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Acrylic Fingernails

Acrylic Fingernails

Q. Does anyone have instructions on do it yourself acrylic fingernails? Also what products would I need, and where can they be purchased? Having these done professionally costs $24 every two weeks – that’s too much for me.

A. I have received a couple of e-mails from nail techs and they were adamant about not doing your own nails.  They stated they have seen people get into real trouble by not using the products correctly.  My sister and I  have worked on our own nails for some time with no problem.  Like everything else use caution.   Sarah 

A.  I have acrylic fingernails. I feel feminine with pretty nails and thus consider this essential to my mental health.  Like you, I used to pay $22 (plus $4 tip) every 2 weeks. That’s a cost of $676 a year.  Now – I pay $15 (plus $3 tip) every 3 weeks. That’s a cost of $306 a year.  To get the lower price: I patronize a small shop in which the staff numbers 2 – and they are both the owners. Their shop is clean, but not ‘designer accessorized’. That’s fine with me. Their service is great – because they own the shop and take a personal interest in making sure you are a satisfied customer.  To get the extra week of good looking nails: at the end of the 2nd week I buff the ridge area where the acrylic fill has separated from my cuticles to  closer meet my natural nail. Then I fill in the remaining ridge area with 2 coats of Sally Hansen’s Ridge Filler, and apply a fresh coat of color. This  extra maintenance takes less than an hour and I do this in front of my favorite TV show so it takes me "no extra time".  My friend purchased an acrylic nail sanding/shaping machine for about $175.  She purchased it from a beauty supply store. She also buys her acrylic powder and adhesives at that same store. She says she spends about 2 hours every 2 weeks doing her nails herself and feels her machine paid for itself in 6 months. I chose not to do this because I don’t think I want to spend 2 hours every 2 weeks doing my nails in this manner.  The bottom line you need to determine is how much you want to spend of your money – or of your time.

A.  Best and cheapest: Just say no to fake fingernails.  They aren’t difficult to apply and with a bit of practice you can do a pretty professional-looking job BUT your real nails will be ruined. Plus, you run a good risk of getting a nail fungus.  I wore acrylic nails for quite a while and it took months for my real nails to return to a decent shape. Karen G.


A.  The cheapest way to do your own acrylic nails is to buy the supplies in bulk at a beauty supply store.  You will need files, nail tips, liquid acrylic, powdered acrylic, and a soft buffer to buff the nail surface once you are finished.  A will need to apply a three coat layer of polish…base, color, and top coat. This will prevent premature chipping.  You can also find step by step instructions, with pictures, for the application process at the beauty supply store, or instead of paying for  them, borrow a book from the library. There are several.  Tabitha B.

A.  Regarding acrylic nail application.  I used to do this myself (ten years ago, before children and an awareness that it is not so environmentally friendly….all those chemicals) when the price became too high for my blood.  I would buy the supplies myself at a beauty supply store and since I had seen it done so many times done on myself, the procedure is the same at home.  I’ve also been told that beauty school prices are much less expensive because the students need practice….if they don’t do them as well, you can always take a file to your nails and reshape them yourself.  Then there is just stop wearing fake nails altogether.  I miss my long fake nails now and then, but not when I have so little time while caring for two small kids or when I’m mixing food and making bread… much easier and cleaner without.  Good luck.

A.  You should be able to find the supplies you need at a Beauty Supply house that will also sell to the public.  In Louisiana we have a company called "Sally’s Beauty Supply" that has everything you could possible need from the acrylic liquid, the powder and every nail file and buffing pad you could possibly imagine.  I have also seen a decent line of supplies at Wal-mart (usually by Sally Hansen).  I did my own nails for many years before the prices dropped here in Baton Rouge – $10.00 for a refill & only $17.00 for a for full set.  The biggest problem in doing your own nails is doing the "other Hand"!  You know if you are right handed, your left hand will look great – but your right hand??? Hard to manage unless you are ambidextrous and not many are.  Maybe you could find a friend that also wants to save money and ya’ll could team up.  You could do hers and she could do yours.  I love my nails – I have had acrylic overlays for most of the last 18 years and will continue to do so as I hate how my hands look with short stubby nails….Good luck and God bless you. Connie

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