Close-up shot of a delicate hand delicately holding a small bottle of nail glue, with a partially detached acrylic nail in focus, ready to be reattached with precision.

Can You Glue An Acrylic Nail Back On? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’ve ever had an acrylic nail pop off, you may have wondered if you can simply glue it back on or if you need to go back to the salon. Losing an acrylic nail can be annoying and frustrating, especially if your nail appointment is still weeks away.

The quick answer is: yes, you can glue a popped-off acrylic nail back on if you use the right adhesive. However, the fix may not be very long-lasting, and you’ll likely need to go back to your nail tech soon for a professional repair.

What Type of Glue Should You Use?

Cyanoacrylate Glue

One option for reaffixing a popped off acrylic nail is cyanoacrylate glue, more commonly known as “super glue.” This is an extremely strong, fast-drying adhesive that binds to smooth surfaces like plastic and nail acrylics. There are some advantages to using super glue:

  • Dries rapidly in 30-60 seconds, allowing you to get your nail back in place quickly
  • Creates a powerful, long-lasting bond that can re-adhere the acrylic nail for days or weeks
  • Readily available at pharmacies, craft stores, home improvement stores, etc.

However, cyanoacrylate glue also comes with some drawbacks for gluing nails:

  • The thickness can create bumps under the nail
  • It can damage the natural nail if applied sloppily
  • The acrylic may pop off again after 1-2 weeks

Nail Glue Designed for Acrylics

For best results gluing an acrylic nail back on, use an adhesive specifically formulated for acrylic nails. These nail glues are made to:

  • Bond strongly and seamlessly with acrylic and natural nails
  • Resist moisture, impacts, and daily wear-and-tear
  • Allow easy, bubble-free application in thin coats

According to market surveys, over 70% of professional nail salons use acrylic-specific glues like Prima Glue and KDS Glue-X when applying and repairing acrylics. Compared to ordinary glues, these nail adhesives typically keep acrylics secured for 2-4 weeks between fills with less lifting or popping off.

You can purchase acrylic nail glue on Amazon or at beauty supply shops. Prices often range between $6-$16 depending on the brand and bottle size. While more expensive than super glue, spending a bit more on salon-quality nail adhesive is worthwhile to reattach acrylics safely and effectively.

Applying Nail Glue on Popped Off Acrylics

Once you have the right glue, follow these steps to reaffix the acrylic nail:

  1. Gently file the underside of the lifted acrylic and your natural nail bed to roughen the area so the glue adheres better
  2. Brush on a thin layer of nail glue to both bonding surfaces
  3. Wait 30 seconds for it to dry slightly and get “tacky”
  4. Press the acrylic nail piece firmly back into place, holding for 60 seconds

And voila! Your acrylic nail should now be securely reattached. Avoidheavy water exposure and be gentle on your hands for 12-24 hours to allowthe nail glue drying time. Reapply every 1-2 weeks or when necessary to keepthe acrylic nail on and looking fabulous!

How to Glue an Acrylic Nail Back On

Step 1: Clean the Detached Nail and Nail Bed

The first step is to thoroughly clean the underside of the detached acrylic nail and the nail bed it was adhered to. Gently scrub both surfaces with soap and water to remove any oil, dirt or debris that could prevent the glue from properly bonding.

You can use a nail brush or soft-bristled toothbrush for this. Be sure to rinse and dry completely. The cleaner the surfaces, the better chance you have of reattaching the nail.

Step 2: Rough Up the Inside of the Nail Tip

Once clean, use a nail file or sandpaper to lightly rough up the inside surface of the acrylic nail that was attached to your natural nail. This helps create micro-abrasions that allow the nail glue to grip better. Don’t file too much, just a few light swipes to add some texture.

Step 3: Apply the Glue and Firmly Press Into Place

Apply a thin layer of nail glue (cyanoacrylate adhesive) across the entire inside surface of the acrylic nail tip. Quickly press the nail back into place on your natural nail, holding for 30 seconds with firm pressure. This helps secure the bond initially.

Hold your finger still and upright to prevent the nail from shifting out of place while the glue sets.

Step 4: Hold in Place While Glue Dries

Keep holding the nail in place as the glue dries. Don’t wiggle it! Acrylic nail glue takes about 60-90 seconds to form an initial bond, but should still be held firmly for 2-3 minutes total to fully set. You may even want to gently clamp the nail for added stability.

Once set, your detached acrylic nail should be securely reattached!

Most nail glues dry quickly, but full strength may take up to 24 hours. Avoid heavy activities like typing or washing dishes until fully cured. Touch up edges with glue if needed. With proper application, the reattached tip can last another 1-2 weeks.

Overall, gluing a popped off acrylic nail back on is a quick and easy fix!

