why do my acrylic nails keep popping off

Why Do My Acrylic Nails Keep Popping Off?

Acrylic nails, the go-to choice for an instant beauty boost, are a hit. But they can also turn notorious, coming off when you least expect. 

Just when you’re looking glam for the photo, BOOM, one nail decides to go solo. So, why do my acrylic nails keep popping off? 

Well, multiple culprits are at large here, but fear not! 

This article is your secret weapon, a vault of insider tips and tricks to keep acrylic nails from popping off.

Let’s dive right in;

Why Do My Acrylic Nails Keep Popping Off?

The main reason acrylic nails often come off is the failure to use nail primers during application. Nail primer improves adhesion between the natural nail and the overlay nails. Forgetting to apply primer can result in poor bonding, leading to frequent nail pop-offs. 

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Before I delve into why acrylic nails pop off, let’s understand what they are.

Acrylics are artificial nail enhancements that spruce up your natural nails, boosting their look and strength.

Their design focuses on maximizing the durability and attractiveness of your natural nails.

They are created by combining a liquid monomer and an acrylic powder to form a thick, malleable substance you can shape, sculpt, and harden.

Acrylic nails offer a wide range of customizable options in length, shape, and color. They are favored for their durability and ability to withstand daily activities.

Properly wearing acrylic nails can effortlessly enhance the appearance of your nails.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Do Acrylic Nails Break Easily?

Acrylic nails do not break easily due to their strength and durability. They are less prone to breaking compared to natural nails.

However, acrylic nails still break under certain circumstances.

Factors such as excessive force or improper maintenance weaken the acrylic and increase its susceptibility to breaking. 

Additionally, if the acrylic nails are longer or not properly applied, they become more prone to breaking.

13 Reasons Why My Acrylic Nails Keep Popping Off

1. Poor nail preparation 

Before the acrylic nail process, the natural nail is filed to remove the shine and create a rough surface. This process aids in better adhesion of the acrylic. 

The nail plate is then cleansed and dehydrated to remove oils and residue, ensuring optimal bonding.

Failing to follow these steps compromise the bond between the natural nail and the acrylic, resulting in pop-offs.

To properly prepare nails for acrylic application, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any existing polish or coatings from the nails.
  2. Gently file the surface of the nails using a fine-grit nail file to create texture.
  3. Use a nail brush to clean away any dust or debris from filing.
  4. Apply a nail dehydrator or cleansing solution to remove oils and residue from the nails.
  5. Allow the nails to dry.

Also read: How long does it take to get acrylic nails?

Consequences of poor nail preparation: Inadequate adhesion, lifting of the acrylic, and premature pop-offs. Natural oils on the nail surface hinder effective acrylic adhesion.

Solution: Clean, dehydrate, and texture the nails before applying acrylic enhancements.

Proper nail preparation improves adhesion and reduces pop-offs. Seek help from a nail technician if needed.

2. Skipping the primer

After nail preparation, a thin primer layer is applied to the natural nail. The primer enhances the adhesion of the acrylic to the nail, acting as a bonding agent.

It creates a strong and sturdy foundation, ensuring the acrylic nails adhere well and has a longer lifespan.

Consequences of incorrect application technique:

  1. Poor adhesion: Weak bond between the natural nail and the acrylic.
  2. Lifting and pop-offs: The acrylic nails are more likely to lift or pop off prematurely.
  3. Shorter lifespan: This may require more frequent repairs or replacements.

Solution: To ensure a strong bond, apply the primer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Go to a nail professional and ask for help. 

3. Unhealthy nails

Unhealthy nails lead to acrylic nails popping off. By prioritizing nail health, you can reduce the risk of premature acrylic nails popping off and enjoy long-lasting, beautiful results.

