Why Do My Acrylic Nails Keep Lifting? [And What You Can Do!]

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One of the most frustrating things in life is when acrylic nails lift. You’ve spent all that time and money getting them done only to find that they are not properly attached. But why does this happen and is there anything you can do to stop it from happening? By the end of this article, you’llll know for good.

So, why do my acrylic nails keep lifting? Acrylic nails can lift due to the way that they were applied or down to lifestyle factors and how you use your hands and nails. Either way, the acrylic either does not attach properly or loses its bond to the natural nail.

While acrylics can look great, its true to say that they can be immensely frustrating if they were not done right.

But before we call the salon to complain, it’s important to consider that the application of acrylic nails requires skill. It’s a precise process that can go wrong in a variety of ways.

At the same time, lifting may not always be the result of inadequacies of the technician.

Its something that we can actually cause.

This is why when wearing them we need to be aware of our new limitations.

Despite being relatively strong, there comes a point of no return! We can quite easily weaken them, causing them to lift.

Its easy done.

Let us know take a closer look into all of those causes of lifting before exploring what you can do about it – to stop it from happening going forward.

Why Are My Acrylic Nails Lifting?

The main reasons that acrylic nails lift on behalf of the technician include the over-filing of the nails, failing to prepare the nails properly in advance, overusing or underusing primer, or applying the material too close to the cuticle.

Otherwise, lifting could be down to something that you are doing; being generally careless, using your nails to open things or any manual work.

Either way, its important to remember what acrylic nails actually are.

They are made up of a combination of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. This forms an artificial plate that needs to be connected to the natural nail.

Once it sets and is solid enough, the plate is given the desired shape and length, followed by the application of your preferred design.

So, as you can imagine, a lifting acrylic is one that is lacking in bond to the natural nail.

The artificial enhancement is separating from the natural nail pate.

And while, the most common reason is usually incorrect application, there are others to consider to:

Unbalanced Use Of Products

It is important to apply the correct ratio between the liquid and powder during the creation of the enhancement itself.

If the ratio is wrong, the acrylic may end up too dry and unable to stick itself properly to the nail plate.

No Use Of Primer or Dehydrator

If your technician does not apply primer, or dehydrator on the natural nail plate, your are going to be in trouble.

These take away natural oils on the plate, which can cause slippage. Thus, these products help the acryl to hold and attach properly.

Insufficient Sealing Of The Seals Down The Nail Plate

The acryl has to be laid out perfectly on the nail plate and glued to it completely.

If there are holes, bubbles, or air between the natural nail and acryl, lifting is almost guaranteed.

The same goes if there is any dust left or any other leftovers from the pre-acryl preparation of the nail, which leads to the next point.

Nails Not Sufficiently Clean

Removing all previous nail polish from the nail bed is very important for the acryl to attach to the natural nail.

Any old remnants, dust, poor filing, and oil (as well as from the cuticles) will prevent the proper application of acryl and can cause eventual lifting, in time.

Hidden Causes:

There are also some more reasons for acryl lifting, that are not so common:

  • Certain medications,
  • A diet too high in vitamin B-6
  • Allergies towards the products used,
  • Bacteria, germs or other issues such as nail fungus.

Reasons Can Also Be Chemical

  • Contamination of the primer with dust or contamination of the acryl itself
  • Smoke from cigarettes can pile up on the nail (or smoke from the air in general) without being noticed
  • Mixing products from different manufacturers
  • Poor quality glue
  • Use of household cleaning products

How Do I Keep My Acrylic Nails From Lifting?

Thankfully, lifting is not common in acrylic nails that were applied well.

Still, there are some useful tips and tricks you can practice to prevent lifting from happening, at least on your part

  • Do not pick your acrylics
  • Get regular refills
  • Repair small lifts
  • Find an expert manicurist
  • Keep your nails clean

Let us now look at each one:

Do Not Pick Your Nails

Picking your own nails is a very damaging habit. It’s very bad for nail health in general.

If your nails are weak and not in good health, chances are that your acrylics will not attach properly, to begin with, or lift in time.

Get Regular Refills

Do not allow the appearance of big growth gaps.

Refill your acrylics every two weeks to avoid possible lifting and damaged corners.

Repair Small Lifts

If you notice a small lift, you can usually repair this yourself with a little bit of nail glue:

  1. Clean your whole finger with alcohol and allow it to air dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of the nail glue to the affected area and press down gently. Allow to dry. Gently file off any unevenness, if necessary.

Reputable Technician/Salon

Of course, the safest and best thing for you to do is to find a skillful, capable and reliable manicurist.

Not only to begin with but for any ongoing fills.