Tips for Making the Repair Last Longer

Avoid Water Exposure

Exposing the repaired acrylic nail to water can weaken the glue and cause the nail to pop off prematurely. When showering or washing dishes, be sure to wear waterproof gloves to shield the nail. According to nail care experts, water exposure is one of the main reasons repaired acrylics fail to hold.

Use Nail Glue Designed for Acrylics

Choosing quality products ensures better adhesion and longevity. Opt for glues made specifically for reapplying acrylic nails, like Mia Secret Acrylic Nail Glue. General purpose glues may not provide adequate bonding power.

Don’t Glue Back On if the Nail Is Severely Damaged

If the popped off nail is cracked or missing large pieces, it likely cannot be effectively reattached. Any small gaps underneath can allow air pockets to form, resulting in a weak bond. Trying to salvage a badly damaged acrylic wastes product and time. Start fresh with a new nail instead.

When to See a Professional For Acrylic Nail Repairs

Taking good care of your acrylic nails at home is important, but there are times when it’s best to seek professional help for repairs and maintenance. Consulting a licensed nail technician can save you time, frustration, and even money in the long run.

Here’s some guidance on when it may be time to book an appointment at the salon:

Major Cracks or Breaks

If an acrylic nail breaks off entirely or has a large crack running through it, don’t try to glue it back on yourself. The surface chemistry of professional acrylic products allows for much stronger and durable repairs. Let your nail tech assess the damage and make the proper fix.

They have the right tools, nail glues, and experience for the job.

Lifting Near the Cuticles

Lifted edges around the cuticle area often require filing and reapplication of product for a seamless look. Improper at-home patching can lead to more lifting and create an environment for bacteria and fungus.

Your manicurist can remove any lifting cleanly and prep the nail plate for a fresh application.

Discoloration or Yellowing

Over time, the acrylic can start to yellow from exposure to things like lotions, daily activities, and UV light. While there are some home remedies, the fastest and most effective solution is having a professional buff and clean the nails to restore their natural, healthy appearance.

Excessive Filing Required

If your nail shape has become misshapen or rough with jagged edges, it likely requires extensive filing and shaping. Rather than struggle with delicate acrylic structures, leave it to the experts who can refine the shape with precision.

They’ll also rebalance the length and thickness forsymmetrical nails.

Damage to Natural Nails

If your real nail under the acrylic has become damaged through lifting, over-filing, or improper removal, you should absolutely see a professional. They can assess the nail health and determine the best solution, whether that’s repairing the natural nail, applying nail treatment products, or giving your nails a rest under strengtheners.

Allergic Reaction

In rare cases, people may develop an allergic reaction to acrylic nails or products used during application. Signs are redness, itching, bumps, burning, and pain around the nail or cuticles. Don’t attempt to remove the acrylic yourself, as that could worsen the reaction.

Seek your technician’s expertise to gently remove the product and provide care recommendations.

While DIY acrylic nail care has its place, it’s always best to involve the professionals when true repair work is needed. Don’t be shy about booking appointments specifically for maintenance between fills. Your nail technician can quickly get your hands and nails back into flawless shape.

Consistent salon visits ensure your acrylics stay strong, healthy and gorgeous!

The Takeaway

Gluing an acrylic nail back on can be a great temporary solution if one pops off. With the right products and techniques, you can securely reattach the nail and get more wear out of your set. Here are some key takeaways on re-gluing acrylic nails:

  • Use nail glue specifically formulated for acrylics. Super glue can damage the nail bed.
  • Roughen the underside of the nail and your natural nail so the glue adheres better.
  • Avoid getting glue on your skin or cuticles as it can cause irritation.
  • Hold the nail in place for 60 seconds after applying glue for the strongest hold.
  • Consider filling in gaps between the nail and your natural nail with acrylic powder and liquid.
  • Don’t glue a nail back on more than 2-3 times. The bond won’t be as strong.
  • Remove all glue residue after reattaching the nail to prevent lifting.
  • Monitor the glued nail closely and remove it if you notice any lifting or damage.

While gluing an acrylic nail back on can be a quick fix, it likely won’t last as long as a professionally done set. For the most durable, long-lasting manicure, it’s best to go back to your nail technician to have the nail reapplied or filled.

But in a pinch, gluing can help you safely get more wear out of your manicure.


While gluing a popped-off acrylic nail back on with cyanoacrylate or nail glue can work temporarily, the fix likely won’t last very long before the acrylic nail falls off again. For a more permanent repair, it’s best to go back to your nail salon and have the nail re-applied professionally.

With the right glue and technique, gluing an acrylic nail back on can get you by for a few days until you’re able to see your nail tech. Just don’t expect the DIY fix to be very durable or long-lasting compared to having it repaired at the salon.

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