Causes of unhealthy nails:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies
  2. Poor nail hygiene
  3. Excessive exposure to water and chemicals
  4. Underlying health conditions, i.e., hormonal imbalances or autoimmune disorders.
  5. Trauma or injury to the nails

Common signs of unhealthy nails:

  1. Brittle or weak nails
  2. Discoloration or yellowing
  3. Peeling or splitting nails
  4. Nail ridges or grooves
  5. Inflammation or infection around the nails

Prevention and care for unhealthy nails:

  1. Maintain a balanced diet of vitamins and minerals.
  2. Keep nails clean and dry, and minimize exposure to water and harsh chemicals.
  3. Moisturize nails and cuticles regularly.
  4. Use proper nail tools. 
  5. Protect nails from trauma or injury.

Solution: For healthy nails, determine the underlying causes and initiate treatment. Seek medical attention if the symptoms persist. 

4. Poor-quality acrylic nails

Using low-quality acrylic nails can lead to weaker adhesion and increased chances of them popping off. 

Quality acrylic nails are made with high-grade materials, ensuring durability and proper adhesion.

Opting for quality acrylic nails allows you to enjoy long-lasting results.

How to recognize poor-quality nails:

  1. Cheap and unusually low-priced acrylic nail products.
  2. Nails with a strong odor or emitting unpleasant fumes during application.
  3. Nails that appear brittle, thin, or have inconsistent color.
  4. Lack of information or unclear labeling on the product packaging.

Consequences of using poor quality acrylic nails:

  1. Weak adhesion: Poor quality nails may not adhere properly to the natural nails, leading to lifting and pop-offs.
  2. Reduced durability: Low-quality nails are more prone to breakage and chipping, resulting in a shorter lifespan.
  3. Increased risk of allergic reactions: Inferior materials can trigger allergic reactions or skin irritations.

Solution: Opt for high-quality acrylic nails from reputable brands or suppliers. These nails are formulated with superior materials, ensuring better adhesion and longevity. 

Review product reviews, seek professional recommendations, and invest in reliable acrylic nails.

Also, often clean your acrylic nails properly. If you do not know how to, our article, how to clean fake nails will be of great help.

5. Weak nails

Weak nails are frustrating and prone to pop-offs. They have a compromised structure and reduced strength, making it more challenging for acrylic nails to adhere to the nail plate.

This weakened foundation increases the risk of acrylic nails lifting after two weeks and popping off prematurely.

Causes of weak nails:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies, such as lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
  2. Excessive use of harsh nail products or frequent manicures.
  3. Aging, as nails, tend to become weaker and more brittle over time.
  4. Health conditions like thyroid disorders or anemia.
  5. Environmental factors, such as excessive exposure to water or chemicals.

Ways to strengthen nails:

  1. Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients like biotin, vitamins A and E, and iron.
  2. Keep nails moisturized and hydrated.
  3. Opt for gentle nail products.
  4. Use nail strengtheners or protective coatings.
  5. Protect your nails during household chores.

How to care for nails after acrylic removal:

  1. Take a break from acrylics to allow your nails to regenerate and strengthen naturally. Find out how long you should let your nails breathe between acrylics.
  2. Trim and file your nails to prevent snagging and breakage.
  3. Moisturize nails and cuticles to maintain hydration.
  4. Use a gentle nail polish remover.
  5. Use nail and cuticle oil to nourish and strengthen nails.

Solution: Adopt a comprehensive nail care routine to promote strength and prevent breakage. After removing acrylic nails, focus on post-care measures to maintain nail health.

Interesting read: Do salons remove acrylic nails?

6. Exposure to water and chemicals

Excessive exposure to water and harsh chemicals affects the durability and longevity of acrylic nails. As a result, the nails become weaker.

These factors cause the acrylic to soften, lift, or break;

  1. Frequent hand washing: Exposing your acrylic nails to water can soften and weaken them, leading to poor adhesion and reduced durability.
  2. Harsh chemicals: Using strong chemicals like cleaning products or beauty items damages and weakens acrylic.
  3. Physical trauma: Activities such as typing, sports, or manual labor can cause damage to your acrylic nails, making them susceptible to breakage or detachment.

Solution: Safeguard your acrylic nails from water and chemicals. Consider wearing gloves and using nail-safe products.

