We’ve all been there. After six weeks of great service, it’s time to say bye to your acrylic nails. However, deciding what to do with your nails after acrylics can be an uphill battle.
Do you install a new set of acrylic nails? Do you opt for a different type of artificial nail? Or do you let your nails rest for a few weeks? What factors should you consider, and can you install new nails immediately or wait for a specified period? These are just some of the questions that often run through the mind.
Fortunately, we know a little about artificial nails and mani-pedi in general. We can help you make an informed decision. Read on to discover your best options.
What Should I Put on My Nails After Acrylics?
You should strongly consider rejuvenating the nails after acrylics. You may install new false nails, including acrylics.
However, acrylics weaken the natural nails, making them brittle and susceptible to injuries and infections. Therefore, you should let them recover for a few weeks before installing new fake nails.
Are Acrylics Bad for your Nails?
Unfortunately, yes. Acrylic nails often make the nails thin, weak, and brittle, increasing the risk of injuries and infections.
For instance, many nail salons still sell and use methyl methacrylate (MMA), a corrosive acrylic monomer that dries the nail plate and irritates the surrounding soft skin. Similarly, harsh acrylic nail polish erodes the nail plate, making it thin and weak.
But it’s not just the acrylic product. Instead, the nail preparation and acrylic removal processes are more invasive.
For instance, aggressive filing damages the nail plate and irritates the bed. That’s why your nails hurt after installing or removing acrylic nails.
Do Acrylics Damage your Natural Nails?
Yes, acrylic nails can damage your natural nails. This is why we advise our customers to take a break from acrylics a few times yearly to let their nails recover.
Injuries are the most common form of damage. For instance, filing the plate to create a rough surface for acrylic adhesion makes the nail unnaturally thin.
Unfortunately, thin nails are weak and susceptible to injuries. For example, slight pressure on the nail plate may irritate the nail bed, causing redness and swelling.
Of course, acrylic nails also put extra weight on natural nails, increasing the risk of stunted growth, especially on weak nails. You may also get an infection if the acrylics trap moisture over the natural nail.
Taking a short break allows thin nails to thicken and weak nails to strengthen. Also, it allows nail injuries to heal and allows you to test for and treat existing nail infections.
Do Acrylics Weaken your Nails?
Yes, acrylic nails weaken your nails. This happens in two main ways, over-filing and chemical damage.
- Over-filing: Acrylic installation and removal involve a lot of filing. First, you must file the nail plate to “roughen” the surface for maximum bond strength. After that, you must file away the false nail during acrylic removal. Also, you must file during in-fills. Too much filing weakens than nail plate, leaving it brittle and defenseless.
- Nail chemicals: All nail products comprise several chemicals mixed in different ratios. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals are bad for your nails. The best example is acetone. Widely considered the best acrylic nail remover, acetone dissolves into the nail plate, weakening it and increasing the risk of infection.
Other Reasons to Remove Acrylic Nails
The following are several other reasons to remove acrylic nails and let your natural nails recuperate.
- The risk of fungal infections: Wearing artificial nails for too long increases the risk of nail fungus, which can cause permanent damage. Indeed, you may lose the nail forever.
- Risk of allergic reactions: Consider alternative options if you’re allergic to acrylics. For instance, if your nails swell and become inflamed after getting acrylic, find other ways to beautify them.
- Effects of nail chemicals: We’ve already seen that nail chemicals can damage and weaken the nails. But that’s not all. For instance, toluene, found in many acrylic nail care products, causes dizziness and headaches. It may also cause long-term reproductive and respiratory complications.
- Time and expenses: Acrylics are expensive and exhausting to apply and maintain. For instance, many people spend $50 for a new acrylic set every month, translating to $600 annually if you don’t take breaks. That’s before accounting for the commute and related expenses.
- Let the nails heal: Artificial nails occasionally damage natural nails. For instance, brittle nails and inflamed nail beds are common. You may even develop cracks on the nail plate and bed. You can take a break from acrylics purposely to let the wounds heal.
Taking a Break from Acrylic Nails: The First Steps
When taking a break from acrylics, the first step is to remove the existing acrylic nails and decide your next move. Here’s what to do;
Remove the Acrylics
Acrylic nail removal is simple and quick. Cover the nails in acetone-soaked cotton balls and wrap the balls with tin foil. Then wait 20-30 minutes for the acrylics to soak off.
Alternatively, apply a little pressure on the foil or gentle heat by dipping the fingers in a bowl of warm water. Then use a cuticle pusher to scrape off the acrylics.
We recommend nail salon removal to avoid preventable nail damage. The nail technician will also take precautions not to over-file the nail.
Trim your Nails
Natural nails grow fast when you’re wearing acrylic nails. We strongly recommend trimming them to grow back healthy and strong nails.
This doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to rock long natural nails. However, post-acrylic nails are often weak and brittle. So, they easily break if something pulls or presses them.
For instance, nails can easily break when washing dishes or handling laundry. Trimming brittle nails prevents such accidents.
Mend Broken Ends with a Nail Repair Kit
If the nails are badly damaged, consider purchasing a nail repair kit. Repair kits come in many names, such as nail-strengthening and rescue kits. But they do the same job – fix cracked, dry nails after acrylics.
