of the most popular kinds of artificial nails. These are nail enhancements which are made by applying paste made of acrylic powder and liquid solution to the natural nails. Once the paste hardens, it creates a long lasting nail which can be shaped, filed and coated as required.

These nails have been developed from the same dental technology that was used for bridges and crowns. They were first introduced in 1934 by a dentist named Maxwell Lappe to provide help to people with nail-biting issues. With the development of technology, acrylic nails grew more appealing and gradually became a fashion statement.

From short acrylic nails to longer and pointed ones, there is a lot to choose from. Do note acrylic nails are different from solar nails. Please check out guide on solar nails to find out all the differences between the two.





How To Get Acrylic Nails: The Process

The application process of acrylic nails requires your active participation. Your work doesn’t end with finding the right nail technician. You would have to ensure that your natural nails are healthy before you sit for the procedure. You will also be required to discuss the acrylic nail shapes, their length, and the acrylic nail colors with your nail technician.

The following steps are undertaken to apply these nails:

  • The application of acrylic nails begins with the technician cleaning, soaking, and filing your natural nails
  • Next, depending upon your choice of nail length, artificial tips are added. These tips are mostly added if you wish to go for long nails. However, they are usually not added for shorter nail lengths
  • A liquid and a powder monomer are combined to form a dough-like mix which is then patted over the nails and shaped accordingly
  • This mix after being shaped is left to air dry to form a hard layer

A variety of acrylic nail colors are available which can be used to polish later to achieve the complete look. You can also get nail art done or even accessorize your acrylic nails if you so desire.

But what makes these nails the right choice? Let’s find out. Check out our detailed guide on coffin nails as we cover what are these, the process of getting coffin nails, pros, cons, side effects along with the popular FAQs.






Gel Nails Vs Acrylic Nails

Gel nails are another form of nail extensions and are often confused to be the same as acrylic nails even though they have significant differences.

Following are some of the key differences between gel nails and acrylic nails:

  • The first major difference between the two is that acrylic nails are a mix of a liquid and a powder monomer whereas gel nails are just a homogenous gel product
  • Gel nails are dried using UV rays and acrylic nails on the other hand are left to dry out naturally
  • While you can achieve a more natural and glossy finish with gel nails, acrylic nails tend to look artificial if not done properly
  • Gel nails are much more flexible and less likely to stain as compared to acrylics. And also unlike acrylics, gel nails do not give out any odor during the application process
  • The removal of gel nails is not easy and has to be get done by a professional only. Acrylic nails, however, can be easily removed once soaked in acetone
  • Both of these nails are expensive but gel nails have a cost which is 15% to 20% more than acrylic nails.

Do check out the best cute short nails as many of these are trending this year. From monochrome design, rainbow colored ones to ombre short nails, we have covered 55+ popular ones.




Are Acrylic Nails Worth It: Their Pros And Cons

Acrylic nails have a variety of benefits. But it is also true that there are certain cons and side effects as well. Therefore, before choosing between getting acrylic nails, you should read the following list of pros and cons too:

Pros Of Acrylic Nails

  • Widely Available

Due to their popularity, acrylic nails are widely available. You will not have to work very hard to find the perfect nail salon for yourself.

  • Durable And Long Lasting

With acrylic nails, you don’t have to worry about cracks or breaks at all. These nail enhancements are resilient and stronger than the other alternatives available in the market. Their durability and long life are guaranteed.

  • Versatile

If the current style is not working for you, you can always get it changed later anytime you want.

  • Allow Creativity

Acrylic nails allow the option of being creative. Acrylic nails are available in a large variety of shapes, sizes, lengths, and colors. You can customize your nail enhancements as per your style.

  • Uniform Look

Your natural nails don’t grow out uniformly. More than often one nail grows slower than the others. It can be frustrating when you want a uniform length. But with acrylic nails, you can say goodbye to this struggle and achieve a uniformed polished look. Short acrylic nails are very popular amongst those who want a simple laidback and natural look.