Additionally, taking proper care of your acrylic nails will help minimize the risk of pop-offs or other forms of damage.

why do my acrylic nails keep popping off

7. Your nails are too short or too long

The length of your natural nails plays a crucial role in the application and longevity of acrylic nails.

If your natural nails are short, it can be challenging for acrylics to adhere. Enough surface area is necessary for them to stay in place.

On the other hand, long nails are more prone to breakage, causing the acrylic nails to lift or snap off. 

The natural nails should extend down the free edge and slightly beyond the fingertip. This will provide a better bonding surface and minimize the risk of pop-offs.


  1. If your nails are too short, grow them to a moderate length before applying acrylics.
  2. Moisturize and protect them for healthy growth.
  3. If they are too long, trim them before application, ensuring even filing and shaping for a balanced and appealing outcome.

8. Using your nails as tools

Do not use your acrylic nails for things like opening packages, scratching surfaces, or prying objects. This puts too much pressure on them, and they could break.

This exerts excessive pressure on the nails, increasing the likelihood of breakage.

This weakens the bond between acrylic and natural nails, making them more prone to lifting or popping off prematurely.

Using the appropriate tools for different tasks is essential to protect your acrylic nails. They help distribute force evenly and reduce the acrylic damage risk.

By using appropriate tools instead of your nails, you maintain the integrity of the acrylic nails and minimize the chances of pop-offs.

Solution: Use designated tools for various activities instead of relying on your acrylic nails. Keep scissors, letter openers, and other tools handy to perform these tasks.

9. An incorrect acrylic mix ratio

The liquid and powder components are combined to apply a paste-like substance to the nails.

The recommended mix ratio for acrylic nails is 1.5 parts liquid to 1 part powder.

The correct ratio ensures long-lasting acrylic nails, sticking better and not easily coming off.

Consequences of incorrect mix ratio: If the ratio of liquid to powder is too wet, it results in a weak and brittle enhancement prone to breakage.

If the mix is too dry, it leads to a lumpy and uneven surface. This will affect the appearance and durability of these synthetic nails.

Read the directions on the container of acrylic paint.

Solution: To ensure the correct mix ratio, measure the liquid and powder according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Add the liquid to the powder while mixing until you get a smooth and workable consistency.

Only add a little liquid or powder at a time, as it leads to an imbalanced mix. Practice and experiment to find your ideal mix ratio.

10. You’ve waited too long between fills

Acrylic nails grow with natural nails, creating a gap near the cuticle area.

Regular fill appointments before replacing the tips ensure a strong bond between the natural nail and the acrylic enhancement. 

Have regular nail fill-ups to keep your acrylic nails looking good and strong. (Find out how many nail refills can you get before replacing your tips.)

Consequences of acrylics growing out: Waiting too long between fills results in longer acrylic nails. The gap between the real and fake nails will increase, weakening the overall structure. 

This increases the risk of lifting, breaking, or even pop-offs of the acrylic nails.

Delaying fills for an extended period compromises the structural integrity and longevity of the acrylic nails. 

Frequency for filling appointments:

The recommended frequency is every 2 to 3 weeks. This timeframe allows for timely maintenance and ensures the acrylic nails are filled. 

Solution: Schedule regular fill-in acrylic appointments with the technician to prevent acrylic nails from popping off.

11. Your nail bed is too thick

Nail beds naturally vary in thickness due to genetics, individual anatomy, and overall nail health.

Some individuals naturally have thicker nail beds, while others have thin nails.

A thicker nail bed presents challenges when applying acrylic nails. The thicker the nail bed, the more difficult it is to achieve proper adhesion between the natural nail and the acrylic enhancement.

The increased thickness creates a gap or lack of contact, weakening bonding and potential pop-offs.

Achieving a strong bond between acrylic and thick nail beds can be challenging due to insufficient surface area for adhesion.

The thicker nail bed may not provide enough grip, leading to a weaker bond and reduced durability.

Insufficient bonding between acrylic and thick nail beds results in lifting, popping off, or improper adhesion of acrylic nails.

