Can You Put Acrylics On Bitten Nails?

No one enjoys biting their beautiful nails. Unfortunately, a few of us are so hooked we never go a few minutes before sticking our nails between our teeth.

So, an important question follows – can you apply acrylic on bitten nails? Will the artificial nails stick? Will they last long? Can it help you stop biting your nails? We answer these and related questions below.

You can apply acrylic nails on bitten nails if the surrounding skin is healthy. Indeed, you can even apply long nails on extra-short, bitten nails, provided you prep the nail accordingly. We strongly recommend sculptured nails as they create the impression of healthy, natural nails.

Are My Nails too Short for Acrylics?

No. No nails are too short for acrylics. You should only avoid acrylics if your fingernails are missing. In that case, taking a break from false nails allows your natural nails to regrow unhindered. All other nail types can hold an artificial nail.

But good prep work is critical if you have extra short nails. Otherwise, you end up with a weak false nail that easily falls off under stress. For instance, you must smoothly file the rugged nail tips and shape them for durable acrylics.

For this reason, consider a professional mani-pedi for short nails. If you must do it yourself, get tips from a pro.

How Long do your Nails have to be to Get Acrylics?

Acrylics adhere to the nail surface, provided you have a few millimeters of healthy, natural nails. There’s no minimum requirement.

That said, false nails work best on medium-length healthy nails. Unfortunately, short nails don’t provide enough surface area for adhesion.

Therefore, you risk having loose acrylics. Moreover, there’s a high risk of damaging the nail bed during prep work if the nails are too short.

Finally, determine whether you have enough nail surface to work with, considering that artificial nail products go on the nail plate, not the bed.

Otherwise, you may experience severe irritation and potential allergic reaction. Also, you may damage the nail bed. 

Is it Better to have Long or Short Nails for Acrylics?

Acrylic nails work best on medium-length nails. Extra long nails provide a larger surface area for adhesion, thus stronger false nails. However, you may need extra maintenance, given long nails trap dirt and debris more easily.

On the other hand, short nails provide a minimal area for acrylic nail adhesion, often leading to weakly attached acrylics.

Also, some lack a smile line, making them unideal for extensions. However, they consume less material and, therefore, are more economical.

Can you Put Acrylic and Gel Nails on Bitten Nails? 

Yes, you can put acrylic and gel nails on bitten nails. You can also use gel extensions, gel polish, and regular nail polish on bitten nails if you have a healthy nail plate.

These products conceal bitten nails, allowing you to make an impression every time. Therefore, you avoid self-consciousness when attending special occasions and events.

In addition, false nails shield the healthy nails underneath, allowing them to grow back to full length. 

However, avoid nail extensions until the nails grow back to the optimal length. Though beautiful, extensions strain short and weak nails. Also, you may be unable to track your nail regrowth closely. 

Additionally, avoid harsh acrylic nail products. For instance, stick to Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) for now. Though stronger, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) nails are harsher on your nails. They require aggressive filing, which you want to avoid until your nails regrow.

Finally, be extremely gentle with short, bitten nails, as the surrounding skin is often thin and weak.

What Types of Acrylic Nails are Best for a Nail Biter?

There are eight main types of acrylic nails; natural, round, square, almond, square round, squoval, stiletto, and coffin, aka ballerina. Most of them work for short, bitten nails.

Nonetheless, we recommend low-maintenance acrylics until your nails regrow. Therefore, square and natural-shaped nails are your best options. These shapes require very little filing and trimming. So you won’t interrupt your weak nails too often.

Stilleto and ballerina nails are the worst options for now. They require regular filing to maintain a uniform shape and smooth edges. Also, wearing pointed nails while recovering from bitten nails is inadvisable.

The good news is that you can add nail art to beautify the nails while concealing your nail-biting habits. But keep off art if it encourages sticking your nails in your mouth.

How to Apply Acrylic Nails on Short Bitten Nails 

It’s best to visit a nail salon for professional mani-pedi if you have short, bitten nails. Alternatively, speak to a nail technician before you begin a DIY. That said, the process is similar to installing acrylics on healthy nails – only gentler.

Follow the steps below;

  1. Nail assessment; Are your nails healthy? Biting can cause swollen fingers, cracked nails, and a chipped nail bed. Only proceed to the next step if your nails are healthy and in good shape. Otherwise, suspend the mani-pedi and rehabilitate the natural nails. 
  2. Trim, shape, and buff the nails: If your nails are healthy, prepare them for acrylics. The first step is trimming and shaping. Use nail clippers to trim them into shape, then grind away the rough edges with a 180-220 nail file. Avoid electric files until the natural nail grows back. Finally, buff them with a nail buffer to remove the debris.
  3. Push back the cuticles: This is a delicate process for bitten, brittle nails. So, consider the health of the cuticles before you begin. If they’re in good shape, push them back to provide additional surface area for adhesion. Pushing back the cuticles also reduces the rate of overgrowth. But leave them as they are if they’re sore and inflamed. 
  4. Apply a pre-primer and primer: Pre-primers are nail dehydrators designed to dry the nail to enhance adhesion. After applying a pre-primer, follow up with a primer for a stronger acrylic bond. Consider non-etching primers until the nails are fully regrown.
  5. Apply the acrylics: Dip the brush in liquid monomer, then the acrylic powder, and apply it onto the nail plate, shaping and forming the bead as you desire. But ensure it doesn’t spread onto the surrounding skin. Add more material as necessary, then allow the nails to air dry for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Apply nail polish: Gently apply a thin layer of nail polish to protect the acrylics and provide a glossier appearance. The nail polish takes up to 20 minutes to air dry. Don’t use LED or UV lamps.
  7. Finish up: Use a nail file to shape and trim the hard acrylic nails into the desired shape. Then buff the nails with a nail buffer, apply nail art (optional), and liberally rub cuticle oil over the surrounding area to soothe the skin.