A basic kit contains various items, including nail oils, stickers, wraps, and repair glue. The idea is to provide everything you need to fix the damaged nails.
Be sure to pick the right kit. Broco Nail Repair Kit, Nail Tek Nail Repair Kit, and Orly Nail Rescue Kit are excellent options.
What to Put on your Nails after Removing Acrylics
The following are additional oils and other nail products to apply on the natural nail to boost recovery.
1. Soothe the Nails with Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil increases blood circulation around the nails, stimulating healthy nail development. It also soothes the cuticles, reducing the risk of inflammation and swelling.
Most users apply it once daily. However, you can apply cuticle oil more frequently if the budget is not a hindrance.
2. Keep the Nails Hydrated with Carrier Oils
Jojoba oil is an excellent choice if you wish to go natural. It repairs damaged collagen in the nail beds, improves nail strength, and boosts healthy nail growth.
Alternatively, consider Morrocan Argan oil. It’s a powerful antioxidant that nourishes the nails and helps the plate and bed heal. Almond oil and apricot kernel are other good options.
3. Apply Nail Strengtheners and Hardeners
Nail hardeners and strengtheners are applied to the nails to make them harder and more breaking-resistant.
They contain various formulations that harden the nail plate for greater durability, including solvents and plasticizers like butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and formaldehyde resin.
However, a nail strengthener wears off quickly. So, you must apply it regularly, ideally weekly.
4. Apply a Post-Acrylic Base Coat
You may be hearing about post-acrylic base coats for the first time. They are regenerative formulas with intensive vitalizes designed to rebuild the nail.
But don’t confuse them with standard base coats. A post-acrylic base coat is necessary for nail recovery after removing acrylics.
In contrast, standard base coats are applied during acrylic nail installation. One of the best post-acrylic base coats is Restoration by Jessica.
Life After After Acrylics: 5 Options After Removing Acrylics
So, you’ve removed acrylics and commenced the nail recovery process. However, your mind is already on what comes after your nails completely heal. The following are a few options to consider;
- Rock your natural: Few people can wear bare nails with zero makeup and still look majestic. So, rocking natural nails immediately puts you in a special category. The best part is that natural nails require the least upkeep. Keep them clean and trimmed. That’s all. We recommend buffing for attractive, shiny nails.
- Switch to nail polish: Nail polish is the perfect middle ground between natural and artificial nails. It makes your nails beautiful without invading the nail plate. Moreover, nail polishes are affordable and easy to apply. Gel and regular polish work the same way. But gels are classier.
- Get a new set of acrylics: If you prefer something other than natural nails, replacing the old acrylics with a fresh set is the best option. Why? Because you’re already used to acrylics. Moreover, acrylics are durable and cost-effective. They are also easier to DIY than other false nails. Feel free to try a different acrylic nail shape if you want a different look.
- Consider gel or silk nails: Two alternatives to acrylics are gel and silk. Gel nails are super flexible and the most natural-looking false nails. However, they only last two weeks. Meanwhile, silk nails are peel-and-stick materials wrapped over the real nail to create a gorgeous effect.
- Consider nail tips: Nail tips are classic false nails. They are acrylic or plastic extensions glued to the tips of healthy natural nails. More importantly, you can remove, store, and reuse them later.
Can I Paint My Nails After Removing Acrylics?
Yes, you can paint your nails post-acrylic manicures. However, we strongly recommend waiting until the nail heals to begin painting.
More importantly, avoid harsh nail polish, especially after acrylics. Applying invasive nail polishes to thin, brittle nails increases the risk of irritation and inflammation.
Can you Get a Manicure After Removing Acrylic Nails?
Yes, you can get a manicure immediately after acrylic removal. Indeed, you can install acrylics, gels, and even extensions immediately. However, you’re limited to selected options if your nails are weak and brittle.
For instance, it’s best to keep natural nails until they recover. Alternatively, consider regular nail polish.
How Long does it Take for Nails to Heal After Acrylics?
The nail healing period varies, depending on several factors, including the type of damage, the severity of the damage, and your health.
Nevertheless, healthy fingernails take 3-4 months to recover from acrylic-related damages. Eating a healthy diet and taking biotin and keratin-loaded supplements accelerates nail regeneration.
How to Make your Nails Strong After Acrylics
If your nails are worryingly thin and weak after soaking off acrylics, you must take urgent steps to rejuvenate and strengthen them to minimize the risk of breaking or infections.
The following are a few tips to strengthen your nails;
- Avoid fake nails for a while: Instead, rock your natural nails until they are sufficiently strong.
- Practice good nail hygiene: Clean your nails regularly, keep them short, and soothe the cuticles with cuticle oil.
- Consider a nail hardener: Nail hardeners strengthen the nail plate for greater resistance to dings and external elements.
- Eat a healthy diet: Nails heal faster if you eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins, iron, magnesium, and biotin.
It’s best to let your natural nails recover after removing acrylics. The recovery period allows the nails to thicken and become stronger. It also allows cracks and minor wounds in the cuticles, nail bed, and surrounding skin to heal.
After that, you can apply traditional nail polish, install new acrylics, or opt for a different type of false nails.