How To Fix Bad Acrylic Nails Job

Walking into your local nail salon, you dream of having the time of your life. And a killer manicure that you’ll flaunt for a few weeks. Unfortunately, expectations are sometimes far from reality. We hate to tell you this, but you may come out of that local nail salon with a horror story. Or simply a bad acrylic nail job which we talk more about here.

Causes of a bad acrylic nail job 

A bad acrylic nail job will ruin your mood, waste your time and money, and, worse still, damage your nails. But what causes a bad acrylic nail job? Here are our top four causes.

Unqualified nail techs

Unqualified and inexperienced nail techs are the number one cause of a bad acrylic nail job. But why should the people meant to take care of nails be the ones causing harm, you may ask? Well, the beauty industry remains highly unregulated. And people can take a course and declare themselves nail technicians.

Unfortunately, most unsuspecting clients will fall into these wrong hands. And they’ll find themselves with unsuitable nail coating or improper nail prep. In extreme circumstances, clients may complain of adverse reactions such as natural nails falling off. All this results from an unqualified nail tech who needs help understanding what an excellent acrylic nail job should entail.

Improper nail prep

Proper nail prep will lead to lifting and chipping acrylic nails, which equates to a bad acrylic nail job. And it happens when the nail tech fails to completely dehydrate the natural nail before applying nail polish. Your nail bed must be free of dead skin or oil to ensure the artificial nail adheres well. Otherwise, you’ll soon be dealing with chipped and lifted acrylics.

Acrylic nail products used

A nail tech should be well aware of the products they are using on their clientele. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. You’ll find some nail techs using risky products, such as the liquid monomer MMA, without understanding how dangerous it can be to health. And MMA is relatively cheaper. So nail techs looking to save up tend to go for it in states where it has yet to be banned. And there have been cases where MMA has eaten through clients’ nails, causing massive damage. So, it’s always advisable to check on the acrylic product used to maximize the chances of a good acrylic nail job.

An incorrect acrylic mix ratio

An incorrect acrylic mix ratio is quite a common problem with acrylics. Getting the proper mix ratio of liquid to powder is not a walk in the park. And it can affect all technicians, whether experienced or not.

An improper mix ratio will have adverse effects as soon as 24 hours into the manicure. You can notice a cloudy appearance in the manicure. It will also tend to lift after sometime-which can get very annoying. Not to mention the acrylic nail weakness, which will eventually lead to broken acrylics.

Examples of bad nail jobs 

Sometimes, nail salon horror stories sound unbelievable. And they earn themselves quite several doubting Thomas. So, here are some real-life examples of lousy nail jobs to stamp the fact that they exist.

1. Funny design fail

If your nail tech isn’t sure about the design, you’d better stop and select something else. Otherwise, you’ll have a funny and weird-looking design like this client. They wanted a hedgehog design. But now, we can’t be sure what’s on their nails.

2. Damaged natural nails

A long-time acrylic fan, Amelia, moved to Twitter to show how acrylics damaged her nails. And from experts weighing in, it was clear this resulted from a bad acrylic nail job. Specifically, over-filing nails and improper acrylic removal.

3. Messy gel manicure job

Emily got the opposite of what she’d requested. And immediately she was home; she had lumpy gel peeling off her nails.

4. A red unbalanced mess!

And you’ve not seen it all. There’s this unbalanced botched red-as-blood manicure. The nail tech didn’t even put effort into properly filing the nails to have uniformed acrylics!

5. A thick gel mess

When looking at this thick gel mess, you’d think a professional nail tech would never deliver this. But the truth is, they did. The problem is that they were trying to load all the gel on one client. Nail trimming was an issue for them too!

Signs of a bad acrylic nail job 

Painful nails

Acrylic nails shouldn’t be painful. We agree that they can feel sore, tight, and uncomfortable for first-timers. And this is because the nails are still adhering to your nails. But this shouldn’t stretch beyond the first twenty-four hours. It may be a sign of a bad acrylic nail job if it does. Your natural nail may have been injured or damaged during the manicure. And you need to treat it to avoid further damage.

Excessive polish

Another tell-tale sign of a lousy acrylic job is excessive nail polish. Have you ever looked at a nail and noted that the regular or even gel polish on it is enough for three nails? We bet it wasn’t a pleasant sight.

Besides, the bulkiness caused by excessive polish can put unnecessary strain on the natural nail underneath. And that would leave a weak and almost unhealthy nail. So, if you notice excessive polish, that indicates a bad acrylic nail job.

Over filing the nails and cutting cuticles

If you notice the nail tech over-filing your nails, it’s a sign of a bad acrylic nail job. Overfiling will weaken the nail. This means that the foundation of the acrylic is too weak, making it prone to popping off or breaking. And cutting cuticles will leave your nails with no protective layer. So, your nails become prone to infections which can compromise the quality of your manicure.

No base coat, no top coat

The base coat ensures the nail polish adheres to your nail. And without it, you’re likely to have popped and chipped off nails within no time- a sign of a lousy mani-job. Similarly, the top coat will give your polish more staying power. It won’t chip off as fast, and you’ll have a longer-lasting mani. You should know you’ve had a bad acrylic nail job without this.

