The wonderful world of acrylic nails is home to so many fun and innovative designs. Although they’re frequently associated with extra-long looks, acrylics actually let you experiment with different lengths and interesting styles, whether you want a short, square French manicure or a set of lengthy, neon-pink, stiletto-shaped nails.
You’ll want to make sure you love the nail art design you choose because these manicures are long-lasting. Acrylics tend to be stronger than gel nails, nail artist Brittney Boyce previously told Allure. They’re created by mixing a powder (polymer) — usually clear, but the powders come in a range of colors — and a liquid (monomer) into a dough-like consistency that, when it hardens, can be filed and molded. From there, a talented nail artist can create whatever your imagination conjures.
If you’re worried about potential damage to your nails, don’t be. The key to healthy nails with acrylics is proper removal with the right tools (like lots of acetone) and tons of time and patience. (This how-to guide has all the steps for at-home removal, though we highly recommend you have the process done by a pro.) The right nail technician will be able to care for your natural nails whether you use acrylic powders, gel polishes, or gel extensions. And don’t overthink the look of fake nails, either: Acrylics can be made to look super natural like they’re your very own nails.
For some fresh ideas, peruse this gallery full of acrylic manicures in square, stiletto, coffin, almond, and even lipstick shapes. We’re sure you’ll be able to find exactly what you need for your next nail appointment.