If it costs you more; so be it. At least this way your acrylics should not lift.

Keep Your Hands Clean

Wash your hands regularly with antibacterial soap to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and fungus, especially between your nail bed and the acrylic layer.

Fungus is also number one cause for infections, so you want to stay on top of it!

Can I Still Get A Fill If My Nails Are Lifting?

Yes, you absolutely can. In fact, one of the best ways to stop lifting is by getting refills regularly.

When you notice even the slightest sign of lifting, it’s advised to book an appointment at the salon immediately!

Do not wait until it is too late or otherwise you risk removal of the acryl altogether.

Ideally, you should go for a refill every two weeks. And remember, you can go as many times as you wish.

How Can I Make My Acrylic Nails Last Longer?

There are several different approaches to take to ensure your acrylic nails last longer, and do not lift. Here are some of my favorite:

Reputable Manicurists

Only visit reliable manicurists.

Avoid poorly reviewed salons and do your research ahead of time.

Usually, cheap salons are cheap for a reason.

They may be relatively unskilled or use cheap products with lots of chemicals.

For instance, some of the cheaper acryl may contain toxic substances or those that are best avoided altogether!

Keep On Top Of Your Nail Health

Be sure to keep on top of your nails.

Keep them clean at all times and never use them as can openers, screwdrivers, and anything similar.

Avoid hitting hard surfaces and doing tough manual work.

Moisturize

Keep your skin and cuticles around the nails moisturized.

Apply natural oils, creams and moisturizers when necessary. 

This is my favorite product I get on Amazon that keeps my cuticles in optimal condition.

Regular Fills

Do not skip regular fills. Ideally, you should go for a refill as often as they need it. This is typically every two weeks.

Although this will depend on your nails, some peoples grow faster than others, for instance.

Protection

Wear gloves while washing dishes or doing housework.

Avoid aggressive washing powders, detergents, hard surfaces, chemicals (if you work with them), and be sure that they do not come into direct contact with your manicure.

Be Gentle

Be gentle with your own nails.

Do not pick them, touch them, scratch them and disturb them in any way.

Give Them Time To Recuperate

Let your nails breathe every two-three months.

Acrylics can be aggressive to your natural nails and you should give them a proper break to breathe every now and then, ideally every two-three months.

Proper Removal

Do not attempt to remove your acrylics at home, even if it is cheaper that way.

If you want to, familiarize yourself with the proper steps beforehand and follow them correctly.

Removing your acrylics in the wrong way can severely damage your natural nail and lead to long term consequences.

Use Nail Glue

Buy nail glue and fix minor lifts in between refill appointments yourself, if necessary.  

Proper Preparation

Make sure your nail is well prepared before the actual application of the acryl.

Cuticles must be thoroughly removed, the nails must be properly buffed.

There must be no remnants of powder, dust, or dirt on the natural nail plate before application.

Can I Glue My Acrylic Nail Back On?

You can glue your acrylic nails back on, as long as it is a minor lift and the entire integrity of the manicure has not been compromised.

With a bit of glue at home, you can fix a small amount of lifting every now and then.

If there is a major issue, however, go to your technician.

Acrylic nails are a special manicure and generally should be handled by a specialist.

How Long Can Your Acrylics Last Without A Refill?

A full set of acrylics lasts between 6 and 8 weeks in total, or around two months.

Your natural nail underneath, however, does not stop growing and growth gaps appear.

Ideally, a gap should be filled every two weeks and general maintenance executed, if necessary.

Skipping refills is not a good idea because it may lead to lifting and does not look good anyways.

Is It Better To Get A Fill Or A New Set?

It is much cheaper and quicker to get refills over a new set – so if you can, attempt a fill first. Your technician should be able to advise here.

Remember, getting new acrylics means starting the whole process from the beginning, plus removing the old mani.

Sure this will be required at some point, but for a minor amount of lifting it is generally not required.

Finally

Lifting is one of the most common, yet frustrating problems that can occur with acrylics.

Generally, it is due to poor or inappropriate application, but it can be something that you can inadvertently cause going about your day to day life.

Perhaps my best piece of advice.

Make sure you only visit reputable and highly respected salons to begin with!

Applying acrylics is a skillful procedure and not every manicurist will be as capable as others, It takes time to learn.

So, do check out the reviews of salons, do your research and your due diligence ahead of time.

You may need to pay a little extra, but it’s worth it for acrylics that will not lift and to ensure your natural nails are not damaged in the long term

At the same time, do take care of your nails; keep them clean and moisturized at all times.

Wear gloves while doing housework, do not skip regular fills, and let your naturals breathe every two-three months with a break from acryl.

In doing so, lifting really should be a thing of the past!