Can You Cut Acrylic Nails? [Is It Possible & If So, How?]

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It may be great to have extra-long acrylic tips for a special occasion, but what happens when you go home and realize that the nails are too long for you to use your hands? Can you cut acrylic nails back and can you reduce their overall size once they have been applied? Needing to know this myself, I have conducted some pretty extensive research into the topic. I’d like to share that with you here today.

So, can you cut acrylic nails? The good news is that you can cut your acrylic nails. You do not have to remove them entirely if you feel that they are too long. You can have them trimmed at your nail salon, usually for a small fee, or you can also cut and file your nails at home yourself. However, if you opt for DIY, you will need to be very careful to prevent them from cracking or damaging. It is advised to use a nail clipper for such a task.

Later in this guide, we will discuss some of the essential steps you need to follow to cut your acrylic nails successfully. But before we get into the steps, let’s first discuss what acrylic nails are so you can understand if it is possible to cut them.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

If you are not sure what acrylic nails are, they are essentially artificial extensions that you have attached to your real nails. This is typically done in a nail salon although you can get kits to do them yourself at home. Although the time it takes to do it at home varies greatly depending on your skills, experience, and general speed.

As acrylic nails are added tips, it is possible to cut them. You will require the right apparatus to do so, but this does give you greater control over the length that you work best for you.

Acrylic nails are fashion statements, and they are very popular among many women. This is because of the versatility and creative freedom that that you can enjoy and they serve as a way to express yourself. There are a lot of fanciful styles and patterns available. Some women even have their acrylic nails pierced, which are then fitted with some nail rings.

If you have never personally worn acrylic nails, you may wonder why you to opt for these extensions over letting your natural nails grow? It is generally to the significant length they provide.

Many women feel more feminine and even graceful with longer nails. However, for many, growing out your nails to the length acrylics provide is not even possible. The nail may not reach the length required or become to brittle when they do.

Acrylic nails allow women to enjoy longer nails without the stress and anguish of brittle nails. Some women even choose acrylic nails to avoid bad habits of biting their nails.

Acrylic nails require an investment of time and money. They should be redone every two weeks on average.

One way to do this is to visit a salon renowned for having good nail technicians. You will certainly get the best results, but you will need to pay for it.

Alternatively, you can purchase an acrylic nail kit for great prices on Amazon. My favorite there, is the Mia Secret Professional Acrylic Nail Kit.

How to Properly Cut Your Acrylic Nails

So, now that you know what acrylic nails are, you would want to follow the steps documented below. Do so, in the following sequence to properly and successfully trim down your acrylic nails.

Using Large Clippers

It is recommended to use nail clipper as they help you cut your nails evenly in two or three steps. Scissors are not recommended.

The Nylea Set is perhaps the best, most affordable, well reviewed and comprehensive kit for the task on Amazon that I suggest you take a look at.

It is advised to start on one side of your nail and then move slowly towards the center. Then move to the other side and repeat the process.

If you intend to cut your nails in three steps, you will have to move to one side and cut a third of the length of your nail. In the second and third step, you will have to cut the last remaining nail.

Now, it should be understood that the side from which you plan to start cutting your nails will depend entirely on your prominent hand (which you will use to cut your nails).

It is recommended to cut the nails in small amounts at a time, as it is believed to be effective in preventing nails from splitting diagonally. Erroneous diagonal cuts give nails an ugly appearance, and sometimes this can also cause pain because the diagonal cut can cause cracks in the inner section of the nail, which, in some cases, can also cause bleeding.

Professionals suggest that you should never cut through the natural curvature of the nails, as this can also result in your nails splitting towards the middle.

Care should also be taken not to cut large pieces as this puts too much pressure on the natural curvature of the nails and can force them to crack horizontally.

If due to your mistake, your nails crack or crack for any reason, you will want to remove them and have them replaced with a new acrylic nail. Unfortunately this is going to cost you.

File Your Nails

Once you have trimmed your nails, they will have uncomfortable, irregular, and serrated edges that must be filed down to obtain a smooth and uniform finish.

Nail files are available in different grit sizes, but it is always advisable to use the very thin and profiled file (diagonal or vertical) on your acrylic nails. The best are glass files. They’re cheap, effective and last a long time. You can get a great one on Amazon here.

Cheap, low-quality files, which usually have a non-uniform grain, not only damage the overall appearance of your acrylic nails but they also often cause complete damage. This damage can only be repaired by completely removing and reapplying a new acrylic nail.

Once you have chosen your nail file, you will want to move it slowly and gently from one edge to the other to ensure a smooth and uniform texture.

Once this is done, try moving the file diagonally to smooth the nails even more and give the file the edges that surround the essential shape to give it a natural and healthy appearance.

However, you must be careful not to file your nails quickly and be attentive to where you are exerting pressure while you are filing. If you file too far down on one side, it means the other side will need to be filed to match.

If you are not cautious about what you do, you may end up with acrylic nails that are uneven, damaged, and much shorter than you may have expected.

While filing, it is of the utmost importance to continuously compare length, shape, and rounded edges with the nails on your other hand to ensure uniformity.

Fix the Cracks or Chips

Although the filing is important, diagonal filing often causes wear and tear on the nail polish, essentially on the tip of the acrylic nail.

Unfortunately, in most cases, this can lead to cracks, and even flakes that many believe are a sign of decay in acrylic nails.

However, in your case, it was just small damage that occurred because of the diagonal angle filing, and fortunately, it can be easily repaired.

All you have to do is use a matching color to paint the cuticle nails upwards, starting at the center of the nail and then finally the edges.

If you want to ensure a uniform texture, you should first remove the nail paint completely using any acetone-free solvent (like this)

Once removed, you can apply the color you desire and give your acrylic nails are completely fresh remake only this time your nails will look healthier and fresher.

Chipping and cracking are among the main reasons why it is always suggested to have your acrylic nails clipped only at professional salons. If such a misfortune occurs, the salon will be responsible for it. And, in most cases, they will remove and replace your nail for free.

In Summary

So back to the original question, can you cut acrylic nails? The answer is yes. You must however, do so with special nail clippers and refrain from using scissors.

When reducing the size of your acrylics be careful and be sure to follow the process outlined above. This will prevent any issues or breakages which will mean getting your acrylics done again. It will be a costly error!

Ultimately, getting acrylic nails can give you a lot of extra length. If it is no longer required, or you find that your acrylics are getting in the way of your day to day life, consider cutting them back. They’ll be more versatile for it!

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