Note: Almond Nails is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

Can You Put Acrylic Nails On Very Short Nails? [Your Options]

If you have very short nails than it is only natural to wonder and worry about whether it will be possible to have acrylics applied. But can it be done?  Here is what you need to know.

So, can put acrylic nails on very short nails? You can put acrylic nails on very short nails, so long as the natural nail is not damaged and the surrounding skin is healthy, not swollen, and is unbroken.

The truth is, artificial nail enhancements usually require at least a little bit of length of the natural nail before application.

Longer nails provide a bigger surface for work and more precision.

However, it is not always possible to have longer nails due to a variety of reasons.

Some people suffer from soft and brittle nails, others cannot keep a long length due to their job, for example.

The good news is, short nails do not necessarily mean the inability to enjoy a nice and well-sculptured acrylic manicure.

In fact, acrylic is a very good solution for such people.

You just need to approach it slightly differently!

It can provide desired length. And fast.

Let us now take a closer look at your options for nail enhancements, what natural nail length is actually preferable, and most importantly how to do acrylics on short nails.

So without further ado, lets get started!

Can I Get Nail Extensions With Short Nails?

You should be able to get nail extensions with short nails, in most cases. Although, it does depend on the type of extension you are looking to apply.

Let us now explore your options.

Gel Extensions

Generally, it is possible to apply gel extensions on very short nails as long as there is enough nail plate for the gel to hold on to.

If the nail is bitten all the way to the quick, then gel application would not be possible.

Your nails need to have a bit of length to provide a solid base for the artificial enhancement. The gel requires something reliable to stick to.

If you bite your nails, try to refrain from doing so for at least one week before you visit your nail technician. It is better to make sure the nails have grown a bit to ensure the successful application of the gel.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails can be applied on bitten, short, brittle and soft nails as long as the surrounding skin is not swollen and is left undamaged and unbroken.

In fact, acrylics sometimes work best on short nails (or bitten nails) as they create the perfect illusion for healthy and unbitten nail plates.

Another benefit of applying acrylics on shorter nails is that as the nail eventually grows, the acryl will not look shockingly and unnaturally long.

If you have doubts about the suitability of your nails for artificial extensions, the best thing to do is to consult with your local nail technician about what is possible and what is not to be done.

You kind of need to see the nail on a case by case basis.

Besides, professionals are typically very experienced and will have seen all kinds of cases. They’ll be able to tell you what can be done; almost immediately.

Apart from nice aesthetics, artificial enhancements have other benefits.

They prevent nail-biting, first because the materials are hard and nearly impossible to bite off and second, the taste is awful.

The taste is a reason enough not to bite your nails!

Is It Better To Have Long Or Short Nails For Acrylics?

It is better that your nails are somewhat shorter for acrylics. This way, your acrylics will not look abnormally long nor will be as prone to getting caught and being generally more inconvenient.

Thankfully, acrylics can be applied on either short or long nails; but there are things to consider either way.

For short nails, you’ll need a sufficient base and enough natural nail for the acryl to attach to.

For longer nails, you have to consider that your fingers can look very elongated; sometimes it can even look kind of silly.

Besides, they’re a lot more likely to be ripped off if they get caught on something, say an item of clothing.

And then there is the durability – acrylics are not going to be able to last as long in such a context.

From an application perspective, it is usually easier to apply acryl on shorter nails too.

Not much of a challenge for an experienced technician, but can make all the difference if you are new to acrylics or doing them yourself.

How Do You Apply Acrylic On Short Nails?

Acrylics can be applied on short nails in as little as 10 easy steps!

In fact, the steps are just the same as when the nails are not that short, with a few minor differences.

Let us quickly run over it, but if you are looking for a complete walkthrough, including how to properly prepare to prevent infection, ensure you have all the right supplies, etc, then be sure to check out our course.

Its less than the cost of a cup of coffee. And I mean that!

Anyways back to the tutorial:

Step 1. Push Your Cuticles Back

Proper preparation is key to the successful application of any nail enhancement!

Start off with pushing your cuticles back clean and neat, as much as you can.

Use a softening gel at first to make your skin delicate. Then with a cuticle pusher gently move them back to the base of the nail.

Step 2: Buff The Shine Away

Every nail has a natural shininess to it that needs to be removed to help the acryl adhere better.

