How To Keep Acrylic Nails From Popping Off

You’ve just finished your acrylics and can’t wait to flaunt your nails. But a few hours/days in, you notice your natural nail glaring at you among your other perfectly manicured acrylics. And this isn’t the first or second time it’s happened!

Sounds familiar? If it does, you hate when it happens, and wondering how you keep acrylic nails from popping off. Our shallow answer is that you’ll need proper acrylic application and maintenance.

But let’s dive deeper into the root cause of the problem and 

Why do my acrylic nails keep popping off?

It’s infuriating and frustrating to have your acrylic nails pop off. It doesn’t matter whether you visit professional nail technicians or fix your press-ons from home; you can still be a victim of pop-offs. So, why do acrylic nails pop off?

Poor acrylic application

Poor acrylic application results from improper nail prep and incorrect nail attachment. For a press-on to attach correctly to the natural nail, thorough nail prep must be done.

Preparing your nails beforehand ensures that no oil and foreign objects are hanging onto your nails before acrylic application. These substances can prevent the acrylics from adhering well to the natural nails resulting in nail pop-offs.

As part of nail prep, it’s also imperative to thoroughly dehydrate the nail. Leaving any traces of moisture will result in evaporation during the curing process. This will significantly reduce the adhesive strength of the bonding agents, causing nails to pop off before their time.

And always remind your nail technician to apply a dull finish nail primer at the end of nail prep. This will ensure that the nail is at its maximum adhesive capacity.

Improper acrylic nail handling

Ever heard of the saying, ‘treat your body well, and it’ll serve you well for decades’? The same goes for acrylics, except you’ll need to replace them every six months, which you don’t do for your body.

While acrylics are pretty tough, they still need to be handled gently. Placing undue pressure on them is the main reason for their popping off. Excessive stress can result from typing using your press on nails, opening cans, working in fast-paced environments, etc.

Waiting too long between fill-ins can also constitute improper nail handling. Acrylic nails should last at least two weeks before you need a fill-in. If you extend past the third week, your nails may start breaking and chipping.

They could also lift off your natural nail bed as you are overworking the natural nail plate. The result? Popped off press on nails!

Materials used

To understand how materials used in the acrylic product can lead to nails popping off, we must first ask, what are acrylic nails made from? Acrylic nails are made from liquid and acrylic powder monomers. The ratios of these two substances must be correct, failure to which the end product becomes inadequate.

If you are unlucky to have an inadequate acrylic nail installed, you’ll experience pop-offs. Further, if your nail technicians combine products from different providers, you will likely have pop-offs as the entire manicure will be substandard.

Chemical reasons

Chemicals, whether during nail prep or after acrylic installation, are a top enemy of acrylics. If any chemicals were left on nails or fingers during nail prep, then acrylic adherence won’t be as strong. And the result? Nails popping off after a few days.

Using strong chemical agents when cleaning will also dissolve the adhesives. Your nails will fall off sooner or later. Thus, you’d better be careful and use gloves while cleaning.

Health reasons

Another one of the most common reasons why your acrylics keep popping off is your health. Let’s start with your nail health.

Acrylic nails, solid and sturdy, will need a similar base. If you have weak, thin and unhealthy nails, they may not be able to support the acrylic nails. Unhealthy nails can be attributed to the use of nail polish remover, stripping your nails off moisture. And such nails are likely to pop off after a short while.

Aside from weak and thin nails, nail diseases such as pterygium can cause acrylic nails to pop off. Since a membrane grows across the nail plate, it can be difficult for the acrylic nail to hold on without popping off for long.

Moving on to your overall body health, you may be allergic to the powerful chemicals used in an acrylic application. This may cause the body to reject an application and a consequent nail pop-off problem.

If you are under heart, diabetes, or thyroid medication, this could be the reason why your nails keep popping off. These medications interfere with the nail’s capacity to hold the acrylic in place beyond a few days.

Pro-Tip: Take regular breaks from acrylic nails to ensure healthy and strong nails.

Picking and biting nails

Kicking off that nail-picking and biting habit can be challenging. We’ve had quite several clients seek acrylic installation to help clear the practice. And while this may be a solution, it can come at a high cost; your acrylics keep popping off.

Picking and biting on acrylics causes them to become rugged and brittle, which may result in them popping off before their time.

Bad acrylic fill

Most clients we’ve met opine that acrylic fills are the easier part of acrylics. Well, we agree. But only if you are visiting reliable nail technicians. Otherwise, your acrylic fill could turn into a nightmare.

Overfilling your artificial nails and failing to dehydrate the nail before the fill are all signs of a lousy acrylic fill. And this will lead to your nail breaking off before it’s time. So, you should alert your nail technicians if you notice any of this during your regular fill-in.

