How to Apply Acrylic Nails Using Fiberglass

If you can't get to the salon, apply your fake nails yourself.

Photo: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Even in a crummy economy, a lady can't give up her beauty routine. When it comes to your nails, you can save some money, skip the salon treatment and apply acrylic nails with fiberglass wraps yourself. Fly solo and do your own nails, or invite a few friends over for a nail party. It's not as hard as it sounds -- you don't need to be a professional manicurist to get long, lovely nails that last.

Acrylic Nails

Believe it or not, ladies, acrylic nails have been popular since the 1980s. However, the acrylic nails you can purchase today are way better made than their ancestors. Today's acrylic nails are created from a liquid and powder and can be found in several lengths and colors. They're durable, non-yellowing and strong, and can be soaked off with acetone. This is great for gals who love to change up their style. You'll need to maintain them every two to three weeks by pushing back the cuticle and filing down the acrylic to blend into your natural nail.

Fiberglass Wraps

A chipped nail is always a bummer. Get extra protection from nicks, chips and breaks with a nail wrap. Nail wraps can be applied to your natural nail or over an acrylic tip. They come in silk, linen or fiberglass. If you're prone to chips and breaks, it's best to opt for the fiberglass, which offers twice the strength. Unfortunately, nail wraps don't come pre-cut, so you'll have to cut the wrap to fit your nail. You'll also have to snag some resin or glue to adhere the wrap to your acrylic, unless you've managed to find the self-adhesive kind.

Step-by-Step: Acrylic

It's easy to feel lost at sea, but the truth is, most acrylic nail kits and fiberglass wraps come with a set of instructions. If not, the application process is relatively easy. File down your natural nail, then use a cuticle pusher to push back those cuticles. Buff your nail so the surface is slightly rough -- don't go too crazy; you don't want to damage the nail. Match each fake nail with a real nail. If the nail is too wide, file it down to fit. Apply a small drop of glue to the tip of your natural nail. Place your fab fake nail on the smile line of your natural nail and press down until the glue sets. Press firmly -- you don't want any air bubbles to form under the nail. It can weaken the nail or even cause a fungal infection. Once you've glued on each acrylic nail, clip and file each nail down to your desired shape.

Step-By-Step: Fiberglass

After your tips have been cut and filed to fabulousness, make sure they are totally clean. Trim each nail wrap down to the size of your nails. The wrap should fit your nail so there is one-sixteenth of an inch space between the cuticle and the fiberglass wrap. Go for smaller rather than bigger, as excess wrap will fray when you file it. If you've scored a self-adhesive wrap, don't touch the sticky back with your fingers -- they won't stick as well. For wraps that require glue, apply a small amount of resin to the acrylic before carefully placing the wrap over the nail. Post-application, buff the nail, then apply a coat of your favorite polish.

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