If you are here, chances are you are thinking about getting acrylic nails done for the first time or wondering if there is an average time to get acrylic nails put on at a salon.
The amount of time it takes to complete a full set of acrylic nails is 30 to 60 minutes, excluding any nail polish or nail designs. This time varies depending on the difficulty level of the acrylic nail set and the experience of the nail tech who performs this acrylic nail application.
To have a better idea about how long your particular acrylic nail set will take, read on.
Why do acrylic nails take time to apply?
Acrylic nails are one of the most popular artificial nail enhancement products because they are durable, resistant to breakage, and versatile. Nail wearers have been doing acrylic nails for decades and continue to use them on their nails even though their application requires more time than any other nail product.
A nail technician has to start everything from scratch every time she does a new set of acrylic nails. Briefly, the acrylic nail application procedure includes:
- Sanitize hands and fingernail surfaces
- Trim free edge of the nails
- Attach the nail tips on the edge of the nails using nail glue
- Cut the nail tips to the desired length
- Shape the nail tips to the desired shape
- Prepare the natural nail surface using a dehydrator/pH balanced solution
- Apply acrylic nail primer
- Apply acrylics on each nail by mixing the acrylic powder with acrylic liquid using an acrylic brush.
- More detail filing to shape all 10 cured acrylic nails to bring them together to create a finished look.
- Buff to smooth.
Out of these steps, shaping the nail tips, applying acrylics on each nail, and final shaping take the most time.
By reading the list above, I feel tired already.
Custom-shaped acrylic nails take more time than simply shaped nails
Because of the superior strength characteristic of acrylics, people now can have long nails and different nail shapes to choose from. The most popular nail shapes that you see on the internet and on people you happen to come across are:
- Coffin nails
- Stiletto nails
- Almond nails
These nail shapes look their best when they are done on longer nails, and long acrylic nails are the norm among many young nail wearers nowadays.
The longer the nails, the more acrylics are needed to strengthen them, and more time is needed to file and shape all 10 nails to bring them together. Sometimes, it can take a good 2 minutes to file one nail to bring it to its final shape, and you would multiply that by 10.
In the early days of acrylic nails, I was one of the thousands of nail technicians, used to create shorter, simpler acrylic nail shapes. They were typically just short, round, oval, or square shapes. They were so simple to do that I could finish a pretty-looking set of acrylic nails in under 30 minutes.
Acrylic nails take less time if done by a good nail tech
Acrylic nail application is the one that can be used to separate a good nail tech and a manicurist. The nail tech term could be for a licensed manicurist with advanced nail skills, and knowing how to do acrylic nails well is one of them. The manicurist term generally refers to a licensed person who can only do manicures and pedicures and nail arts.
A good nail technician possesses good overall nail skills. Among them is the ability to file and shape the nails quickly, either natural or artificial, in the most efficient way, using either nail files or nail drills.
The other nail skill is the ability to apply acrylics on the nails in a way that will require a minimal effort of filing and shaping.
These two valuable skills enable this nail technician to cut down on acrylic nail application without sacrifice the quality of the final nail set.
If a less experienced nail technician without proper training in acrylics were to your nails, she not only takes much longer to finish a set of acrylic nails but is also more likely to file too much on your nails. This causes your nails to be thinned out unnecessarily.
Moreover, a nail technician without good acrylic nail practice will not create an optimal shape. These nails will either be too thin or do not have good strength at stress points and tend to break off prematurely.
How can you tell if a nail technician is experienced with acrylic nails?
One way you can find out the credibility of a nail technician is by going through her work.
Nowadays, with the photo-capturing capability of a smartphone, almost any nail technician who is proud of the work she has done will save it to show it off one way or another.
You can go through their social accounts, customers’ reviews, and the website of the salon. If a picture speaks a thousand words, you will be able to see their nail work through pictures, and through them, you can tell how good she is with acrylic nails.
So if you are lucky to find a nail technician that can do great acrylic nails, make sure you create a good customer/nail technician relationship because good nail technicians are hard to come by.
A great alternative to acrylic nails that you can do at home
Given the fact that not all nail technicians are created equal, and the cost of maintaining acrylic nails is high, and there are better nail enhancement products that you can do at home.
It is called soft gel tips. These nail tips were introduced by Gelish, the company that invented gel polish.
These soft gel nail tips are similar to press-on nails. They cover the entire nail bed and come in different sizes and shapes so they require minimal nail filing which cuts down on application time.
Unlike press-on nails which attach to the real nails with nail glue that only lasts up to one week, soft gel nail tips adhere to the nails using a special gel base coat, a better product that can make these new nail tips last up to 4 weeks.
In short, the application of soft gel nail tips is as easy as that of press on nails, but they last four times as long.
These new nail tips are catching on in big cities. It is only a matter of time they become available at nail salons near you.
Here is a short video from Gelish showing how simple it is to do soft gel tips.
Last but not least, the cost of soft gel tips comes under $4.00, which is only about 1/10 the cost of a comparable acrylic nail set. It is a big saving on a great new nail trend. You can buy them on Amazon.
This is a special limited combo kit. If they run out, you would have to purchase them separately, and that might be more expensive.
You can know more about these soft gel tips in this article. If you think you can do it at home, then you can be one of the first to have it done by yourself in your area, and the end result will be amazing.
The best part is you do them yourself.
Have fun with your nails, and try to minimize their cost and the time spend so you can put them to better use.