How to Keep Acrylic Nails from Popping Off

Let’s agree that press on nails can never be permanent. It would be pretty dull since you won’t have a variety to flaunt. But dealing with popped-off nails now and then isn’t fun, either. So, how do you keep acrylic nails from popping off?

1 .Use High-Quality Acrylic Nails & Glue

You can never go wrong with a high-quality set of acrylics. These will often come in a variety of sizes. You won’t have to worry about getting a fake nail that suits the size of your nail bed.

A high-quality set will also be quite durable. You’ll only need to replace your tips if you hit the recommended six-month mark. And they’ll be soft enough to file and shape them up however you please.

Another thing to remember is that good quality acrylic nails have to go hand in hand with good quality nail glue. Even when your nails come pre-lined with adhesive, you still need to invest in high-quality glue.

You should be able to tell that nail glue is high quality if it dries quickly. With quality glue, your nails’ longevity is guaranteed.

Remember, a good set of acrylics and nail glue don’t come cheap. Be ready to part with your pretty dime, although it will all be worth it in the end.

2. Use the Right Size

You’ll be spoilt for choice if you go acrylic shopping. Or even when you visit the nail salon and the tech presents you with options. And we all know that using the right size of acrylics will reduce the chances of nails popping off.

How do you know the right size to use?

Check for the acrylic nail’s C-curve against your natural nail’s C-curve. The acrylic nail that closely matches the C-curve of your natural nail is the right size.

You should also check the width of the tip. It should fit from sidewall to sidewall to ensure proper strength and structure. And because it’s hard to get an exact size, choose to go up in size and customize the tip to fit. 

With the right size, you won’t have a hard time keeping your nails on for longer.

3. Choose the Right Shape & Length for your Lifestyle

Good quality acrylics will be of little to no use if you don’t use the right size for your lifestyle. You’ll need to consider what you do daily before choosing the correct size.

You should reconsider getting long nails if you work in a fast-paced environment. They’ll end up breaking and popping off within a few days- a result you want to avoid.

You can talk to your nail tech about these concerns and figure together the correct size.

4. Prep your Hands & Cuticles

During nail prep, always remember to have your hands and cuticles moisturized. You can use good quality cuticle oil for cuticle and hand moisturization. But why?

Besides being an eyesore, dry hands and cuticles can prevent acrylics from bonding firmly to your nail bed. In the end, your acrylics will fall off before their time.

Remember: Moisturization doesn’t stop at nail prep. Invest in a good quality moisturizer or cuticle oil for your nails after the manicure. But don’t overdo it.

Too much moisture can seep under your acrylics, causing a fungal infection. By following these tips, you’ll be able to prevent the constant nail pop-offs.

5. Prep the Surface of your Nails

We’ve already seen how improper nail prep can cause your acrylics to keep popping off. So, how can you prep the surface of your nails to ensure they last longer? 

Dehydrating your nails is a step often ignored but quite important. The process helps get rid of any oils on the nail plate. Always use soapy water and a clean nail brush to clean up the nails.

Consequently, your acrylics will have a clean nail plate to bond to, ensuring they will last longer. And remember, whether there’s nail polish on the nails or not, you need to clean the nail surface.

Your natural nails also need some buffing up. A rougher natural nail surface will ensure that the acrylics have something firmer to hold onto. This means that they can stick to your nails for longer.

Another essential part of nail surface prep is applying a base coat. A base coat protects your natural nails from the adhesive used in acrylics.

It ensures that the natural nails underneath are strong and healthy. So, acrylics have a strong foundation and will rarely fall off before their time.

6. Apply your Acrylic Nails Correctly

When applying acrylic nails, the technique is everything. If you don’t adopt the correct strategy, then you’ll have your artificial nails falling off a few hours in. So, how do you do it?

We recommend applying acrylic nails at a downward angle. Don’t overuse nail glue. A drop or two in the middle of the natural nails is enough. Then, press down the acrylic for 45 seconds to a minute to ensure they firmly bond with the natural nail.

7. Add a Top Coat

And don’t underestimate the impact of adding a top coat. It will not only make your manicure shine but also increase the life of your acrylic nail.

8. Avoid Submerging in Water

Acrylic nails are no doubt stronger and last longer. But they are in no way indestructible. Submerging your acrylics in water is one of the fastest ways to make them keep popping off.

The first 24 hours after acrylic application are incredibly crucial. You should avoid submerging nails in water at all costs during this time. Water weakens acrylics, consequently breaking down the nail glue bonds. So, they won’t be appropriately attached to your natural nails resulting in regular pop-offs.

