Acrylic doesn’t wreck your nails, FACT.

Unfortunately with the influx of nail techs over the recent years doing short courses that are inadequate in their content, the majority are under the impression that the product is to blame for any damage you see on the natural nails and that simply isn’t true.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘acrylic wrecks your nails’ you may have even heard the one that goes ‘gel is healthier for your nails’ the truth is that in the UK we favour acrylic as our go to system and if you have had gel applied before it’s traditionally been a soak off / ‘soft gel’ then gel Polish came along and this too being a soak off gel, it’s easy to apply and remove so less damage occurs.

So where does damage come from?

Acrylic Doesnt Wreck your nails, but nail techs can...

If you take a proper look at the image above you may notice the damage (white areas of nail plate layers that have been separated from the rest) starts 1/3 or half way down the nail… this is your first clue.

This tells me that the enhancements were not properly adhered to the nail at zone 3. I deduce this because the nails are relatively in tact at the zone 3 area, no damage means the enhancement coating was never adhered properly in the first place.

You see… nail products are keratin bonding, they make a strong bond (when applied correctly) to the keratin in your nails and grip the top 1 or 2 layers of your natural nail, if that bond didn’t take place properly then the nails will lift quite cleanly, because it didn’t bond properly in the first place.

The damage you then see further into zone 2 and 1, is seen because there is usually no dead skin (cuticle) to remove in this area. Which we all know would cause lifting and it’s also the larger area of nail that nail techs find easy to get to, so tend to place their file to remove shine here first and also place the prep products and primer here first too, so the centre of the nail kinda gets all of the prep and is then able to create a proper bond.

Now, the nail tech when prepping nails, may have been taught (or not guided correctly) to file or etch the nails to create a rough surface for the enhancement product to adhere to. This is overkill! You actually only need to remove the shine from the natural nail and by filing the natural nail you’re removing nail plate layers and thinning out the nail plate- in reality you’re damaging it!

So, if the enhancement lifts at zone 3 on its own, its due to improper prep and adhesion of product. The client thendoes 1 of 2 things:

Leaves them – hair gets caught in the lifted area as they wash their hair, when they go to pick something up their nails bend where the lift is and it hurts a little…

They ‘pull the nails off‘ – in the frustration of having a lift the client seems to love ‘easing’ the nails off altogether,

Both scenarios are very bad news for the natural nails because the nails have only lifted so far, naturally- where they didn’t have the proper bond! The rest of the enhancement has a great bond but is now being tugged and pulled bit by bit off the nail…

The bond that is created between the natural nail and the enhancement (the bond we create during application) is actually stronger than the bond between natural nail plate layers! So guess what- when the enhancement gets pulled off the natural nail, it’s not the bond between the nail and the enhancement that breaks! It’s the bond between natural nail plate layers that breaks first!

All of a sudden it makes sense, right!


So yes, the client has a responsibility here too, but go back to the beginning, if the nail tech does his/her job properly, removes shine instead of filing the nails, to eliminate any damage before it happens, then preps the nail plate properly so lifting doesn’t occur, then no damage can ever occur because if you need to remove the enhancements in the future you’ll soak them off properly in salon and the natural nails won’t have been over filed or put under any pressure during the wearing of them and the nails won’t feel thin or suffer any ill effects.

Want to know more about filing the natural nails during prep? Click here for more insights you really can’t afford to miss!

If this has helped you so leave me a comment or question below. I run classes all the time and a great one to look out for is my Super Skills class, a class I devised through frustrations like the above felt by students over the years who have come to me desperate for help and about to give up.

Check out for more informaton.

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