Why Do Acrylic Nails Lift? 11 Reasons & How to Fix Them

Acrylic nails last longer if they are taken care of. However, there are 11 reasons why acrylic nails lift. These reasons are:

  • Not prepping cuticle
  • Not prepping nail bed 
  • Skipping primer or dehydrator 
  • Using low-quality product 
  • Not consulting professional nail artist 
  • Incorrect powder-to-liquid ratio
  • Exposure to a harsh environment 
  • Weak & short nails 
  • Long extensions 
  • Skipping top coat 
  • Fast-growing natural nails

Want To learn more about why your acrylic nails are lifting and how you can fix it? Stick with the article. 

Source: Creative Nail and Beauty.

Key takeaways 

Reasons & Solutions for Acrylic Nail Lifts

The following table is a brief discussion of the reasons for acrylic nail lifting:

Reason Solution 
Incorrect prep of cuticles Push the cuticle gently with a cuticle pusher or chemical cuticle remover 
Incorrect prep of natural nails Clean natural nails with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol or acetone Use a medium frit nail file to buff nails gently
Skipping primer or dehydrators Use a dehydrator for 100% dry and oil-free nails.Then use a good quality primer. 
Low-quality or wrong productResearch what acrylic nail products are good Invest in quality nail products 
Untrained nail artistResearch and invest in professionally trained nail artists 
Skipping top coat Use a clear gel topcoatApply a new layer of UV gel top coat weekly
Short & weak natural nails Wait for natural nails to get their length
Incorrect powder-to-liquid ratioThe recommended ratio is 2:1 liquid to powder
Exposure to a harsh and stressful environment Don’t use your nails as a toolAvoid doing household work without a glove Avoid using hot water or steamKeep your nails dry
Too long acrylic nails Try slightly short acrylic nails 
The quick growth of natural nailsFill in the gap with infills 

Elaborate Explanation of Why Acrylic Nails Lift

Here is an elaborate explanation of the 11 reasons why acrylic lifts:

Why Acrylic Nails Lift

Source: Reddit.

Reason 1: Incorrect Prep for Cuticle 

When you don’t prep the cuticle before acrylic, the acrylic won’t bond properly with your nails. It may even cause acrylic allergy. 


  • Before acrylic nails, prepare your cuticles properly. 
  • Gently push cuticles back using a cuticle pusher or chemical cuticle remover. 
Product NameFeatures
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover – Eliminate excess cuticles in 15 seconds- With moisturizing Aloe and Chamomile to condition and soothe- Ultra-fast cuticle remover


  • I recommend prepping your cuticles on a day you aren’t planning at-home acrylic nails. Because you will need to prepare your nails a lot afterwards.

Reason 2: Incorrect Prep of Natural Nails

For better acrylic nails, natural nails have to be cleaned and filed. Because this will help acrylic nails bond with nail plates.

Cleaning nails will remove leftover cuticles and natural oils on nail plates.  Dead skin and natural oils are the worst enemies of acrylic nails. So, to avoid lifting acrylic nails, prep your natural nails properly. 


  • Use a medium grit nail file. This will gently buff your nails.
  • To clean and get rid of natural oils, use cotton soaked in alcohol or acetone. 

You can follow this video for a detailed guide on how to prepare your nails before acrylic-

How To Stop Nail Lifting!🙅‍♀️Nail Prep for Beginners | How to Prep Nails for Acrylic (1/3)

Reason 3: Skipping Primer And Dehydrators 

Nail primers create the best base for applying acrylic nails. While dehydrators get rid of the natural oils and any moisture in your nail. 

Acrylic nails lift when there is oil or moisture in natural nails. So, primers and dehydrators help prepping nails for acrylic manicures. 


  • Dehydrate your nails before priming. Get rid of natural oils.
  • Prime your nails for the best base. 
Product NameFeatures
Modelones Nail Primer– Non-Toxic- Fragrance-Free- Fast Drying Prep Dehydrator- Base Varnish Manicure Bonder Liquid- Reduces nail oil situation to create a strong foundation

Reason 4: Low-Quality or Wrong Products

Low-quality acrylic nail products can result in them lifting as they lead to brittleness. If the glue is low-quality, acrylic nails won’t be able to bond. 

Moreover, there is a wide range of nail products. For instance, there are nail primers that moisturize nails. But this is not compatible with acrylic nails.  


