Do you remember the last time you got your nails filled? Well, we certainly do! For most of us, wearing acrylic nails with beautiful nail art is a great way to slay our looks, even on a budget.
While for others, nail enhancement is ideal if you want long nails but can’t maintain the nail length or shape you desire. However, maintaining your acrylic nails is something to bear in mind.
As your natural nails grow underneath your acrylics, they may need to be filled from time to time. But how often can your nails be filled? Let’s find out.
What is a Nail Refill, and Why Do I Need One?
Acrylic nails are insanely attractive and incredibly fun until your nail bed is exposed when they grow out. After about two to three weeks of getting your acrylic nails done, you will notice your natural nails growing underneath.
As they grow, the extended part with your gel or nail polish moves away from your cuticle area, creating a gap and imbalance. Also, the gap can cause lifting as the acrylic can start to lift or separate from your natural nails.
When natural nails appear evident and unaesthetic, it’s time to visit the nail salon. Don’t wait too long between refills because your nails can start to lift. And if water, grime, or dirt gets underneath, bacteria can grow.
Nail infections are not a pleasant experience for anyone. Your nails may grow too far out, throwing off the strength of the acrylic nail. Plus, cracks can easily appear in your nail plate, especially if you accidentally hit your nails on a surface.
Usually, your acrylic nails can last up to two months. However, when it comes to keeping your acrylic manicure pristine, the best option is to get them refilled regularly.
The essence of the refill is to treat the acrylic regrowth at the base of your nails and cover up any existing gaps with new acrylics.
However, if the procedure is done wrong, it can damage your nail underneath. So we suggest you visit a professional nail technician.
Should I Get a Fill or a New Set?
Most people prefer acrylic nails because of their durability and the luxurious look it gives their appearance. With proper maintenance, your acrylic nails last six weeks to eight weeks.
Therefore, if your natural nails are growing out or due for upkeep, we recommend you fill your acrylic nails every two weeks at the max to keep them healthy.
An acrylic refill will help hide your exposed nail growth. During your refill appointment, your nail tech will also reapply your nail color, file, shape your nails, and fix any broken nails- making your nails look new again.
If you are simply experiencing nail growth and minor lifting, then there is no need to soak off a good set of nails just yet.
You shouldn’t need to get a new complete set unless necessary. However, circumstances can warrant you getting a new set from scratch.
For example, if you are experiencing serious lifting, uncontrollable fill lines, badly damaged a nail, have worn your nails too long between fills, or need a redo, then you can opt for a new set of acrylic nails.
Are Nail Refills Cheaper than a New Set?
Refilling your acrylic manicure requires half the work needed to get a brand-new set of acrylics. Therefore, it could cost between $20-$35 or more.
However, we cannot give you an exact figure as it all depends on the nail technician you choose to work with, your location, the condition of your acrylic nail, and the length & shape of your nails.
If your existing acrylic nails are long, they require a longer time and more effort to fill, meaning more cost. Another factor is if you require additional repair work like fixing a broken nail, trimming your overgrown nails, or changing your design.
How Often Should I Refill My Gel Manicure?
Just like acrylic nails, gel nails also require fill-ins. During the weeks your natural nails grow, the extended part with the gel nails will move away from your cuticle area.
So the growth creates a gap between your gel polish and the cuticle, which can look not so groomed. You should go for fill-ins when your gel nails start looking tacky or even before they show signs of distress.
So depending on how fast your nails grow, you should go in for gel nail maintenance every 2–3 weeks to maintain and close any gaps.
Apart from closing the obvious growth, a fill will also help restore the strength in your nail stress area (the midpoint between your cuticle and free edge).
As your natural nails grow, the strength built up by the acrylics to keep them from breaking moves away from the stress area and down to the free edge.
Due to that, your nail can easily break, crack or lift, causing extreme pain, especially if you hit it hard on a surface.
How Often Should I Refill My Acrylic Manicure?
While acrylic nails are an excellent option for having the perfect set of nails for weeks, nail growth, lifting, and breakages can get in the way of that perfection.
So apart from keeping your hands moisturized with coconut oil or cuticle oils to lengthen the lifespan of your acrylics, you schedule regular fills.
Your nail refill appointment frequency depends on how fast your natural nails grow, your nail’s length, and your nail technician’s recommendation.
Typical growth becomes evident around two weeks, so schedule a fill-in within two to three weeks, as this will help your acrylic set last a bit longer.
If you are hard on your nails or are very hands-on, we suggest you visit for your appointment sooner than later to avoid lifting or other nail distress.
If you wait too long to fill your nails, the acrylics can become too thin and may cause damage- you don’t want that.
How Many Fills can you Get Before you need a New Set?
A full set of acrylics should last six to eight weeks or more. You can fill your acrylic nails to maintain a fresh look and strength as often as you wish before replacing them.
Even though your nails don’t chip or break, you should maintain regular fills. However, remember that your acrylic nails will last longer and require fewer fills if properly maintained.
