The Art Of Acrylic Toenails: A Complete Guide

Key Takeaways
  • Acrylic toenails offer many creative possibilities, allowing intricate nail art, unique designs, and vibrant colors.
  • Acrylic toenails are known for their durability and strength, making them an excellent choice for individuals with weak or brittle natural nails.
  • Proper maintenance and regular fills are essential to keep acrylic toenails looking their best and to prevent issues like lifting breakage or fungal infections.
  • While acrylic toenails can be a stylish choice, it’s crucial to prioritize nail health and hygiene, as prolonged use without breaks can lead to nail damage and potential health concerns.

Whilst acrylic is very common to be worn on the fingernail, did you know that you can wear them on the toenail too?

Just like with acrylic fingernails, wearing them on the toenail can create uniform and pretty nails that look polished and ready to be worn with some toeless sandals. 

A Complete Guide To Acrylic Toenails

If this is something you want to explore further, then you have come to the right place. Here you will find everything you need to know about applying acrylic on toenails, problems with doing so, the procedure and so much more.

Before You Get Started

  • Explore the creative possibilities with acrylic toenail extensions.
  • Get to know the essential items required for acrylic toenail application.
  • Learn the step-by-step process for achieving beautiful acrylic toenails.
  • Understand how to maintain and care for your acrylic toenails for long-lasting results.

So what are you waiting for? Read on!

What Is Acrylic For Nails?

What Is Acrylic For Nails

Acrylic is used upon the natural nail by ‘glueing’ it to the surface or adding a nail tip, whether on your toenail or a fingernail.

It allows for the nail to be extended beyond its own growth line, as well as reshaped so the wearer can have uniform length nails.

More often than not, we can dislike the way our toenails look due to wearing shoes and walking on them all day.

Acrylic can help the toenails to look much nicer because they enhance the overall look. 

Why Would You Want Acrylic Toe Nails?

Why Would You Want Acrylic Toe Nails

Even though having acrylic toenails may make them look wonderful during the summer, there are also many other reasons why you might want to get your toes beautified. 

Painting nails can be a chore, especially when the polish chips after a few days. Acrylic nails not only help to keep the color for longer, but the acrylic can generally last for a few months if looked after.

One of the reasons you might not want to paint your toenails again, is because you are drinking a cocktail on a beach somewhere.

Who wants to walk around with chipped nail polish and have to keep reapplying the nail paint whilst on holiday? Not us.

If you opt for an acrylic pedicure, then you may find that it lasts much longer than a regular pedicure.

Toenails grow out much more slowly compared to fingernails too, so that salon treatment you saved up for can last a fair few months. 

Lastly, you might want to repair a toenail that has broken. When this happens, you can have acrylic applied to help strengthen it.

It may also help it heal. This means you can still have great looking toenails despite one of them falling apart.

Can You Apply Acrylic Yourself?

Can You Apply Acrylic Yourself?

Even though you can apply acrylic to nails at home, normally the stick on and temporary kind, it is not advisable to try and apply acrylic to the toe nails – though we will show you how to at the bottom of the article if you would really like to try.

Whilst there is no problem with it, there are many reasons why you should not. Firstly, you will have to bend over to apply them.

Not only is it bad posture, but also it may strain your neck and back. 

Also, you will have to apply the nails upside down because your toenails point the other way.

If you are somewhat flexible and have a lot of experience in applying acrylic, then go for it, otherwise let a professional do the work.

How Long Can Acrylic Nails Last?

How Long Can Acrylic Nails Last

If the acrylic toenails are looked after, they can last at least a month before you will have to go back to the salon for a fill-in.

Whilst a fingernail acrylic may need filling in a lot more often, toenails grow slower and therefore will not need as much maintenance.

Also, toenails are not subjected to a lot of what hands are, so as you may have noticed with nail polish, whatever you have done to your toenails lasts a lot longer than your fingernails.

If you look after your acrylic toenails well, then they will not break or chip, and can last for a long time until you need them to be redone completely. 

