Acrylic nails are still popular even though the introduction of gel polish in the last decade. People wear acrylic nails because of the trendy long and different shapes like stiletto, almond, and coffin that can be created quickly by an experienced nail technician.
Doing acrylic nails at home should not be done because the process is very involved, requires technical know-how and a long learning curve before a person can be proficient enough to do a good set of acrylic nails at home. Also, it could take up to half a day for a non-skilled person to create at best an average looking set of acrylic nails while she could have better use of her time.
Doing acrylic nails at home is a very involved process
Many articles and videos that teach how simple the acrylic nail application is, and it can be done at home easily with a home kit. In fact, the process is not so simple, and a person who does acrylics at home does not have adequate training, practice and complete understanding of the purpose of each step to be able to carry them out successfully.
Preparation of the nail surface:
It looks and seems so simple when you see other people show you how to prep the nail surface. However, without a complete understanding of why adequately preparing the nail surface is essential, you will either do an incomplete job or skip this seemingly unimportant step. This will lead to the acrylics lifting or fall off in a few days.
Attaching the nail tips:
Almost all the videos that you see do not tell you enough how to attach a nail tip to the free edge. Acrylics are a nail enhancement product, and it is supposed to beautify the whole hand afterward.
Before gluing a nail tip on your nail, you need to access the overall look of the nail and hand to glue the nail tip in the best orientation. Without proper training, you will not know how to do this. The final shapes and the overall look of all five fingers might not be the same. Some might look crooked or pointed in different directions.
Blend in the seams:
This step seems redundant, but it is essential. It removes the thickness of the nail tip at the sides and the overall thickness of the overlapping seam and there will be more place for sturdy acrylics without making the nail so thick at the end.
A nail tech can do this step in a few minutes. For people who do acrylic nails at home, this simple step can take up to 10 minutes or more.
This is the skill that could take a manicurist at least a year to be proficient. She must practice on a fake hand numerous times before she is confident enough to work on customers.
If you do acrylic nails at home, without this practice prerequisite, you will likely make many mistakes that will result in the acrylics being too thick, lumpy or uneven. Also, you do not have the skill to repair or rework them. Trying to fix these issues, it will take a lot of time, and more often than not, you will give up.
Shaping the nails:
Again, this is an acquired skill after hours of practice on fake or practice hands. Anyone can shape one nail perfectly. However, shaping all five nails also requires proper training of using the nail file and hours of prior practice before a person can successfully shape all five nails that go together beautifully.
Blending or reduce the acrylics around cuticles:
Even an experienced nail tech has to file down the acrylics around the cuticle line so the acrylics will not appear so thick. For the people who apply acrylics at home, they will likely put too much and will try to file down the thickness. This process takes time, and without prior training in using a nail file, it could take from 30 minutes or more to do just this on all ten nails.
Buffing the acrylic nails:
For an experienced nail tech, this final step only takes a couple of minutes just to make the acrylic nails smooth. However, for an untrained person who does acrylic nails at home, this could take much longer. Before buffing the nails smooth, you are more likely trying to buff down uneven spots on the nails. Cured acrylics are hard so doing this will add more time to the whole process, usually 30 minutes or more.
Polishing the acrylic nails:
Polishing nails is also a skill that requires hours of practice, especially on long acrylic nails. Without sufficient experience, a person who is doing acrylic nails at home is probably exhausted after spending many hours creating a set of acrylic nails and might not be able to polish the nails well.
Putting nail arts on acrylic nails:
As the last step in making the new acrylic nails pretty, you will probably lose all excitement that you have at the beginning because you realize how long it would take and how difficult and demanding the whole process is.
You then opt for no nail arts or do some simple one that you might not like.
Do nail techs do their acrylic nails at home?
Even for the most experienced manicurist who boasts about his or her acrylic skill can not do acrylic nails on themselves because of one big reason:
Most of us are either right or left-handed. This means a nail tech could be very good at doing acrylic using only the dominant hand. She uses the dominant hand for holding a cotton ball, a nail file, a nail brush and a nail polish brush. If she were to switch hand and try to use her non-dominant hand, she is as good (or bad) as any.