The number of acrylic fills doesn’t affect when you get a new set. However, if you decide to keep your acrylics for longer than three months, the nail glue may lose its sturdiness, causing brittleness, and you also notice natural damages like scratched surfaces.
Also, it can trap too much moisture, allowing bacteria to thrive. That said, while you can fill indefinite times, consider getting a new set once the existing one has degraded.
Can you Change Nail Shape when Getting a Fill?
Absolutely! Yes! The advantage of a professional refill is that you can change the shape and length of your artificial nail without having to remove acrylic nails.
When filling your nails, your nail technician will file the edges with an electric file and customize them to a new shape. This allows you to change your clients’ entire nail look.
However, this will be done after your gel polish, or nail polish is removed, and the growth gap has been filled. Remember that modifying your nail shape may or may attract extra cost. It all depends on a variety of factors.
How to Refill Gel Manicures
The process of refilling gel manicures involves the following procedure.
- Start by filing at the cuticle area with a soft 100/180 grit file to remove any lifted product, remove all the shine from the gel, and roughen up the gel surface so the new gel will adhere. File the old product down until it is no longer visible, ensuring it is thinned and not thick.
- After you’ve finished filing, cleanse your nails with a gel system’s disinfectant cleanser/ sanitizer or alcohol to dehydrate the nail plate.
- If using a primer gel, apply it to the new growth area and blend it into the natural nail. Also, gently push down your cuticles and remove any dead skin from the nails with a cuticle pusher.
- Now apply a thin coat of gel primer or bonder over the entire nail. Concentrate on the nail growth area, then pull the gel over the entire nail.
- Next, cure the gel with a UV lamp or LED light for a few minutes, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the first coat of gel is cured, apply a second coat of gel just as you did the first, then cure it. Repeat this process as necessary, depending on your desired strength and thickness.
- After curing the final coat, remove any sticky layer and unwanted imperfections by cleansing the nails with the disinfectant cleanser.
- Finish the service by applying a top coat gel and cure. Your nails look good as new.
How to Refill Acrylic Nails
Below steps will guide you on filling your acrylic nails.
- Firstly, start by removing the old nail paint. Dip your cotton balls in non-acetone polish remover only for this purpose. Using acetone-based remover can dissolve the acrylics over the entire nail and damage the acrylic base.
- Once you have removed the nail polish, clean your nails with baby wipes to help prevent infection.
- If your nail growth has caused the bottom edge of the acrylic to lift, you need to remove this lifting for a smooth acrylic nail finish.
- Use a rough nail buffer to remove bumps or lifted acrylic at the bottom edge. Keep buffing to form a smooth surface from the edge of the acrylic to where it meets your natural nail. Use a cuticle pusher to remove the excess cuticle and dry or dead skin.
- Next, apply a nail dehydrator, primer or acrylic glue on the natural nail plate that needs filling.
- Now combine your acrylic mixture (acrylic polymer powder and liquid monomer). Form a bead of the mixture and take it onto the brush to fill the gap.
- Apply it evenly on the natural nail to fill the gap between your cuticle and the acrylic nail edge. Allow the acrylic to air dry completely. If desired, you can file the nail to reduce the overall length.
- Buff the entire nail until they are smooth and shiny. Keep filing and buffing until you get the nail’s desired shape and size.
- Finally, spread a base coat on the refilled nails and a top coat to protect and give it the best look.
Do Nail Infills Damage Nails?
Nail infills, whether gel or acrylic, do not damage nails. Like any other artificial nail enhancement, the damage comes from improper application.
When your refills are done by a professional, you have little or no cause to worry. But if done by a bad or inexperienced technician, your infills can deteriorate fast and damage your nails.
So ensure you research the salon before booking your appointment to avoid any permanent damage.
You should also avoid peeling off the acrylic or gel nails so as not to pull away your nail plate. Remember that these extensions have strong adhesive power, so you must be careful.
How Can I Make My Acrylics Last Longer?
Your acrylic nails can only last as long as you pamper them. Below are suggested ways to make them last longer.
Don’t Bite or Pick Your Nails
Biting or picking your nails is considered a bad habit. However, as hard as it is to control, you must try to stop, so you don’t ruin your artificial manicure.
Moisturize after Hand Washing
To avoid damage, it’s best to moisturize your hands with hand cream, argan oil, or cuticle oil after every hand wash to keep your nails hydrated and your acrylics intact.
Wear Gloves when Cleaning
Cleaning detergents and other chemical products can wreak havoc on your nails. Soaking acrylic nails in hot water can also cause them to lift.
When undertaking house chores, ensure that you wear rubber gloves to protect and keep them a bit longer.
Avoid Putting Pressure on your Nails
This can cause them to lift quicker than usual. As a result, you’ll need to replace them more often than necessary.
If you love artificial nails and have opted for acrylic nails, then you should enjoy the durability of this manicure if done properly.
However, you need to maintain them regularly as this will help keep your nails healthy and save you the stress of getting a new set.