A close-up photo capturing a hand adorned with acrylic nails, showcasing their impressive length and flawless finish, highlighting the question of extending their lifespan between maintenance sessions.

Can You Make Acrylic Nails Longer Between Fills?

If you love long, beautiful acrylic nails but don’t want to spend too much time and money at the salon, you may be wondering if you can make your acrylic nails longer yourself between fills. The quick answer is yes, you can add length to your acrylic nails on your own with the right products and techniques.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about safely and effectively making your acrylic nail extensions longer between professional fills. Read on to learn about the best DIY methods, what products work best, tips for protecting your natural nails, and more.

Using Nail Glue and Tips

When to Apply New Tips

There are a few instances when you may want to apply new nail tips in between your regular acrylic fills (source):

  • If you have a broken nail and want to repair it quickly.
  • If your natural nails have grown out a lot since your last fill and you want to lengthen them.
  • If you want to change up the shape of your nails.

As a general rule, nail tips should not be applied more frequently than every 2-3 weeks. Doing it more often than that can damage the natural nail. It’s best to time new tips with your regular maintenance appointments.

Choosing the Right Nail Tips

When selecting new nail tips, you’ll want to match them to the size and shape of your natural nail bed as closely as possible (source). Consider the following:

  • Length – Choose a tip that extends just slightly past the nail bed.
  • Width – Select a tip width that matches the widest part of your nail.
  • Curve – Pick a tip with a similar C-curve to your natural nails.

Clear or natural tips are the most versatile options. However, you can also find fun colors and French manicure-style tips. Go with whatever suits your personal style!

Applying the Nail Tips

Follow these steps for proper application (source):

  1. File the surface of your natural nails to remove shine and create texture.
  2. Trim the nail tips to fit the length you want, keeping them slightly longer than the nail bed.
  3. Apply nail glue inside the tip and firmly press onto the nail. Hold for 30 seconds until bonded.
  4. Use clippers to trim any excess tip hanging off the edges.
  5. Shape and file the tips to your desired look.
  6. Apply acrylic or gel over the nail tip as you would during a fill.

Take care not to file the surface of your natural nails too thin or expose them to excess moisture during the application process. Be patient and allow each step to fully dry before moving on. Use an oil-free nail cleanser to prep nails before gluing on the tips.

With the right supplies and some practice, you can easily apply new nail tips at home between salon visits. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you could damage your natural nails. Schedule appointments with your nail tech regularly for fills and maintenance.

With proper care, your lengthened acrylic manicure can last 4-6 weeks!

Filing and Shaping

When your acrylic nails start to grow out after a fill, filing and shaping them properly is key to making them last longer before needing your next appointment. Here are some tips on filing and shaping techniques to extend the life of your acrylic nails between appointments:

Proper Filing Techniques

Using proper filing techniques can help smooth rough or uneven edges on your nails and prevent cracks or breaks. Some good practices include:

  • File nails in one direction, avoiding back and forth “sawing” motions which can weaken nails.
  • Use a light touch and avoid applying too much pressure, which can thin nails.
  • Use a high-quality nail file meant for acrylics rather than a regular emery board.
  • Gently file sidewalls to prevent lifting or catches that could rip off nails.

Shape and Taper Tips

The shape of your nail tips impacts strength. Square tips chip and break more easily. For extra longevity:

  • Shape tips into rounded squovals or soft squares, tapering the edges.
  • Avoid overly sharp points or corners.
  • If you have extra length, filing the underside of tips into a thinner profile can remove weight and prevent cracks.

Maintenance Between Fills

Proper at-home maintenance is crucial for getting more wear time from acrylics. Useful habits include:

  • Apply cuticle oil daily to hydrate nails and skin, preventing lifting and allowing growth.
  • Use a nail file to gently smooth chips or cracks as soon as they occur to stop spreading.
  • Avoid picking at nails as it can expose edges, allowing moisture underneath.
  • Carefully trim any hangnails on natural nails.
  • Protect hands from chemicals in cleaning products by wearing gloves.

