Easy Steps to Acrylic Application

We have rewritten our 10 step How to Apply Acrylic Nails Guide to be more indepth for the user.

Before you start, grab all the equipment you will need and make sure you have something down to protect the surface you are going to be working on.

Suggested equipment (very basic):

  • Glass dappen
  • Good quality oval or round kolinsky sable brush
  • Orangewood sticks
  • Tips if you are using them
  • Glue
  • Tip cutters
  • Acrylic Liquid
  • Primer
  • Nail Prep (optional)
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Paper Towels
  • Files, whiteblock, buffer block
  • Anti-Bac

Lay everything out within easy reach. The first thing you need to do before you start is to size the tips for your nails. TIP:When sizing a tip do not press it down on the nail to make it fit, if you do this and glue it down it will eventually pop up. The sizing is correct when the tip sits neatly onto your natural nail without pressure, if you find that you can’t get a tip to fit properly go to a slightly bigger size and file the sides of the tip to make it smaller so it will fit onto your nail.

Lay all the tips out in 2 lines from large to small for both hands. Let’s start applying the acrylic:-

  1. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and then spray the nail and cuticles with Anti-Bac. Let this dry.
  2. Lightly buff off the shine on your nails with a whiteblock.
  3. Wipe of brush away the dust and start glueing on th tips. A couple of dabs of glue onto each tip and then down onto the nail, hold firmly on the nail for a few seconds. Continue on and finish the whole hand. Using the tip cutters trim the tip to the desired length.
  4. At this stage you can blend the tip into the natural nail by gently filing the tip only with a file, but this is not really necessary as most tips are thin.
  5. Buff off the shine on the entire tip with the whiteblock.
  6. Remove all the dust from your hands and nails.
  7. If you are using Nail Prep, apply a small dab onto the natural nail showing on each nail. Nail Prep is a dehydrator and removes the natural oils in the nail for about 30-40 minutes. Do not proceed until it has dried thoroughly.
  8. Apply a small dab of primer to the natural nail – and we mean, one small dabe. The primer will spread across the natural nail. The primer sets down a chemical base for the acrylic to adhere to. Let the Primer dry thoroughly and do not touch it.

You are now ready to start applying the acrylic. Make sure you have a doubled up piece of paper towel handy.

  1. Pour a small amount of monomer into your glass dappen.
  2. Dip your brush into the monomer to about 2/3rds of the bristle length. Wipe the brush on the sides of the dappen to remove the excess liquid.
  3. Gently drap the tip of the brush across your acrylic powder. Your brush should pick up the powder easily and form a ball.
    TIP: if you find that your powder to liquid ratio is either to dry or to wet
    you may need to practice to get it right. A good consistency will start to spread slightly when applied to the nail and can be easily pressed into place by the brush. It if is too runny or to dry wipe if off and start again.
  4. Apply the acrylic in 3 stages, divide the nail into 3 parts: Part 1 – cuticle down to start of adhered tip, Part 2 – from adhered tip to half way down the tip, Part 3 – the remainder of the tip to the free edge of the tip. Apply your first bead to Part 1, gently press it down with your brush and ease it towards your cuticles. Do not drage the brush over the acrylic or pull the acrylic downwards.
    DO NOT get it on your cuticles because if you do it will create air pockets under the acrylic and cause lifting or possibly allow an infection to start
    . If you do get it on your cuticles, use an orangewood stick to remove it, run the stick around the cuticle while the acrylic is wet.
  5. Part 2 – using another bead of acrylic and liquid apply it to Part 2 of the nail and butt it up against your first application and blend it slightly over the lower edge of Part 1.
  6. Part 3 – the same as Part 2 and butt this up against the lower edge of Part 2.
  7. At this stage you can do a quick file down to smooth it off, remove the dust with a brush.
  8. Check your application for shape. Your acrylic application should thin (but not too thin) at the cuticle, arched in the middle and thinning down to the free edge of the tip.
    If you think your application is thin you can apply another thin layer over the top.

    This time pick up a bigger ball and place it in the middle of the nail, push it up and to the sides and also push it downwards towards the free edge of the tip.
  9. When you are happy with your application you can use a 100/180 file to even out the level and then a whiteblock to help remove scratches.
  10. Run your fingers over the acrylic nail and if you feel ridges and ditches, you can use your whiteblock to level and smooth these out. The whiteblock will also help remove scratches for the rougher file.
  11. If you have acrylic on your cuticles or too close to your cuticles use a 180/240 grit file to GENTLY remove it TIP: file in one direction and try and avoid the cuticles so you don’t cut them with the file.
  12. Go over your acrylic with the Buffing Block to add shine.
  13. Finish with a top coat to help seal the acrylic.
  14. Spray all your files and whiteblocks with Anti-Bac, leave them aside to dry.

The Clean Up:

Your brush will last you ages if it is looked after. We use Soak Off to clean our brushes. Dip your brush into the Soak Off and using the paper towel wipe the brush on it, do not sandwich the bristle between the paper towel and pull the brush through, continue to do this until you are satisfied the brush is clean. If there is acrylic stuck in the middle of the brush get a cuticle stick and using the bevelled edge scrape the stick in a downward direction over the and through the bristles. You need to clean your brush until there is no acylic left of the bristles.

If there is acrylic liquid left in your dappen, use a paper towel to soak it up and place the towel into a plastic bag, tie off the bag and throw it in the rubbish, do not tip it down the sink – two reasons for this:
1. It will smell for ages and the water will not dissipate under running water; and
2. It is not good for the environment.

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