Home Nails Can You Put An Acrylic Nail On A Missing Fingernail Or Toenail?

Can You Put An Acrylic Nail On A Missing Fingernail Or Toenail?

by Gabbi
Manicure and Pedicure

Nails can be a form of expression, and they can tell you a lot about someone’s personality. But what happens when one of them goes missing? Losing a fingernail or toenail can be painful and risky to your health, and deflate your self-esteem.

Acrylic is a popular nail enhancement used to create long and intricate designs. They are most often used to create a new nail on top of a shorter nail plate. They can also be customized to your desire, but they also come with some risks.

If you’re missing a fingernail or toenail, it may be tempting to wonder if acrylic nails can be the solution. Acrylic does have the power to build a new nail from a mix of monomer and polymer. Acrylic has a natural, nail-like finish when it dries. 

Can you put an acrylic nail on a missing fingernail or toenail? If you have some nail regrowth, a professional nail tech may be able to build an acrylic nail. However, adding acrylics to missing nails can lead to infection, breakage, and discomfort. 

While it may not be the wisest option, you can add acrylic to missing fingernails if you don’t want to wait to grow them out. However, seeing a nail tech is possible to avoid injury and ensure you apply the acrylic nail correctly.

Can You Apply Acrylic To A Missing Fingernail?

Our hands do everything for us. So, naturally, one of the first few things you may notice about a person is their hands and nails. It’s normal to feel self-conscious if a nail is missing.

If you’re looking to fill the void of your missing nail, acrylic could be an option. However, acrylic doesn’t stick well to the skin. Nevertheless, you can apply acrylic to a missing fingernail if there is enough of the natural nail that’s grown back into place.

However, seek help from a pro nail tech and proceed with caution. 

Can You Apply Acrylic To A Missing Toenail?

While you may be able to apply acrylic to a missing fingernail, it would be best to stay clear of using it on the toes. Toenails are much more vulnerable because we wear shoes.

Acrylic can create an ingrown nail if not applied correctly, or you may risk getting an infection. Overall, it’s best to stay clear of using acrylic on a missing toenail.

Can You Attach An Acrylic Nail To Bare Skin? 

There must be a base if you plan to repair a missing nail with acrylic. 

We briefly mentioned that acrylic couldn’t very well stick to bare skin, and it would only be a temporary solution. So, make sure that you have enough of your nail back to build acrylic on top.

How To Apply An Acrylic Nail To A Missing Fingernail 

Acrylic is one of the most challenging nail enhancements to apply. You’ll need to mix the right amount of polymer and monomer to get an even consistency of acrylic. It will take time and practice to sculpt and shape an acrylic nail. 

1. Cleanse & Prep 

First, you’ll want to clean your nail bed and plate. This will ensure that your nails are free of dirt and bacteria. This is also where you should prep your nails. That includes filing, cuticle care, and applying a primer. 

2. Mix Your Acrylic

Next, you’ll want to mix your monomer and polymer with a nail brush until you have even consistency. The acrylic shouldn’t be too runny or stiff but still malleable.

3. Apply A Nail Form

Nail forms are a guide that sticks under your natural nail to help build up acrylic. These nail forms are flexible, so you can fold and secure them to fit the shape of your fingers. Once the form is in place, you can begin sculpting your nail.

4. Sculpt Your Nail 

Now, you’ll want to scoop up a small bead of your acrylic with your brush and dot it on the nail plate. Then, you can slowly sculpt your nail as you drag the bead of acrylic into place. Finally, you can let the acrylic set in the nail form before removing it.

5. File & Finish 

Once you remove the form, it’s time to shape the acrylic into your desired length and size. Then, you can continue to paint it with polish and finish up your manicure. 

How Long Will Your Acrylic Nail Last?

Acrylics can usually last between 2-3 weeks on regular, natural nails. However, if you plan to replace a missing nail with acrylic, it might have a shorter lifespan. The longer your nail is, the better the acrylic will stay on the nail.

If you try placing acrylic on bare skin, it may last for less than a day or two.

Risks Of Applying Acrylic To Missing Nails

It’s not ideal to cover a missing fingernail or toenail with acrylic. There are various risks to be wary of before using acrylic. For example, your nails can get infected, which won’t guarantee nail growth.

Also, acrylics are very durable and can further damage the nails if they aren’t removed correctly.


Acrylic can increase the chance of your missing nail getting infected. This can lead to more severe problems like losing a toenail for good. It’s hazardous if you don’t clean, wash, or sanitize your missing nail before applying acrylic.

Removal Can Be Harmful

Acrylic nails should be removed with a professional nail drill. Because acrylic is a durable nail enhancement, you won’t be able to remove it by normal filing or nail polish remover. In some cases, soaking them in acetone can also help. 

If you apply acrylic, you should avoid peeling or ripping it off. 

Acrylic Can’t Stick To The Skin

Acrylic won’t be able to adhere to your skin as well as it can on your nail. So if you have a small amount of nail growth or bare skin, chances are the acrylic nail won’t last. You can risk it falling, breaking, or snapping it off yourself. 

Doesn’t Guarantee Growth 

Applying an acrylic nail to a missing one won’t guarantee quick or easy regrowth. Also, it may have the opposite effect and hinder your growth. If you get an infection, you risk losing the nail permanently or could develop an ingrown nail.

Should You Apply Acrylic To Missing Nails?

While you technically can apply an acrylic nail to a missing fingernail, it may not be wise. In most scenarios, the risks outweigh the benefits. Therefore, you should avoid applying acrylic to missing fingernails and toenails until it grows back in fully.

When To See A Nail Tech

If you’re planning to apply acrylic to cover a missing nail, consider visiting a nail tech. A nail tech will be able to identify the current state of your nail and if it has enough regrowth to build acrylic over it. Also, your regrowth should be healthy and strong. 

How To Care For Missing Nails

While there may not be many alternatives to acrylic, you can still care for your missing nails so they can grow long and strong. You can avoid getting an infection and have a substantial base for acrylic once the nail is healed. 

Consult With A Doctor

Seeking help from a doctor will ensure you have the proper care while growing your nails. They can prescribe any ointments or antibiotics in case an infection is present. 

Wear A Fresh Bandaid Daily 

You’ll want to keep your nails protected against the outside world. One of the easiest ways to do so is by using a bandaid. However, make sure to switch the bandaid daily to avoid spreading bacteria. It can keep the missing nail area clean.

Keep Your Nails Clean 

Finally, you’ll want to wash, clean, and sanitize your nails daily. Even if you wear a bandaid, chances are some sweat, dust, or debris is still locked under. So, to keep your nails free of harm, washing them daily can ensure they grow back with ease.


So can you apply acrylic over a missing nail? Technically you can if you have enough of the natural nail growing back. However, it’s not recommended because acrylic can irritate or damage your nail beds.

You might be able to get away with it on the fingers, but it’s best to avoid it entirely on the toes. Acrylic nails are difficult to remove, so you’ll want to handle them with care. Also, it’s always best to have a professional nail tech apply your acrylic.

Some risks that arise when using acrylic on missing nails are infection, hindered growth, short acrylic lifespan, and more. It will be best to wait for your nail to grow back. Once they are healthy, you can continue with acrylic enhancements. 

Whenever you’re in doubt, seek help from a doctor or nail technician. Lastly, protect your missing nail by wearing a fresh bandaid and cleaning the area daily. 

If you want more information on how to take care of a missing toenail, take a look at this video from The Doctors on YouTube.

Up Next: 7 Best Alternatives To Acrylic Nails

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