How Long Does It Take To Do Acrylic Nails?

You’ve two ways to do acrylic nails; one is by yourself, and the other is with the assistance of an expert artist. So, depending on the technician or your skill, it may take one hour to 1.5 hours to do acrylic nails. Some highly experienced artists can only take around 20 minutes to do the same job.

So, here in this blog, we’ll let you know the factors regarding how long it takes to do acrylic nails. Plus, we’ll help you go in-depth about acrylic nails, and show you how to dry them fast.

Therefore, binge on till the very end to learn the ins and outs of acrylic nails! 

5 Factors That Impact the Time to Do Acrylic Nails

Though skill is a part of it, you may count five crucial factors that impact the time to do acrylic nails.

Skills of the Beautician (You)

First things first, skills differentiate pretty much everything. You can get faster and much better service from a skilled employee than a newbie. That’s what goes for applying acrylic nails.

If you have good skills in doing acrylic nails, you can do it within an hour. Otherwise, it will take 1.5 hours to 2 hours to do the same job.

It also goes for the artist. When you go to the salon and ask for acrylic nail service, they may ask for 30 to 40 minutes because they have world-class technicians or artists responsible for this job. They can do it better than you here because of their skills.

Before you pick a nail technician, make sure you check out her customers’ reviews beforehand. Ask her what tools she is going to use as well, they should be from a decent brand. 

Preparation Time

Another time-consuming factor is the preparation time. You can’t just go to a salon or buy an acrylic nail kit and use them on your nails. You must prepare the nails, cut them accordingly to get the desired shape, and then apply the tap. Then, you or the beautician will use acrylic nails.

That’s why you must prep your natural nails for acrylic nails. Sometimes, it may take 15 minutes to prep the nails. If you have unprepared and damaged nails, this may go up to 30 minutes. That’s how the overall time increases.

Number of Nails

Some users love to apply acrylic nails on only a couple of their nails; others may want to get that on their 10 fingers. Therefore, the number of nails also plays a crucial role in the exact time. If you want to apply acrylic nails on two to three fingers, it may take up to 10 to 15 minutes. 

When applying the acrylic nails on two or three, you must prepare the other nails to have a balanced look. In contrast, the ten fingers will take 30 to 40 minutes for a skilled technician.

Style & Color

There are hundreds of different colors and designs available to do acrylic nails. You can choose a particular design or ask your technician for a couple of color combinations. In that case, the style and color will also take an extra few minutes. 

If you want a quick service and a simple design on acrylic nails, you must ask for a simple design and color. It’ll save half of the total time.

If you’d like to style your nails in even more adventurous ways, you can use acrylic paint on your natural nails. While working with acrylic paint, if you face lumpy acrylic paint, there are ways to fix it!

Powder & Water Ratio

Sometimes, the powder and water ratio of the acrylic nails also make a difference in the overall process. If you love creating your design using acrylic materials and water, you must consider the extra time. Getting the perfect acrylic nail materials might take 10 to 20 minutes extra.

Though most users go for the acrylic nails kit to save time, you may like to have your design on the nails. Therefore, making the acrylic nails would ask for some extra time. Especially if you add a little more water, it will take more time to dry. Sometimes, the homemade acrylic nails might take more than 1.5 hours to dry.

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Take to Dry?

The acrylic nails take 10 minutes to dry properly if you use some tips. And the exact time depends on the above-mentioned factors. Apart from that, the drying time will also depend on how you make the acrylic nails. Using the powder and water to make it yourself may take up to 20 to 30 minutes.

What if you have limited time and want to dry the acrylic nails fast? In that case, you need to follow some tips.

First, cut out the extra time-consuming factors including the design, style, and combination of different colors. Go for a simple design and readymade acrylic nail kits.

After that, you can follow these two tips to try acrylic nails faster than the regular way. 

Use Hairdryer

We all use the hairdryer regularly to save time; can we use it to dry acrylic nails? Yes, we can do that. Only you need to do some settings to use the cool air to dry the acrylic nails.

Therefore, use your hairdryer and change the settings from hot to cool air. Then, check the air to see if it is cool enough to dry the nails because the heated air might damage your acrylic nails’ design.

Fast-Drying Top Coat

Another tip you can follow to dry the acrylic nails faster is to use the top coat. This material has a simple and thin coat that will stick to your nails and help dry the acrylic nail faster.

You must ask your beautician or buy the top coat yourself. Use the coat first on your nails in preparation time. It will stick to the nails, allowing the acrylic nails to get attached soon. Now, you can use the hairdryer cooling air and dry the acrylic nails within 5 to 10 minutes.

Do You Need UV Light to Dry Acrylic Nails?

Not necessarily. When mixed, the polymer and monomer when mixed together dry naturally; when exposed to air. It won’t take more than 10-15 minutes for acrylic nails to dry and harden. 

Acrylic nails are way different than the gel nails that require UV light to dry (due to the chemicals). Thus, they need none of the curing or setting process that Gel nails do. 

Why Do Acrylic Nails Take Long Time to Apply?

The time and procedure completely depend on the design you chose. A few factors are related to this. Let us break down. 

Technician’s Experience 

This is a super important factor. An experienced technician can even shorten the time with her skills. But if you take an appointment with a beginner, it might take some extra time. 

Nail Shapes

If you’ve chosen an unusual or complex nail shape, it may take the technician some extra minutes to comprehend. So, it’s advisable not to choose anything out of their book if you’re in a hurry. 


If you have long and thick nails, prepping your nails would be harder. Plus, the technician would need to remove the polish from your nails if you had them polished already. 

Gel Nails vs. Acrylic Nails

Though gel nails are also part of acrylic nails, they are different. From appearance to lasting time, gel nails will outperform acrylic nails. They are also healthier than acrylic nails. 