Putting Acrylic Nails on Damaged Nails

You can wear acrylics on damaged nails, provided the surrounding skin and remaining nail plate are healthy. The process is similar to healthy nails.

However, you must be more careful with weak, brittle nails. Otherwise, you may aggravate the damage, inviting nail infections.

Similarly, avoid artificial nails on seriously damaged nails. For instance, avoid acrylics when contending with bacterial or fungal infections. Only resume acrylics when the infection clears.

I Want to Get My Nails Done, But I Bite them a Lot. What do I do?

Nail biters can get a mani-pedi like everyone. So, don’t stress over it. Instead, visit your favorite nail salon and tell them you’d like acrylics or other artificial nails. Then explain your nail-biting habits.

Most professional nail technicians are experienced in this area. So, they’ll advise you accordingly and even suggest the best products.

Also, the technician will advise you on how to take care of your nails after a mani-pedi and schedule fill-ins to keep your nails beautiful. Above all, they’ll advise you to overcome nail biting (if you’re interested).

How Long do Acrylic Nails Last on Bitten Nails? 

Acrylic nails last between 2-4 weeks on bitten nails. It depends mainly on whether you opt for overlays or tips. The durability also depends on how short the nails are during the mani-pedi.

For instance, overlays last up to four weeks on short, bitten nails because they don’t require a very strong adhesion to stick. On the other hand, extensions require a strong bond to last long on short nails. Otherwise, the false nails may only last two weeks.

Tips are worse as they’re denser and bulkier. So, you need sufficient surface area for adhesion. Unfortunately, short nails don’t offer much surface area. Therefore, you end up with weak tips that only last about a week. The tips easily detach from the nails if you don’t replace them after seven days.

Finally, the durability of acrylics on short nails also depends on the condition of the cuticles, nail bed, and the surrounding skin. For instance, you can push back healthy cuticles to clear an extra millimeter or two for the acrylics. However, you cannot do the same for dry, cracked cuticles.

Similarly, a damaged nail bed bereft of life may not support acrylics long. It renders the nails dry and brittle, weakening the adhesive bond.

Can Fake Nails Help Break your Nail-Biting Habit?

Yes, acrylic nails can help stop your nail-biting habit. It only works for some. Moreover, relapse is an ever-present risk. Nonetheless, it helps many people slow down and sometimes stop biting their nails.

The following are a few ways how;

  1. Acrylics prevent nail biting: You can bite your nails if exposed and visible. But you can’t bite them anymore if they’re tucked under a hard acrylic resin. 
  2. Acrylics are hard and have a powerful smell: Most nail biters are hooked to the habit because natural nails are tender, tasteless, and scent-free. Unfortunately, you cannot say the same about acrylics. They are hard, bitter, and have a powerful, offputting scent, reducing the urge to bite your nails.
  3. Many clients value their nail makeup: Unlike natural nails, many of our customers highly value their acrylic nails. So, they restain their nail-biting habits to maintain flawless nails. Moreover, acrylic nails cost money. Few people are willing to ruin the investment knowingly.

How Do you Hide Badly Bitten Nails? 

The easiest way to hide badly bitten nails is to wear artificial nails. Stick-on nails are your best option by far. They are easy to install and come off with ease.

Moreover, they’re economical because you can reuse them. Stick-on nails shield your nails from your teeth and may help you quit biting your nails.

Acrylic and gel products are also practical. However, building acrylic or gel nails on short nails is challenging.

The other solutions depend on the severity of the problem. For instance, you can file regular-length nails and dress them in regular or gel polish for an occasion. 

Other Ways to Stop Nail Biting 

Every nail-biter should seek ways to ditch the habit as it affects nail health and can invite bacterial and fungal infections. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to stop biting your nails.

Consider the following hacks;

  1. Get a manicure regularly: You’re less likely to bite your nails if they look beautiful and adorable.
  2. Keep short nails: Trim the nails every 2-3 days and file back the smile line. You won’t bite your nails if there’s no length to bite.
  3. Use a nail bite inhibitor: Nail-biting inhibitors contain nontoxic but foul-tasting chemicals that discourage you from biting.
  4. Wear artificial nails: Hard, foul-tasting acrylics and gels discourage nail biting. You’ll also love your nails more and not want to damage them.
  5. Change your mindset: Ultimately, quitting nail-biting comes down to a mindset change. Decide to stop biting your nails and stick to your new principles.


You can wear acrylic on bitten nails as long as the existing nail plate is healthy and the cuticles and nail bed are in good shape. However, avoid fake nails if the surrounding skin is swollen or red. Also, suspend the manicure if you have a nail infection.

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