Can You Put Acrylic Nails on Very Short Nails?

Having your nails professionally done is such a lovely treat, especially if you typically have shorter nails. Having the option to have acrylic nails attached to your natural nails can completely transform how they look.

Whether you are looking to have acrylic nails applied as a treat to yourself, for an event, or if you are looking to do this often, there are a number of things you need to be aware of before doing this.

While it is possible to put acrylics on very short nails, there are exceptions. There is a certain amount of criteria that your nails need to meet in order for a nail technician to apply the acrylic nails. In some cases, they may have to say no.

In this article, we talk you through everything you need to know about acrylic nails being applied to very short nails and some of the things you should be aware of before visiting your nail technician.

Unhealthy Nails

When you are looking to have acrylic nails placed on very short nails, there is a certain amount of criteria that need to be met. The most important thing that a nail technician will consider is the quality of the nail.

Acrylic nails need to be placed on healthy nails. If they are placed on damaged nails, this can have an impact on the whole nail. Nails can be damaged for a number of reasons such as trauma, softer nails, naturally bitten nails, and bitten nails.

When it comes to very short nails, this is often caused by nail breaking. If there is damage to the nail, the nail bed or the surrounding skin, the acrylic nails cannot be applied. Not only can this impact the nail and its healing, but it can also be painful too.

Given this, if there is any damage to the skin or the nail, you should always wait until this has completely healed before requesting to have acrylic nails.

If your nails are damaged or the skin is swollen, the likelihood is that the nail technician will refuse to add acrylic nails to your natural nails. This could potentially lead to infections that should be avoided.

Bitten Nails

Another common reason for short nails is if the person bites them. While not everyone does this, nail-biting is still fairly common, and some people will bite their nails far down into the nail bed.

When the nails are bitten far down, this can be quite painful. As we have explained above, if the nail bed is inflamed as a result of biting, it is unlikely that a nail technician will apply the acrylic nails to the short nails. 

However, if the nail bed is not damaged, and the nail is not too short, acrylic nails can be applied. If you are in the process of kicking this habit, having your nails done professionally can help to prevent you from continuing to bite the nails.

Treatments such as gel nails, and acrylics are not easy to remove from the nail. As a result, they will help to deter any further biting to the nail. This is a great way of allowing your natural nails to grow. 

What is great about acrylics when they are added to very short nails is that the extension itself does not have to be overly long. While you can choose to have long extensions, going from shorter nails to these will be quite a shock.

Instead, it is often recommended to choose a length that is still fairly short but is significantly longer than the natural nail. Having the extensions placed as far as the tip of the finger is a great place to begin.

When placed on very short nails, acrylic nails have a rather natural look. They will make the nails look as though they are naturally long, and many people will not be able to tell that the nail is not real.


After you have had acrylic nails added to very short nails, as they grow you will require infills and maintenance if you want to continue having them long. This is when the nail technician fills in the growth with a gel overcoat so that it is seamless with the existing acrylic. Alternatively, you can choose to have a new set of acrylics placed on. 

What is great about acrylic extensions is that it allows you to have a better feel for what your nail will look and feel like at a longer length. They are a great way of encouraging you to continue growing your nails if you bite or pick at them.

Ask Your Nail Technician 

While we have covered some of the reasons why you may not be able to have acrylic extensions, if you are unsure about whether your nails are suitable for this, we would recommend talking to your local nail technician.

When it comes to short nails, they really do need to be looked at on a case-to-case basis. Your nail technician will then be able to advise on what the best option will be for your nails.

If your nails are not currently suitable to have acrylic extensions, they will be able to advise on the steps you can take to ensure that you have the healthiest nails possible.

As you can see, in the vast majority of cases, you can have acrylic extensions applied to short nails, even if they are very short. Not only will the acrylic extensions improve how your natural nails look, but they will also encourage your natural nails to grow. 

However, if your nails are unhealthy, brittle, or damaged, then it is not wise for the acrylic extensions to be applied. In these instances, it is always best to wait until your nails are in a healthier condition as you want to avoid the extensions from causing any further damage.