How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

Acrylic nails are a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that form a paste that is then bonded to the natural nail. 

Acrylic nails have grown exponentially in popularity, with a variety of different shapes, patterns, and styles marking different trends over the years. However, if you’ve never had acrylic nails before and you’re interested in getting them you might be curious to know: how long do acrylic nails last?

In this article, I explore all things acrylic nails, from how often you should take a break from acrylic nails to whether you should let them breathe between acrylics.

Keep reading to find out more.

How long do acrylic nails last?

Generally speaking, a set of acrylic nails lasts anywhere between six to eight weeks depending on how well you look after them. That being said, depending on how fast your natural nails grow, you will need a fill about every two to three weeks. 

Fills are what make having acrylic nails somewhat high maintenance to certain people. However, whether you enjoy visiting the salon every few weeks or not, fills are crucial to the maintenance of your nails, as lifting can occur if you don’t stay on top of caring for your acrylics.

Fills between the bottom of the nail and the cuticle help the acrylics to last longer and improve their appearance, meaning you can get more wear out of a set. 

Alongside this, you will need to resist picking at the polish on your acrylic nails when you think it’s time for them to come off or you no longer want them on. Picking your nails can actually damage your natural nail, and you will likely hurt yourself trying to remove them this way.

Additionally, picking your acrylics can significantly affect how long they last, and the more you pick, the sooner you will want them replaced.

Another way to ensure that your acrylic nails last is to care for them. Regularly apply moisturizer and oil to the cuticles to keep your nails as healthy as possible. Breaking a nail or two is also quite common if you aren’t used to wearing acrylics.

That being said, it’s better to replace one or two nails that you’ve accidentally broken over a full set that you’ve ripped to try to remove them.

How often should you take a break from acrylic nails?

While you enjoy having a fresh manicure all the time, it’s important to take a break from acrylic nails every three to six months. Ensuring that you have a break from acrylics will give your nails a chance to strengthen and rejuvenate. 

Taking a break from acrylic nails is particularly important if your natural nails are generally prone to breakages, as the process of getting acrylics and removing acrylic nails can be harsh on your natural nails.

Acetone is a solvent that dehydrates the nail plate and surrounding skin, making them more prone to becoming dry and brittle over time.

As an acetone soak is a fundamental part of removing acrylic nails, you need to allow your nails the time to repair from this process.

Additionally, in between manicure appointments, you should make sure that you are applying products that benefit their growth and strength. These products include cuticle oil and smoothing coats that can strengthen your natural nails. 

What’s the best way to remove acrylics?

The best way to remove acrylics is to get them removed professionally. Although you might be tempted to remove your acrylic nails yourself if you decide you don’t like them or you break one of them, it is much safer to go to a professional to remove them.

If you don’t go to a professional and don’t have the right equipment to remove your acrylics properly, then the risk of damaging your nail is significantly higher.

Your nail technician will most likely use an electric file to remove the top layer of the acrylics.

Then, your nails are typically wrapped in foil with an acetone-filled cotton ball inside to soak for about 15 minutes. A cuticle pusher is used to remove any excess acrylic followed by cuticle oil to rehydrate the nails

Should I let my nails breathe between acrylics?

Yes, it’s beneficial to let your nails breathe between acrylics. However, this is especially true if you notice that your nails are peeling, are discolored, and your cuticles appear dehydrated.

It is also important to note that some nail technicians don’t take the necessary time that is needed to remove gel and acrylic in a way that doesn’t damage the nail plate.

A lot of the time, the nails aren’t soaked in acetone for long enough, meaning that the technician will resort to using harsh nail files to remove the acrylic nails.

This can significantly damage the nail plate, and when you’re having a new set of acrylic nails put on every 6 to 8 weeks, they need the time to repair after this process.

You should always be aware of this and should try to find a nail technician that is careful not to excessively buff your nails. You will be able to tell if a manicurist is over buffing your nails as you will be able to feel heat or it will be a painful process.

In summary 

Acrylic nails tend to last for 6 to 8 weeks, with the addition of fills every two to three weeks depending on how quickly your nails grow.

Although acrylic nails might seem like the perfect solution to not having to repaint your nails every week, they do require regular trips to the salon to ensure that you are maintaining them properly. Fills help to prevent lifting, which in turn can damage your nail.

Additionally, it is good to give your natural nails a break from acrylics every now and then. Alongside this, you will need to regularly maintain your nails’ health with hydrating products to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible.