How Long Does It Take To Do Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are a great way to add style and glamor to your look. Whether you’re a regular patron of the nail salon or have just recently discovered the wonders of acrylics, they are the perfect option for achieving unique, stylish, and long-lasting nail designs.

While it’s possible to do your own acrylic nails at home by mixing a few supplies, I recommend going to a nail technician for the best results. Professional manicurists and designers know how to tailor nails based on your needs to achieve your desired results.

The only downside of seeking professional nail services is the time it takes to get your nails done. Most of the time, you’ll be sitting for hours and may need to schedule your time not to interfere with other activities.

How Long does it Take to do Acrylic Nails?

It will take a professional nail artist anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to do a full set of acrylic nails, while an inexperienced nail tech can take 1.5 hours or more. This includes the time the artist takes to prep your nails, apply the acrylic, and cure them under a UV or LED lamp.

Apart from professionalism, the amount of time it takes can be longer or shorter depending on the salon you go to, nail length, shape and design, and type of nail finish.

For example, a basic manicure can take anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes. However, nail stylists will complete a full set of acrylic nails in 2 hours.

As you may now realize, I have only been able to give you approximate timelines for getting acrylic nails done. However, because it differs from one technician to another and from one salon to another, it’s safe to assume that you’ll be in the salon for a few hours.

Why do Acrylic Nails Take a Lot of Time to Apply?

Have you ever wondered why even the most experienced nail technician will spend a lot of time doing acrylic nails? The answer is simple—it involves numerous steps they must meticulously do to achieve your desired outcome. Standard tools for these processes include brush on a gel, setting spray, acrylic nail glue, nail file, etc.

An acrylic nail appointment typically begins with a nail prep, which involves removing and cleaning polish thoroughly. The next step is to stick the acrylic to your nails by applying a base coat. You may then apply the acrylic after confirming that the base coat has dried.

The third stage involves carefully applying a thin layer of the substance to each nail. Your nail tech will then modify it to form your desired shape. After that, they may use a top coat to give it the perfect glossy finish.

Factors that Affect the Timeframe for Acrylic Nails 

The exact time it takes to get acrylic nails done depends on several factors. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Experience Level

The timeframe for acrylic nail application depends on the experience of the technician. As with every other project, professional nail techs with many years of experience will work faster since they’ll make only a few mistakes. Usually, it’ll take them about 20 minutes to complete the basics (without gel polish, nail designs, etc.).

However, a beginner is prone to making lots of mistakes. For this reason, they’ll have to be slow to give you the best results. Expect them to typically spend about 45 minutes on nail prep and application alone.

2. Nail Prep

Generally, prepping natural nails takes little time, especially when visiting a nail salon. The process is simple—handle the cuticles after buffing and filing the natural nail bed. However, this timeframe may differ based on the length of your nails.

Do you have short nails? Then you’ll have to sit through a shorter prep time than if you chose longer nails. Your nail tech will also spend considerable time prepping your nail beds if they’re roughly shaped.

3. Preferred Nail Shape 

When fixing acrylics, there are different nail shapes to choose from. However, the one you pick can affect how long it’ll take to get your nails done.

Generally, the more unusual or intricate your nail shape is, the longer it’ll take to get the desired outcome. For example, coffin or stiletto shapes take more time to achieve than round, square, and almond nails.

4. Preferred Length

Do you want short or long nails? Is a medium-length nail your go-to? Your choice can affect how long it’ll take to get your acrylic nails done. As you may have already guessed, the longer your nails, the more time you need to schedule your nail appointment. 

5. Nail Polish and Art Type 

How do you want your nail art, and what type of nail polish do you fancy? These can go a long way in shortening or elongating your nail appointment time. 

Regular nail polish is easy to apply. So, your technician will do a fast job of using some on your acrylic nails. However, for a more extensive nail service, like gel nails, expect to spend more time at the salon. That’s primarily because gel polish requires UV light hardening, which takes more time.

The duration of your nail appointment will also depend on whether you want nail designs. If you do, it may take a certified nail technician up to 2 hours to complete.

6. French Manicure

A French manicure is always a fantastic choice when it comes to versatility, timelessness, and beauty. However, it takes way more time to fix than a regular manicure.

That’s because your nail tech will take some time to blend perfectly with your natural nails after applying and painting the tips.

7. Number of Nails Done 

Are you fixing only one nail or a full set of acrylic nails? The more nails you do, the more time it’ll take to complete.

How Long does a Full Set of Acrylic Nails Take?

A full set of acrylic nails mean two things in nail terminology. First, you’re adding brand-new nails to your natural ones by pouring acrylic. It’s different from a manicure, where you don’t have to create artificial nails.

It also means that you’re doing this on all ten fingers. For this section, a full set of acrylic nails carries both meanings.

Generally, fixing a full set of acrylic nails takes up to two hours. This includes the time spent preparing your nails and applying the acrylic. It also includes nail polish and design time.

This time is flexible, depending on your situation and numerous factors. As mentioned above, they include experience level, preferred length, and shape, French manicures, etc.

How Long does it Take to Get a Fill in Nails?

A fill-in or fill refers to the space under/behind your nails where the acrylic covers or fills. Fill-ins are vital because they help improve your acrylic nails’ overall appearance. Beyond the aesthetics, fill-ins also work perfectly to ensure that your nails remain intact for longer.

