A close-up shot captures a hand with chipped and overgrown nails, showcasing the need for a nail fill. Faded nail polish and rough cuticles hint at neglected self-care.

How Much Does A Nail Fill Cost? A Detailed Look

Getting your nails done can be an indulgent treat, but regular upkeep with nail fills can really add up. If you’ve ever wondered just how much a basic nail fill costs, you’re not alone!

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average cost of a basic nail fill in the U.S. is $25-$45.

What is a Nail Fill?

A nail fill is a quick touch-up of grown out acrylic or gel nails. It doesn’t include new polish or design. As our nails grow out, the acrylic or gel starts to separate from the natural nail, leaving gaps near the cuticle and tip. A fill helps to fill these gaps and reinforce the enhancement.

Quick touch-up of grown out acrylic or gel nails

Acrylic and gel nail enhancements typically last 2-3 weeks before needing a fill. As the natural nail grows out, the product begins to lift and separate. Having a regular fill keeps enhancements looking fresh and avoids damage to the natural nail.

During a fill, the technician will:

  • File and shape the nail surface to remove any lifted product
  • Gently push back and trim away product overgrown on the cuticle
  • Apply new acrylic or gel product to fill in gaps near cuticle and free edge
  • File and shape nails to desired length and shape

Fills take less time than a full set application. They maintain the strength and structure of the enhancements between full sets.

Doesn’t include new polish or design

A basic nail fill focuses on reinforcing the enhancement only. It doesn’t include taking off old polish, applying new polish or new nail art. Many salons charge extra for these add-on services.

You can opt for polish and art changes at the time of your fill or in between fills when the polish starts to chip or fade.

Some reasons to get a fill without new polish:

  • To allow nails to “breathe” and recover from constant polish/remover exposure
  • To avoid charging extra costs when polish isn’t needed yet
  • To save time if you’re in a rush

Fresh polish can always be added anytime for an instant style change!

Cost Factors That Impact a Nail Fill Price

Salon Location

Where you get your nail fill done can significantly impact the price. Salons in major cities and upscale neighborhoods tend to charge more due to higher rents and labor costs. Expect fills to be cheaper in suburban and rural areas.

For example, a fill in New York City or San Francisco may run $30-50 while the same service could cost $15-25 in a small town.

Technician’s Experience Level

The more experienced and skilled the nail technician, the pricier the fill. Technicians with 10+ years under their belt and lots of training can command rates at the top of the market. Recent graduates and beginners charge less as they build up their portfolio and expertise.

Make sure to review the technician’s credentials if the price seems above average.

Salon Amenities and Services

Upscale salons with luxury features like massage chairs, complimentary beverages, and aesthetician services often charge more across the board, including for nail fills. A fill at a no-frills nail salon may only set you back $15 compared to $40+ at a high-end spot.

Consider what amenities matter to you when choosing where to go.

Fill on Natural Nails vs. Acrylics or Gels

Service Average Price
Natural Nail Fill $15-30
Acrylic Fill $25-45
Gel Fill $30-50

Filling and shaping grown-out acrylic or gel manicures takes more time, products, and technical skill. This gets reflected in the higher price range. Going with regular polish on your natural nails is the most budget-friendly option.

How Long It’s Been Since Your Last Fill

The longer you wait between fills, the more your manicurist has to file down and reshape overgrown nails. Quick check-ins for fills every 2-3 weeks can stay on the lower end cost-wise, while leaving it longer stretches the appointment to more labor and supplies.

For natural nails growing slowly, 4 weeks may only add $5 versus people with fast-growing nails facing $15+ for a long overdue acrylic fill.

Average Costs for a Basic Nail Fill

Fills at Home vs. at a Salon

Getting your nails filled at home can save you money, but may not last as long or look as professional as getting them done at a salon. Here’s a comparison:

  • At home fill cost: $0 to $30 for supplies. But results may not last as long.
  • Salon fill cost: $15 to $50 depending on location and type of salon. Will look more professional and last 2-3 weeks.

Average Salon Fill Costs by State

According to 2021 data from national beauty publications, the average cost of a basic nail fill at a salon ranges from $18 to $35, with the average around $25. However, costs can vary widely by state and region.

California $30
New York $28
Texas $22
Florida $26

Discount Salons vs. High-End Salons

You can pay even less by going to a discount nail salon like Happy Nails or Pro Nails. High-end salons like Salon Z can charge up to 2X more. For example:

  • Discount salon fill cost: $15 to $22
  • High-end salon fill cost: $35 to $50

High-end salons use higher quality polish, tools, and nail technicians, resulting in longer-lasting fills. But discount salons can still do a decent job at a fraction of the price. The average cost difference is around $15 to $25 per fill.

