What You NEED To Know About DIY Acrylic Nails

As someone who loves having acrylic nails and definitely had the struggle of not being able to afford to go to a salon I completely understand why people decide DIY kits or following ‘faux acrylic nails’ videos on youtube is a good idea, but as someone who’s now qualified as a nail technician of 5 years, I’ve noticed a lot of people do some things that are just terrible ideas to just save a couple of bucks. So here are my thoughts and opinions on things that I’ve seen.

Store bought at home acrylic kits

Now I can’t say that these are a waste of money or anything along those lines because those were actually what I learnt how to do acrylics with before starting school!

However when you buy these a lot of people don’t realise applying acrylic isn’t actually as simple as you would think! A lot of the time people find these hard to work with because their product seems dry or lumpy, but the truth is that usually, it’s not only the product at fault but also your technique.

Of course, these aren’t high end, top quality products but they do get the job done, besides the fact some kits don’t include really important steps which seems ridiculous to me.

Cheap products online

Now I’m not talking about sites which you’re needing to prove you’re a qualified nail tech to get hold of these products for a wholesale price, but I mean the classics: Wish, eBay and Amazon and they usually look like this:


These usually retail for $10-$30 and honestly, it’s not worth your money, and let me explain why.

First of all, the quality of the items you receive9 (not including the actual acrylic and monomer) is terrible.

Secondly, the monomer (liquid) and powder are absolute garbage and of course, they’re not going to tell you that, but there’s a bit more to it as well.

There’s two types of acrylics in the nail industry: MMA and EMA.

To put it short, MMA is used in the dental industry for crowns and multiple other things in different industries, meaning it’s REALLY not ideal for a nail, let alone a fragile, damaged nail. It’s WAY too hard to actually remove properly which is why a lot of the time there’s salons which basically rip off a nail with another tip because it takes way too long because they want you in and out in a jiffy!

As well as this, it’s damaging to the nail and can leave you with issues long term!

EMA is the FDA approved product which is less likely to cause damage to the nail bed and if involved in a break, should not break as severely (or end so bloody) if you were to use MMA.

If you’d like a better explanation I recommend reading here (where I also brushed up on my knowledge) which explains the differences, warning signs and other things which go into more detail and is much better written than what I’ve said so far.

‘Faux’ Acrylic Nails (pressed on tips)

These aren’t so much a bad idea if you’re using the kind of double-sided stickers to apply them, but if you apply them with a nail glue, that’s where problems start.

Tips are used as a base for acrylic, without acrylic the tip is weak, can bend easily and a lot of the time can do some damage too.

With all of the above products and techniques, you run the risk of some intense nail damage when they’re not removed properly, which probably doesn’t sound too bad but as someone who’s ripped their actual fingernail off and bled A LOT,  I can tell you that it’s not a good idea! Every time you remove them incorrectly you’re ripping off a layer or more of your nail…I’ll leave that there.

Just don’t do it, ok?

Cornstarch nails

This physically hurt me when I saw this, it may be cheaper if you get lucky but if you’re unlucky (which is likely because it’s super unhygienic) you’re going to get one hell of a bacterial problem in your nail, or you’re going to have some kind of reaction, because glue and cornstarch aren’t pals, I hate to break it to you.

It’s just not a good idea honestly, I do understand nail products are expensive but it’s worth the expense because you can get more for your money, you can use them over and over until you need to restock where with cornstarch (or the 2 other techniques above) it’s going to cost you more to have to get antibacterial treatments, etc.

Originally I was going to link you to a google search I did which shows you a bunch of infected nails to turn you off of the idea, but it made me go over all funny so nevermind!

From this post, I don’t want you to think that I’m saying that it’s a bad thing to save money because that is NOT the case. In fact, I learnt to do acrylic nails because I wanted to save money, but I want you to save money and be safe while doing it.

Let me know down below if you would like more posts on nails as it’s something I love doing and also love to tell people about! While you’re at it, let me know what the craziest nail trend you’ve seen was!

Feature Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash


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