I Accidentally Got My Acrylic Nails Too Long

One of my friends recently visited a nail salon and accidentally got her acrylic nails too long. She quickly realized how uncomfortable they were and asked me if she could cut them herself without going back to the salon and spending the extra money to get them cut down.

Accidentally getting long acrylic nails is a mistake most of us will make at some point. While acrylic nails are reputable for being long, adding length, strength, thickness, and beauty to your nails, you’ll encounter issues like dirt getting stuck under the nails, and constant injuries, especially when your nails get caught in zippers, windows, or other such objects. More importantly, keeping acrylic nails for a long time increases bacteria and infection chances.

If your acrylic nails are too long, you can easily file them down to the desired length using a 100 or 150-grit nail file. Be sure to file in the same direction as the growth of your nails, and take care not to damage your real nails in the process.

You may also want to use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick to push back your cuticles and remove any excess acrylic before filing.

If you’ve encountered this problem, I’m here to explain what happens if you accidentally get long acrylic nails. Keep reading to learn more.

What Happens When you Get Long Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails have been a growing trend over the last few years. And rightly so; they are a great way to make a fashion statement or get something unique that will get heads turning. Not only do they look great, but they can also boost confidence and a unique feel when going about your daily tasks.

Unfortunately, getting long acrylic nails can also be detrimental to your nails. And that’s what I’m going to focus on in this section.

The first complaint I hear from my clients about long acrylic nails is that they can be uncomfortable, especially if you are getting them done for the first time.

This is usually because the length of the nails feels stiff and different. So when most people can’t tolerate the discomfort for long, they are always forced to return to the salon to get them shortened.

Long fake nails complicate your daily tasks. Be prepared to have difficulty typing, picking up coins, opening a canned drink, or even wiping your ass (if you have extremely long nails).

Sooner or later, you’ll realize the impact these nails have on your day-to-day activities, and you’ll either get used to your new way of life (if it’s important to have these fabulous nails) or go for shortening.

Acrylic nails can cause damage to natural nail beds if they are not applied and removed correctly. Remember, this problem is not only unique to acrylic nails but all fake nails. Therefore, you have to be aware of the effects acrylic nails have on your natural nails, even if the gorgeous look is more important.

However, if you take care of acrylic nails – properly removing, regularly filling, and keeping them clean and dry – you’ll avoid damage to your nail bed.

What to do If your Acrylic Nails are Too Long?

If you accidentally got your acrylic nails too long, you have two options: to shorten them (you can go back to your nail technician or do it yourself) or remove them completely and get new ones.

While accidentally getting your acrylic nails too long can be uncomfortable and hurt your pocket, there are things you can do to shorten them without incurring any extra cost.

I’ll always lean toward returning to your salon to get your acrylic nails shortened or removed professionally. However, I also understand that you may want to avoid paying extra money after spending about $35 for a full set of acrylics.

If you’re still persistent in cutting your acrylic nails yourself, I will help you through the process.

But before that, what is the recommended nail length for acrylic nails? Remember, you don’t want to cut them too short or too long – you want to shorten them to a comfortable length.

Nail technicians will describe the length of nails in different ways. For the average person, the options will consist of extra small, small, medium, large (long), or extra large (extra long). 

However, the nail length you choose is almost always affected by the shape of the nail and the width of your own nails. Therefore, when you choose a nail shape, the nail tech will have to measure the width of your nails before recommending the correct length.

Here are some popular nail shapes and sizes you can expect to see around the salon.

How to Shorten Acrylic Nails at Home

Whether you accidentally got your acrylic nails too long or are just trying to keep your nails healthy and make yourself comfortable, there are ways to shorten them without worrying about them cracking or breaking at no extra cost. 

Before we start, you’ll need a regular nail cutter, a file, and the same nail polish color.

How to Cut Acrylic Nails Using a Nail Clipper

Determine how much you want to cut: Think about how long you want your nails. If you want them too short, use a nail cutter. But if you don’t want to keep a little bit of the length, file it down instead of cutting it.

Position the clipper on the edge of the nail and cut towards the center: Start by cutting small amounts from one side of the nail to the middle. Keep the clipper at an angle (diagonally upwards and toward the center of the nail) to avoid cutting a big chunk at the center, which may cause the nail to split.

Move to the other side of the nail and cut toward the middle: Position the clipper at the same angle as you did on the first side of the nail and cut another small amount towards the middle. The two cuts will create a shard edge at the center, which you can now shape by cutting at the middle.

Use your fingers to pull and remove the cut tip: Since acrylic nails are thick and stronger than natural nails, the cut part won’t fall off. So, once it’s detached, slowly and gently pull it using your fingers to remove it. If you feel the nail starting to split diagonally, stop and go to a nail tech to fix it.

Use a nail file to smooth out serrated edges: After cutting your acrylic nails, they will have sharp, uneven, and snaggy edges. File these jagged projections to obtain a smooth and uniform finish.

How to File Down Acrylic Nails at Home

If you want only to remove a small size of the nail, it’s way safer to file than to cut. Filing acrylic nails may take a little more time, but it’s worth it.

Filing acrylic nails can be tedious if you don’t use the best nail file. I recommend glass files like this one with the correct grit size to file through the tough and thick nails.

Avoid using cheap, low-quality nail files that easily bend or have non-uniform grains. Most of them won’t only damage the spectacular appearance of your nails but also can damage them completely.

In addition, if you want to reduce the length of your nails quickly, use a coarse file (around 100 grit). But if you want to take your time, try a medium file (180-220 grit) board.

Now that you have the right nail filing tool let’s learn how to file acrylic nails down.

Use the same technique for cutting. Start from the sides and move to the middle.

Slow it down when it comes to shaping. Move the file diagonally and toward the edges surrounding the basic shape to smoothen the nail and give it a natural and healthy appearance.

Be keen on the amount of pressure you put on the nails to prevent filing a specific area too far. If you rush through the process, you end up with irregular, unattractive and damaged nails shorter than you desired.

While at this, compare the length, shape, and edges of the nails of both hands to maintain uniformity.

Apply your Nail Polish

Do you remember that nail polish I told you to have? It’s time to use it.

After achieving your desired shape and length, let’s apply the nail polish to give the nail a finished acrylic look.

Start by spreading and tapping the polish into the nail using the brush’s body. If you want to increase pliability, dip it into a monomer. Continue tapping your nails lightly during the application to get a smooth and flush appearance and reduce your filling time.

Give the acrylic approximately 10 to 20 minutes to dry. You can tell it’s dry when you hear a slight clicking sound when you tap the end of the brush.

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