A Guide to Acrylic Nail Designs: Tips & Maintenance

Sure, with all the cool acrylic nail designs around, going to get some yourself sounds fun and exciting. But before you rush to the nearest salon, take a few moments to read through these small nuggets of advice. Who knows, they might spare you the trouble of having to look after ruined, fragile nails. Beautiful colors alone are not the only thing that matters when it comes to fabulous acrylic nail designs…

The first step – picking the right salon

First and foremost, you have to figure out what salon to choose. Of course, if you (or your friends) already know a reputable one, by all means, go for it! But if you don’t, do yourself a favor and carefully investigate the salons in your area. If you are fond of your nails and their health, you’ll want to go to a well-known, professional one, even though this means shelling out a slightly larger amount of money. Remember: you get what you pay for. Lower prices don’t mean just a low-quality result, but may also imply the use of harmful chemicals that can ruin your nails.

At a good salon, an experienced professional will take good care of your hands, while also putting all your cool acrylic nail ideas into practice. For example, a person with the right skills will know not to file your natural nails too thin, thus avoiding any risk of damage in the long run.

Now let’s get a little bit technical, shall we? As you may or may not know by now, acrylics are made out of a polymer powder and a liquid monomer which are mixed together. Now here is what you should be aware of: the technical chemical name for this (safe) liquid is ethyl methacrylate. This is what ALL salons should use. Regrettably, discount salons can afford to put up a lower price simply because they don’t use this safe liquid. Instead, they use its evil counterpart, methyl methacrylate (MMA) because, you’ve guessed it, it’s cheaper. Methyl methacrylate should not be used on people: it is an industrial product used to make hard plastic. It can cause burning and irreparable damage to the nails and cuticles, as well as an allergy for life. What’s even worse is that, after being subjected to it, the body will not be capable of telling the difference between the safe ethyl methacrylate and the MMA. From then on, even the safe product will cause damage to your nails.

This is why you should always pick a reputable, if costlier salon that provides you with the acrylic nail designs of your dreams over and over again, without any hidden risks.

At the salon – picking a design

Having trouble figuring out what design to choose? Let’s take a few minutes to browse through the latest acrylic nail designs and trends. To efficiently sum up the top nail designs that are trending this year, let’s break them down into three categories: monochrome nails, colorful French nails and multicolor designs. Of course, we’re barely scratching the tip of the iceberg here, but even so, let’s begin:

Monochrome nails

The most efficient and easy to wear manicure is made using one single color. Because, think about it: it goes with each and every outfit and it looks clean and polished. Sure enough, this is not for those who long for elaborate designs, intricate detailing and other similar elements. Instead, this is the type of manicure that looks both edgy and simple. Pink acrylic nails, for example, especially if they are of the pale variety, are a superb choice for everyday wear.

TRY: Subtle sparkles, an accent nail or a tiny application that is enough to spice up the entire look. These cute acrylic nail designs are so unfussy and easy to wear on an everyday basis, that it would be a shame not to give them a try.

Colorful French nails

Who doesn’t love a good, ol’ French manicure? There’s a reason why it’s never going out of style: it looks clean and elegant. But these days, the classic gets an update. Now it’s more about colorful French tips than about the white-nude combo.

TRY: Colorful (or black!) glitter tips. If you want black acrylic nails, but don’t want to fully commit, a black French manicure is the way to go. Ask for a nude base and a colorful tip done either in dual, complementary tones or in a single color with glittery insertions. This colorful and sparkly update is perfect for festive events, parties or holidays.

Multicolor designs

Here we are, entering the perilous land of the wildest of acrylic nail designs. Most designs are based on two or three colors, which are enough to create impressive effects. Dual color combinations rely on a base color to set the tone and on a secondary color to add the fine detailing.

TRY: Tiny flowery motifs spanning the entire length of the nail, done in an entirely different color than the base. Other acrylic nail ideas consist of geometric motifs executed in golden hues over a dark, saturated base. The options are truly endless!

After your visit – upkeep and warnings

When fitted properly, acrylics shouldn’t hurt or otherwise be uncomfortable. A poorly fitted set can lead to serious infections between your natural nail and the acrylic. Even when they are fitted properly (you can make sure of this by visiting a reputable salon), accidents can still happen. If you hit your acrylics too hard against a firm surface or yank them even the tiniest bit, the resulting separation can cause an infection. In this case, don’t hesitate and go back to a professional. Bandaging or repairing a damaged nail yourself is never a good idea – you’ll only make it worse in the long run.

Similarly, if at any point in time (especially immediately after the application) your nails hurt, don’t hesitate to tell your technician that you are experiencing pain. The worse thing you can do is to ignore it – no matter how cute your acrylic nail designs are, they shouldn’t generate any discomfort. On this note, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give your natural nails some time off every now and then. Skipping artificial nails once in a while is a top health tip.

Before leaving the salon, ask your technician how you are supposed to care for your nails in between visits. They should provide specific instructions on what to do and not to do.


Probably the most important advice to take home from this guide is that it is easier to prevent than to repair. No matter how taken you are with your favorite acrylic nail designs, a few precautionary measures will save you from a lot of trouble. This way, you’ll be able to sport healthy, impeccable nails with superb designs without fear of nasty surprises.

Looking for more acrylic nail ideas? Check out the gallery below:


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