How to Apply Acrylic Nails
After preparing your nails and possibly placing your tips, you are now ready to begin your nail masterpiece! However, If you've yet prepared your nails, we highly encourage you to read How to Prep your Nails Like a Pro.
Get Ready, Beauty. Materials.
Acrylic Dish (to fill with monomer)
Achieving Acrylics: Step-by-Step
1. Canvas: Prepare.
After your nails are free from residue and oils, your clean canvas is good to go. Recall: Preparation is an important step, as incorrect preparation may lead to bumps, cracks, lifting, and expansion. (If you are having trouble with any of these we suggest skimming Most Common Mistakes Beginners Make Using Acrylics)
2. Tips: If Length Matters.
Others like to keep their nails short and sweet, and that's fine! However, if you want a larger canvas for your nail art, we highly recommend using the Stiletto Nail Tips or Pro Gel Tips if you don't want to wait a month for your nails to grow 2.5mm.
3. Mix and Match: Powder & Monomer
Once you got that down, neatly pour the monomer onto your acrylic dish. If you wish to mix powders or keep materials from cross-contaminating, take a second acrylic dish for your powder. Note: Monomer is a chemical, so make sure your workspace is well-ventilated.
4. Dip: Bead it! Brush meets Bead
Dip your Kolinsky brush onto the acrylic dish with monomer. Generously fill its bristles with monomer and make sure that it is completely soaked without bubbles. Afterward, gently press or slide the brush against the side of the dish to remove excess liquid. Your brush should neither be dry nor dripping, but damp enough to make a cute little bead.
You may now place your brush in your powder for a lovely (not drippy nor dry) bead.
Note: The bead must not be so wet that the monomer displaces out of the powder, or so dry that it has a too-powdery consistency.
- Absorbs acrylic on brush within four seconds
- Looks bead-like (dome-shape, clear and bubbly)
It's basically going to look like a shiny soft melted morsel or round chewed soft bubblegum.
5. Dap Three-nity: Bead-Bead-Bead!
One Bead Method.
Taking your bead with a brush, place your bead near your cuticle while tilting the finger slightly pointing downward. As the bead slides down, gently guide it by patting it to get it to your desired shape and smoothness.
Focus on evenly gliding the brush near your cuticle. Make sure that your acrylic isn't getting on your skin, or the crevices between your fingers and cuticles - It should be tight and even).
(Recommended brush: Authentic Kolinsky Brush #14)
Two Bead Method.
First bead: Starting around a half or a third away from the cuticle, tilt your finger pointing slightly downward as well, and gently pat and shape the bead down your nail. Afterward, place the second bead on the remaining half of your nail, leaving a small space for the cuticle. Afterward, gently pat the bead to spread the upper portion of the bead toward the cuticle, and down to cover the first layer to make a smooth, thin, even, merged layer.
Three Bead Method: Buildup Method recommended for long nails.
- First Zone: Free Edge (Smile Line)
Size: Small Bead
Start with a smile. From the smile line (the white free nail), place the first bead. Afterward, gently pat down the bead onto the nail and brush it down to the very end of your tip. Quickly smoothen this first bead layer and spread it onto the third of your nail.
Worst Case Scenario: Too Thick, like an extra finger.
If you go over the edge because the bead was too big, that's fine. Swiftly swipe off the dropped area at the edge, but make sure it doesn't get under your nails.
- Second Zone: Middle of the Nail
Size: Slightly Bigger Bead (covers more area, to overlap a thin second layer to embrace the first zone)
Keep it sleek and smooth. Like the first zone, brush down the second bead layer. Smoothen and merge this zone with the first (If not, your nails will look like tiny finger mountains).
- Third Zone: Cuticle
Size: Smallest Bead (cute-sized for cuticle - just enough)
Repeat the process above, but start the third bead near the cuticle (near, not on). Afterward, gently brush the acrylic down to further smoothen the transition. However, don't pressure yourself into spreading this onto the whole nail. As long as it's merged, that's fine! The goal is to have an even, flat layer.
Note: To keep your brush from acrylic buildup, wipe your brush on a paper towel between every stroke. Furthermore, it's best to rinse your brush with the remaining monomer in your acrylic dish rather than damaging them with harsh acetone. It's like placing alcohol in your hair. Sure it'd be clean, but boy would it be parched and brittle. Don't strip away its smoothness.
6. Tap Test after Ten: Drying Acrylics
After ten minutes, your acrylic should be dry. Try to Tap Test by tapping the hilt or handle part of your Kolinsky Brush over your nail, and you will notice a clicking sound.
7. Beautiful Figure: Tips.
Of course, all shapes and forms are beautiful. Shape your tips how you want and flaunt them! Use a 180 coarse nail file or a drill mandrel. Afterward, sand it with a 240, 1000, and 4000 to rid it of scratches from the 180 file. Afterward, don't forget to dust it off with your favorite brush along with your worries and inhibitions.
Note: You could further cleanse your nails with a lint-free alcohol wipe before adding the top coat.
8. Top Coat and Tada!
Top it off with Top Coat! If you've yet decided between our different topcoats, we've attached a summary below.
- Dip & Dap - 4 Top Coat - This is meant for the dip powder method of application, and is air-dried.
- Original Gel Top Coat - This needs to be cured and then wiped with alcohol after its final curing.
- No Cleanse Gel Top Coat - This would be ready to go after its final curing.
- iGel Matte Top Coat - This needs to be cured, and does not require cleansing. However, we do recommend using the No Cleanse Top Coat before the Matte.
Note Curing Time: LED (30 seconds) or UV light (2 minutes).
Whether you decide between shine, matte, or both, we'd love to see your creativity! We warmly encourage you to post your marvelous work on the review tab on our website. Who knows, we may feature you in the future. ♡
You may also join our iGel Beauty community Facebook group for more tips, tricks, and inspiration!