Otherwise known as fake or artificial nails, acrylics were first introduced during the 1970s. Unlike the first artificial nails available on the market, today's acrylics look more natural and classic, especially if you choose a pink-and-white tipped “French manicure” style. Several varieties of at-home acrylic nail kits are available at many price points. Skip the press-on variety of acrylics, which only stay put for a few days, and instead choose a full acrylic kit featuring liquid and powder.
Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap, scrubbing your nails and nail beds to remove any trapped dirt or bacteria. Dry your hands thoroughly with a towel. Don't apply any lotion to your nails.
Dampen a cotton ball with acetone-free nail polish and remove any existing nail polish. Even if you're not wearing polish, wiping down your nails removes any remaining oils or dirt.
Trim your nails with a clipper until they're flush with the top of your fingertips. Curve the nails with the clipper and shape them with a nail file to prevent ingrown finger nails. Wipe off any dust with a cotton ball soaked in plain water.
Remove the acrylic tips from the package and determine which fits on each finger. Hold the tip against the top of your nail; if it's too big or small, continue until you find the tips that best fits each nail. Lay the tips on a piece of paper towel in order.
Grab one of the artificial acrylic white tips and dab a small amount of nail glue provided in the kit on the matte, concave side. This is the side that is pressed against your natural nail. Place a small dot of glue on the tip of your natural nail, avoiding getting any adhesive on your skin. Hold the acrylic tip against the edge of your nail and adjust it until it's straight.
Repeat Step 5, gluing the acrylic tips to each of your nails. Once finished, allow the adhesive to dry for three to five minutes.
Pour the liquid acrylic and powdered acrylic into two separate small glass bowls. Dip the edge of the brush provided in the kit into the liquid acrylic first. Dab the brush lightly on a paper towel to remove the excess liquid acrylic. Quickly dip and drag the brush through the powdered acrylic. A ball or bead will naturally occur.
Set the tip of the brush against the base of your nail, avoiding contact with your skin or cuticle. Slowly move the brush upward over your natural nail toward the acrylic tip, applying slight pressure while you wipe the pink acrylic bead over your nail. Repeat this process on every nail. The pink acrylic dries semi-translucent on your nails, leaving the tips white.
Allow the acrylic to dry for five to ten minutes. Shape your nails and apply a clear polish, as desired.