Sunday, 22 April 2018


I've been getting acrylic nails for just over two years now, and I absolutely love them every time. I don't feel right without them; when I went to hospital I had to have them soaked off as preparation for my operation and I felt like I lost a part of me, as lame as that sounds... Plus, my fingers look like super stubby sausages without the lovely length that acrylics give. For those wondering, I have coffin shaped nails (I tried almond shape and they didn't suit me at all!) with acrylic and then a gel overlay, which is cured under a UV lamp.

I'd just like to point out that I'm in no way claiming to be an expert on any kind of beauty treatments, I don't have any qualifications or experience in doing acrylics myself but, having watched my nail technician every three weeks for two years I've picked up a bit of knowledge along the way. 

So here are a few tips as to what to consider when committing to acrylics:

If you're thinking about having acrylics but you're not sure what style, shape or colour to go for, looking for inspiration is a good place to start. I love Pinterest for this - I have a whole board dedicated to nail ideas here - and much like going to the hairdressers, showing your nail technician a photo of the kind of nails you'd like makes their job a lot easier. It's always good to run any ideas you have by them first. Instagram always has great ideas too.

The health of your nails is important when it comes to having acrylics. Make sure they're in good condition; as soon as you have primer and acrylic put over the top of your original nails they are going to deteriorate, especially if you're having longer tips glued on first. You should also be aware of how fast your nails grow in order to judge when you should book your next appointment to get in-fills or a fresh new set. Mine grow pretty quickly; I tend to have mine in-filled every three weeks and a fresh set every three or four months, and that seems to be pretty normal for an acrylic's lifespan. Acetone is used in the soak-off process, which doesn't help to improve your nails if they're worn and brittle, so either give your nails a break every once in a while or use a cuticle cream/oil to replenish moisture in the meantime. 

Don't just go to anyone. Shop around. Look at examples of their work and reviews if they have an Instagram/Facebook page, compare prices, and see if the staff are friendly and approachable. I know some people can stand to sit opposite someone for an hour or so in complete silence but I can't! I like to have a bit of banter and a gossip with my nail technician. Luckily, I go to a salon in the village where I grew up so everyone knows everyone and it makes for a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. It makes the process a lot more enjoyable as well.

This goes back to researching and looking for inspiration, but it makes life a lot easier if you know exactly what you want before you go for your appointment. Think about the length and shape you'd like: are you like me and love a coffin shape? Or are you more of an almond girl? Square? Oval? Squoval?! Or maybe you want to stab a boy in the heart with some sick stiletto nails? The choice is completely yours (but think about practicality, please!) Knowing what you want eliminates the indecisiveness about the whole 'which colour do I fancy today?' debacle. Sometimes it's not as simple as choosing a colour for the next few weeks. If I want to get ombré acrylics I usually ask for them when booking my next appointment because they take longer to do and are usually more expensive - that way, both myself and my nail technician know what's what and we don't have to waste time.

When you first get acrylics and they're particularly longer than your original nails, everything is difficult to do. You'll find that using your knuckles like a feral beast becomes a good way to combat life's hurdles, especially when it comes to things like pressing buttons! Picking up coins is always a challenge. I consider it a success if I manage to put on the back of an earring or close the clasp of a necklace. I've learned to put in and take my contact lenses out without scratching my eyes; and a butter knife or spoon becomes your best friend when opening a ring-pull can. I can also take food out of the toaster without burning my fingers. And you have all of this to look forward to, my friend...

Okay so this is probably a given, but just prepare yourself by knowing that a broken acrylic hurts way more than you'd think. If it's loose already it's not so bad, but I've slipped and caught my nail in a car door once (typical clumsy me) when it wasn't loose and my finger was bleeding and sore for days. I think it must hurt more because there are more layers to break. Still, it's something to be aware of!

I hope you found this helpful! I love the process of getting my nails done. It's definitely an expense, and purely cosmetic, but it just makes me feel so girly and lovely, and I wouldn't be without it. Do you have acrylics? Feel free to leave any other tips you have in the comments below!

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