Add-Ons That Increase the Price

Polish change

Changing up your nail polish color is one of the most popular add-ons at a nail salon. The base price of a standard manicure or pedicure usually only includes one color of polish. If you want to switch to a different color, most salons charge an additional $5-10 to change the polish.

Some reasons you may want to pay extra to change up your polish:

  • You don’t like the original color chosen and want something different
  • You want color on your fingers and toes to match your outfit
  • It’s fun to experiment with seasonal trend colors

While a polish change add-on isn’t prohibitively expensive, choosing more elaborate nail art or designs can significantly increase the cost of your nail service.

Nail art or designs

Intricate nail art and designs are having a major moment right now. Everything from delicate flowers to abstract shapes and rhinestone embellishments can take a basic manicure to the next level.

Depending on the skill and time required, most salons charge between $5-25 per nail for custom nail art. Some popular nail design add-on options include:

  • Rhinestones or studs – $5-10 per nail
  • Hand-painted art like flowers or landscapes – $10+ per nail
  • Chrome or holographic powders for glittery accent nails – $7-15 per nail
  • Geometric shapes or French tips – $7+ per nail
  • Gel or dip powder extensions for length and durability – $15+ per nail

While glamorous, keep in mind extremely complex designs can take 1-2 hours of skilled labor per set – significantly adding to the cost. ⏰

Paraffin wax treatment

Paraffin wax treatments involve dipping your hands or feet into melted paraffin wax for 15-30 minutes. The wax hardens into a mitt around the skin, locking in moisture and nutrients. The treatment moisturizes skin, increases blood circulation, and exfoliates dead cells to leave skin exceptionally soft and supple.

Most nail salons charge around $15-25 for a standalone paraffin wax treatment. Luxury spas or salons located in high-rent districts may charge even more. While not technically polish or a design add-on, paraffin treatments are a popular way to enhance your standard mani/pedi.

Gel or acrylic overlay

Gel manicures and acrylics use a hard resin overlay on the natural nail for extended wear and chip-resistant color. Since these services require more product, labor, and curing/drying time under special lights, they cost more than a standard polish change.

On average, a gel manicure add-on runs $15-25 on top of a basic manicure. For acrylic overlays with sculpted nail tips, add $45-65+ per set according to industry surveys. (source)

Pros of gel add-ons include longer lasting color with no chips for 2+ weeks and stronger nails. The main downsides are higher cost and the time-intensive removal process which can damage nails long-term.

Tips for Saving on Fills

Loyalty programs and packages

Many nail salons offer loyalty programs or package deals that can help you save money on fills over time. Signing up for their rewards program or purchasing a package of multiple fills upfront can score you discounts of 10-20% off each appointment.

Some salons allow you to pre-pay for your next 5 or 10 fills and lock in the current price, protecting you from future price increases. Many technicians offer additional perks like free add-ons or product discounts to repeat clients as well. It pays to be a loyal customer!

Seek out nail tech students

Students at beauty schools often offer significantly lower prices on services as they build their skills and clientele. While you may sacrifice some fancier techniques and a bit of speed, students are supervised by experienced instructors and the savings can be substantial.

Some schools even have student clinics where services are offered at up to 75% off salon prices. Call local cosmetology schools in your area to ask about availability and pricing.

Time fill with other appointments

You can maximize your time and money by booking your fill at the same time as another maintenance appointment. For example, schedule your manicure on the same day as your haircut or right before your eyebrow waxing. Knocking out multiple appointments back-to-back means you only have to make one trip.

Some salons may even offer you a small discount for pairing two services together.

Extend time between fills

While most technicians recommend fills every 2-3 weeks, you may be able to stretch that timeframe longer depending on how fast your natural nails grow and how particular you are about perfection. An extra week or two between appointments can really add up in savings over the course of a year.

Just be cautious not to go too long between fills or the regrowth may become unmanageable. Aim for every 3-4 weeks if your nails will allow it.


While a basic nail fill may cost $25-$45 on average, many factors influence the price at different salons. With nail salon loyalty programs, student techs, and other tips, you may be able to save on the cost of your fills without sacrificing quality.

Knowing the typical fill cost range can help you budget for regular manicure maintenance. But don’t be afraid to shop around if one salon’s prices seem too high!

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