With a buffer nail file, file the nail plate thoroughly until any shininess and oiliness are gone.

Your nails should feel abrased and not too smooth. After that, file the desires shape if your nails are long enough for it.

Step 3: Wipe The Dust Away

Applying acryl on clean nails is essential to prevent the accumulation of moist and creation of infections later on.

After your have filed your nails, thoroughly remove the remaining dust with a brush and alcohol or acetone.

This is also going to disinfect your nails.

Step 4: Dehydrate And Apply Primer

Apply additional dehydrator designed for nails to remove oiliness.

After that, apply primer to help avoid your acrylics from lifting.

Step 5: Apply A Sculpting Form

If your nails are too short, you will have to apply an artificial sculpting form before the acryl itself.

Make sure it lines up precisely with your nail plate. Apply the desired length and shape, if necessary.

Step 6: Apply The Acryl

Now it is time to apply the acryl itself. Start with a medium size bid and apply along the nail plate.

Blend as much as you can with your natural nail, press down and sculpt until it reaches the desired shape.

Step 7: File And Buff

After the acryl has dried off completely, file your nails to give them the shape and length your want and then buff them.

Buffing is done for the same reason as to when you do it before the application of the acryl.

This will remove the shininess and make the surface rougher so the polish that follows will have something a surface to hold on to.

Step 8: Clean With Alcohol

To remove any residual dust and bacteria, wipe out your nails with pure alcohol.

Acetone is not recommended as you risk damaging the acryl.

Step 9: Paint

You have now reached the best part – painting and designing!

After your finish with the nail polish, apply a top coat and dry. And you are done!

Enjoy your manicure!

Commonly Asked Questions About Acrylics

Its only natural to have some questions about getting acrylics done, besides there are a lot of misconceptions about this particular mani.

The common understanding is that acrylics are very harmful to the natural nail.

This statement is only partly true – nails can damage if the acrylics are not applied and removed properly.

But with the right approach and technique, damage should not occur.

So, let us quickly walk through some other questions you may be wondering:

Do Acrylics Damage Your Own Nails?

Acrylic Nails should not damage your own nails, so long as they are natural nails are prepared properly, and acrylics are applied and removed correctly.

Proper removal is essential and the most common cause of injuries to the natural nail.

Should You Choose Gel or Acrylics?

This largely depends on the state of your nails and your lifestyle.

Acryl is the strongest and most reliable nail enhancement and if you have very soft and brittle nails, then acryl is recommended.

If your nails are strong on their own, then gel is a perfectly good option.

Also, if you do lots of manual work and your nails are at constant risk of breaking, then it is better to apply acryl.

What Lasts Longer – Gel Or Acrylics?

Acrylics typically last longer over gel, if well-taken care off.

Gels have to be completely replaced with a new set once a month while acrylics last for up to 8 weeks if you do refills.

Can I Do Acrylic Nails At Home?

You can do acrylic nails at home, as long as you have the necessary equipment and skills, you are good to go.

In fact, our course can show you how.

How Long Do Acrylics Last?

With the proper care, Acrylic nails can last for up to 8 weeks without having to get a new set.

Do Acrylics Cause Infections?

Acrylic nails can cause infections if the nails have not been properly cleaned and prepared beforehand.

If there has been dirt left between your nail and the acryl, moist will gather eventually and create a fruitful environment for infections.

That is why it is very important to disinfect your nails diligently before sealing them with acryl.

Can You Have Acrylics Constantly?

It is not recommended to have acrylic nails constantly.

Instead, it is advised to take a break from acrylics every 2-3 months to allow your nails to breathe and restore their natural shininess and oiliness.


It is perfectly possible to apply acrylics on short nails provided that the surrounding skin is not damaged or swollen and there is some fingernail left, of course.

So long as the natural nail is still healthy, you should be good to go!

In fact, sometimes applying acryl on short nails is easier.

Better yet, you can usually get any nail extension you like on short nails.

The only case when this is not possible is when the nails are bitten to the quick. In that case, applying gel is not possible.

But nevertheless, keep your natural nails healthy – whether short or long, and this will bode you well for any enhancement you will ever want to be done.

This could even include applying gel over your acrylics, or even on your toenails, both are possible too, by the way!