How Old Should You Be To Get Acrylic Nails?

Most women will be excited about getting their acrylic manicures. It’s undoubtedly relaxing and boosts one’s looks. And because the younger generation looks up to the older ones, they may want to copy acrylic manicures.

But is it right? How young is too young for acrylics? How old should you be to get acrylic nails? Here are all the answers you’re looking for.  

Is there a Legal Age to Get Acrylic Nails?

You’ll find a legal age for engaging in activities in many countries. For example, in the U.K., the legal drinking age is 18, while in the U.S., it’s 21. And the knowledge of this prompts the question about nail services. Is there a legal age to get acrylic nails?

Well, there’s no set legal age to get acrylic nails. This means that even minors can get acrylic nails. But it always depends on the salon’s policies. Most salons recommend that a minor be 16 years or older before they get acrylics. And if they are younger, consent must be from an adult (usually the parent or legal guardian).

Without an adult’s consent, ensure the minor is accompanied by an adult (preferably their parent). That way, the nail salon is free from legal liability for providing acrylic nail services to a minor.

How Old should you be to Get Acrylic Nails?

We’ve already seen no set age limits to get acrylic nails, legally speaking. So, even if you want to get fake nails on your toddler, no law would stop you. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Can you picture your three-year-old with acrylics? They’d be uncomfortable, and caring for the nails would be a nightmare. This begs the question, how old should you be to get acrylic nails?

Our simple answer to this question? One should be old enough to care for artificial nails if one wants to get them. Getting acrylic nails is quite a responsibility. And unfortunately, no one can best care for these nails apart from the owner.

Even when parents or guardians clean up such nails for minors, they aren’t with them 24/7. They’d have no control over things like treating nails gently, which is a concept most minors would overlook.

Minors might type with their nails, open cans, and engage in other rough activities which would cause damage to their nails. A result that no one wants to cope with.

So, to be safe, we recommend being sixteen years or older before getting acrylic nails. That way, they’ll be able to look after the nails quite well, reducing the probability of them becoming a health hazard.

Are Acrylics Kid Friendly? 

Most nail salons recommend 16 as the age limit for getting acrylic nails. When we mention this, we are often faced with questions about the ‘kid-friendliness’ of acrylic nails. And it’s a valid concern.

After all, it’s normal to think the reason for the recommended age limits is that acrylics are not kid-friendly. But are they?

Well, we like to look at this question from two perspectives. First, from the perspective of the ingredients used while making acrylic nails. From this perspective, acrylics are kid friendly.

They are made from polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which has been used over the years with no adverse effects if used correctly.

Second, we look at this question from the safety perspective. Are acrylic nails safe for kids? From our years of experience, we can confidently say that acrylics are unsafe for kids. Kids are not yet mature enough to be conscious of their environments. Thus, they are more likely to maintain the acrylics improperly. The results?

Some kids may get fungal infections, which is torture for a kid to cure. Others may deal with broken nails. Worse still, there have been numerous cases of kids dealing with traumatic and painful nail bed injuries due to accidental ripping off their acrylics.

So, from the safety perspective, which you should take seriously, acrylics are not kid friendly.

Why is there an Age Limit to Get Acrylic Nails 

And you may be wondering, why 16? Why this age limit? Here are the main reasons for it.

Nail Health

Healthy nails are the foundation for an excellent acrylic nail job. So, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the reasons why there are age limits to getting acrylic nails. Minors under 16 may not clearly understand how to take care of their nails.

Or they may have one but are not conscious enough to remember proper care. Thus, their nails will likely become a health hazard instead of a beautiful manicure.

Nail Growth and Development

Below the age of 16, the natural nails are still developing. More specifically, the nails and nail matrix are not yet fully mature. They are thin, weak, and oily. Now, imagine adding artificial nails on top.

The fake nails will break or pop off within no time. And the nails underneath may continue to weaken. Nails grow very fast for minors, meaning the minor will have to go for regular fill-ins.

But we know minors are not patient enough for that kind of stuff. So, it’s best to keep off artificial nails for minors.

Childhood Allergies

Childhood allergies also drive the need to have an age limit on nail enhancements. Minors tend to have many allergies they get rid of as they age.

Some of these allergies could be triggered when they receive nail enhancements. And this will cause irritation and infections on the nails and the skin around the nails.

Nail Care

Great acrylic nails don’t only exist. They need plenty of care and maintenance. And it would be unrealistic to expect a child at that young age to handle all that amount of information and responsibility. After all, children will play, engage in school activities, and often forget they have acrylics.