With some simple filing techniques and TLC at home, you can tack on a couple extra weeks before your next fill! Using cuticle oil is key for allowing safe growth room between appointments.

Applying Acrylic Powder and Liquid

Products You’ll Need

When making acrylic nails longer between fills, there are some key products you’ll need to have on hand (it’s crucial you use professional-grade items). First, you’ll require an acrylic powder and liquid formulated specifically for nail use – avoid craft acrylics as these are not meant for the nails and can cause damage.

You’ll also need primer to prep the natural nail, tips if adding length, nail forms to sculpt on, acrylic brushes, a nail file, buffer, cuticle pusher, nail cleanser, and nail glue or dehydrator solution.

Mixing the Acrylic

Mixing the acrylic powder and liquid properly is vital for getting an ideal acrylic nail. As a general rule, the mixture should reach a peanut butter-like consistency – thick enough to firmly adhere but not so thick that it can’t be brushed on the nail. To mix:

  • Place a small wet bead of liquid monomer in a suitable dish or on the proper surface.
  • Dip your brush bristles into the monomer so they are nicely saturated but not dripping.
  • Swipe the brush back and forth through some acrylic powder 2-3 times while twisting it to incorporate the powder into the liquid.
  • Do a test before applying by touching the brush to the surface you are working on – it should flow smoothly without being watery.
  • Add more powder or liquid as needed to achieve the right viscosity.

Take care not to over-saturate the brush or allow the mixture to be too wet as this can lead to cracking or lifting of the acrylic nail.

Applying the Acrylic

When ready to apply, work systematically on one nail at a time:

  • Prep the natural nail plate properly and apply dehydrator/primer.
  • Size and customize the nail tip if adding length.
  • Adhere the sized nail tip securely with acrylic or nail glue.
  • Apply acrylic to the cuticle area first using the brush in a gentle sweeping motion to create a tight seal.
  • Work the acrylic up over the entire nail from cuticle to free edge, brushing back and forth to get an even coverage.
  • Shape and refine with gentle filing once hardened.
  • Buff for a smooth, shiny finish.

Take care with each step above to prevent cracking or lifting. Let the acrylic fully cure between coats and avoid applying too thick. Using quality professional nail products is also key for getting a durable, long-lasting acrylic nail when making them longer between fills.

With the right technique and items, adding length with acrylic is totally achievable!

Caring for Your Nails Between Fills

Moisturizing Your Nails

Keeping your natural nails moisturized between acrylic fills is crucial to prevent cracking and breakage. Massage a rich cuticle oil or butter into the nail beds and cuticles at least twice per day. Products with vitamin E, jojoba oil, and shea butter work wonders.

You can also apply a thick, nourishing hand cream after washing hands. Drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet with vitamins/minerals also keeps nails healthy.

Avoiding Damage

Be extra careful with your nail enhancements to avoid cracks, chips, and breaks which could lead to lifting or infections. Try to avoid using your nails as tools to pick, pry, scrape things. Wear gloves when doing housework and garden work.

File nails properly straight across to keep stress off the corners. Don’t pick at your enhancements. And absolutely do not try to remove them yourself between appointments!

When to Remove and Replace

Generally it’s best to go back to the salon every 2-3 weeks for a fill appointment to maintain the look and health of your enhancements. If more than 50% of natural nail is exposed at cuticle area, it’s definitely time for a new set.

According to Nail Care HQ, other reasons to remove and replace nails include:

  • Lifting of the artificial nail from natural nail more than 3mm
  • Greenish hue, odor or drainage indicating possible infection
  • Too much forward growth causing length discrepancies
  • Thinning, cracking, splitting or other damage of the acrylic nail

Want to keep those fabulous nails looking their best? Stick to your appointment schedule, properly care for nails daily, and replace sets when needed.


With the right supplies and techniques, you can successfully add length to your acrylic nails yourself between salon fills. This allows you to enjoy long nails without spending too much time and money at the nail salon. Just be sure to work carefully and avoid damage to the natural nail.

Moisturize daily and properly remove and replace as needed. With practice, making your acrylics longer on your own can be easy and rewarding!

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