A close-up photograph showcasing an array of acrylic nails, featuring various shapes, lengths, and designs, capturing the diversity and creativity in nail art.

A Comprehensive Guide To Different Types Of Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails have become an extremely popular nail enhancement option for women around the world who want beautiful, stylish fingernails. If you’re considering getting acrylics but are unsure where to start, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about the different types of acrylic nails available.

If you’re short on time, here are the main acrylic nail options: classic full cover acrylics, acrylic overlays, acrylic tips, color powder acrylics, and French tip acrylics. Read on to learn about the durability, maintenance needs, and costs associated with each acrylic nail variety.

Full Cover Acrylic Nails

What Are Full Cover Acrylic Nails

Full cover acrylic nails, also called acrylic overlays or tips, are a popular nail enhancement where an artificial nail is applied over the entire natural nail for a complete makeover. The acrylic overlay covers the whole nail plate and extends just past the tip of the finger, creating an instant elongation and makeover for nails.

Full covers allow for immense creativity and customization thanks to their larger surface area. You can go for a stylish French manicure, fun prints and patterns, glitters, rhinestones, chrome powder, and more design options to elevate your look.

Durability and Maintenance

Full cover acrylics are extremely durable and long-lasting compared to many other artificial nail options. The acrylic polymer and monomer powder creates a hard, protective shell once applied and cured under a UV or LED lamp. Most sets can last over a month with proper care and maintenance.

To keep them looking freshly done, be gentle with your nails, moisturize every day, avoid picking at them, and go for touch up appointments every 2-3 weeks. Acrylics should be soaked off only by a professional to avoid damage.

With a bit of TLC, you can rock lengthy, strong and stylish full cover acrylics for weeks at a time!


A full set of acrylic overlays costs $40-$85 on average at most salons in the United States. The price varies depending on your location, the salon’s expertise, how elaborate your design is, and any extras like art or rhinestones. Touch up appointments every 2-4 weeks generally range from $30-$50.

While not the cheapest option for false nails, full cover acrylics provide durability and customization that makes them well worth the investment for most acrylic nail lovers. With the right maintenance routine, they can last 4-6 weeks at a time, making them very cost effective.

According to a 2022 survey by Nailsearch, 65% of respondents said acrylic overlays were their favorite nails for value and longevity.

Acrylic Overlays

What Are Acrylic Overlays

Acrylic overlays are a type of artificial nail enhancement applied over the natural nail for a polished, professional look. They consist of a lightweight acrylic blend shaped and sculpted over the natural nail bed to add length, thickness, and strength.

Unlike nail tips or full sets, overlays only cover the surface of the nails, not the entire nail plate. The acrylic mixture bonds securely to the natural nail, providing a protective shield that helps prevent cracking and breaking.

Durability and Maintenance

Properly applied acrylic overlays can last over three weeks on most people before a fill or new application is needed. Their durability depends on several factors:

  • Application technique – Proper sculpting and filing provides maximum longevity.
  • Nail tech expertise – An experienced professional provides the best application.
  • Aftercare – Avoiding chips and breaks extends wear.
  • Lifestyle – Hard use shortens wear time.

To get the most wear time, avoid picking at the enhancements and use cuticle oil daily. Fill appointments every 2-3 weeks help maintain a flawless appearance.


A full set of acrylic overlays costs $30-$80 on average depending on the salon and location. Simple designs or natural colors are less expensive than detailed nail art or embellishments like crystals or glitter.

Maintenance fills every 2-3 weeks typically run $20-$45. Most salons offer loyalty programs to help regular customers save money on manicures.

Compared to other enhancement options, overlays are very economical. Their customized application uses less product than tips or forms, keeping material costs lower.

Acrylic Nail Tips

What Are Acrylic Nail Tips

Acrylic nail tips are pre-shaped artificial nails that are glued onto the end of the natural nail before acrylic powder and liquid are applied over them. They form the foundation for building an acrylic nail extension, providing structure and strength to the acrylic before it is sculpted into the desired shape.

The tips are made of lightweight plastics like ABS plastic or polymer powder, making them durable yet flexible. They come in a variety of shapes like square, round, squoval, ballerina/coffin, and pointed for different nail looks. Most sets provide tips of different sizes to fit each nail bed.

Durability and Maintenance

With proper application and maintenance, acrylic nails with tips can last 2-3 weeks on average. The durability depends on factors like:

  • Quality application by a skilled nail technician to avoid lifting or cracking
  • Using quality nail glue and acrylic products when applying tips
  • Avoiding excessive water exposure for long periods to prevent moisture from seeping underneath
  • Gently filing the surface if it begins feeling rough, never picking at it

It’s important to give nails a breather between sets and keep them conditioned with jojoba oil or vitamin E. Removing enhancements properly without damaging the natural nail is also key for health and regrowth.


