Home Nails Paper Thin Nails After Acrylics – How To Strengthen Them

Paper Thin Nails After Acrylics – How To Strengthen Them

by Gabbi
Nail Technician Examining Nails

Acrylics can be such a fun way to add a little boost to your look. It makes your nails look clean and polished and can boost the vibe you’re going for.

Not to mention, going to get your nails done can be a nice way to treat yourself and build your confidence. While having acrylics can be so much fun, they aren’t always the best fit for everyone and they aren’t always practical. If you’re using your hands a lot, then acrylics might just get in the way.

Maybe you tried them and didn’t like them, or maybe you did but it’s time for a change. Regardless of why you’re removing your acrylics, you might notice your nail bed seems damaged and thin afterward. Don’t panic! This isn’t an abnormal occurrence and it can be fixed with a little tender love and care. 

Your nails are a great way to accessorize your look. Sometimes when you experiment with a new look you might also notice some downsides. While acrylics are fun, they don’t always leave your nails looking super healthy.

So, what should you do if you have paper thin nails after acrylics? You can strengthen paper thin nails over time with the proper nail care routine. This includes using cuticle oils and nail strengtheners, drinking more water, taking supplements, and more.

Acrylic nails can cause a little damage to the top layer of your nail, but thankfully there are ways to heal and prevent this! There are also alternatives to acrylics that may cause less damage. Keep reading to see some tips and advice on how you can help heal your nails.

Why Acrylics Cause Thin Nails 

Acrylic nails are placed right on top of your real nail. They are applied to last for weeks, and often have to be removed by a nail salon technician if you don’t like them, if they’ve grown out, or if you need a new set.

Since the acrylic has been attached to your real nail for so long, they need to soak in a removal solution before being taken off your nails. 

Sometimes, even after soaking for the right amount of time, when the acrylic is pulled up, it pulls the top layer of the nail with it.

So long as it’s only the top layer of your nail, this shouldn’t hurt, but it might be alarming to see how brittle your nails look. This is especially common if you regularly get new or rotating acrylics. 

Strengthening Your Nails After Acrylics

If you’ve chosen to take a break from acrylics and you notice your nails are thin and brittle, you’re probably eager to know how to repair them.

It takes time and patience, but your nails are able to rejuvenate rather quickly given the proper tools and care. While you’re letting your nails heal, you might want to consider keeping them short to avoid any nail breakage along the way. 

There’s always the option of getting nail specific treatments from the salon, but if you’re trying to be a little more frugal, we can totally understand that.

So, if you’re eager to strengthen your nails at home without a trip to the salon, take a look at the below tips.

1. Hydration

Like any other part of your body, your nails need to be hydrated to heal and grow properly. Of course, drinking water is always important, but applying something like olive oil or a good cuticle oil (like this one from CND) directly to the nails will help hydrate them and give them a more polished look. 

2. Nail Care Tools

Investing in proper nail care items can also help strengthen your nails after acrylics. Making sure you have proper nail clippers and a tool to push back the cuticle (or invest in a manicure set like this one on Amazon) can all help your nails heal over time while still looking nice.

3. Clear Coat Or Nail Strengthener

If you feel like you need to cover them, you can use a plain nail polish or even just use a clear top and bottom coat (OPI’s set is our favorite) for some shine. 

It’s also a great idea to invest in a nail strengthening product (this OPI line is even tinted in several shades for some coverage) to protect and improve your nails over time with protein, calcium, or keratin.

Promoting Nail Growth

You can still have long and beautiful nails without having acrylics, but you’ll have to keep your nails healthy and happy. This includes regular nail care by using things like oils and keratin treatments and keeping them strong enough to be long without breaking. 

If your nails need to be filed, make sure to do it in short bursts, and dampening the nail prior can help prevent any unnecessary damage. Incorporate some nail oils into your daily self-care routine, and gently massage them into the nail and cuticle area.

Avoid fake nails while you’re trying to grow out your natural nails, as fake ones will only stunt the growth process. Make sure you’re not biting or picking at your nails since this can also damage the top layer and leave them growing at an uneven rate.

Certain supplements can help promote nail growth as well, such as biotin, collagen, calcium, protein, or even vitamin D.

Your nails are similar to your hair and skin, and what you put into your body affects them just as much. If your diet is lacking certain nutritional elements, then your nails, hair, and skin may all be struggling to reach their potential.

However, always consult with a physician before making any major diet changes. Foods like spinach, eggs, fish, and even nuts can help supply your body with the specific nutrients it needs for healthy hair, skin, and nails. 

Protecting Your Nails

So, you’ve finally gotten your nails to a place you like and they are healthy and strong, but maybe you miss the extra edge acrylics gave you, or maybe even when you’re giving your body everything it needs, you still wish your nails were longer.

You don’t have to completely ditch the nail salon if you don’t want to. There are ways you can protect your nails and still get the perfect look you want. 

Make sure you continue with everything you did to get your nails healthy in the first place. Your nails, just like your hair, require maintenance to stay happy and healthy. Keep up with your nail routine and make sure to keep your nails hydrated for extra protection.

Alternatives To Acrylic Nails

There are alternatives to strictly acrylic nails that will still stun. For example, if you go to the nail salon, you can request doing a gel nail instead of an acrylic.

Gel nails are softer in comparison to acrylics and are removed easier. They will give you a nearly identical look, but without the same amount of damage to your nails.

Some downsides to gel nails are that they don’t last as long as acrylic nails, can chip easier than acrylic nails would, and are often times more expensive.

While gel is more flexible than acrylic nails, this might also mean that acrylics don’t bend quite as much as gel nails. Depending on your lifestyle, gel nails may be an even better fit than acrylics.

If you don’t want to break the bank, you may be able to find an alternative to acrylic nails at your local beauty supply store or pharmacy. Press-on nails are a great alternative, and while they definitely won’t last quite as long as acrylics or gels, they will get the job done in a pinch.

Another great thing about press-on nails is that they remove much easier at home then gels or acrylics, so you can wear them when and where you want. This also makes it a little easier to heal the nail between sets. 

If you want more ideas for what to get instead of acrylics, check out our article on The Best Alternatives To Acrylics.

Overall Thoughts On Acrylics And Thin Nails

We definitely don’t have anything against a good set of acrylics. Your nails are a fun way to accessorize and play around with your personal look.

We aren’t huge fans of brittle and thin nails though, which is why it’s important to nourish your nails either in between acrylic sets, or through what your body intakes throughout the day. 

Drinking more water is always a good place to start when making any improvement to your daily diet and routine. Supplements can help heal your nails from the inside out, but consult with a physician before taking anything new.

In the meantime, rock your nails however you like them – long or short, acrylic or gels, don’t be afraid to be bold and experiment with your beauty!

Related Questions

How to use press-on nails? 

If you go to your local beauty supply store, they should have press-on nails that include adhesive tabs. You’ll want to use these tabs in place of glue to keep your nails healthier. Make sure you follow the instructions on the box and wipe your nails and push your cuticles back before applying the nails!

What to do if my acrylics are falling off?

If you notice your acrylics are coming off, you may want to take a trip to the salon to have them removed. A professional will have the tools to properly soak your nails and pop the acrylics off, while trying to do it at home might just cause even more unwanted damage. 

If my acrylics are growing out, do I have to get them taken off?

No, you don’t have to get your acrylics taken off if they are growing out, but you should get them filled in and trimmed at a salon to prevent them from breaking or becoming infected. Getting acrylics filled in is a common part of regular acrylic upkeep.  

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