Also Read: 9 Best DIY Nail Polish Removers You Must Know




Cons Of Acrylic Nails

  • Risk Of Looking Unnatural

If acrylic nails are not done properly, they can end up looking unnatural.

  • Chemical Fumes

Ever wondered why the nail technicians wear a mask? It is because of the chemicals and the fumes which get released during the application process. The chemical fumes can prove harmful to your health.

  • Damage Natural Nails

Even though acrylic nails form a hard protective layer over your natural nails, they don’t give any space to the natural nails to grow. As a result, when the acrylic nails are removed you find weak and brittle nails underneath.

  • Maintenance

Acrylic nails require maintenance. They require to be filled every 3 weeks and if your nails grow out fast, you will have to run to the nail salon more than you would have hoped for.



Acrylic Nail Shapes And Colors

The following are some of the most popular acrylic nail shapes:



  • Round: It is a simple natural look most suited for a short length. It is perfect for beginners and adapts well with everyday use.



  • Square: Another classic and simple style that looks natural. It suits all lengths.



  • Oval: This style oozes modernity and gives a soft finish.



  • Squoval: A mix of square and oval style of nails where the corners are rounded for a softer look. This shape is vastly popular.



  • Almond: These nails are shaped liked an almond. They go thinner towards the tip which is rounded.



  • Stiletto: This nail shape is similar to almond except that the tip is pointed instead of being rounded.



  • Coffin: This is yet another example of a popular nail shape. It is favored by many celebrities like Kylie Jenner and has an almond-shaped with squared tips.



Acrylic Nail Colors

Regarding acrylic nail colors, you can choose any color of your choice ranging from white and grey to black and blue. Marble effect and matte colors are also in trend. You can also mix and match two different colors to formulate your new and unique style. If you wish, you can also throw in glitter and stones to the mix.



Also Read: 9 Things Your Nails Reveal About Your Health



How To Remove Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are not easy to remove. Do not try to yank them off as it can severely damage your natural nails. Their removal is made easy by soaking them for about 30 minutes in acetone. The soaking up makes them soft and they can be filed off. Even though this removal process can be done at home, it is recommended that you get it done at the nail salon.




Can Acrylic Nails Damage Natural Nails?

Yes, acrylic nails can damage your natural nails in the long run. However, by taking a few precautions like maintain their health, cleaning them properly, being cautious about the instruments used, you can control the damage to a large extent. You should also take a break after 2 to 3 months of having acrylics to allow your natural nails to breathe and recover.


Cost Of Acrylic Nails

Typically, acrylic nails cost anywhere from $45 to $65. The cost increases depending upon the length, choice of color, and shape and can go up to as high as $120. Don't forget that you would need to get your acrylics filed every two weeks as maintenance and that can cost you anywhere between $25 and $45.



Frequently Asked Questions On Acrylic Nails


Q. What should one keep in mind before choosing a nail salon?

You should choose a good and reputed nail salon with an up to date license. You must also ensure that your nail technician is licensed as well as experienced. Take a look at the instruments which are to be used in the application process and make sure that they are sterilized properly.



Q. Are short nails acrylics in trend?

Yes, short acrylic nails are very much in trend. They are great for beginners as well as for those who just prefer a smaller length. You can opt for a variety of colors and designs for your short acrylic nails.



Q. Is any preparation required before getting acrylic nails?

No specific preparation is required to be done. However, make sure that your nails are healthy. If they are not, use some oils like jojoba oil for strengthening and conditioning your nails.


Q. How long do acrylic nails last?

Acrylic nails can last a long time depending upon your lifestyle. However, they need to be filled every 2 to 3 weeks.


Q. Do acrylic nails hurt?

Acrylic nails often hurt but they should not hurt every time you get them. If your nails keep on hurting even after 24 hours of application, you need to get in touch with a new nail technician.


Q. How to take care of acrylic nails?

To take proper care of acrylic nails, ensure that you clean your hands as well as nails properly to prevent the formation of any infection. You should also start using cuticle oil to maintain the health of your nails.



Also Read: How To Get Beautiful Pink Nails – 15 Potent Home Remedies