What to do when the nail tech messes up your nails 

As we said earlier on, sometimes expectations are far from reality. And embracing the fact that you can get a bad acrylic nail job could help you cope easily if you got one. So, what do you do when the nail tech messes up your nails?

The first instinct is always to react harshly. You’ve spent money on this manicure, but instead, you’ve got a substandard product. But we always recommend that you remain calm and collected. Avoid being rude and communicate how the results differ from your expectations. If it’s possible, communicate as soon as you notice a mistake. Be sure to discuss a problem that occurred at the start of the process before the manicure is done.

If the nail tech fails to understand your concerns, always request to speak to their superior. Don’t get tired of airing out your expectations once again. At this point, you’ll likely get an offer for a re-do.

However, if the salon fails to address your concerns, request a refund and get your nails done in another salon. But bear in mind that most salons will rarely offer a refund. Lastly, respectfully write an honest review on the salon’s online platform. Other clientele will benefit from your experience.

Can a bad acrylic nail job be fixed? 

Getting a shoddy, wacky manicure can feel like the world’s end. Or, on the more practical side, it could be the end of your relationship with manicures. And it drives most people to the question, can a bad acrylic nail job be fixed?

Well, here is some relieving news. A bad acrylic nail job can be fixed. And there are options you can choose to do that. Our top option is usually to have your nails completely re-done. With this option, you’ll need to get a new nail tech (not your old one because once bitten, twice shy). The nail tech will then remove the entire manicure and fix a new one.

The other option would be to fix the specific part of the nail job you don’t like. For instance, if you don’t like the length, the nails can be filed down, or you can have an acrylic fill. This option is ideal if the situation is not too far gone. Sometimes, you’ll find that the nail tech at the salon is willing to offer this service at no additional cost to ensure you leave satisfied.

Our least favorite option (but it’s still an option) is fixing what you don’t like at home. For example, changing the nail polish color. But remember only to try this option only if you’re confident enough in your skills. Otherwise, you’ll soon be dealing with ruined nails.

Quick tips to fix a bad acrylic nail job 

Getting a bad acrylic nail job is a traumatic experience. But the good news is that you can fix it. And here are some quick tips to fix a bad acrylic nail job.

File off acrylics

There are many sources of a bad acrylic nail job. And one of them is unbalanced nails-where the acrylics don’t look neat. One side may even be longer or thicker than the other. If you have such nails, we recommend filing off the acrylics until you reach the desired thickness and length.

But beware, it isn’t as easy as it sounds and can leave you with more unbalanced nails or even thin, flimsy ones. We recommend getting a professional to help you with this quick fix to avoid this. Or a second eye as you file off your nails. That way, you’ll be able to get the nail size and thickness right.

Conceal with nail art.

Another quick tip we recommend is concealing the worst nails you’ve gotten using quick nail art. You can use gel or regular polish to create this nail art. You can create a leopard print nail art or a floral design, depending on your creativity. And it’s straightforward as you’ll only need to use a bobby pin or toothpick, dip it into polish and create the nail art. Ultimately, you’ll have turned your manicure’s flaws into beauty!

‘What if I don’t trust my creativity?’ We often get this question. And if you fall into this category, worry not. You can use adhesive nail stickers to save your lousy manicure job easily.

Add another layer of polish.

Another quick tip? You can paint on top of your botched manicure. If, for example, you have gel polish on, and it’s somehow botched, add another layer to reduce the visibility of the mistake on the gel polish. But be careful about the thickness of the layers you add on top. After all, you don’t want to end up with really thick nails that ruin the aesthetics of your manicure.

Layer up your nails with glitter.

A glittery top coat can change the worst nails into something pretty. Add a layer or two over your manicure. It will revive your botched manicure, give it that extra shine, and protect your acrylic nails. So, if you’ve got a bad acrylic nail job, get yourself a glitter top coat; you won’t regret it.

Will it be inappropriate to tell the nail tech you don’t like the nails? 

Whenever you get a service that will affect your appearance, it’s always great to have it perfect. Or at least to your liking. So, what happens when your manicurist doesn’t meet your standards? Is it inappropriate to tell the nail tech you don’t like the nails?

No, telling the nail tech you are unhappy with the nails isn’t inappropriate. At the beginning of the service, there’s usually an unspoken contract. That of taking care of the client’s nails in return for payment. Additionally, most nail salons treasure feedback. You’ll even find some technicians soliciting feedback. They’ll often ask you, ‘Do you like the color?’ ‘What do you think about this shape?’ These questions get you talking if you don’t like the manicure. So, telling the nail tech, you don’t like the nails won’t be rude or inappropriate.

And remember to be as polite as possible when communicating your displeasure. You’ve got no right to abuse the nail tech verbally. Communicating calmly will help both of you conclude how to remedy the situation. It’s also best to inform the nail tech of any dissatisfaction before they complete the entire manicure process. For example, if you don’t like the shape, tell the nail tech immediately before they proceed to apply the polish. This makes it easier to put corrective actions in place.


A bad acrylic nail job can be disappointing. But it shouldn’t be the end of life. Or if your relationship with acrylics. You can talk to your nail tech and let them know about your dissatisfaction. Or use some of the quick tips to fix your acrylics we’ve mentioned. That way, you’ll be good to go until your next local salon visit.

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