This also comes down to individuals hormones, diet, age and general lifestyle factors – some people’s toenails can grow at an astonishing rate. If this is the case, you will need them filled in much sooner than a month. 

Quick Guide to Flawless Acrylic Toenails

  • Artistic Expression: Acrylic toenails offer endless creative possibilities, from elegant French tips to vibrant designs.
  • Essential Tools: Acrylic powder, liquid monomer, and specialized brushes are fundamental for toenail enhancement.
  • Skill and Precision: Achieving acrylic toenails requires practice and attention to detail.
  • Maintenance Routine: Regularly check and fill any growth gaps, and avoid exposing acrylic toenails to harsh chemicals to prolong their beauty and durability.

How do you get acrylic off your toes?

You can follow a simple and effective process to remove acrylic from your toenails.

Begin by gently filing the acrylic surface to break the top layer, allowing the removal solution to penetrate better.

Then, soak small pieces of cotton balls in acetone and place them on each toenail.

Wrap your toes with aluminum foil to secure the cotton balls, creating a soaking environment. Wait 15-20 minutes, during which the acrylic will soften.

Afterward, carefully use an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher to gently push and slide off the softened acrylic from the nail.

Be cautious not to force it to prevent damage. Repeat this process for each toenail.

Once the acrylic is removed, you can buff the nail surface to smoothen any residue and clean your nails with mild soap and water.

Finish by moisturizing cuticle oil to hydrate your nails and surrounding skin.

However, if you encounter difficulties or concerns about damaging your natural nails, you should seek professional assistance from a nail technician.

Acrylic Full Set

Acrylic Full Set

When it comes to getting the toenails done at the salon, you can opt for a nail tip or an acrylic full set.

Whilst an acrylic full set can look the best because it makes the toenails the most uniform, it is also much more expensive and can take around an hour to complete ten toes.

If your toes are in good condition and you just want the length to look the same, then opt for nail tips only. It will be a much quicker process and be a little healthier on the nails.

The good thing about the option of having an acrylic full set is that if your nails look terrible and there is nothing wrong with them (such as an infection), then you can tidy them up and make them look really healthy. 

Keep In Mind

  • Proper Application: Ensure that acrylic toenails are applied precisely, avoiding contact with the skin to prevent discomfort and potential issues.
  • Hygiene Matters: Maintain strict hygiene practices to prevent fungal or bacterial infections affecting acrylic toenails.
  • Comfort First: Prioritize your comfort and the comfort of your clients during the application process, ensuring a pain-free experience.
  • Regular Fills: Schedule regular appointments for toenail fills to maintain the appearance and durability of acrylic toenails.
  • Gentle Care: Be mindful of the products and chemicals you expose acrylic toenails, as harsh substances can cause damage and dullness.

What Are White Acrylic Toenails?

What Are White Acrylic Toenails

When you think of the fresh manicure, this is it. Using white is the classic version which never goes out of season and will always suit whatever style of fashion you are wearing.

It also looks super elegant and manicured, and gives a sense that you really look after those nails, even though they might have had acrylic put over the top to curb that biting the nail habit you have had for years – though obviously that will not be the case on your toenails!

The only downside to white acrylic nails is that you will need to apply sunblock over the nail, otherwise it will start to turn yellow once exposed to the UV rays.

Depending on where you live, even if the fall and winter are cold and bleak, there will still be chances to wear toeless shoes, and UV rays are still around, so keep on using sunblock to protect the acrylic from discoloration. 

How Much Does The Procedure Cost?

How Much Does The Procedure Cost

In the US, the average cost that you may have to pay for a basic acrylic full set of the toenails is around $40 to $60. 

This price also depends on where you live, and typically a salon will add on around 30% more cost compared to acrylic nails due to them being different to apply. 

Instead of sitting at eye level doing the nails across a table, they will have to sit in a position that may feel awkward and that is bad for their posture.

It also requires somebody to be extra experienced within this field, so not every salon may have this available.

