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 • Nails  • Nailcare Guides  • Here’s How Long You Can Actually Expect Your Acrylic Manicure to Last

Here’s How Long You Can Actually Expect Your Acrylic Manicure to Last

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Main image – @flynailslondon/Instagram

Recently, you may have seen a rise in celebrities sporting, longer, perfect-looking talons. The kind of nails that, when you look at them, you instantly know they simply cannot be real (but it doesn’t matter because they look utterly awesome.)

A nail so long, hard and stoic in nature like this usually means it is made from acrylic. Whilst acrylic nails aren’t exactly new (I remember getting my first set, aged 16, circa 1999), they’ve definitely seen a boom in recent years with many A-listers opting to wear them instead of showing off their natural nails. 

So what exactly is acrylic? “It is a versatile family of chemicals used in various industries to create an array of versatile products, including dentures, contact lenses, and yes, artificial nails,” explains nail artist and owner of Fly Nails London, Pia-Louise Aldred (@flynailslondon). 

 

 

Preferably applied by a professional nail technician, “usually an artificial nail tip is stuck on the tip of the nail to create the desired length, then acrylic liquid (monomer) and acrylic powder (polymer) are combined.

“They form a putty-like substance that can be sculpted and shaped into flexible, durable and strong, gorgeous nail extensions,” she continues.

They’re so strong in fact, it is my personal belief that the term ‘hard-as-nails’ was actually derived from acrylic nails and not the nail you bang into a wall. But maybe that’s because I’m a beauty editor and not a handyman. 

So, if you’re thinking of trying out acrylic nails, come on in!

Here, you’ll find out from Aldred as well as manicurist and nail artist Ami Streets (@amistreets) and nail technician and educator Natalie Beeley (@nailgalnat) how long you can expect your acrylic manicure to last and how to maintain it. 

 


How long do acrylic nails last?

 

We’ve heard how strong acrylic nails are, so it’s no surprise that they grow with your natural nail and can, amazingly, last from 6 to 8 weeks or even until the acrylic grows out with the nail itself.

Having said that, “an infill or removal is recommended approximately every 2-3 weeks,” to keep them in top condition says Streets.

She adds, “I’d recommend keeping 3 weeks as a maximum timeframe to retain a regular maintenance routine for optimum results.”

Exactly how long your acrylics will last will depend on factors like the health and condition of your natural nail though. “A weak or brittle nail can sometimes affect adhesion making it more prone to lifting or breaking,” says Streets

How well your natural nail was prepped before applying the acrylic makes a difference too, as well as your after care and also how fast your nails grow. “The rate of natural nail growth will impact the time needed between infills or removal,” adds Streets.

Keep reading for more on how to make your acrylic mani last longer.

 


How to make your acrylic mani last longer

 

1. Ask for a gel polish:

“Using an additional product like gel polish or BIAB as an overlay to an acrylic base can help add extra strength to your extensions,” advises Streets. “The formulation and application process of gel creates a strong bond with the nail and a chip-resistant durable finish.”

 

2. Or a dip powder:

“Not only does it contain ingredients to strengthen and provide resilience but the layering technique on application also gives additional thickness to the nail resulting in a hard protective finish that is less prone to chipping or lifting,” she says.

 

3. Treat your nails with respect:

“Be gentle with your nails and avoid using your nails as tools (no opening cans or scratching off labels please!),” says Aldred. And while we’re at it, try not to bite or pick at your nails. “Treat your nails as jewels, not tools,” says Beeley. Genius motto.

 

4. Protect them:

“Wear gloves when doing household chores like washing dishes or engaging in activities that could potentially damage your nails, like gardening or DIY projects,” she advises.

 

5. Avoid prolonged exposure to water:

“Long baths and swimming can weaken the bond between your natural nail and the acrylic, leading to lifting or breakage,” explains Aldred. Sorry bath lovers. 

 

6. Stay away from chemicals:

“Harsh chemicals such as household cleaners and acetone-based nail polish removers can damage the acrylic and cause it to lift or break,” Aldred says.

 

7. Learn the right aftercare: 

“This can include using a cuticle oil or balm at least once a day,” suggests Beeley. “I often suggest clients leave it somewhere they will see it such as bedside table, coffee table or the console of the car.”

 

8. Go to a reputable nail salon:

“These days you get what you pay for,” Beeley warns. “If you are whipped in and out in less than an hour for a full set of enhancements at a cheap price, do not expect long lasting acrylics.”

 


The takeaway

As long as they are maintained every three weeks or so, acrylic nails are definitely the route to go down if you’re looking for a stronger more durable manicure. Just make sure you go to a nail technician who takes care over creating it for you, so that your mani has the best chance of lasting.

Other ways to make it last longer include treating your hands and nails with care, using a cuticle oil or balm daily (you can never apply too much, especially if you leave it on while you sleep) and opting for a gel polish instead of a standard one.

 

Meet the experts 

Pia-Louise Aldred is a nail artist and the owner of Fly Nails London. Her vibrant personality and keen eye for trends have not only made her a client favourite but also a sought-after artist for events and photoshoots featuring models and celebrities. With a passion for polish and a knack for creativity, she’s seen it all, from bold acrylics to intricate nail art masterpieces. Her mission? To empower everyone to express themselves through their fingertips

 

Ami Streets is a manicurist and nail artist who has become known for her work with celebrities, advertising and editorial clients in the fashion and beauty industry.  A regular on the session circuit, her work has been featured on over 75 covers and in elite publications such as Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Ami has also worked with International clients for industry events & as a lead nail artist at London Fashion Week for over 10 years.

 

Natalie Beeley is a nail technician and educator who teaches everything from acrylics to gel extensions. She’s also an expert in shaping and hand-painted nail art and can often be found doing the nails on a photo shoot or backstage at a fashion show.

 

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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University
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