The lack of a secure bond compromises the longevity and stability of the acrylic nails, increasing the risk of premature pop-offs.

Solution: Consider gentle filing or buffing to address thick nail beds and improve acrylic nail adhesion.

This process helps to reduce the thickness of the nail bed, creating a smoother and more even surface for the acrylic to adhere to. 

Exercise caution and use gentle techniques to protect the natural nail. Seek professional assistance or refer to reputable resources for filing and buffing techniques.

12. Incorrect removal technique

Trying to peel or pick at your acrylic nails causes damage to the underlying nail and can be painful.

Such damage results in thinning, weakening, or even trauma to the nail bed, making it challenging for future acrylics to adhere properly.

The irregular surface created by improper removal hinders the bond between the natural nail and the new acrylic enhancements.

Proper steps to remove acrylic nails:

  1. File the top layer of the acrylic nails gently using a coarse nail file. This step helps break the seal and remove the shine from the acrylic surface.
  2. Soak the nails in an acetone nail polish remover bowl for 10-15 minutes to loosen the acrylic. Here is an article on how long you should soak acrylic nails in acetone.
  3. Remove the softened acrylic away from the nail bed after soaking using a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick.
  4. Repeat the soaking process if any residue remains, and gently remove the remaining acrylic.
  5. Once the acrylic is fully removed, moisturize the nails and cuticles with a nourishing oil or cream.

Ways to remove acrylic nails safely at home:

  1. Use cotton balls soaked in acetone or acetone wraps for easier removal of acrylic nails.
  2. Consider using acetone-soaked cotton balls or acetone wraps to provide direct contact with the acrylic and facilitate removal.
  3. When you work with acetone, ensure safety. Ensure the area is well-ventilated, and do not let it touch your skin or eyes.

Solution: Take off acrylic nails correctly. This helps keep your natural nails safe and prevent damage.

Read also: Do nail salons take off acrylics?

If you need help removing acrylic nails, ask for help from a nail technician.

13. Medical conditions

Psoriasis or eczema causes changes to your nails. Your nails might become thicker, weaker, or have inflammation.

Certain conditions weaken nails, increasing the likelihood of breakage or chipping and making acrylic enhancements more prone to coming off.

Infections in the cuticle area also compromise the health of the nails and increase the risk of pop-offs.

Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs or antibiotics, may have side effects that impact nail health.

These side effects include weakening, discoloration, or changes in the structure of the nails.

Weakened nails due to medication decrease adhesion and increase vulnerability to pop-offs.

Ways to address underlying medical conditions and improve nail health:

  1. Seek medical advice: If you have nail problems, talk to a doctor or nurse. They help you find out why and give you treatment.
  2. Follow prescribed treatments: Follow your doctor’s advice. Take the medicines and do the treatments they say to help with your medical condition.
  3. Adopt healthy habits: Eat healthy food to stay healthy. Drink lots of water. Reduce stress. Take good care of your nails.
  4. Protect and nourish nails: Keep your nails clean. Put lotion on them to keep them healthy. Protect them from harmful situations.

Solution: Treating medical problems help strengthen your nails and prevent them from breaking off.

Consult with nail technicians or doctors who can provide you with appropriate advice. 

why do my acrylic nails keep popping off?

Acrylic Nails Concerns

Acrylic nails are stylish and long-lasting. However, there are common concerns regarding their durability.

Acrylic nails coming off after 2 days.

Improper attachment or inadequate nail preparation can result in acrylic nails popping off within two days.

Waiting too long for the glue to dry or forgetting to clean your nails before applying the glue can result in your acrylic nails coming off.

Acrylic nails coming off after a week.

Frequent handwashing, swimming, or long baths can cause damage to acrylic nails.

Failure to follow proper steps when getting acrylic nails and having long or thin natural nails result in a shorter lifespan for the acrylic nails.

How to Keep Acrylic Nails From Popping Off

1. Fill and shape your nails properly: Proper filing and shaping of your natural nails create a strong foundation for acrylic nails. Fill the edges of your nails to smooth out any roughness, then shape them to your desired style.