And don’t forget that water provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. If you over-expose your acrylics to water, you’ll soon be dealing with a fungal infection on top of popped-off nails.

How Long does it Take for Acrylic Nails to Fall Off?

Ideally, your acrylics should take three weeks before they start to fall off. But, if you have them filled in every two weeks, they will probably last you up to six months before they begin to fall off.

Away from the ideal situation, your acrylic nails can start to fall off a few hours into your beautiful manicure. But how? You’ll be a victim if you use poor-quality acrylics or have improper and insufficient nail prep.

Poor maintenance of your nails will also wreak havoc on them a few hours/days into your manicure. If you work in a fast-paced environment or engage in many house chores daily, ask your nail tech how best to maintain your nails. This way, you’ll be able to ensure their longevity.

How to Tell if your Acrylic Nails are Coming Off

The last thing you want is to be caught unaware when your acrylic nail comes off. So, what are the signs that your press-on nails are coming off?

All acrylic nails will usually have a little tag on the tip. This tag helps the acrylic nail wearer to track where the acrylics are on the nail bed. You can grab this tag when washing your acrylics to determine if it’s coming off.

Another simple way is to check your nail tips for rips, tears, or breakage. If you notice any of these, it’s a sign that your nails are almost coming off. But, you can save them just in time if you visit your nail tech immediately.

You should also check on the age of your nails. If they’ve stayed on for more than six months, they are probably old and have lost their adhesive capabilities. You can also tell your acrylics have reached the end of the road by checking their color. Yellowing and discolored acrylics are probably old. Thus, they might be coming off quite soon.

We also recommend that you check the thickness of your acrylics often. If you notice them thinning, this can tell you that they are coming off. Ensure you visit your nail technician soon to solve this problem.

Tips for Nail Techs to Keep Acrylic Nails from Popping Off

Having worked as nail techs for several years, we’ve seen all the good, bad, and ugly of acrylics. So, we’ve gathered tips for nail techs to keep acrylic nails from popping off.

  • It takes two to tango.
  • Nail techs will often receive the blame when nails start popping off. But, in reality, the nail wearer should also take some responsibility. And to avoid this blame game, ensure you ask your clients personal questions before acrylic nail application.
  • What type of work do you do? How do you use your nails at home? This will give you an idea of the nails to use on the client and the nail care advice you should provide them.
  • Use clean nail tools.
  • Contaminated nail tools are suicide for acrylics. And most people often forget to clean the nail file. Such a tool will contaminate the nail surface and interfere with adhesiveness. So, acrylic nails will be popping off quite soon.
  • Quality products
  • Invest in a good quality acrylic brand with the highest ratings. A good primer and cuticle oil is also a must-have. And don’t forget to allow the primer enough time to dry. You will know it’s dry if the nail’s surface is chalky white.
  • Shaping and filing secret
  • Did you know you can quickly destroy the adhesive bond when shaping and filing acrylic nails? Holding the nail the wrong way is a recipe for a nail service breakdown. It may prevent the adhesive bond from setting, and you’ll be dealing with popped nails soon.
  • So, we recommend gently holding the nail at the side of the first knuckle as you shape it. Be as gentle as possible to prevent the nail from moving. Support it with your other fingers for longer nails, and it won’t move around too much.

What should I do if My Acrylic Nail Pops Off?

The first thing you should do if your acrylic nail pops off? Accept reality. This way, you’ll be open to the following solutions.

Most clients have confessed that the first instinct was to reattach the nail. But keep off that urge! That popped-off acrylic and your natural nails are already contaminated.

They’ve been exposed to air, dirt, and dust and need to be cleaned and prepped correctly before reattaching. Otherwise, you’ll have a popped nail if you reattach it immediately.

So, what should you do? Visit your nail salon and ask for a professional re-attachment. Most salons will allow a free re-attachment to a certain extent. But if they don’t, the cost won’t be as high as an initial installation or refill.

Suppose you don’t have the time to visit your nail tech immediately, file, and buff your natural nail. This will help eliminate any excess glue or sharp edges that can hang onto items such as clothes, harming your natural nail.

Alternatively, you can attempt a DIY re-attachment. If you are to take on this challenge, we recommend having an excellent acrylic nail kit at home. And don’t forget to use clean tools, push cuticles back and trim hangnails using cuticle nippers.

Skipping these steps will only get you to the drawing board where your nail popped off.


You’ve chosen acrylics because of their longevity and beauty. But you need to do the work to prevent them from popping off. Ensure that you have proper nail prep before application, use high-quality products, and maintain healthy nails.

Above all, talk to professionals. Get the correct advice on acrylic nails’ good, bad, and ugly. That way, you’ll have your nails serve you better for longer.

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