How to file thick acrylic nails

Acrylic nails & acrylic modeling - simply explained!

Acrylic nails are colloquially known as artificial nails using the "acrylic" powder / liquid system. Unfortunately, the prejudice persists that acrylic nails are harmful or even carcinogenic. Even some nail designers spread this rumor when they should know better.

All products that can be sold and processed in Germany are subject to the strict requirements of the KVO (Cosmetics Ordinance). This also applies to the materials for nail modeling. The essential components of the modeling plastic are acrylates, which can also be found in the frequently used UV gel. The difference between the two systems - gel and acrylic - is only in the processing and curing.

Simply strong fingernails!
Instructions and tips on acrylic nails

General information about acrylic nails

The methacrylic acid contained in acrylic nails has an influence on the natural nail, it dehydrates it and makes it porous, but it is not carcinogenic. Incidentally, gel nails also contain this substance.

While gel hardens under UV light, acrylic is air-hardening. The substances that may be used are constantly being adapted to current research results so that a hazard can be excluded. If acrylic is processed correctly, it is in no way harmful according to the current state of knowledge. Of course, this assumes that high quality and tested acrylic is used.

Since it is quite difficult, especially for beginners in the field of acrylic nails, to get an overview and the necessary specialist knowledge, we will inform you on this website with everything there is to know on this topic. Our goal is to help you achieve the perfect acrylic modeling. We clear up prejudices and eliminate dangerous half-knowledge.

The acrylic modeling system

The powder / liquid system is a two-component system. One component is the acrylic powder, the other is the modeling liquid, known as the liquid. Depending on the skill level of the designer, you can choose between different drying times, for inexperienced, beginners or those who switch, a slowly hardening system is recommended. Powder and liquid should always be used by the same manufacturer, this one optimally coordinated are. If you do not do this, it can happen that the material becomes brittle or does not harden at all.

Some studios offer so-called “powder gel”. This is nothing but acrylic. Since, as already mentioned, there is a misconception that acrylic is dangerous, it is sold to potential customers as a supposed gel, as they often shy away from acrylic due to incorrect information.

The advantages of acrylic nails are many. Not only is the material price cheaper, acrylic often has that too better adhesion properties and can be quickly and comparatively process thinly. An acrylic nail can be made almost half as thin as a nail with a gel of comparable quality and is also more resilient.

However, you shouldn't save on the purchase of materials. With acrylic nails, it is much quicker to see how good the quality of the modeling material is. Above all, a good material has a very finely homogenized one Powder and is both hard after curing, as well as flexible. Inferior material is coarse-grained, combines poorly with the modeling liquid (liquid) and can hardly be filed. To learn the technique, however, a little more hard work is required than with the gel system. However, once you have learned it, in most cases you will only want to work with it. Find out more about the procedures and processing on this website. The practical step-by-step instructions with pictures quickly convey the exact workflow.

Acrylic nails versus gel nails - a brief comparison

Every beginning in the field of nail modeling begins with the decision for one of the two artificial nail systems: Acrylic or gel. No matter which type of processing you choose, both are available Techniques pros and cons.

Acrylic nailsGel nails
systemSystem of 2 components
Modeling liquid
(Liquid) and acrylic powder
Plastic gel
(3-phase or 1-phase gel)
Level of difficultycomplexeasy
Curinglight curingcuring under UV light
Nail propertyvery hard and very resilienthard and resilient
Nail buildingthin possiblea bit thicker
Nail removalAcetone or filingFiling down

Acrylic nails or gel nails, which is better?

Basically, it is recommended as a Beginners to start with the “easier” gel artificial nail system and first of all to familiarize yourself with the basic nail properties and general work with fingernails. If the procedure is clean and hygienic, both acrylic and gel applications lead to long-lasting and beautiful results.

There are special features and regulations to be observed in some professions. Acrylic nails should be used in care professions or in gastronomy, as these withstand the stresses more than gel nails. But be careful here too, because often artificial nails are generally not allowed there. This must of course be clarified with the employer in advance.

»More about acrylic or gel nails

Acrylic nail costs in the studio and at home

If you have decided on acrylic modeling, there are two ways to realize these nails. Either a visit to a professional nail salon or the DIY variant at home.
The decision for a nail salon is understandably the more expensive option, but also the more relaxed. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the nail designer works hygienically and professionally so that you can enjoy your nails for a long time.

Depending on the region and studio, an initial modeling costs between 40 and 80 euros.