In all of my time working as a nail tech and managing different nail salons, not one experienced nail tech did their own acrylic nails. They asked their coworkers to do it for them instead. Similar to great hairstylists, they could not cut their own hair.
If good nail techs do not even attempt to do their own acrylic nails at a salon with all the professional tools and products, how could you do it at home with a home kit for beginners?
Doing acrylic nails at home will make your house smell
Whether the acrylic nail home kit you purchased is regular or odorless, various nail chemical liquids will evaporate and fill the whole area with unpleasant odors that other family members might find them intolerable. These odors will likely remain in your house for hours.
Doing acrylic nails is a manicurist’s ultimate skill
A manicurist has to learn all the skills starting from a basic manicure, polishing skill, how to attach tips at the free edges so they look natural, learn how to use a nail drill until he or she can start practicing on acrylic nails. This whole process could take up to a year before a manicurist is ready to work on acrylics.
After 3 months of practicing, it took me good two years before I could comfortably say that I was competent in doing it acrylic nails. To reach this level, in those prior two years, they consisted of 6, 7 day work week with 5 to 7 acrylic nail sets a day.
For a person at home wants to do acrylics without proper training and experience, chances are you will encounter many issues that either it would take a long time to finish or the final nail result is not satisfactory and the nails will either break or lift prematurely.
Is doing acrylic nails at home worth it?
For all the negative drawbacks above, doing acrylic nails at home is not worth the effort. You are better off going to a nail salon. Not only do you have your nails done in less than an hour, but you can also be sure that your new acrylic nails will last up to two weeks.
How can you save money by NOT doing acrylic nails at home?
If you want to save money getting your acrylic nails at a salon, you can do nail art yourself at home. Do this only if you are very good with nail arts and like to spend time accessorizing your nails.
You can save some money doing nail arts yourself because some complicated nail design could cost as much as a set of nails.
Should you do acrylic nails at home?
If you could not get rid of the thought of doing acrylic nails, instead of trying to do it with an acrylic nail home kit and spend hours to finish one set of nails, trying to enroll in a nail school or find a way to learn how to do nails. Not only do you fulfill your nail dream, but you can also earn some good money doing acrylic nails for other people.
And you will be like other nail techs, ask another nail tech to give you a set of acrylic nails.
Acrylic nails’ best alternative: press on nails
For people who want the long nails, the even shapes that are associated with acrylics, I strongly recommend the best alternative: press-on nails.
Not only this product is beginner’s friendly, but it also requires less time to put on a new set. They do come with pre-selected lengths and shapes so you do not have to spend much time creating them.
Make sure you read and follow entire instructions, as they are essential in creating a set of press-on nails that lasts.
Keep in mind, these press-on nails are intended for one week wear at the most. Do not try to keep them on any longer because they are designed for temporary application.
These press-on nails are attached to your real nails with nail glue. No matter how good these glues are, they will lose their effectiveness in a few days and will separate from your nails.
When these gaps are present, there will be a gap between your nail and the press-on nail. As you wash your hands, water will deposit in this gap and will stay there. Given time, algae in this water will grow and become mold or fungus, giving a green spot on your nails.
You can check out some press-on nail kit on amazon and choose one that has the shapes and lengths that you like. But the longer the press-on nails that you use, the quicker they will fall off your nails than shorter ones.
Acrylic nails’ second-best alternative: dipping nails
Dipping nails are also called SNS nails, which are another nail enhancement product. This product does not have the smelly liquid like that of acrylics and the thickness of the nails is created by dipping them in powder more than one time. This product requires a nail-shaping skill so it is intended for the intermediate level.
Acrylic nails’ third-best alternative: polygels
Polygel is the latest product of nail enhancement. The nail tips are created by putting the gel on an inverted or up-side-down nail tip-like form. It is then pressed on natural nails and cured under a UV LED light source for about 30 seconds. The form is removed and the new nail tip can be filed to the desired length and shape.
Compared to dipping nails, polygel nail tips require an extra step of putting gel on a form such a way that all different nails have a comparable thickness. Therefore, it is more involved.