Reason 5: Untrained Nail Artist 

If you go to an untrained nail artist, they won’t be able to provide you with the best service. Moreover, they use low-quality products. 


  • Research and invest in trained and professional nail artists. 

Reason 6: Skipping Top Coat

Skipping a top coat will expose acrylic nails to moisture and environmental damage. As a result, it is prone to damage and lifting. 

Moreover, a top coat will keep your nails strong and glossy. Your nails will look new until you need to redo them. 


  • Use a clear gel top coat for protection.
  • Make sure to apply gel top on all the edges. 


  • For long-lasting acrylic nails, apply a new layer of UV gel top coat weekly. 

Reason 7: Short & Weak Natural Nails 

Flimsy and weak nails lift acrylic nails much sooner as they don’t allow enough space for the acrylic to bond. You can also have sore nails after getting them done if they are weak. 


  • Avoid acrylic manicures if your nails are weak. 
  • Use cuticle oils to nurse your nails back to health. Learn more about why your nails are flimsy and weak and take care of them accordingly.  
  • Wait for longer nails for acrylic. 

Reason 8: Incorrect Powder-to-Liquid Ratio

If you don’t mix acrylic powder with liquid monomer, you don’t get the perfect base for your acrylic nails. The proper ratio of powder and liquid ensures that acrylic nail is hard enough unit. Excess liquid leads to allergic reactions by flooding into the cuticle.


  • Use a ratio of 2:1 liquid to powder. However, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Avoid acrylic beads that are too wet. 

Reason 9: Exposure to Harsh and Stressful Environments 

Acrylic nails will not survive in harsh and stressful environments even though they are strong and durable. For instance, if you keep washing dishes or gardening without any protection, it will get damaged and will lift eventually. 

You need to be careful and adjust your ways to protect acrylic nails. 


  • Use gloves for protection while washing dishes or gardening.
  • Don’t use acrylic nails as tools for opening containers, lifting things, or typing with them.
  • Avoid hot water or steam as it may loosen the glue.
  • Make sure to keep your nails dry because water and moisture can cause fungal infections.

Reason 10: Too-Long Nail Extensions 

If your acrylics are too long and natural nails are too short, then acrylic nails will lift off the nail plate. Long nail extensions are also prone to snagging or breaking. It also damages natural nails. 


  • Make sure that acrylic nail extensions aren’t too much longer than natural nails.

Reason 11: Fast-Growing Natural Nails

If your nails grow fast, you need infills to fill in the area between cuticles and natural nails. Or else there will be a gap and it will lead to lifting your nails. 


  • If you see a gap between your cuticles and acrylic nails, fill it with infills. 
  • Naturally, nails grow 3.5mm per month. At this rate, you need to fill with infills after every 2-3 weeks. However, some people have fast-growing nails and so they need infills more often. 

Fixing Acrylic Nail Lifts at Home 

Fixing Acrylic Nail Lifts at Home

Source: Acrylic Maven 

If your acrylic nails are lifting you can easily fix them at home. Here is a step-by-step guide to fixing lifting nails:

  • Simply push the lifted edge back down using a cuticle pusher. 
  • If the nails are lifting only at the edges, file to smooth them out.
  • Use nail glue for more severe lifting. 
  • Use a small bead of acrylic mixture. 
  • Do an infill to support the base. 
  • Soak the nails in vinegar or warm water to loosen the grip. This will make it easier to push the nails back into place. 

If your acrylic nails are too damaged, it’s better to check with your nail technician and redo your nails.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do My Acrylic Nails Lift From The Nail Bed?

Acrylic nails can lift from the nail bed for several reasons. One common reason is injury to the nail. Also, fungal infection ad other medical conditions can cause them to lift from the nail bed.

Why Do My Acrylic Nails Hurt?

Acrylic nails can hurt when they are too long, or if the grip is too tight. If you have sensitive skin, acrylic nails can hurt.

How Long Should Acrylic Nails Last?

If acrylic nails are done correctly, they can last up to 6 weeks. However, if they start lifting it’s best to remove them. 

Closing Words 

To conclude, there are 11 reasons why acrylic nails lift. For better and long-lasting acrylic nails, prep your nails properly, use primer, avoid harsh environments and add a top coating. If you take care properly, you can easily prevent acrylics from lifting.

Katharyn Riedel

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