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How Old Should You Be To Get Acrylic Nails? [This Makes Sense]

Who doesn’t like a nice manicure? It can be one of the best ways to make yourself feel more beautiful and put together. For many women, it’s a routine that promises relaxation and stunning results. And, of course, the acrylics certainly add to the look! Longer nails, with a perfect shape, are something many people are only too happy to get. But are there any age limits on them? How young is too young for acrylics? Here is what you need to know.

So, how old should you be to get acrylic nails? It’s subjective. Many professionals agree that sixteen is a good age to start with acrylic nails; this is due to the maturity required to look after them. Some salons may even have an over 16 policy – and strictly adhere to it. But this is not an industry standard nor legally binding; other salons may be less strict. 

It actually makes sense that acrylics are often recommended to those 16 years and older.

At least when you understand why some salons have adopted this policy.

So let us now take a closer look at why. 

At least then you’ll get an appreciation of the risks involved to anyone younger getting this particular type of manicure.

From there, it’s over to you to make a decision. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Get Acrylic Nails?

This depends upon the salon you’ll be going to. For most salons, the age is sixteen. Many refuse to apply acrylic nails to anyone not sixteen years old or above. However, this is the salon’s decision and their own discretion; there are no legal age requirements they must adhere to.

Legally speaking, there is no age limit whatsoever on acrylic nails. 

There isn’t a legal precedent stopping someone from applying acrylic nails on their toddler. 

However, just because it isn’t illegal doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. 

Acrylic nails can be a big responsibility, as well as a health hazard. 

If you get them, you need to be able to take care of them. 

And it needs to be done by yourself. 

Relying on others to take care of your manicure long-term simply won’t work for most people.

Because of this, many salons only allow people over the age of sixteen to get acrylics. 

At this age, you’re generally old enough to take care of your nails yourself. 

You’ll also have the hands and nails of an adult, making it not all that different from any other manicures. 

For the budding nail enthusiast, sixteen is the perfect age to get started.

Of course, that’s only at a salon. There is one other place you might get a set of acrylics put on: at home

Here, there are no rules that you would find in a salon. 

This means that there is nothing legally stopping you from putting acrylics on a child of any age.

I would urge you not to do that! 

Young skin and nails are often more sensitive than those of an adult. 

Likewise, a child doesn’t necessarily understand how to use their hands with acrylics on. 

Because of this, there is a chance of damage to the nails. 

Infection will be more likely, and that can alter nails forever!

Sixteen is the standard for acrylic nails. Until then, stick to safer, easier-to-reverse options that your child or teen will love!

Why Is There An Age Limit On Acrylic Nails?

Not being able to properly care for your nails can lead to damage. Fungal infections become more common, which can cause permanent damage to the nail bed. Until puberty sets in, nails grow very quickly, meaning that applications would have to happen more frequently. It’s also difficult for children to do basic activities with acrylics, particularly long ones.

Acrylic nails require a great deal of care, both before and after they’re applied. 

Acrylics work best with strong, healthy nails. 

Once on, they have to be meticulously cared for so that they not only remain beautiful but they stay attached properly. 

Ripping off acrylics, accidentally or otherwise, will likely rip off layers of the nail, as well. 

And that is very damaging! 

Fungal infections, too, are something that have to be avoided if you want to have healthy nails with acrylics. 

They can cause peeling, cracking, and splitting. 

Permanent nail bed damage is possible.

Bearing in mind that many young teens and children routinely forget their homework until the night before it’s due, does that sound like a population that can avoid all of the problems mentioned above?

Even the most responsible of children shouldn’t be allowed acrylics before puberty when their nails stop growing so quickly.

It’s a costly, risky decision just for a specific kind of nail art.

Then there are the child’s activities that might be hindered.

Anyone with long nails, acrylic or otherwise, can speak for hours on how difficult it was to learn to hold a pen with them. 

Or type on a computer with them. 

For someone spending most of the day in a classroom, using pens and pencils, or typing on computers, it’s far from ideal.