Then there is the potential to pay more if you have color, specific nail shaping, use a gel or even nail art –  perhaps add on another ten dollars.

The price all comes down to what you have done, where in the US it is, and how experienced the nail technician is. Do not be surprised to pay around $80.

On top of that, you might also want to tip the person who did your toes, afterall, they did a fantastic job.

What About Acrylic Toenail Tips?

Image by @realroccstar via Pinterest

Instead of a full acrylic nail, you can have just a nail tip applied. This means having just a tip added to the end of the toenail to form extra length of the nail, and then it is filed down so as to not show a ridge. This way it looks like it is a part of the natural nail.

Whilst this is a great option, if you have small toes, this may not be a good choice. They need enough natural nail to adhere too, because if there is not, then it will just fall off.

The smallest toe can have a problem with nail tips, so always make sure you ask for advice before going ahead with nail tips. 

If you want to apply your own nail tips but struggle with size, you can always make your own with acrylic nails. It may be fussy to do, but it is a fun little project to get the nails you would like at home.

What About Acrylic Overlay?

Image by @angiee2170 via Pinterest

An acrylic overlay is a good option if you are not looking to extend the length of your natural nails, but you still want them to look presentable, and for the polish to stay put for a few weeks.

Whilst a regular acrylic is basically just adding on a fake nail as an extension, the overlay is a thin clear layer that sits on top of color to protect it. Taking it off is easier too because you do not need to soak nails in order to remove it.

They can just be filed down and repainted over.

They can also be used to slightly strengthen nails or to protect them from being brittle. 

They will need to be maintained regularly though, with visits to the salon around 2 to 3 weeks at a time. Just like with regular acrylic toenails, you can get them filled in once they grow. 

Again, they will not extend the length of your nail, and instead it will just sit on top of the natural toenail.

Pro Tip

To extend the lifespan of your acrylic toenails, apply a clear topcoat regularly to maintain shine and protect the color and design.

Can builder gel be used on toes?

Yes, builder gel can indeed be used on toenails. Builder gel is a versatile product in nail enhancements, suitable for both fingernails and toenails.

It serves various purposes, including strengthening, extending, and enhancing the appearance of toenails.

It’s commonly applied to provide additional strength, reshape the nails, add length, and create a polished look.

Builder gel comes in various colors and finishes, making it an excellent choice for those who want to add color or creative nail art to their toenails.

However, it’s advisable to have builder gel applied by a skilled nail technician who can ensure proper application and maintenance for the best results and the overall health of your toenails.

Can you soak your toes in acetone?

Yes, you can soak your toes in acetone to remove nail enhancements like acrylics or gel polish.

To do this, prepare a container with acetone, soak your toes for about 15-20 minutes, and gently remove softened nail enhancements using an orangewood stick or cuticle pusher.

However, it’s essential to exercise caution and proper care during this process to avoid damage to your natural nails, and professional assistance is recommended if you encounter difficulties or have concerns.

Do salons do acrylic on toes?

Many nail salons offer acrylic nail services for toes, often called “acrylic toenails” or “acrylic toenail extensions.

It involves applying acrylic material to the toenails to add length, strength, and the option for various nail designs or polished finishes.

Acrylic toenails can be an excellent option for individuals who want to enhance the appearance of their toenails, correct irregularities, or enjoy the aesthetic benefits of acrylic nails.

However, it’s essential to have this service performed by a skilled nail technician to ensure proper application, maintenance, and the overall health of your toenails.

Is it safe to put acrylic on toes?

Applying acrylic to toenails can be safe when done by a skilled and experienced nail technician in a reputable salon with strict hygiene practices.

Acrylic toenail extensions are typically used for cosmetic purposes to enhance the appearance of toenails or address issues like weak or damaged nails.

When applied correctly, acrylic can provide added strength and a polished look. However, improper application, poor hygiene, or overuse can lead to problems such as fungal infections or damage to natural nails.

It’s crucial to choose a qualified technician and ensure that proper sanitation measures are followed to minimize any risks, and consulting with a podiatrist before getting acrylic toenails is advisable if you have concerns about the health of your toenails.