So, within no time, they’ll be dealing with ripped-off acrylics, an injured nail bed, or even an infection. The more reason an age limit is necessary.

Should I Allow my Kid to Get Acrylic Nails? 

You shouldn’t allow your kid to get acrylic nails unless they are over sixteen. And they are getting services from professional manicurists. There are so many risks involved with allowing this.

At that young age, nails aren’t mature enough to handle the pressure when they receive nail enhancements. And the amount of care goes into maintaining short or even long acrylics.

Additionally, your child’s ‘underdeveloped nails’ can’t take the pressure off all the filing that comes with acrylics. So, it’s best not to allow your kid to get acrylic nails.

Well, even after having said that, allowing your kid to get acrylic nails all boils down to who you are as a parent/guardian. If you are confident that your kid can take care of their nails and sit still for the regular fill-ins, then by all means, go for it.

If not, then look for alternatives to acrylic nails. Or better still, wait until your child reaches 16, and they can decide on the nails they want. 

Pros of Allowing my Child to Get Acrylic Nails

Despite all the above recommendations about kids getting acrylics, it’s not all gloom. There’s still a positive side to allowing your child to get acrylics. So, what are the pros of allowing your child to get acrylic nails?

First, acrylic nails come in a variety of designs and shapes. If you were to try and exhaust all the creative designs, we swear you’d take more than a couple of weeks. And this would be only if nail techs stopped being creative.

Allowing your child to get acrylic nails helps them jump onto this creative bandwagon. They can express themselves by using their nails. The kid also gets to be part of the designing or creative process since they can let the nail tech know what they want and don’t.

Second, if your child has a nail-biting problem, acrylics may help solve it. They are harder to chew and bite than natural nails. If the child has them on for a long time, they might give up on nail biting.

Remember, this does not guarantee that your child’s nail-biting problem will end. It may be deeply rooted; in such a case, you’ll need professional help.

Lastly, always keep in mind that the negative side overshadows the positive. So, decide wisely!

What Types of Acrylic Nails Are Suitable for 9, 10, 11, and 12-Year-Old Kids?

Up to now, we don’t recommend acrylics for younger kids. But sometimes, situations or the kids themselves demand acrylics. And spoiling them once in a while isn’t that bad. So, what types of acrylic nails are suitable for 9,10,11, and 12-year-old kids?

 We recommend selecting branded products for kids within this age range. Remember that their skins are delicate and prone to allergies at that age. So, it’s better to be safe by selecting branded products to prevent infections and skin issues. But which are these branded products?

Well, our number one recommendation is the CND acrylic brand. There have barely been any complaints when using this acrylic nail brand over our years in practice. Additionally, it’s long-lasting, so you don’t need to worry about your child’s manicure looking awry in a couple of weeks. 

Nine to 12-year-olds could also use dip powder nails. You’ll find that they are safe, easy to maintain, and long-lasting. We recommend going for NexGen nails for 9-12-year-olds if you choose dip powder nails.

And keep in mind the importance of taking regular long breaks with acrylics for your kids. One could be fine, but if you do it continually, you’ll damage your kids’ nails.

Alternatives to Acrylic Nails

If you are a parent or a kid (minor) looking to get acrylic nails, don’t be disappointed that we don’t recommend it. There are plenty of alternatives. And you’ll be able to express yourself well, just the same as you would with acrylics.

Here are the other options;

Regular Nail Polish

Regular nail polish is our number one preferred alternative to acrylics. It’s budget-friendly and harmless to your own nails.

And you can change the color as often as you’d like (without visiting nail salons) to suit your mood or events. You’ll only need a pretty good filing, and if you’ve longer nails, trim them to your preferred size.

Nail Art

And if you’re looking to express yourself a little bit more, nail art is the answer. After applying your regular polish, you can use a toothpick or dotting tool to add different designs to your manicure.

For example, you can add polka dots or your favorite image. But what if I’m not good at it? You can get nail art stickers from your favorite store and have a fabulous and expressive manicure.

Nail Wraps

Like nail art stickers, you can get nail wraps as an alternative to acrylics. Before adding stickers or wraps, ensure your nails are clean with no oil. That way, the stickers will adhere well. And get wraps that are the size of your fingers.


It’s now all cleared up. Acrylic nails are best for kids over 16 years. They are better able to care for and maintain their nails. Younger kids risk infections and nail damage if you decide to apply acrylics on them.

And if the kids insist, you can always use the alternatives to acrylic nails. That way, you’ll prevent damage while satisfying the kid’s wants.

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