A bride's pre-wedding beauty routine often includes a long list of appointments, and these generally include services for everything from hair and makeup to manicures and pedicures. While none of these treatments are necessary, they typically help brides feel and look their best on the big day. When your hands are getting a lot of time in the spotlight—family and friends want to see your new ring and your photographer will be busy snapping closeups—a fresh manicure can help boost anyone's confidence. Whether you’re a bride who's interested in nail art or just looking to add a bit of length, your nail technician may recommend a nail enhancement, one being bridal acrylic nails.
Acrylics have been around for years and have remained a reliable nail extension option, even with new methods like gel extensions and dip powder becoming more popular. But if you haven’t ventured outside of your natural nails, the idea of acrylic nails for a wedding may seem daunting given the variety of options you're able to select. After all, it is hard to know whether or not something is right for you if you've never tried it out before.
To help you come to a decision, we’ve consulted with nail expert Kanae Yagi from Vanity Projects to put together a complete guide on everything you need to know about bridal acrylic nails, right down to the shape and size of the extensions. Read on for more information about this popular nail enhancement.
Meet the Expert
Kanae Yagi is the artistic director and senior nail artist for Vanity Projects in New York City.
What Are Acrylic Nails?
Yagi explains that acrylic nails are an artificial nail enhancement made from a two-part system: acrylic monomer/liquid and acrylic powder/polymer. “Once combined, they can be sculpted over an attached nail tip or on a nail form and filed to the desired shape,” she adds. Yagi also notes that she recommends acrylic nails for clients who heavily work with their hands in day-to-day life.
Pros and Cons of Acrylic Nails for a Wedding
According to Yagi, the pros and cons all come down to preferences. If you are looking for a stronger nail or if you have a specific shape in mind, acrylics may be the best option for you. Also, if you’re interested in nail art, acrylic nails for a wedding will give you more surface area for an intricate design. Lastly, this type of nail enhancement lasts longer than regular nail polish, with Yagi noting that acrylics last up to two weeks before they need to be filled again.
On the other hand, if your natural nails are soft and brittle, there is a chance that acrylics can damage your nail beds. They also aren’t as easy to remove as regular nail polish (and require the help of a professional to take them off), so you'll need to commit to your bridal nails ahead of the wedding day.
How to Prep for Your Acrylic Nail Appointment
One of the main gripes with acrylics is that they can damage your natural nail bed, so if you decide on acrylic nail enhancements, making sure your nails are healthy and strong before your appointment is key. You can do this by keeping your hands moisturized and using cuticle oil daily. Also, consider consulting with your doctor about taking collagen or biotin supplements to help strengthen your nails.
How to Choose the Right Nail Shape
As previously mentioned, acrylic nails give you the freedom to choose your ideal nail size and shape, which is an appealing characteristic for many brides. If you aren’t used to shaping your nails, however, talk to your nail technician about the different options available, and consider scheduling a nail trial, at least a month before the big day, to figure out what you like and dislike.
Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest is also another way to find inspiration for your bridal nails, as there are scores of examples online that you can use as a point of reference. In fact, your technician will likely welcome reference photos so you’re both on the same page about your ideal style and design.
Acrylic Nail Alternatives
If you're still on the fence about acrylic nails for your wedding, Yagi says that hard gel and Apres Gel-X are two other popular methods for lengthening nails. “Apres Gel-X is a fast and easy application process that allows for removal to be simple with the use of just an acetone soak-off,” she explains. She also adds that there is no damage to a person's nailbed as Gel-X extensions are bonded with gel polish, in addition to the fact that this product is a great way for brides to grow out weak natural nails.
What's more, hard gel extensions are another artificial nail enhancement that’s sculpted on a nail form and made entirely of a hard gel product. Yagi says that this alternative works in a similar fashion as acrylics, but they are cured with gel polish instead of liquid and powder.
Acrylic nails are a commitment for your wedding day, and though they are meant to last longer than a regular manicure, you’ll need to decide if you're comfortable with the extra length and size. In general, taking the time to prep and consider all your nail options will not only keep you stress-free but will leave you with results you’ll love for (and after) the big day.