How Long Does It Take To Get Acrylic Nails?

A trip to the salon for a new set of nails can be a great way to treat yourself. Scheduling "me time" is super important for self-care, but how much time should you expect to spend at the nail salon when you get a set of acrylic nails? Well, we've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you.

You can expect to spend at least 45 minutes to an hour at the nail salon when you get acrylic nails. This includes nail prep, finishing touches, and everything in between. 

So now you know you should allow yourself at least 45 minutes to get your nails done, but keep reading as we go over the variables that might make it take longer than this. We'll also cover some other questions you might have about acrylic nails, such as pricing, how long they'll last, and how often you should take a break from them.

A woman showing her acrylic nails on a white background, How Long Does It Take To Get Acrylic Nails?

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The Amount Of Time It Takes To Get Acrylics

Equipment's inside a nails salon with different nail polish colors on the background

Don't expect it to be a quick trip to the salon, as applying acrylics can be a lengthy process. Prepare to spend plenty of time there, so choose a day that you have plenty of time, so you don't find yourself rushing to the next place you need to be.

First, the technician will have to prepare your nails. Next, they will add the tips and ask you what length you would like them. Once you have chosen the length, they will apply the acrylics. Finally, they will shape the acrylics into your desired nail shape.

The entire process above will take about 45 minutes to an hour for most professionals. Depending on the speed and skill of the professional, it might be faster or longer. Some variables might affect how long you spend getting your acrylic nails.

Nail Shape

Illustration of different types of nail shapes

If you choose a more complicated nail shape like coffin or stiletto, it might take additional time for your technician to file, buff, and shape them.

Nail Polish

A woman drying her gel nail polish under an ultra violet light

If you choose to get regular nail polish, very little time will be added to your stay at the salon. However, if you decide to get gel polish, you can expect to spend an additional 30 minutes if you don't choose a complicated design. Gel polish will take multiple coats and time spent under a UV lamp.

Nail Design

Acrylic manicure of a woman with floral design

If you choose to get a design on your nails, you can expect to spend anywhere from an hour to two hours at the salon.

Nail designs can range in complexity. A simple pattern might not take the technician long, but throw in different designs on each nail and add-ons such as glitter and gems, and the time it will take will increase. Also, the time it takes will depend on how experienced and fast your nail technician is.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Acrylic Nails?

We've told you how much time you will likely spend at the salon, but how much money should you expect to pay?

You can expect to pay $35 to $45 for a new full set of acrylic nails. This will include regular nail polish.

If you choose to add gel polish to your nails, you should add $15-$20. Most salons will list nail designs as $5+. How much your design will cost depends on your design's complexity and whether you choose to add decorations like gems on your nails.

It might seem a little pricey, but you are paying for materials and the technician's time. Most people also choose to tip their nail technician. If you are in the habit of leaving tips, include another 10-20% in your budget.

Considering how long they last, acrylic nails are often worth the cost. Besides, can you put a price on how great they'll make you feel?

How Long Do Acrylics Last?

Now you're probably wondering if acrylic nails are worth the amount of time and money you spend at the salon. Well, if applied well, a good set of acrylics can last you upwards of two months. However, you should head back to the salon for a "fill in" every two to three weeks.

As your nail grows, a gap will form between the base of your nail and the acrylic. The new growth will need to be filled in for the acrylics to still look their best. Fortunately, it is usually cheaper for a fill-in than a full set.

Acrylic nails will need replacing once they start to become brittle or loose. You will begin to notice air bubbles or the nail pulling away from your natural nail. If they start to break or fall off, it's best to head to the salon for a new set.

Can You Get Acrylics With Short Nails?

If you have trouble growing your nails, you may be wondering if you can get acrylics with short nails. Many people choose to get acrylic nails because they are unhappy with their natural nails' look and length. Acrylics are a great way to add additional length.

So the good news is yes, even with short nails, you can get acrylics added. As long as there is enough nail for the product to be applied to, you will be able to get acrylic nails. Many techs will also trim down long nails because it will be easier for them to apply the tips to a shorter nail. So don't think you have to grow your nails out for the best results!

How Often Should You Take A Break From Acrylic Nails?

Though they look great and probably make you feel even greater, acrylic nails can damage natural nails. It is essential to take a break from acrylic nails every three to six months, especially after prolonged use. Taking a break will allow your natural nails to strengthen and grow.

If the acrylic nails are applied well, you might experience none to little damage. However, if your technician chooses to cut your cuticles or buff your nail bed, you might find that your nails are much thinner after the acrylics are removed.

If you notice any problems with your nails while you are wearing them, you should get them removed.

If your nails change color or start to peel, it is essential to take a break from acrylics until they are completely healed. Nails turning green might be a sign of infection or fungus. It is important to get that treated before applying a new set.

Acrylic nails can give you a boost of confidence, so we understand it might be hard for you to want to take a break from your acrylic nails. Even so, try to remember the benefits to your natural nails by not having acrylics on for a short while. If going to the salon is important to you, you can always schedule a regular manicure at your salon instead.

If you're also considering shellac nails and you're wondering if they also require a break, check out our other blog post: Does Shellac Ruin Your Nails (And Do You Need A Break From Them)

Final Thoughts

A good nail tech will take their time to ensure all of your nails' uniformity by buffering and shaping them. Be prepared to spend a good chunk of time at the salon. Remember, though, the time will be worth it when you see your new set of nails!

If you need some ideas on what color to choose for your acrylics, and you are wondering which one will be the most versatile, check out our other blog post: What Color Nails Goes With Everything?

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