Many factors determine how long it’ll take to do your fill-ins. The obvious ones are your nail type and natural nail thickness. However, your nails’ length can also determine fill-in time, as the longer and thicker they are, the more time it takes.

The filler material is another essential factor in determining the timeframe for your fill-ins. For example, fiberglass or plastic fillers take less time than acrylic or gel fillers. However, getting nails will typically take 3o minutes to about an hour.

How Long does it Take to Remove Acrylic Nails?

The timeframe to get acrylic nails off significantly depends on the application method and who is removing them. 

For inexperienced persons who wish to go DIY, acrylic nail removal will take about 30 to 45 minutes. However, a competent nail technician in a salon should take around 20 minutes.

Besides their experience, nail techs will remove your nails faster because they have the appropriate tools/equipment for the job. When it comes to the application method, you’ll find that eliminating glue-ons is typically faster than acrylic tips.

Remember that these are estimates, not definite, as various occurrences can affect timeframes. For example, you must consider that no two fingernails are the same, and salons use different glues.

How Long does it Take For Acrylic Nails to Dry?

How long it takes for your nails to dry is one of the factors that will affect your overall hours at the nail salon. Although it typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to dry completely, your drying time will depend on humidity, temperature, nail thickness, and type of monomer.

The time it takes for your acrylic nails to dry also depends on whether you’re air-dry or using UV light.

It’s essential to wait until your acrylic nails are completely dry before doing daily activities like gardening, dishwashing, etc. When you’re cautious, you prevent them from early damage.

If you want to know whether your acrylic nails are dry to work with, use your acrylic brush handle to tap on them. A tap on them produces a clicking sound if they’re dry. Otherwise, they aren’t dry enough, and you must wait a little longer for them to set completely.

How Long does a Nail Appointment Take?

Generally, it takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours to get your nails done at a salon. But it depends on the services you’re demanding, how experienced your technician is, how many nails you’re fixing, nail type, etc.

The method of application and the products used also go a long way in determining how long you’ll be at the salon. As a result, you may spend less or more than the above timeframes at some point.

For example, it should take about an hour to get a simple nail job done. However, techniques like 3D nails will dramatically increase your nail appointment time.

Sometimes, people spend up to five hours on highly complex techniques.

How Long do Acrylic Nails Last?

Most women prefer acrylic nails because of their durability. Taking proper care of your acrylic nails can help them stay up to eight weeks without lifting. However, you must schedule regular fill-ins to make them last this long.

How to Remove Acrylic Nails

No matter how well you apply your acrylic nails, they’ll always be due for removal after a while.

When the time comes, the best way to remove them is by visiting a nail tech with the expertise and tools to do a perfect job. However, if you prefer to do it in the comfort of your home.

Here’s how to make it work:

  1. Get your tools ready — nail files, cotton balls, acetone, a small bowl, cuticle oil, clipper, nail buffer, etc.
  2. Cut the excess acrylics with the clipper allowing them to reach as close to your natural nails as possible.
  3. Use a nail buffer to remove the shine from the surface of the nail polish. 
  4. Continue the process by soaking your nails with acetone-dipped cotton balls or in a bowl of acetone for 5 minutes to ensure the acrylic completely breaks down.
  5. Starting from your cuticles, push the nail polish downwards and away from your nails using a metal cuticle pusher.  
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you’ve entirely soaked off your acrylics.
  7. Next, scrape the softened acrylic off with a nail file. 
  8. Lastly, rehydrate your nails by massaging them with cuticle oil. 

Viola! You’ve successfully removed your acrylic nails like a pro.

Care Instructions for Acrylic Nails

After investing money and time in your acrylic nails, you expect them to last some weeks before another appointment. However, you must work and care for them properly to prevent them from breaking too early.

If you have no idea how to maintain your artificial nails, these tips will help:

Are they Dry 

Acrylic nails don’t do well with moisture. So use hand gloves to avoid water getting into them as much as possible. Also, dry them instantly and completely with paper towels immediately after they come in contact with moisture.

Don’t Apply Acetone 

Never apply acetone to your nails unless you’re ready to remove them. The same applies to other types of nail polish removers.

Be Gentle

When caring for acrylic nails, gentleness plays an important role. Don’t use them as tools to lift heavy objects, open cans, cut tapes, etc.

Take Care of the Surrounding Skin

Another essential factor in caring for your nails is making sure that the skin around your nails remains healthy. So, moisturize your hands daily and look for peeling skin, redness, dryness, etc.

Use Top Coat

Schedule regular nail salon visits to apply a top coat to your nails. Top coat reapplication remains one of the best ways to ensure your acrylic nails last longer.

Avoid Biting 

Nail biters are at high risk of damaged natural and acrylic nails. So, if you’ve already made nail-biting a hobby, now is a great time to stop.

Nail Technicians are your Friends 

Always visit your nail technicians when you encounter problems with your nails as you would a doctor when you’re ill. Attempting DIY with nail repairs can put you at risk of infections and more damage.

Final Thoughts

Do you want to step your nail game up a notch? Then try acrylic nails. Well-fixed and designed acrylic nails are beautiful, trendy, and classy. They’re one of the surest ways to get heads turning.

Although they may be complicated to fix and take up time, their durability makes up for this. All you need to do is maintain them adequately, and you’ll be glad you had them on.

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