A close-up shot capturing a man's hand gracefully displaying shiny, perfectly manicured acrylic nails, challenging societal norms and embracing self-expression.

Can Guys Wear Acrylic Nails? A Detailed Look

With gender norms blurring in modern society, more men are expressing themselves through traditionally feminine beauty techniques like acrylic nails. But can guys actually wear acrylics? Let’s take a detailed look at the ins and outs.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: Yes, guys can absolutely wear acrylic nails if done properly by a professional nail technician. Acrylics allow men to showcase their personal style. However, they require more upkeep than natural nails.

Understanding Acrylic Nails

What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails are a type of artificial nail made from a combination of liquid acrylic and powder polymer. The acrylic is applied over the natural nail and shaped to the desired length and style. As the mixture hardens, it forms a durable extension that is then buffed and polished.

Acrylic nails allow people to have beautiful, long-lasting manicured nails without waiting for their natural nails to grow.

Acrylic nail application process

Applying acrylic nails is a multi-step process that is best done by a professional nail technician:

  1. The natural nails are filed and shaped to prepare the surface for acrylic application.
  2. The nails are cleansed to remove any oil or debris.
  3. Primer is applied to help the acrylic adhere properly.
  4. Forms are fitted to each nail to hold and shape the acrylic.
  5. Acrylic powder and liquid are combined and applied to each nail, building up the extension from the cuticle to the free edge.
  6. Once hardened, the acrylic is filed and shaped into the desired style.
  7. The nails are buffed until smooth and shiny.
  8. A hydrating oil is applied and the nails are polished to complete the set.

The application process takes time and precision to ensure proper bonding and shaping. With proper application and maintenance, acrylic nails can last 2-3 weeks before requiring a fill.

Acrylic nail maintenance

Caring for acrylic nails requires some special considerations:

  • Use acetone-free nail polish remover to avoid premature lifting or damage.
  • Avoid picking, peeling or over-filing the enhancement.
  • Apply cuticle oil daily to keep nails and skin hydrated.
  • File breaks in the enhancement as soon as they occur to prevent further cracking.
  • Attend fills every 2-3 weeks for a professional application of new acrylic to regrow the nails.
  • Soak off and remove acrylics completely every 2-3 months before reapplication to allow the nails to breathe.

With proper at-home care and consistent professional maintenance, acrylic nails can safely extend natural nails for a fashionable, polished look.

Benefits of Acrylic Nails for Men

Acrylic nails have traditionally been seen as a feminine style choice, but recently more men have been experimenting with acrylics. Acrylic nails offer several advantages that make them appealing for male nail art and design.

Allows for Nail Art and Creative Expression

One of the best parts of acrylic nails is that they provide a perfect canvas for nail art. Men can get very creative with acrylic nail shapes and designs. Acrylics allow you to have long, strong nails that can hold intricate airbrush artwork, rhinestone embellishments, chrome powders, and more without worrying about natural nails breaking.

The length of acrylics also enables more scope for detail in the artwork. Short natural nails limit the complexity and size of nail art. With acrylics, guys can show off things like sports team logos, superhero symbols, or any creative ideas.

In addition, the strength of acrylics means the nail art can last 2-3 weeks instead of chipping after a few days like polish on natural nails. This allows men to change up their nail art style frequently.

Covers and Strengthens Natural Nails

Putting acrylic overlays on top of men’s nails protects the natural nail underneath. Many guys have nail biting habits or work with their hands a lot, resulting in cracked, brittle or damaged nails. The acrylics shield the natural nails and prevent further injury.

They also strengthen nails and allow them to grow longer without breaking. The acrylic material itself is quite strong. According to one report, correctly applied acrylics can be over five times stronger than natural nails.

This prevents embarrassing breaks which happen more easily with longer bare nails. It means guys can comfortably grow their nails out more for styles like pointy stiletto shapes without worrying about snapping a nail.

Variety of Length and Shape Options

One frustration men have with natural nail care is that length and shape options are limited before nails become prone to cracking and splitting. Acrylic nails have no such restrictions.

Guys can choose extra long coffin or square shapes for bold masculine looks. Or go for more understated rounded shapes in natural nail lengths. There are endless options for customizing exactly the look you’re going for.

Lengths vary widely too, from short practical nails to dazzling 5-inch stiletto claws for events and photos. And whatever you choose, the acrylics give that length added durability compared to bare natural nails.

Natural Nails Acrylic Nails
Average Maximum
1/4 inch Over 5 inches
Strength Prone to cracking and splitting, especially at longer lengths Over 5 times stronger than natural nails, allowing for longer lengths without damage
Nail Art Potential Limited due to short length and lower strength Acrylics provide an ideal canvas for intricate, long-lasting nail art

Acrylic nails give men almost endless creativity in crafting a unique look through shape, length, color and art. The acrylic material makes achieving more adventurous nail goals easy and long-lasting.

Downsides of Wearing Acrylics for Guys

Higher maintenance than natural nails

Acrylic nails require more maintenance than natural nails. Guys who get acrylics need to keep up with the following:

  • Filling every 2-3 weeks. Acrylics grow out quickly and need to be filled to avoid lifting or cracking.
  • Rebalancing every 4-6 weeks. The acrylics need to be filed back into shape over time as the natural nail grows out.
  • Removal and replacement every 2-3 months. Acrylics can’t be worn indefinitely and need to be fully replaced periodically.