Modeling the nails in your own four walls now amounts to Beginning at around 200 euros. That sounds like a lot, but all have to be basic Utensils such as brush, powder, liquid, primer, disinfectant, propusher, files, dehydrator etc., are included. Not to forget the high quality, which you should treat yourself to in this case. A good red sable acrylic brush can cost up to 40 euros.

Once purchased, modeling with acrylic is cheaper than the gel version.

»Prices for acrylic nail accessories

Make acrylic nails yourself - that's what you need

Since the nail modeling with acrylic is extensive and complex, we have prepared a short summary here, which summarizes the essential steps succinctly. You can find detailed instructions with pictures here:

The required work materials:

  • Disinfectants
  • ProPusher for removing the cuticle
  • Files and buffers,
  • Dust brush,
  • Primer
  • small container (dappen dish) for liquid
  • high quality brush size 6 or 8
  • Cloth to wipe off the brush.
  • Primer
  • Liquid.
  • Acrylic powder (a clear and a tinted, possibly also a colored powder)
  • Effect powder, if required. Tips or templates if the nails are to be extended

»Instructions to do it yourself

Unwanted lifts - air under the acrylic modeling

Liftings are air pockets that can appear under the model for a variety of reasons. Beginners in particular have to bother with them until they get the hang of it To prevent liftings. We reveal some tips and tricks here, so that the joy of aesthetic nails lasts for a long time. Lifts can arise for many reasons:

  • Cuticle was not removed properly
  • worked too close to the cuticle
  • Natural nail not well prepared
  • too frequent water contact before modeling
  • Natural nails that are too thin due to frequent new model layers
  • Incorrect mixing ratio of liquid and acrylic powder
  • wrong nail structure, wrong stress point
  • wrong nail length
  • Diseases, hormones, medication (rather rare)

The exact cause of liftings can only be found out through the error & trial method, i.e. try out and learn from mistakes. The only important thing is one Lifting can be removed promptly by careful filing, as otherwise fungi or bacteria tend to lodge under the model and damage the sensitive nail.

»More about acrylic nail lifts

Removing acrylic nails - the methods

If you want to remove the acrylic model, there are two options:

1. The gentle removal without acetone

The acrylic layer is removed with a file. But be careful, because only those who are familiar with the right files and the right processing angle should dare to use this method. If too much material is removed, this inevitably leads to damage to the sensitive natural nail.
Beginners therefore leave one thin layer of acrylic on the nail, so don't file everything down completely. This wafer-thin layer then gradually grows out. In any case, this is gentler.

»Tips for removing acrylic nails

2. Removal with acetone / nail polish remover (with acetone)

With this method, too, the acrylic layer is filed down until it is only very thinly visible on the natural nail.

Now a cell soaked in acetone is wrapped around the fingernail with the help of aluminum foil. Depending on the acetone concentration, it takes about 10 minutes for the acrylic to take on a rubbery consistency. The resulting sticky mass is best removed with a rosewood stick. If there are residues, repeat the process until the layer of artificial nails is removed. However, this approach is very aggressive and very strong degreasing of the natural nail.

»How to remove acrylic nails correctly?

Repair damaged acrylic nails

For a wide variety of reasons it can happen that even the actually resistant acrylic nails reach their limits, for example through

  • Bruises
  • Bumps
  • or an inadequate way of working in the modeling process (too thin, incorrect structure, poor shape, inferior materials.)

The good news: Acrylic nails can be repaired easily and comparatively quickly. Broken areas are filed and then refilled. In the case of more serious damage, it may be necessary to the natural nail can be stabilized or a stencil or tip can be attached to a broken acrylic nail.

Only in the case of a severely damaged natural nail does the modeling have to be completely removed and the nail should be spared until it has fully recovered.

»This is how you fix acrylic nails

Shorten and fill in acrylic nails

Since nail modeling with acrylic is very hard and robust, there is only one way to shorten the nails, namely with a file. The best way to do this is to use a professional file with 100/180 grit.

Anything else would inevitably lead to damage to the natural nail, as the acrylic adheres very strongly to the natural nail and, for example, would splinter and tear when it is cut. An absolute no go!

»Cut and shorten the acrylic modeling

Since the artificial nails should be reworked anyway every 3-5 weeks, depending on the condition of the modeling, processing and shortening is usually not necessary.

This so-called refill is important because when the hard acrylic nail grows out, the nail statics are no longer correct and the back area of ​​the nail cannot withstand the pressure. Serious injury to the nail can result.

A professional Nail salon charges around 20-35 euros for replenishment. Nothing speaks against doing it yourself, as long as you are familiar with and experienced with acrylic.

»Fill up acrylic modeling / refill