2. Keep your nails hydrated: Dry and brittle nails are more prone to lifting. Moisturize your nails and cuticles with nourishing oil or cream to maintain flexibility and prevent dehydration.

3. Avoid picking at your acrylic nails: Picking at the edges or lifting the nails weakens the bond and increases the chances of pop-offs. Be gentle with your nails and resist the urge to peel or pick at them.

4. Avoid stress on your acrylic nails: Minimize putting pressure on your acrylic nails. Don’t use them to open tight lids or scrap surfaces. 

What to Do When Acrylic Nails Pop Off

Despite your best efforts, there may be instances when acrylic nails still pop off. Here’s what you can do when faced with this situation:

Don’t Panic: Stay calm if an acrylic nail pops off. It’s a common occurrence that you can fix.

Save the Nail: If the popped-off nail is intact, clean it with a nail polish remover to remove residual adhesive. Store it in a safe place for possible reattachment.

Seek Professional Help: Visit a nail salon to see your nail technician as soon as possible.

They can reapply or repair the acrylic nail, ensuring a seamless and secure bond.

Attempting to fix it yourself may result in further damage or improper adhesion.

How to Make Acrylic Nails Last Longer

For durable acrylic nails, you must: 

  1. Maintain good nail hygiene
  2. Protect them during activities
  3. Use appropriate tools designed for specific tasks
  4. Schedule regular fills
  5. Keep nails hydrated
  6. Follow proper care and maintenance instructions provided by your nail tech

How Long Should Acrylic Nails Stay on?

The average lifespan of acrylic nails ranges from 2 to 3 weeks before a refill.

Factors such as the skill of the application and the level of care provided influence how long your nails last.

Ensuring proper application and maintenance extends the longevity of your acrylic nails.


How to tell if your acrylic nails are coming off?

To determine if your acrylic nails are coming off, softly squeeze the cotton ball. The presence of acetone dripping out while doing so suggests the acrylics might be beginning to loosen. Apply pressure, and watch for signs like lifting or separation at the edges or near the cuticle.

Do acrylic nails fall off?

Yes, acrylic nails can fall off. However, with the right care, it will last 2-3 weeks, after which they will begin to grow out. Without the right care and maintenance, your acrylics can lift, chip, or peel sooner than 2-3 weeks.

Why do my acrylic nails fall off so fast?

Your acrylic nails fall off fast due to improper nail preparation before. Before applying the acrylic mixture, you must clean, file, and buff the natural nails. Preparing your nails establishes a strong bond between acrylic and natural nails.

When do acrylic nails come off?

Acrylic nails come off after 2-3 weeks of application. If you do not care for your acrylic nails, they can chip, peel, or lift before they last 2-3 weeks. Regular maintenance and professional advice can help prevent premature pop-offs.

During an acrylic overlay using tips, when is primer applied?

The primer application takes place after preparing the natural nails and applying the acrylic tips. After placing the tips, apply the primer to enhance the adhesion between the natural nail bed and the acrylic overlay.

What to do when acrylic nail rips off your natural nail

When an acrylic nail rips off your natural nail, assess the damage and take immediate action. If the nail bed is exposed or bleeding, seek medical attention to prevent infection. If the damage is minimal, clean the affected area with mild soap and warm water. Apply an antiseptic ointment to protect against infection on the acrylic nail injury.


Give them proper care and regular attention to keep your acrylic nails looking great and staying intact. 

Professional guidance from a nail technician will help your acrylic nails stay in place. Before applying acrylics, ensure your natural nails are clean, dry, and free from oils or lotions. 

Choose a moderate nail length and shape that suits your lifestyle to reduce the risk of them popping off. 

Avoid excessive moisture exposure, like prolonged water contact or overusing moisturizing products. 

Maintain regular upkeep by scheduling recommended fills and maintenance appointments. These simple steps will help you enjoy long-lasting and beautiful acrylic nails.


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