Exactly What Are Acrylic Nails Made Of?

by Aprill Coleman

Exactly What Are Acrylic Nails Made Of?

Creating the perfect set of acrylic nails can be seen as a work of art, but it is also a work of chemistry. Keep reading and we’ll break down what acrylic nails are made of.

Plenty of women with natural nails that are brittle or simply seem to fail to grow opt for some form of artificial nail to give them the long length and strength they desire. There are plenty of nail options these days: acrylic nails and gel nails being two of the most popular. But if you’ve already decided that acrylic is they way you want to go, you may still be curious about what goes into creating those perfectly sculpted talons. It’s more scientific than you might think!

Acrylic nails are artificial nail enhancements placed over the natural nail using a polymer (powder) and a monomer (liquid). According to EzFlow Global Brand Ambassador Allie Baker, “The combination of liquid and powder creates a hard plastic when it cures. Acrylics cure without the use of any lamp.”

It is important that the nails be clean and dry, so the nail technician will trim and buff the nails, then push back the cuticles and apply an artificial nail tip. Now it is time for a little chemistry magic.

The nail technician will dip a brush in a monomer to wet the brush. A monomer is composed of ethyl methacrylate, a catalyst to speed up the initiator in the powder, inhibitors that keep the monomer from hardening before being mixed with powder, UV absorbers to prevent the nails from yellowing, and wetting agents to improve adhesion.

The monomer is then joined with a polymer to create a small bead that is placed on the nail and used to blend together the natural nail and the tip. Polymers are composed of UV absorbers to prevent the nail from yellowing, colorants to give the powder a pinkish color, or titanium dioxide to give the nails a white pigment.

If the two are applied incorrectly, the nail can appear lumpy, thick, uneven or crooked. If applied correctly, the nail will harden when dried with air. The technician will then buff the nail, and apply nail art, or nail polish.

This is how acrylic nails are made. Who knew it was so geeky?

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