No one wants a crash course in Living With Acrylics during a busy school day!

Does your child do sports or any sort of extracurricular activity? 

Prepare for the acrylics to make these more difficult, as well. 

Sports, in particular, are a problem. 

They can even be dangerous! 

Acrylics can make it harder to catch things, to catch yourself when falling, and are often very sharp. 

Gymnastics and cheerleading, two sports popular with young girls, require full use of a person’s hands.

Acrylics for gymnasts and cheerleaders should be a no-go.

How Old Should You Be To Get Acrylic Nails?

Sixteen is a good age to get acrylics. For special occasions, some are willing to go as young as thirteen. However, it is advisable to keep them short if they’re applied to someone younger than sixteen.

Most salons will agree: sixteen is the best age to begin getting acrylics on a regular basis. 

This is the point at which you are old enough that your nails are like an adults and mature enough to take care of your own nails. 

While it’s always better to start off shorter, a sixteen-year-old is more likely to handle long acrylics well than someone younger. 

If you’re looking for a sweet sixteen present for someone interested in nails, this is it!

There are some times when younger people might be allowed acrylics. 

For a specific event (such as junior prom or a wedding), some salons might bend the rule for those over the age of thirteen. 

Or you might be doing it at home yourself, where there are no salon rules to guide you (or for you to break). 

These events shouldn’t be frequent, but they do happen sometimes.

Finding yourself looking at acrylics for someone under sixteen? The first rule is simple: explore other options! 

There are many other options that can mimic the look of acrylic nails without being as long-lasting or damaging, should something go wrong. 

The nail kits you can find online on Amazon, like this are often a great balance between the acrylic look and something that isn’t as big of a commitment.

Below the age of thirteen, there are no reasons that a child should be wearing acrylics. 

Before puberty, nails grow very quickly in children. 

This means that acrylic nails would only look presentable for a short amount of time before another trip to the salon was required. 

And a fourth-grader in acrylics just isn’t a good look!

What Is A Good Age To Get Acrylic Nails? 

Sixteen. Certainly no younger than thirteen.

We know you’re tired of hearing it, but it has to be reiterated. 

The right age for acrylics on a regular basis is no younger than sixteen years old. 

This is the age at which most salons will be willing to apply them. 

While you can do it yourself or find a salon with lower standards, you don’t want to risk the child’s nail health for acrylics.

It is possible to get acrylics for a special occasion, as long as the child has reached puberty. 

Thirteen is the usual minimum for this. 

Always choose a salon for the application since they’ll be less likely to make mistakes. 

Don’t get long ones; keep the acrylics short!

Or, you could always try an acrylic alternative.

What Are Some Alternatives To Acrylic Nails?

Nail kits from your nearest drugstore are a great middle-ground. You can also stick with some pretty polish and other nail art.

Have a child that wants acrylics but is too young for them? 

Or you might have a special event coming up? 

In either case, there are alternatives to acrylic nails without the problems. 

You just have to get a little creative. 

Whenever you choose one of these, give it a few runs before the big day. 

That way, you’ll know what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to do.

The first option can be found relatively easily; Nail kits. 

These are the kind most of us discovered as teens, with the premade nails you glued to your own. 

They don’t last long and have to be shaped yourself. 

But they can look nice when done right and can be painted any color. You can even fix them yourself, should one fall off!

Even easier than that is to just paint the child’s natural nails.

Shape them first with a file to get the closest-to-acrylic look that you can. 

Then paint. 

There are many different things you can add to the nail art to really make it pop! 

Apply certain nourishing base coats, and they can even be good for your child’s nails.


Acrylic nails are best for older teens.

There is a reason why salons often have an over 16 policy.

Believe me; they would open this up to more customers if they thought they could! 

While they are just a type of manicure, acrylics actually come with quite a lot of responsibility.

They are relatively impractical too.

Especially to younger teens, who lead busy lives and are still growing too!

So, save them to 16 and older.

Besides, there are alternatives on the market that are equally as effective. 

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