Is It Bad To Put Acrylic On Toenails? 

Image by @RayoorBaby via Pinterest

Putting acrylic on your toenails is the same as putting it on your fingernails – there is no difference. However, like with acrylic just generally, it can cause damage to nails over a long period of time.

Looking at toenails specifically, you can catch longer acrylics on items causing it to hurt the nails or break.

Also, if you have long acrylics then you will want to make sure you keep it dry and clean under the toenails to avoid fungus growing (we shall discuss that in more detail soon).

This is particularly important during the summer months when your feet will sweat more! If you plan on wearing sneakers with longer toenails, you may also feel the nails pinch, so keep this in mind when deciding how long you want them to be.

How Are Nails Affected By Acrylics?

Image by @Vrushali9999 via Pinterest

Whilst acrylic nails look fabulous, over time it can weaken your nails. If you look after them, do not leave them on too long, and do not have acrylic nails fitted every month without letting your natural nails breathe, then your nails should be fine. 

There are a few factors that can damage your nails. When you get your nails done, each time your nails are buffed and filed, this can cause toenails to become thin, as well as split easily. 

Also the chemicals used, whether during the application or from the acrylic nail itself can cause damage. This is especially true if you leave them on for months on end.

Toenails are flexible and need to be able to withstand the pressures of day-to-day activities.

If you have hard acrylic nails attached to them, they lose their flexibility which may cause damage.

The removal process can also damage a nail if not done correctly. Sometimes it can be tempting to pull or scrape an acrylic nail off, but this can end up ruining the nail and causing it to become weak and peel. 

Do Acrylic Nails Cause Infections?

Do Acrylic Nails Cause Infections

Due to feet being more prone to sweat than fingers, it is even easier to promote the best environment for fungus to grow. It loves somewhere moist and damp where it can thrive and multiply.

Because acrylic nails are usually long, if left wet under the nail, or if there are any gaps, once damp, fungus may grow to cause an infection. 

Acrylic nails themselves do not cause fungus, but how you care for them might. Once you notice something is wrong, have the nail removed and treat the problem otherwise it may only just get worse.

Never apply acrylic to a nail that already has an infection either. Also, to avoid a potential fungus growth, dry the nails and keep them clean, and never leave the toenails covered in acrylic nails for more than a few months at a time.

In fact, change them quicker if possible. 

Can You Put Acrylic On A Missing Toenail?

Can You Put Acrylic On A Missing Toenail?

If you are missing a toenail, then unfortunately you cannot add an acrylic nail. If you have a partially missing toenail, then you will have a nail there to help the acrylic to adhere to it.

Even though this might sound like a good idea, it could put you at high risk of an infection. If this happens, it may ruin how the nail grows back and cause it to look dodgy. 

It is the same with a broken nail, it is probably best not to apply an acrylic nail to avoid risk of infection and to just wait for it to heal or grow back.

Aftercare Of Acrylic Toenails

Aftercare Of Acrylic Toenails

If you are deciding to get acrylic toenails, avoid thinking of them in the same way as regular nails for the hand. There are factors that make them different.

Firstly, avoid having the nail too long as shoes and numerous other things will interfere with them which can result in a ruined acrylic nail or damaged toenails.

Secondly, as stated above, toenails are bound to have moisture lurking under them, so to avoid an infection, make sure to keep them extra clean and again, avoid having them applied as long extensions. 

Here are a few other tips when it comes to acrylic toenails:

  • Have acrylic toenails during the summer season, rather than in winter. This means they can be aired in open toe shoes, instead of them sweating inside fully closed shoes.
  • Whilst it will be tempting to walk barefoot, especially on holiday or in the home, be careful as the acrylic can catch on fibers in the carpet which may pull your natural toenail along with it.
  • Once you have showered or taken a bath, always remember to let your toenails dry completely. Just like with sweat, moisture from cleansing can still cause fungus to grow. Using a q-tip under the toenail can soak up some of that extra water. 
  • Always maintain acrylic toenails and never let them go rogue. Have them filled-in when necessary, and trim any regrowth that needs to be removed. 

