Home Nails How To Use Acrylic Powder Without Acrylic Liquid

How To Use Acrylic Powder Without Acrylic Liquid

by Gabbi

Acrylic nails can be challenging to master because it requires mixing a perfect acrylic powder and monomer ratio. The acrylic paste can’t be too runny or stiff; instead, it needs to be a flexible paste that can easily be molded into any nail shape.

Acrylic powder and acrylic liquid, or monomer, are essential to creating this durable nail enhancement. However, if one of these components is missing, it can affect the longevity of your acrylics. You may not achieve a smooth or lasting outcome.

So, how can you use acrylic powder without acrylic liquid? You’ll need to find a replacement product for the acrylic liquid. Some standard options include nail glue, rubbing alcohol, or even a nail dip powder activator. 

What Is Acrylic Powder?

Acrylic powder is the powder component of acrylic nails. The powders are essential because they’re the dry ingredient used to make acrylic enhancements come to life. In addition, acrylic powder can create a protective barrier for the natural nails.

Acrylic powder can also determine the color of your nails. Some powders can be clear or translucent, or others can provide color so you can skip polish. Without acrylic powder, it will be almost impossible to create acrylic nails.

What Is Acrylic Liquid? 

Monomer will mesh with the powder to create a flexible paste. This paste can’t be too runny or thick; otherwise, it will hinder the longevity of your nails.

Creating this enhancement without a monomer can also be challenging or undoable. However, you might be able to replace the acrylic liquid with another product temporarily, but you may not achieve the same professional results. 

Nail products and tools, especially those for acrylic, can be inaccessible. Most brands only sell to professional nail technicians or those with a license. So, getting your hands on all the tools necessary (we love this kit of all the essentials and more from Morovan) to create ideal acrylic nails can be tricky.

Acrylic liquid may not be easy to find or replace (although you can find it here on Amazon). While this is a crucial element of acrylic nails, there’s potential that other products can activate with acrylic powder and mimic a similar effect. They can help create decent acrylic enhancements. 

Why Do You Need Them Both?

Mixing acrylic liquid and powder together allows the enhancement to harden and create a durable outcome. Without either component, you risk losing the benefits of acrylic nails, like longevity and durability.

While you may be able to replace the monomer, it’s unlikely that it will provide the same result and finish. However, it may be handy if you find yourself in a pinch.

Alternatives To Acrylic Liquid

So, what products can you use in place of acrylic liquid? Opting for a liquid with bonding or adhering powers is crucial to ensure your acrylic will last as long as possible. Also, you’ll want to use a product that’s made for the nails.

Not all liquids will help create a lasting finish. It’s also essential to avoid certain components to ensure you don’t end up with a powdery mess. 

Rubbing Alcohol

One product that could potentially replace acrylic liquid is rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is a common household ingredient that you can also find at the salon. It’s great for sanitizing tools or eliminating leftover tacky layers from gels.

This method can be helpful if you only need nails for a day or two. It won’t create a lasting effect and may create a lumpy texture when combined with the powder. There is potential it can flake away.  

Nail Dip Powder Activator 

Nail dip powder shares some similarities with acrylic. They both incorporate a powder to offer protection, longevity, and color. Another product that could potentially replace acrylic liquid is Nail Dip Activator

This product will allow you to transform your acrylics so you can still enjoy all your benefits. However, this method can lead you to apply dip powder instead of acrylic altogether because they share traits.

Nail Glue 

Finally, nail glue can also work to secure acrylics in place. Nail glue is a standard nail enhancement product to secure tips. However, because it’s a powerful adhesive, it can help to form and keep acrylics lasting for as long as possible.

Nail glue shares similar ingredients to other bonding products. However, it can make acrylic too runny during the application, but it shouldn’t be too challenging to remove.

What To Avoid Using For Acrylic Liquid 

Some other common liquids are water and acetone. While it may seem like common sense to use these products to replace acrylic liquid, you won’t get the desired result.

Both liquids lack certain aspects needed to react with the powder and create the paste.


Water may be the first thing that comes to mind if you need to replace acrylic liquid. Water is great to keep you hydrated and your skin plump, but it won’t help adhere acrylic to your nails.

Unfortunately, water doesn’t contain any chemicals or components needed to create a reaction with acrylic powder to make a paste that will bind to the nail.


You’ll also want to avoid acetone because this product will be counterintuitive. Acetone’s primary purpose is to remove polish and breakdown enhancements. So, mixing acetone with acrylic powder will be a recipe for disaster.

Acetone will eat away acrylic powder because it’s designed to eliminate acrylic, not help it bond to the nails. 

How To Use Acrylic Powder Without Monomer

Now that you’ve chosen your alternative product for acrylic liquid, how can you apply it? You’ll want to follow the regular steps needed to use acrylic and spending extra time on nail prep is crucial.

All you’ll need to do is use your acrylic liquid alternative and mix it with the acrylic powder. It’s essential to understand that you may not achieve the most flawless result, but it can help bond acrylic to the nails. 


Nail prep is essential for all manicures, primarily acrylic. It’s even more of a priority when you leave out critical ingredients like acrylic liquid. Nail prep will ensure your natural nails are protected and ready to take on a nail enhancement.

In addition, prep will help prolong your acrylics and creates the ideal canvas for acrylic application. 


One essential step within nail prep is priming. Priming involves using various products to remove moisture from the nail or provide a better surface area for adhesion. Everyday prep items include primer, dehydrator, and base coat

Primer primes the nails for other products, dehydrator removes excess moisture on the nail plate, and base coat creates a tacky surface for your nail enhancement. 

These components are crucial for longevity, especially when replacing acrylic liquid.


Now it’s time to mix and apply your acrylic. It will be wise to follow acrylic’s average liquid-to-powder ratios. Use your chosen liquid alternative and mix it with your acrylic powder. It would help if you created a bead that is not too runny or thick.

The key is to create a malleable paste so you can apply it to the nail. Once the bead is on the nail, you can mold and shape it to achieve your desired finish and shape. 


Once the acrylic bead has thoroughly dried, you can further shape and clean up your nails. Your nails may look bumpy or uneven, considering you replaced the acrylic liquid. A nail file and buffer can help smooth the surface and add shape.

Work slowly and in small sections to ensure you don’t over-file your nails. Your acrylic may not be as durable, so handling the nails with care is crucial.


Once you’ve created uniform nails, it’s time to finish the rest of your manicure. This is when you may decide to add a few coats of polish or apply nail art. However, you may skip this step if you’ve chosen a colored acrylic powder.

The final step involves sealing all your hard work with a topcoat, promoting longevity. For a visual tutorial, here’s a no monomer method from TiaBellaBeauty on YouTube.

How Effective Are Acrylic Liquid Alternatives? 

These alternatives to acrylic liquid can come in handy if you find yourself in a pinch. 

However, these options shouldn’t replace acrylic liquid or monomer altogether. Instead, these products can be convenient for a special event or a one-time occurrence.

Also, these acrylic liquid alternatives won’t provide the same durability and longevity as monomers because none of these products are formulated to perform like monomers.

However, they can temporarily help bond acrylic to your nails if needed. As always, proceed with caution or consult a nail tech for help.

If all else fails, you can always make your own monomer by following this tutorial from Kristina Kouture Nails on YouTube.


Monomer or acrylic liquid is one of a kind and unique. However, it may not always be accessible, especially if you don’t have a nail tech license. 

You can potentially replace the monomer with nail glue, rubbing alcohol, or a nail dip powder activator. These products can help somewhat bond acrylic to your nails temporarily.

However, avoid liquid like water or acetone because they either break down the acrylic or don’t have components to create a bond.

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