Getting acrylic nails for the first time (what you should know)

acrylic nails nails with ombre gradient design in pink and white colors
This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you we may earn a commission. See our full disclosure for more info.

Is it your first time getting acrylic nails? Are you worried because there are many things you need to prepare for regarding these fake nails?

Acrylic nails are trending nail enhancements that elevate your overall style and vibe. 

If you’re a complete acrylic nail virgin, then you may get intimidated with the many things you need to know about them. 

That’s why we look through different manicurists and customer feedback about acrylic nails. 

It’s to present you with an article packed with relevant information that will help you have a smooth first time acrylic nails experience. 

Keep reading below to find tips on what you should do before, during, and after your acrylic nails session!

What to Know Before Getting Acrylic Nails

Going to the nail salon for the first time can be daunting, especially if you’re going by yourself. 

If you don’t have a friend with you who can explain how things work, you might end up backing out. 

We get your pain. 

Before Getting Acrylic Nails:

Knowing what to expect will help you calm down and focus on how the salon does its acrylics.

When you’re already inside, you need to observe if the salon is doing what it should to make sure you’re in good hands. 

So before you step into your nail salon, here are some questions and answers for you:

What Acrylic Design Should I Get?

Many things can influence your nail design choice. 

In fact, there are so many that you might get overwhelmed and just end up taking anyone’s suggestion. 

You have all the right to choose what designs you want to be on your fake nails. 

You can take inspiration from celebrities, online personalities, or even through browsing around looking at nail pictures on Pinterest. 

Then, you can save a picture of the nail design you want. 

You can explain any other art you want to include to your nail technician. 

Save as many designs as you can, so if the nail technician isn’t able to do your first choice, you still have many backups.

Should I Do My Own Research?


There are many options you can choose from when picking what nail enhancement you want to commit to. 

Since these enhancements require care and proper handling, you need to select the one you know you can handle that won’t interfere with your day-to-day schedule. 

How Should I Prepare My Nails? 

The first thing you need to consider is if your nails can handle the procedure. 

Ensure that your nails are healthy and ready for acrylic enhancements. 

They shouldn’t be weak, thin, or brittle.

To prepare your nails, you need to make them stronger. 

One way to do this is through jojoba oil that your nail can easily absorb. 

Now, are you asking yourself: “Should I cut my nails before getting acrylics?” 

You can cut your nails if you want to. But there are some things you need to evaluate first. 

For example, you shouldn’t cut your nails too short, so the acrylics can securely bond to your natural nails. 

To be sure, you can ask your appointed nail technician. 

Some salons use a machine to cut their client’s nails to make them look good and polished. 

If your chosen salon has this technology, then there is no need for you to fret over cutting your nails. 

How Should I Choose My Nail Salon?

Choosing an affordable nail salon is one thing, but it’s another when you’re after the cheapest one. 

Your nails are not like bargain clothes where you can sometimes get rare finds worth more than they actually are. 

Don’t center your salon choice on how much you can save. 

Additionally, you need to check if the salon you’re going to offers the specific nail formula you’re after. 

Check reviews from previous customers. 

Read through their experiences. 

You need to do all of these to get an idea of how your appointment will go. 

How Long Do Nail Appointments Take?

Manicure and pedicures usually last from 30 to 60 minutes. 

In the case of acrylic nails, the time you need to allot for your appointment can vary. 

The reasons will depend on the following:

  • The nail technician’s experience and speed.
  • The acrylic nails design you want. 
  • The length and shape of your nails.
  • Additional systems (dip or hard gel) that need to be applied,

During Your Appointment:

Now that you’re inside the salon you did a background check on, you should be at ease. 

However, it doesn’t hurt to stay vigilant. 

How To Know If the Salon is Safe?

First, check the tools the salon is going to use. 

Observe if they are new, sterilized, and overall handled with care. 

Any equipment or instrument shouldn’t look old or reused. 

Feel free to ask questions about the salon’s hygiene. 

Don’t be shy to ask away since what’s at stake is your nail’s health

You need to ensure that you will not get any infections because of the salon’s shortcomings

How to Order Acrylic Nails at a Salon?

Wondering what to ask for when getting acrylic nails for the first time? 

To skip the many questions the employees may ask you, you can book an online appointment ahead of time. 

The salon you picked may ask you to fill a form of what services you want to be done and what schedule you prefer. 

Then, you can just show up and tell the receptionist your name on the day of. 

Just follow where they direct you. 

When the salon doesn’t offer any online bookings, you can go to the physical location. 

Depending on the salon’s methods, they can ask you to complete a questionnaire where you can share your reasons for visiting them. 

If they don’t have any slots available, they will schedule you for a later date.

There are also salons where they can accommodate walk-ins. 

In this situation, you just need to tell them the service you want, ask whatever questions you have, such as the expected expenses for your nail design, and follow their directions.

Can I Skip the Manicure?

You can, but expect many problems if you do. 

Manicuring your nails first is important so the acrylics can stick better to your natural nails. 

If you skip the manicure, your acrylics will not last long

Moreover, letting your nail technician go through with the manicure will make your nails look neater. 

What Nail Shape and Length Should I Choose?

It’s your choice! 

However, it’s still best to consider the factors that can affect your nails. 

For example, if you’re an active lady who uses her hands on her work, long nails are not advisable. 

For beginners, you can stick with the classic ovals to follow the natural shape of your nails. 

You also don’t want to opt for long acrylics. 

Since this is your first time getting these nail enhancements, you may find yourself having trouble caring for and working with long nails. 

The smart move is to go for shorter acrylics, let your nails grow, and just fill them in. 

After Getting Acrylic Nails:

Leaving the salon is not the last part of your acrylic nail journey. 

Here are some things you need to remember:

How Can I Care for My Acrylic Nails?

Taking care of your acrylic nails may be challenging, mainly since you’re not yet used to them. 

You’ll definitely encounter accidental bumps, and they may get wrecked. 

If you can, avoid anything that can harm your nails. 

You might think that the fake nails will be the only ones affected when you encounter sudden breakage. 

But in reality, your natural nails will also be impacted.

Remember that your natural nails are bonded with the acrylics. 

Your naked nails can lift and give room for infections if you’re not careful. 

Here are other things you can do to care for your acrylic nails:

  • Keep them dry as much as you can.
  • Always wear gloves when cleaning, especially when in direct contact with any product that has bleach.
  • Maintain your personal hygiene.
  • Use mild soap and water.
  • If you need to brush under your nails, choose those with gentle bristles.
  • Don’t assume answers regarding your nails. Always ask a professional such as the nail technician who worked on your nails. 

Should I Use Cuticle Oil?

Treat cuticle oil as if you can’t live without it. Keep some in your handbag, stock some in your home. 

Anytime your nails look dry, lather them with cuticle oil. 

It’s vital to strengthen your nails and keep the surrounding skin healthy.

Can I Remove the Acrylic Nails Myself?

It’s still best to let a nail technician remove your acrylics for you. 

It’s because many nail damages are caused by inappropriate removal. 

But still stay alert for any salons that use drills to remove the fake nails. 

When drills come in contact with fake nails, they can also harm your natural nails. 

If you’re home and can’t go to the salon, you can soak your acrylic nails in pure acetone wrapped with tin foil around each of your fingers. 

Leave them for half an hour to break them down. 

Then buff or scrape the acrylics off gently.