This frequent upkeep makes acrylics less convenient than natural nails that can be clipped and shaped at home as needed. The time and money involved adds up quickly.

Risk of damage to natural nails

Getting acrylic nails poses some risks of damage to the natural nails underneath, including:

  • Thinning and weakening of the natural nails from all the filing/buffing when applying and removing acrylics.
  • Lifting or cracking if the acrylics aren’t applied or filled properly, allowing moisture under the artificial nail.
  • Fungus or bacteria getting trapped under the acrylics if proper sanitation isn’t followed.

These risks are higher for guys’ nails which tend to be shorter and thicker than women’s. The right nail tech can minimize the risks, but damage is still possible over time with ongoing use.

Societal stigma in some contexts

While societal attitudes about men having acrylic nails are shifting, especially among younger generations, stigma still exists in some contexts. Guys with long acrylic nails may face:

  • Judgement in professional settings like business meetings where nail art is seen as inappropriate.
  • Teasing or harassment for deviating from male gender norms, unfortunately.
  • Assumptions about their gender identity or sexual orientation.

These reactions will depend a lot on the environment. More progressive communities tend to be accepting. But not all spaces are ready for acrylic nails on men. Guys will need to gauge whether acrylics align with their workplace dress code and personal comfort.

Aftercare Tips for Men with Acrylics

Avoid excessive water exposure

Exposing acrylic nails to too much water can weaken the bonds between the artificial nails and your natural nails. When washing hands, try to keep the acrylics out of water as much as possible. Wear gloves when doing dishes or other wet work.

Limit showers to 5-10 minutes and avoid soaking in the bathtub. The less your acrylics are soaked, the longer they will last before needing infills or repairs.According to nailcarehq.com, water is the #1 cause of lifting and peeling in acrylic nails.

Use cuticle oil daily

Applying cuticle oil around the nail bed and underside of the acrylic extension is crucial for keeping your acrylic manicure looking fresh. The oil moisturizes the nail plate and softens cuticles to prevent cracking and lifting.

Massage a few drops into the cuticles and underneath free edge of the artificial nail daily. Jojoba, vitamin E, and coconut oils all work well. This small step makes a big difference in the longevity of acrylic nails on men. Cuticle oil creates a protective barrier against water damage.

File away lifting edges

Check your acrylics frequently for any lifting or separation between the artificial and natural nail. Use a fine-grit nail file to gently file away the lifted edge to create a smooth transition and seal the bond. Be very careful not to file the natural nail too much.

Filing away lifting as soon as it starts prevents it from getting worse. Acrylics can last 4-5 weeks on men with proper application and care. Filing and sealing gaps helps the manicure last its full lifespan. According to www.byrdie.com, filing lifting edges as needed is vital for acrylic nail success.

With proper aftercare like limiting water exposure, moisturizing with cuticle oil, and filing away lifting, men can get 4+ weeks of wear from acrylic nail enhancements. Taking good care of acrylics helps them last longer, look better, and avoids damage to the natural nail underneath.

A little bit of maintenance goes a long way for guys wanting to maintain beautiful, durable acrylic manicures.

Finding a Nail Salon for Men’s Acrylics

Look for salons advertising to male clientele

When searching for a nail salon that offers acrylic nail services for men, it’s best to look for establishments that specifically market to male clientele. Many salons cater exclusively to women, so spots that advertise manicures for men, use images of male hands/nails in promotions, or tout special services like masculine nails shapes or darker polish colors show they have experience working with guys.

Salons located near barbershops or men’s grooming lounges also tend to be more welcoming to male customers. And businesses that use inclusive language like “services for all” or “nail care for every body” give signs that people of any gender identity will feel comfortable there.

You can call ahead to ask if they provide acrylics for men before visiting too.

Read online reviews about technician skills

Once you find some promising nail salons for acrylic nails, check their online reviews to gauge customer experiences, especially from male patrons if possible. Look for positive feedback around things like:

  • Technician expertise with acrylic application and shaping
  • Care taken to match nail lengths and shapes to men’s hands/fingers
  • Professionalism and understanding around male nail service needs

If you see complaints about rushed, messy, or insensitive service, those are red flags. A salon’s general rating can offer insight too – places averaging over 4 stars tend to employ highly skilled technicians suited to applying longer-lasting men’s acrylic nails.

Ask about experience with masculine nail shapes

When you visit a nail salon in person, inquire if they have experience shaping acrylic nails for male clients. Salons used to working with women may default to more feminine oval or squoval shapes. But guys typically prefer square nails – if staff don’t list square as an option or can’t show images of masculine manicures, that signals limited expertise.

You can also ask:

  • Do you use forms customized to male nail beds?
  • What type of acrylic powders/products do you recommend for men?
  • Would you advise I remove old nail polish before applying acrylics?

The more knowledgeable and thorough their answers, the better. An ideal salon will understand the difference between doing acrylic nails for women versus men. Trusting an experienced, male-acrylics savvy nail technician ensures you get a durable, natural-looking manicure tailored to your hands.


While acrylic nails require more effort to maintain than natural nails, they offer men endless options for creative expression and style. As societal attitudes continue shifting, acrylic nails for guys are becoming more widely accepted and available.

With proper aftercare and a skilled nail technician, men can safely enhance their look with a set of striking acrylics.

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