Acrylic Nails: 5 Easy Hacks to Prevent Lifts

by Jasmine Gordon

Acrylic Nails: 5 Easy Hacks to Prevent Lifts

Are you guilty of breaking a nail more often than you’d like to admit? Learn five smart habits to keep your acrylic nails strong and beautiful, even a full week after your salon visit.



Who says acrylic nails aren’t practical? There’s nothing better than a fresh manicure to help you feel like Marilyn Monroe or Kylie Jenner or your personal style icon!



Beauty writer Kara Nesvig has been wearing acrylics for over a year, and says “they’ve become just another of my ‘things,’ like blonde hair and red lipstick.” Whether your idea of the perfect mani is a short, demure tips or dramatic coffin nails, nothing makes a statement about your individual style better than fresh, well-groomed acrylics.



That said, no one wants to be that girl who shrieks, “I broke a nail,” when the going gets tough. Preventing your acrylics from lifting, which is defined as the separation of your acrylic from the natural nail, is critical to being able to text, type, and do everything else you need to do.



Here are all the best tricks to know to maintain a strong, functional mani.



1. Head to the salon regularly.

Acrylic nails require maintenance. If it’s been weeks and weeks since your last fill, the chances of dealing with separation are much higher. While it’s definitely a financial and time commitment, having gorgeous nails requires regular maintenance.


Journalist and acrylics enthusiast Sarah Tan recommends getting a fill every two weeks, which is right in line with what your nail tech will tell you. Per Tan, if you try to stretch out your manicure to three or four weeks you could risk such serious damage that your next manicure will require total replacement of your fakes!



2. Find a great nail tech you love.

What’s the secret of stars with epic manicures, like Rihanna and Chrissy Teigen? Well, there’s a good chance they’ve found a superb manicurist and stuck with them for the long haul.


There’s a number of reasons that acrylics can lift within a few days of getting them done, but some of these are caused by inexperienced or sloppy technician work. Tim Crowley of Nails Mag writes that if your manicurist fails to properly remove the oils from your natural nail or uses an incorrect acrylic mixture your nails could break down quickly. Keep searching until you find someone who does great work, and put them on speed dial.



3. Don’t pick!

Are you a serial nail biter, or cuticle-picker? While it’s hard to cut off bad habits cold turkey, habits of fiddling with your acrylics can lead to damage and lifting. If you have serially dry cuticles, applying cuticle oil on a daily basis can reduce your desire to pick at the skin. If you’re unsure which product is safe, check with your nail technician for a recommendation.



4. Stay clean.

Regardless of lifts, keeping your manicure squeaky clean is certainly a best practice. Wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap to prevent bacterial infections and fungus from developing between the acrylic and natural nail, which can be a minor risk associated with any artificial manicure.


Vlogger and certified nail technician Cindy Geysen also advises individuals with continual lifting problems to avoid excessive contact with water. Geysen states this can be a sign of porous nails, and using hand sanitizer can avoid leaving excess moisture on the nails. If your hands are frequently in water, investing in a good pair of water-proof gloves can also limit damage.



5. Repair minor lifts at home before they get worse.

If you’ve developed a crack or a jagged tear, it’s probably best to head straight into the salon for an emergency appointment. Chances are, your nail tech will opt to remove all the damaged area and start fresh. However, if you’ve experienced a minor separation between the nail and your acrylic, you could choose to prevent the lift from getting worse by repairing it at home.


Before you apply nail glue to bond the gap, it’s important to carefully dip the entire finger into rubbing alcohol, and allow it to dry entirely. This can kill bacteria that may be trapped between your natural nail and acrylic. Once the affected area is sanitized, you can fix the lift by applying a small amount of nail glue and pressing down until it’s dry.


Following recommended care instructions for your acrylic nails, including twice-monthly salon visits with a skilled and licensed technician, can go a long way in preventing lifts from developing at home. However, proper care habits and a little nail glue can also go a long way in ensuring you don’t lose a nail or experience a painful lift.