How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

Acrylic nails can offer a trendy way to enhance the appearance of your fingernails and hands. If you are considering getting acrylic nails for the first time, you may be wondering how long they last. In this post, we will answer this question for you and cover other topics surrounding acrylic nails.

On average, you can expect your acrylic nails to last anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks. They may last a shorter or longer period, depending on how well you maintain them and the method in which they were applied.

Properly maintaining your acrylic nails can help them to last longer. During the application process, your nail bed condition can also determine how long your acrylic nails will last. Continue reading to learn more about how to make acrylic nails last longer.

A woman showing her sky blue colored acrylic nail designs on a gradient background, How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

Ways To Make Acrylic Nails Last Longer

Different nail designs on a white background

When you get a set of acrylic nails done, you naturally want them to last as long as possible--but only if they will look good. Needing a fill-in just a week after you have had your nails done can be a bit irritating. The method used to apply your acrylic nails can definitely affect how long they will last. For example, if your nail technician places too much acrylic on the nails, it can cause the formula to clump up and form a weak bond to your nail bed, resulting in acrylic nails that may pop off easily.

Or, if your nail bed is oily when the acrylic is applied, it can cause the acrylic to slide down the nail, resulting in the need for a fill-in within a matter of days. Lastly, if you use your hands for a lot of daily tasks that may scrape or dent your nails, this can also cause them to chip prematurely or break off. There are ways to extend the life of your acrylic nails. Let's look at some of them.

Fix Damaged Nails ASAP

Don't wait weeks to repair your acrylic nails; if they become chipped or cracked, fix them immediately. When you ignore damaged acrylic nails, it causes damage to spread against the entire nail bed, making it more difficult and more expensive to repair. If you happen to break the skin when your nail is cracked, you also risk getting an infection on your nail bed if the nail stays on.

Take It Easy On Your Hands

The biggest downside of having acrylic nails is that you have to be careful when performing certain tasks with your hands. This means being mindful when washing dishes, closing doors, and opening things with your fingertips. For example, you'll want to stay away from activities such as opening cans with your nails, prying things open with your fingers, and using your nails to tear paper and tape. The easier you are on your nails, the longer they are likely to last without chipping or cracking.

Keep Your Hands Dry

Depending on your job and daily activities, this can be challenging. However, it is important to stay mindful that water can cause the glue holding the acrylic to your nail to loosen, especially if the acrylic remains wet for an extended period of time. Also, acrylic nails that remain wet can be more susceptible to bacteria and fungus growth, so letting your nails breathe is definitely a good thing.

Always dry your hands thoroughly after submerging them in water. This is especially important to remember when you are washing dishes, gardening, or performing other tasks. You can also dust your hands with baby powder to help wick away some of the moisture.

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Wash your hands regularly

This may go without saying, but it's still important to note. Remember, wet and dirty hands can harbor bacteria, which is never good for acrylic nails. It is also just as important to make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning the area under your acrylic nails, where your natural nails meet your fingertips.

The best way to do this is to take a Q-tip, dip it in rubbing alcohol, and apply it directly to the area beneath your nails. This will immediately kill any bacteria that may be lingering around your nail bed. It can also remove any debris that may have accumulated during the course of your day.

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Moisturize your hands

Keeping the skin around your acrylic nails moisturized and healthy is also very important to extend your nails' life. Be sure to moisturize your hands daily and tend to redness, dryness, or peeling as soon as possible. If the area around your acrylic nails seemed irritated, this could be a sign of infection, in which case you will need to remove the nails soon as possible to address it.

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Say no to acetone

Most nail polish removers today do not contain acetone. However, there are still some removers that do. The bad thing about acetone is that it wreaks havoc on your nails and skin, causing them to dry out and become brittle.

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Apply a topcoat

Applying a topcoat or nail hardener to your acrylic nails once a week can help them to last longer without chipping or breaking. Your nail technician will typically apply a top coat after you receive your manicure. However, it's a good idea to keep a nice layer of topcoat on top of the acrylic nails to protect them from everyday scuffs and knicks.