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Acetone

How To Remove Acrylic Nails With Acetone

If you want to remove acrylic nails, you can do it easily by using acetone. You can do this by soaking the nails in acetone for around 30 minutes.

Once the 15 minute mark has been reached, apply gentle pressure using a cuticle stick, and then carry on soaking. Repeat if need be.

Another way of doing it is to apply a cotton wool ball with acetone on it to the nail and then wrap it under foil to keep it in place. This will do the same thing but allows for you to move around, rather than be stuck by a bowl.  

Things You Should Avoid With Acrylic Toenails

Things You Should Avoid With Acrylic Toenails

Whilst we have already covered a few of these topics already, here they are again in a useful list so you are able to refer back to them – just incase!

  • Never wear acrylic toenails for too long. After a while have them redone or let the natural toenails breathe over winter.
  • Speaking of winter, have them done over the summer so you can wear them in shoes that air the toes like sandals, and so you can actually show them off. 
  • Keep the corners of the acrylic rounded, rather than sharp. If left sharp, they are more likely to catch on items which can cause damage to the acrylic and your real toenail. 
  • Never moisturize over the acrylic toenails as it can become trapped under them and promote moisture. As you have probably already guessed – it can cause fungus to grow!
  • Never, ever, ever, peel or scrape an acrylic nail off. The bond between the natural nail and acrylic is likely to be strong, and if you remove this it may cause damage to the nail. Get it removed properly. 

Did you know?

Acrylic toenails have been a popular choice for nail enhancements for decades, providing durability and a wide range of design options for those looking to add a touch of creativity and style to their feet.

Procedure Of Acrylic Toenails

Procedure Of Acrylic Toenails

When it comes to the actual procedure of applying acrylic to toenails, it is near enough the same way you would apply it to fingernails.

If this is something you want to learn, then here is a rough step-by-step guide on how to apply it:

  1. Clean the feet, especially the toenails. Afterwards, thoroughly dry the toenails. For this to work, they need to be very dry and not damp. If you have to use extra measures like using a hairdryer set to a warm (not hot) setting, then do that to make sure they are dry
  1. Push back or clip the cuticles to make sure they are out of the way. 
  1. Using a file, smooth down the free edges and remove the excess cuticle with a nail drill (refer to manual if you need to).
  1. Make sure to remove any of the excess dust using a lint-free cloth. You can soak it in rubbing alcohol to easily get rid of it all.
  1. Being very gentle, buff the surface of the toenails and wipe them again to remove the excess dust.
  1. Optional step: if you are after long nails, then you might want to apply a nail tip. This is the stage to do that, though you can also use nail stickers for this job too. 

Once you have applied the tip, file the bit where the fake nail meets the natural toenail so there is no ridge. Also, trim or cut the nail tips to your desired length once they have set properly.

  1. Using an acrylic nail brush, dip it into a monomer to create a bead that you will apply depending on the application you are looking to do. Follow the rules for individual methods.
  1. Once applied and the acrylic toenails are set, you can shape the nails. This is the stage which is crucial to deciding what length you would like them to be.
  1. Using the buffing block again, use the rough and then the smooth side, to buff along the acrylic nail. Just like before, wipe it away with a lint-free cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  1. If your acrylics are not colored, you can now paint them with gel polish or regular polish.
  1. Lastly, apply cuticle oil to keep them healthy and to add shine to the finished toenails. You do not need to do this step, but it is nice to look after toenails once they have gone through so much.

Final Words

That wraps up the ultimate guide on acrylic toenails with everything you need to know about the process, why you would want them, and what they are like.

If you do plan on getting acrylic toenails, always find a reputable salon nail technician who has experience within this field of work. There are different factors involved compared to doing acrylic nails. 

This way, you can end up with some beautiful nails ready to be put inside those new toeless heels. Fabulous!

Ariel Coleman

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