Can You Get Acrylics On Short Nails?

Undoubtedly, many are blessed with strong, long natural nails. But if you’re anything like us, our perfectly shaped nails are credited to nail extensions.

Whether acrylic nails, gel nails, or dip powder nails, these fake nails are ideal for anyone who wants to add length, strength, and beauty to their nails.

Of the numerous nail options, acrylic is a go-to choice for many. It is made from a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer, which is applied to your nail bed and structured to your desired shape.

However, it requires a bit of length from your natural nails before applying to adhere better.

But can you get acrylics on short nails? Let’s find out.

Can you Get Acrylic on Short Nails?

Yes, acrylic can be applied to short nails without any issues. The length of your nails doesn’t determine your eligibility for acrylics. As long as your nails are healthy and in good condition, you can enjoy the benefits of acrylic nail enhancements regardless of their length.

Your nail tech will tailor their application methods to suit your natural short nails.

Acrylic nails are a suitable option if you have small nail beds, very short nails, or are habitually biting your nails.

Of course, with long nails, your nail technician has more room and precision on your nail bed.

But that shouldn’t rob those with short natural nails of the pleasures of enhancing their natural feminine beauty with perfectly sculptured acrylic nails.

However, are your short nails strong enough to support the weight of acrylics?

Acrylic nails are made by layering acrylic liquid with powder, and this can be heavier than regular polish nails when applied, even worse on brittle nails.

If your real nails are too soft, thin, brittle, or unhealthy, or the surrounding skin is swollen, it can cause more harm than good.

Read also: How much do acrylic nails cost to apply and maintain?

Can You Get Acrylics On Short Nails?

Can you Get Acrylics on Short Bitten Nails?

Nail biting can be a problem over time as you can damage your nails. But, even if your nails have become short from incessant nail biting, you can still get an acrylic manicure. However, it depends on the extent of nail damage.

When nail biters bite into the free edge of their fingers, the nail bed, sidewalks, and cuticles may remain safe.

If your nail plate is not affected by the biting or brittleness, you can get acrylics.

However, an acrylic overlay would be the best option for short-bitten nails if you desire durable nail enhancements.

It can help you stop biting your nails or prevent further damage.

An acrylic overlay on nails should be done on a healthy nail bed and cuticle area. You may need a wider nail bed for acrylic or any fake nail tip.

If you have a small nail bed or soft nails, the nail tip may break easily when the nail bed cannot withhold the weight of the fake tips.

Seeking short nails for acrylics? Then visit your local nail technician.

Related read: Can I paint over green nails?

How Short Can Your Nails Be to Get Acrylics?

Acrylic enhancements must adhere to your natural nails to stay on. So long as your nail plate is not void of nails, acrylics can be applied.

P.S. Your nail plate is the hard surface you see at the end of your fingers.

However, the longer the nail plate, the higher the chances of acrylics sticking to create a strong adhesive bond.

But not everyone can have long nails, and that’s ok. Thankfully, there is no required length for applying acrylics, but it should be 1 millimeter above your cuticle line.

Some technicians prefer to work with short nails as it gives a smoother finish when there is a less natural nail to blend with artificial tips.

Even if you have extremely short bitten nails, you are good to go if there is something to attach the product on.

Acrylic Nail Length

Acrylic nail enhancement has become popular for those who want to add length beyond their natural nails.

They are perfect for people who want the look of long nails or have trouble growing out their nails.

It also allows experimenting with intricate nail designs, stunning nail art, and shapes.

Acrylic manicures come in vast size options, and you make your choice depending on your personal preference.

Short acrylic nails are trending and great for beginners, nail bitters, or if you prefer a short length.

Acrylic faux nails are usually measured in millimeters. From long square nails to short square acrylic nails, medium, or regular, you can customize your length to fit your style.

When choosing your desired length, you must consider your lifestyle, activity level, nail plate shape, and fashion style.

There are two techniques for applying your artificial tip. If you want extra length, your nail tech may glue a tip to the end of your nail bed, apply the acrylic gel, or use a nail form to build the nail tip.

It is removed after the formula is set. You can always change it if the length isn’t working.

What Acrylic Nail Shape is Best for Short Nails?

Acrylic nails offer you different shapes to play around with, but you must figure out which is your right fit.

The best acrylic shape for you depends on the shape and length of your fingers.

Typically, your preferred shape should follow the natural shape of your cuticle line and emphasize your finger shape. 

Curious to know which shape is best for short nails? Read on to find out.

What Acrylic Nail Shape is Best for Short Nails?


The oval is a medium to long nail filed in an egg-like shape. It is perfect for short nails as it makes the nail look longer.


The almond acrylic shape nail is slim on the side with a wide base. It gives a slim look even if you have extremely short wide fingers.


To get this shape, start by filing straight across your free edge, then around the corners in one smooth stroke. It is flattering for short nails because it looks very natural.               

Is It Better to Have Long or Short Nails Before Acrylics? 

It doesn’t matter if you have long or short nails before acrylics. Thankfully, acrylics can be applied to either of them.

Long nails are easier to work with when it comes to acrylics, as there’s a larger area for the acrylic to adhere to.

