Does brush size matter? You might be asking yourself this if you’re just starting your career as a professional nail tech, or even if you like doing your own acrylic nails at home.
You’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different brush sizes and shapes on the market. Different sized brushes perform better in different situations. If you want to be able to create beautiful acrylic nails, you need to be equipped with the right brush.
Think of it like a painter’s brush – without it you simply cannot create a masterpiece. Sure, your talent as an artist is what really powers the work, but without the right tools, it has no way of manifesting itself on a canvas.
So how do you choose the right acrylic nail brush size for you? In this post, we’ll help you figure that out. We’ll discuss the different shapes and sizes, what each is good for, and which would work best for you depending on your goals. Ultimately, it will depend on your skill level, your nail goals, and personal preferences.
What Are Acrylic Nail Brushes?
If you’re totally new to the acrylic nail game, you might be wondering what acrylic nail brushes are and what’s so special about them.
Acrylic nail brushes are made out of synthetic or natural bristles and a long handle. The brush is dipped into water and used to pick up a “bead” – a small amount of acrylic powder mixed with water. Then, the brush is used to work the bead over the natural nail to create a beautiful acrylic nail on top.
Some of the best acrylic nail brushes are made out of natural animal hairs called kolinsky, a type of weasel. These animals have the kind of fur that holds on to liquid well, which helps during the acrylic nail application.
If you’d like to see a visual tutorial on acrylic nails, take a look at this video from Kiara Sky Nails on YouTube.
Different Sizes Of Acrylic Nail Brushes
When looking for a good acrylic nail brush, you’ll need to decide what size to get. Sizes for acrylic nail brushes are standardized and range from 6-22, with 6 being the smallest and 22 – the largest.
We’ve seen some manufacturers sell a size 4, but that’s not very common. So, which size should you get? Well, it depends on what type of acrylic nails you are looking to create, and what sizes you prefer working with.
Here’s a general guideline:
- Small acrylic nail brushes, sizes 6-10: these are best for learning different techniques. If you’re a beginner, you should probably get a smaller brush. Smaller brushes are easier to use, although it will take you longer to create your designs with a smaller brush. Smaller brusher are not great for creating super long nails.
- Medium acrylic nail brushes, sizes 12-18: these are best for more experienced nail techs. Medium brushes allow you to pick up more acrylic beads and do the work quicker. They are not as precise but if you have the right skills, you can easily create beautiful nails with them.
- Large acrylic nail brushes, sizes 20 and up: these are usually only used by professionals. With a large brush, you can work much faster because each brush can pick up a large enough bead to cover a few nails. They’re also better at creating really long acrylic nails.
As you can see, the size of brush you choose will determine how easily and how quickly you can create acrylic nails. The bigger the brush, the more acrylic matter it can pick up at once. However, at the end of the day, your skills are more important than the brush you choose.
If you’re experienced, you’ll be able to work with any brush size without a problem. Just keep in mind that your work might go slower with a smaller brush because the beads are smaller, so you’ll need to dip your brush more often.
If you want to have options, why not get a few sizes so that you can work your way up as you gain more experience?
There are kits you can buy that contain multiple sizes, and would be great for you if you’re just starting out and want to have the ability to use different brushes as you become more comfortable.
What Size Acrylic Nail Brush Is Best For Beginners?
If you’re just starting out and don’t want to invest in a whole kit, you could just start with one brush. As a beginner, you want a brush that’s on the smaller side, but we don’t recommend going with the smallest one available.
A size 8 is usually a great starting point for beginners. In fact, many nail techs start out using that exact size in beauty school.
A size 8 acrylic nail brush is small enough to maneuver easily, but large enough to pick up a good-sized bead of acrylic powder, and work it over a nail efficiently.
As a beginner, you should try to get a natural kolinsky brush, such as this one. With a brush like that, you’ll be able to learn the correct technique and get good results as you learn.
Many professionals stick with the first brush they learned, so it’s not unusual to see veteran nail techs using their size 8 long after they’re out of training. It’s a versatile size that works for most situations.
And if you ever decide to move up a few sizes to speed up your work, it’s pretty easy to make the switch from a size 8 to something bigger.
What Shape Of Acrylic Nail Brush Is Best?
As if to make matters more confusing, acrylic nail brushes come in different shapes as well. You may have noticed that some brushes have pointy tips while others are flat. Which one should you use?
This depends. The pointy shaped brushes (also referred to as “round”) are better for small nails or accurate work. They make it easier to go around nail edges and cuticle lines without creating a mess.
Flat brushes are better for large nails and spreading the bead over the nailbed more effectively. They don’t hold as much liquid though, so you might have to dip them more often or you risk ending up with a dry acrylic bead.
Nowadays they also have oval brushes, which are like a blend of the round and flat brushes. Oval brushes have a narrower tip that allows for more delicate work, while having some of the breadth of the flat brush to assist with larger nails.
They also hold more liquid than traditional flat brushes, which makes them much better at manipulating the acrylic bead over the nail. If you have to choose one, we’d recommend going with the oval brush since it’s so much more versatile.
As with brush sizes, brush shapes don’t determine the outcome. They simply make some things easier. You can make any shape and size work for you as long as you have the right technique.
What Acrylic Nail Brushes Do Most Professionals Use?
If your goal is to become a pro one day, you’re probably dying to find out what types of brushes professional nail techs use the most.
While it varies from person to person and salon to salon, we found that most nail techs use natural kolinsky sable brushes in sizes 10-14. Some brands loved by professionals are Cheri, Young Nails, and Pana. You can pick those up at some beauty supply stores or on Amazon.
When it comes to the shape, many professionals swear by the oval crimped shaped brushes, which are oval with a flattened tip, which gives them more control over the acrylic ball.
As a beginner, this is something you can strive for in your nail art journey, but don’t forget to hone your skills with whatever brush you currently have.
Even if it’s not the most perfect brush for acrylic nail application, you’ll be able to learn a lot about different techniques through trial and error, which will make you better at the craft in the end.
How To Choose The Right Brush For You
We hope this blog helps you decide what acrylic nail brush will work best for you. At the end of the day, it should be a size and shape that you’re most comfortable with. If you’re just starting out, it makes sense to go for the brush that’ll make your work easier – a size 8-10 in an oval shape should do.
Remember that the quality of the brush will have an impact on how well you can hone your skills. There is a reason that kosnsky brushes are so highly-praised – a synthetic brush simply doesn’t behave the same and doesn’t provide the correct amount of liquid per powder ratio.
If you’re not sure what brush to get, always aim for the one that has kosinsky bristles and a shape you can work with.
If that means starting small – start small! It’s okay if your work is slow in the beginning – someday, you can upgrade to a bigger brush, and create stunning nails faster.