The below differences between gel vs. acrylic nails will clear your thoughts and help you choose the best one. 

Comparison Factor Gel NailsAcrylic Nails
Material Liquid ResinA Combination of Polymer and Liquid Monomer
Curing Method under LED or UV lightPowder Polymer
Lifespan Super flexible, less likely to breakNot flexible enough, may not stand rough usage
RemovalGel polish remover (only takes 5 minutes, easier to remove)Need to be filed down and drenched in acetone(Quite difficult process, time-consuming)
Expenses Quite expensive (requires a bunch of equipments such as UV or LED light, both top and base gel coat etc. ) Affordable 
TimeApplication and cure require a lot of time and effort Doesn’t require much time or effort 

Although gel nails have a few drawbacks, the natural outlook, stunning appearance and unbeatable durability are worth the price and time. However, it’s up to you, take whichever fits your budget and time. 

Why Do Experts Choose Gel Nails Over Acrylic Ones? 

There are some valid reasons why experts believe gel nails are more suitable than acrylic ones if it’s not about money and time. Let us explain briefly. 


The gel nails’ appearance is a hundred times better than the acrylic nails. Gel nails look exactly like natural nails since they’re designed following natural nails’ tendency. 

Plus, they don’t have any false add-ons either. Even the shiny & glossy look will surely attract you more than the appearance of the acrylic nails. 

You can also design gel nails like acrylic nails and get the best output. You can cut, design, add color, and do everything with gel nails as you do with your acrylic nails. Thus, the gel nails give you the best finishing and a natural look that can’t be expected from acrylic nails. 

Lasting Time

Acrylic nails will likely snap or come out of your nails with a little touch. Even a careless move might damage the acrylic design unless you use the tap coat before using the acrylic nails. But the gel nails will give you a secure lasting time. 

They stick to the nail bed better than acrylic nails. Though they both last for 2-3 weeks, the acrylic nails need some fills in and extra care. At the same time, gel nails don’t need them that much. 

Health Issues

At last, health issues create a big difference between gel and acrylic nails. Since gel nails seem natural and don’t damage nail growth, you can use them for a long time. In contrast, that doesn’t sound good for acrylic nails.

They damage the nail bed, stop the natural growth, and create some complexities since they come with different chemicals. These health issues might discourage you from using acrylic nails which would be an edge towards using gel nails instead.

Why Should You Avoid Using Acrylic Nails?

As said earlier, you should avoid using acrylic nails for nail health. Mainly, acrylic nails come with either EMA or MMA chemicals. EMA or ethyl methacrylate is less dangerous than MMA or methyl methacrylate. Unfortunately, MMA might hamper natural nail health and cause other issues.

Here, I face these four damages, and I’ll show you why you must avoid using acrylic nails regularly.

Infection & Fungus

If you keep the acrylic nails over the week and continue it for months, you’ll likely get some infection and fungus on the nail corner. It happens because of the chemical reaction between EMA/MMA and your nail components. 

The fungus may lead to severe infection when you use the same acrylic nails for a long time and don’t let your nail grow naturally. That’s the first reason to avoid using acrylic nails regularly or often. However, it’s okay to design and have some gel nails once in a while. 

Nail Lose

Here comes another fatal damage of keeping acrylic nails for a long time. If you regularly put the nails in and just fill in and reuse the same acrylic nails for weeks, you might face nail loss problems. 

It happens because of the chemical reaction and hampers natural growth. Even the nails will fail to get enough nutrients and adequately utilize them. As a result, you’ll face nail loss problems.  

Hamper Nail Growth

The most likely and common problem of using acrylic nails is damage or hampering the natural nail growth. On average, the fingernails are supposed to grow at 3.47 mm every month. But the acrylic nails won’t allow the nails to grow at that rate and damage the nutrients element. 

Weaken the Nails

Using acrylic nails and grooming them regularly with different products might slowly weaken your nails (due to the chemicals). Plus, they can cause skin irritations, nail thinning, allergic reactions (to those who’re allergic to nail grooming chemicals). 

Consequently, you may get some weak nails that break at any point. Sometimes, you may notice the nail spot and fragile nail corners without any infection or anything. 

For all the above reasons, you must avoid using acrylic nails for a long time. At least free your nails for a few days and let them grow naturally.

As we mentioned earlier, you can use acrylic paint on your natural nails. Acrylic paint is highly versatile in nature. You can use acrylic paint on leather, canvas, wood, glass, and now we’re saying, on your nails too!

How Long Does It Take to Remove Acrylic Nails?

Removing acrylic nails requires around 20 to 30 minutes. Actually, for breaking down the chemicals, you would need to submerge your nails into an acetone filled bowl and give it at least 20 minutes to break down properly. 

However, while you’re in this, your four fingers will be submerged but not your thumb. So, you can use it to rub the other nails once they break down primarily. 

This would fasten the process. Lastly, use your one hand’s fingers to rub the thumb from the other hand. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do acrylic nails last with gel?

The acrylic nails last more than 3 weeks with gel. It can go on for 5 to 6 weeks if you take care of it and apply the gel manicure after every two weeks.

How long do acrylic nails last without fill-ins?

Without fill-ins, the acrylic nails will last for only 2 weeks. Sometimes, they might be damaged in one week if you don’t apply the proper fill-ins.

How long does acrylic stay on nails?

The acrylic may stay on nails for about 2 to 3 weeks. This material is strong enough to be on your natural nails for a long time.


So, how long does it take to do acrylic nails? An expert technician takes 60 minutes or less to do the job. As a newbie, if you try to get the job done by yourself, it might take 1.5 hours.

If you use the acrylic kit, you can do it faster and dry it with your hairdryer. In that case, you might use the acrylic nails and dry them within 30 minutes.

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