Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Nails?

Can you use acrylic paint on nails? Yes, of course. But should you go through the extra hassle of coating it? It depends. 

You can choose the easy way: using nail polish. But there might be times when you’re in love with a specific acrylic color and want to have your nails colored in it. 

Or maybe the case could be like this: your nail polish container is empty, and you need an alternative fast. If you’ve got a can of acrylic paint in your house, you can try that. 

There are some guidelines for using acrylic-based paints on nails. There are some safety guidelines as well. Like not all color types are safe to use, many aren’t suitable for lasting on the nails. 

In this guide, we’ll talk about all the important steps you can follow to have your nails painted with acrylic safely and in the best way. 

Using Acrylic Paint on Your Nails

Using Acrylic Paint on Your Nails

Acrylic comes in two variations in terms of skin safety. One is non-toxic and safe to use, while the other is used primarily on non-organic materials such as walls and objects. 

While buying acrylic that you’d use for your nails, look for a toxic-free variation. It’d be safe and won’t cause skin rashes.

Nail Polishes are expensive and are made with costly materials, and some premium ones might cost unnecessarily high. 

On the other hand, a bottle of high-quality acrylic paint can be pretty cheap. You can, for the price of one bottle of nail polish, get an acrylic bottle that can provide you with months of nail color.

You can buy a single bottle or a packaged set containing the best nail colors. That is a good idea since you can use different colors at different points in time. 

And since acrylic dries up quite fast, it’s quick to apply. The colored coat is thin, too so that, you can remove your nail colors easily when needed.

As long as you’re using a toxic-free acrylic variation and using a coat underneath the color, you can rest assured that it won’t harm your nails or skin. 

The coating is necessary. First, it provides a smooth base for the paint, and secondly, it helps the acrylic film to come off easily without sticking to nails while removed.

Removing it is easy too. Acrylic is just a colored film that sits on your nail. You can easily remove the film by scrubbing it slowly in water. This process is for the time you use the color without the top coating. 

If you do use the top coating, you can still remove it. You can use a regular alcohol-based nail polish remover to remove the coating, first and the film will come off freely.

Related: Can You Paint Over SNS Nails?

Mixing Nail Polish with Acrylic


These two have different consistency levels. So, it would be best if you didn’t mix them. The chemical composition isn’t the same with both of them. 

When you mix these two, the result is a paint of uneven thickness. What it means is that some part of the mixture will get thick while some will feel watery, just like clotted milk.

Making Acrylic a Good Value for Money

Usually, acrylic paint isn’t designed for constant handling and contact with water. You can’t escape these after you use the color on your nails. 

At best, the color can stay on your nails for a day or two. Yes, the color is cheaper than nail polish but considering its durability, it’s anything but a good value for money.

If you continue using acrylic paint in this way, you’ll find yourself spending quite a lot within a short time. That, inevitably, will make your idea of avoiding nail polish and using acrylic a bad decision. 

But there’s a good solution for this. It’s using a color coating. A color coat will help you protect the acrylic layer for a few days. 

It also makes it safe to come into contact with water. Otherwise, acrylic isn’t safe with water and will hardly last for an hour or two of coming into contact with it. The coating is a must.

There should also be a coating on top of the nail first, even before applying the acrylic color. The reason for this is the composition of the color. 

Acrylic is messy and tends to stick to its surface in an untidy way. Using a protective coat below the color will help you save your nails from the mess.

There are good-quality topcoats available for acrylic paints. Now, while you can choose any of those, there’s also one good alternative: using clear nail polish. 

It works the same way as the acrylic topcoat. But one advantage of choosing the latter is they come in many shiny variations. You can create a gloss for your nails with these.

Colored nail polishes are long-lasting due to their chemical composition. There are colors and solvents in nail polish. 

These solvents are the ones responsible for the long-lasting nature of the color. Acrylic is mostly a thin color mixture. Once applied to the nail, it forms a thin matte film that is fragile and water-soluble.

Final Words

Now that you’ve read your guide, you know that the question: how do you use acrylic paint safely on nails is more important than can you use acrylic paint on nails. 

You know the answers to both questions now and are ready to start using the paint for your creative nail designs.

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