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Acrylic nails have dominated 2019, and we’re SO here for it – we could literally scroll through snaps of bedazzled acrylics for hours #guilty! They look SO dope, plus they give you the freedom to play with all the different nail shapes and styles, not to mention… Nail art! And while some people have been blessed with naturally strong nails, other people (like ourselves) rely on the magic of acrylic.

But before you book your appointment, there are a few need-to-knows because acrylics definitely require their fair share of maintenance! For the pro details, we got in touch with our fave celeb-nail salon in London, Nail’d It, and they filled us in (sorry we couldn’t help it) on all things acrylic… 

What Are Acrylic Nails?

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Acrylic nails are ideal for people with weak or short nails who are looking to add length or play with different shapes and styles. They’re made from a mixture of powder and liquid monomer that’s applied either directly onto the nail or over a clear glue-on nail that’s added for extra length. Once the formula is dry, it’s then shaped, painted, and decorated. According to the experts at Nail’d It “The cost on average is $80-$200 depending on the finish.” Adding that “They can last from four to six weeks. However, as the natural nail grows, an infill would be required.” However, depending on where you live and the salon you go to, prices can be much less than this, similarly, if not done well they can sometimes come off in as little as two weeks.

Worried about damaging your natural nail? Nail’d It ensured us that “The nails will only be damaged if you do not get regular infills and it’s not performed by a professional nail technician.”

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Acrylic Nails: The Process

The Nail’d It pros outlined a step-by-step of the process, which usually lasts around one to two hours, again, depending on the finish and the technician.

Step 1: Prepare the nail by removing any old polish, then file the nail and trim the cuticle.

Step 2: Gently buff nails to ensure there’s no oil on the nail bed.

Step 3: Apply an acrylic primer. This is a vital stage as it removes any moisture and oil, which allows for the best adhesion.

Step 4: Apply tips or forms for added length (forms are pieces of card that are used as a base and allow the nail technician to create a nail on top with the acrylic mix. The ‘form’ is later removed).

Step 5:  Apply the acrylic formula. Always make sure that the monomer does not contain MMA (Methylmethacrylate, which is dental acrylic and too hard for natural nails).

Step 6: Shape the nail to your preference. To find the perfect nail shape to flatter your hands, read this.

Step 7: Paint and decorate the nail using the polish of your choice. Et voila! Beautiful, long nails.

After your initial appointment, Nail’d It recommends getting regular infills, explaining “An infill should be done every two weeks to ensure perfection of the nails.” However, depending on how fast your nails grow, you may be able to wait longer between infills. To keep the nail in shape, they also advise to “Use gloves when washing up.”

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How to Remove Acrylic Nails

“Removing the nails forcefully is what damages the nail long term. By removing them incorrectly, you will damage the layers of your natural nail bed. This will result in thin, brittle, and damaged nails. We always recommend the removal to be done professionally by a reputable nail salon,” the team at Nail’d It told us. This process usually involves filing the nail and then soaking them in acetone to dissolve the nail without damaging the nail below. It could you approximately $10, but it will save the health of your nail so it’s totally worth it! You can also do this at-home.

Okay so now you know all the deets on acrylic nails, here’s some #nailspo…

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