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Apply nail oil daily

Just like the rest of your skin, your nails benefit greatly from moisture and oil. Be sure to apply penetrating oil to your nails every week to help maintain them. You can use neutral oils such as rapeseed or vitamin E. The oils will keep your nails flexible and help to prevent breakage and cracking. You can also use other oils such as jojoba or almond oil. Also, when you remove your acrylic nails, be sure to apply oil to them daily to help nurture them while they recover.

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Do Acrylic Nails Ruin Your Nails?

Different colored nail design templates on a table

While acrylic nails don't ruin your nails per se, they can be especially hard on your nails. And if you don't maintain your nails in between your acrylic applications, they will become dry and brittle over time. Applying acrylic nails back to back without giving your natural nails time to breathe can make your nails weak and brittle. The chemicals used to make acrylics can also irritate your skin and the area around your nail bed.

Remember, you shouldn't use acetone on nails if it doesn't need to be. It's also important to note that if your natural nails are parched, they will not grow as fast or as strongly as they normally would. So while the look of acrylic nails can be very inviting and trendy, you must tend to your natural nails as well so that they can remove healthy when the acrylic nails come off.

Here are a few ways to keep your natural nails healthy:

  • Use non-acetone nail removers when removing acrylic nails.
  • Go to a nail salon that uses an LED light instead of ultraviolet light to dry and cure acrylic nails. LED lights have lower radiation levels, so you reduce your exposure to ultraviolet light--which is always a good thing.
  • Try to wear artificial nails less often. Take at least a two or three-week break before your next acrylic nail application. This way, your natural nails can breathe, repair themselves, and restore their natural oil balance.
  • Ask your technician to omit the cuticle trimming process from your manicure. It's common for technicians to trim your cuticles before applying acrylic nails. Doing so can make the skin around your nails prone to infection and irritability. This makes it easy for germs and bacteria to get inside of your nail bed and cause potential infections. Keep in mind that nail infections can take quite a while to heal.

Do Acrylic Nails Hurt The First Time?

After getting acrylic nails for the first time, many women state that they experience irritation on their fingernails and even a tightening sensation due to the application process. If you find that your nails are sensitive or sore after receiving an acrylic nail manicure, don't fret, as this is a common occurrence.

More than likely, you just aren't used to the filing that takes place when acrylic nails are applied. The soreness will usually go away within the next 24 to 48 hours. However, if you notice extreme soreness or any broken skin on your fingernails, remove the acrylic nails as soon as possible, as these are signs of an infection.

When getting your first acrylic nail application, ask the technician to avoid the cuticle trimming process to avoid hand irritation. It's best to go with a square or oval shape nail for your first application, as pointy tips can make your fingernails a bit sorer after they are applied--which is usually due to the nail's filing.

To relieve soreness, try warming up a hand towel with water and fold it over to set your hands inside of it. Allow your hands to sit inside of it for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will also help to loosen up the acrylic.

Do Acrylic Break Easily?

Acrylic nails don't break as easily as you may think. It really depends on how well the nails were applied and how you keep them up after the fact. For example, if you frequently use your acrylic nails for everyday tasks that may cause them to chip or crack, such as opening bottles, tearing opening packages, or cleaning your home, they may be more prone to premature breaking. Being mindful of your acrylic nails and going to a reputable nail shop can help your nails to last longer.

How Much Does A Set Of Acrylic Nails Cost?

On average, an acrylic nail set will cost you anywhere from $35 to $65 in the United States. These prices may vary locally, and you may be able to receive a first-time discount if you are new to the nail salon. Specialty nails can increase in price anywhere from $10 to $25. You may also receive a discount if you couple the acrylic nail application with a manicure or other service at the salon.

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Are Gel Or Acrylic Nails Better?

Neither type of nail is necessarily better than the other. However, they do have some differences worth considering, especially if you are getting artificial nails for the first time. As far as durability goes, acrylic nails tend to be more sturdy than gel nails, and on average, they last longer. However, gel nails are fairly easy to remove and can even be filed off, making the re-application process much easier and quicker.

Overall, you'll find that gel nails are a bit easier on your fingernails, and they can be beneficial if you are recovering from nail damage or looking for nail extensions that you can wear for months on end without having to have as many breaks to let your nails breathe.

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Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has answered all these questions related to how long acrylic nails are expected to last. Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How To Do Paraffin Manicure At Home [Even Without A Machine]

How Long Should Men’s Nails Be?

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