Also, artificial tips may not be necessary for acrylic application. Plus, your nail technician can get creative with nail shapes and length.

However, when your nails are longer, your nail growth can show underneath the acrylic, making them look tacky without a smoother, cleaner finish.

Also, your nails can look elongated and break easily if caught on something.

Conversely, shorter nails allow more room to play around with, as you can add artificial tips and try many different lengths and shapes.

Also, it gives room for a smoother and cleaner finish as there’s filing during application.

However, short nails are slightly more challenging to apply acrylic as you’ll need enough base and natural nails for the acryl to attach to.

Regardless, your nails should be shorter before your nail appointment. Also, finding a professional nail technician who can work with your natural nails and provide what you want is more important.

How to Apply Acrylic Nails on Short Nails 

Can you get acrylics on short nails? Absolutely! Let’s show you how.

Step 1: Push your cuticles back

To create more surface area on your natural nails for your acrylics, carefully push your cuticles to the base of your nail.

Remove all the dead skin from your nail base ensuring that nothing will interfere with the adhesion of the acrylic.

Next, apply cuticle oil to hydrate and soften your cuticle area.

Step 2: Buff the shine away

Next, use a sanding block or grit file to gently buff the shine and rough edges from your nail to help the acrylic adhere better.

Do this before using a file to lightly file down the side walls and free edge to ensure your nail is completely abrased and in groomed shape. 

Step 3: Wipe away dust

Remove any dust and wipe them down with alcohol to ensure they’re clean and ready to hold your acrylic. 

Step 4: Apply the tips

Once you have selected your acrylic tips, it’s time to apply them. Acrylic nail tips are pre-made designs that cover your natural nail with a thin layer of acrylic.

They are applied using a dot of nail glue and placed over your nail or on top of a clear base coat.

Ensure that the shape of your nail beds matches that of the tip of your acrylics so that it looks natural.

Apply pressure to the nail for seconds to ensure it is secure before moving to the next tip. Afterward, file it to your desired shape. 

Step 5: Dehydrate & prime your nails

Next, apply a nail dehydrator and wait for this to evaporate. Once you’ve done this, apply primer to help eliminate any moisture or oiliness that can prevent your acrylic mixture from sticking or your acrylics from lifting.

Step 6: Apply a sculpting form

Apply an artificial nail sculpting form before the acrylics if you have extremely short nails.

You need to ensure it’s lined up carefully with your nail beds so it doesn’t cover the hyponychium -the exposed skin just under the top edge of your fingernail.

If you discover your surrounding skin gets in the way of closing your nail sculpting form to the size you want, you can carefully cut the sides to ensure it sits closely side-to-side on your nails.

Can You Get Acrylics On Short Nails

Step 7: Apply acrylics

Dip your acrylic brush into your bowl of monomer and subsequently dip into your clear acrylic powder.

Combine your preferred color onto your nails using your applicator brush, or any other substitute for acrylic nail brush starting with a medium-sized bead.

Start from halfway up your natural nail and ensure all areas are covered.

Taking another perfect bead, apply this close to the cuticle of your nails and blend it out carefully over the length of each nail, thinning it out to the end of your tip.

Remember to clean your brush between each bead, dab it in your liquid, and wipe it out on paper. This will ensure your acrylic applies evenly without sticking to and ruining your brush.

If you accidentally get them too long, you can learn how to cut acrylic nails without breaking them.

Step 8: File & buff

Allow the acrylic to dry; file and buff after it’s completely dry. First, take your chosen file and straighten your side walls before running over the top to de-bulk and smoothen. Remember around your cuticle area.

Step 9: Paint 

Finally, design and paint with your normal nail polish or gel polish, apply a top coat, and allow it to dry. You can cure the acrylics applied with a UV lamp or led lamp or by leaving them dry. 

How to Make Short Nails Look Good 

Tips to make your short nails look fabulous.

Keep them manicured

Always take care of your nails regardless of the design or shape. Have them polished, and ensure they’re nicely manicured.

Get rid of excess cuticles and hangnails, and make sure your nail bed is clean. Use hand cream and oils to keep them hydrated and tender.

Go Bold with colors

Having short nails is nothing to cower about. Feel free to use bold, bright colors to make your nails pop and enhance your looks. Avoid messy-looking polish or unattractive nail art.

Hydrate your nails

Your hands come in contact with different things daily and are exposed to wavery temperatures that can damage the nails.

So it’s important to apply oil to nourish and hydrate your nails regularly. 

Pick the right nail shape

Squoval, round, oval-shaped nails are best for short manicures. They give the illusion that your nails are longer. Avoid square and rounded tips, as they make your set look shorter.


Whether you are blessed with a longer length for nails or cannot keep one due to nail biting or any other reason, you can still enjoy acrylic nails.

However, if your nails are unhealthy, broken, too soft, or brittle, it’s best to wait out your nail appointment until it’s healed.

Also, acrylic nails damage your natural nails if it’s poorly applied. So, ensure to follow the steps above carefully.

Finally, don’t hesitate to hit the nail salon if you want a certain length.


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