A full set of acrylics with tips costs $30-$80 on average depending on the salon, technician’s experience level, extras like art or gems, and where you live. Fills needed every 2-3 weeks typically run $25-$50.

While DIY sets from drugstores are cheaper, around $10-$30, professional application is best for proper bonding, shaping, and longevity.

Service Low Range Cost High Range Cost
Full Set $30 $80
Fill $25 $50
DIY Set $10 $30

Color Powder Acrylics

What Are Color Powder Acrylics

Color powder acrylics are a popular type of acrylic nail that uses colored acrylic powder to create fun and vibrant nail looks. The technician mixes the acrylic powder with a liquid monomer to create a thick, spreadable acrylic mixture.

This acrylic blend is then applied on the natural nail and shaped as desired. Color powders come in every shade imaginable, allowing for unlimited design options. From bright neons to sheer nudes, color powder acrylics offer versatility for nail art.

Durability and Maintenance

Color powder acrylics are known for their durability and long-lasting wear. The acrylic powder creates a hard, protective layer over the natural nail that is resistant to chipping, cracking, and breakage. Most fills last between 2-3 weeks before needing maintenance.

To keep color powder acrylics looking fresh, be sure to avoid picking at the nails as this can cause lifting. Use cuticle oil daily to hydrate the nail bed. Salon removal is recommended every 2-3 months as rebalancing the nail structure helps prevent damage.

While acrylics are durable, they can still be prone to breakage with trauma or improper application. Be gentle with the nails and avoid using them as tools. Seek professional assistance for any repairs to avoid further damage.

Overall, with proper care and maintenance, color powder acrylics can last over a month on most clients.


On average, a full set of color powder acrylic nails costs $50-$85 with prices varying by location. Initial application takes 1-2 hours. Fills needed every 2-3 weeks cost around $30-$55 and take less time.

The cost reflects the high-quality products and specialized technique required for application and removal. While pricier than a simple polish change, color powder acrylics provide long-lasting color with minimal maintenance between salon visits.

Many factors affect the price including:

  • Salon’s overhead costs
  • Technician’s level of experience and expertise
  • Extent of nail art and design
  • Cost of living in the area

Clients can offset costs by spacing out fills to every 3 weeks instead of 2 if the grow-out is minimal. Also, choosing a shorter length or fewer colors decreases application time. While color powder acrylics require an initial investment, their longevity compared to simple polish makes them a cost-effective option for stylish nails.

French Tip Acrylics

What Are French Tip Acrylics

French tip acrylic nails are a popular nail design where the tips of the nails are painted white, while the rest of the nail remains bare or has a sheer pink or nude polish. The white tip is meant to resemble the lunar arc, the white crescent shape at the base of the natural nail.

This clean, classic look frames the nail bed beautifully.

Acrylic is a liquid and powder polymer mix used to extend natural nails. The acrylic is applied over the nail and shaped into a tip. Then the white French edge is painted on the end to create the signature French manicure style.

Acrylic French tips are more durable and longer-lasting than regular polish.

Durability and Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of acrylic French tip nails is their strength and durability. The acrylic polymer creates a hardened, protective layer over the natural nail that resists chipping, cracking and breaking far better than polish alone.

This makes acrylics last 2-3 weeks on average before needing fills, compared to 1 week for regular polish.

Proper maintenance is key to maximizing how long acrylics last. Using cuticle oil daily keeps the nail beds hydrated. Filling in growth and cracks every 2-3 weeks prevents lifting and damage. Avoid picking at the nails as this can lead to infections.

Seek professional removal instead of pulling off acrylics yourself which can tear the natural nail.


A full set of acrylic French tip nails costs $30-$80 on average depending on your location and the salon’s expertise. Fills needed every 2-4 weeks typically run $20-$45. While pricier than an at-home manicure, acrylics last longer and look more professional than regular polish.

Many feel the investment pays off for durable, beautiful nail art.

Some tips for keeping costs down: Look for salon deals like first-time customer or birthday discounts. Avoid extra embellishments like rhinestones or nail art on every fill. Stay diligent with fill appointments to prevent costly repairs from damage.


As you can see, acrylic nails come in a variety of options to match different budgets, lifestyle needs, and nail styles. Full cover acrylics and acrylic overlays provide complete nail coverage and long-lasting wear, while options like tips, color powders, and French manicures offer more versatility in look and less maintenance between fills.

Now that you know the differences between the types of acrylics available, you can decide which option best fits your needs and preferences. Consult with a skilled nail technician to get their recommendation based on your nail health and desired results.

With proper application and care, acrylic nails can allow you to have beautiful, head-turning nails for weeks at a time.

Similar Posts