How to Shorten Acrylic Nails at Home?

How to Shorten Acrylic Nails at Home?
Adding length, strength, and beauty to your nails can be achieved with acrylic nails. This method results in long-lasting and shiny nails.

Nails are part of our body which is not that noticeable at the very beginning. This is the reason why people are trying to beautify and enhance their nails. In recent years, nail art has become very popular in the world. Varieties of new products and techniques have been added to the previous list of nail art. Acrylic nail is one of the ways of beautifying nails which has become very popular. A combination of acrylic polymer and monomer is used in this nail.

Some people with acrylic nails face problems with their length. As a result, they want to shorten their nails. Though it is always recommended to shorten the nails with an experienced nail technician, many people want to do this at home by themselves. But how to shorten acrylic nails at home? If people are experienced and have enough idea about nails, they can shorten their nails at home. But as there are some risks of doing this, proper tools and precautions should be followed to avoid any damage to your acrylic and natural nails. If you are interested in shortening your acrylic nails at home, then come find out how to do it!

What are Acrylic Nails?

What are acrylic nails

Acrylic nails are a type of artificial nail extension made from a combination of a liquid and powder polymer. This mixture is applied to the natural nails and then shaped and polished to create a shiny and durable finish.

Acrylic nails can be customized in terms of shape, length, design, and color. This can last up to several weeks with proper maintenance. This nail become very popular among people who want to increase the appearance of their nails or who have difficulty growing their natural nails. Acrylic nails have been used for a long time. But, some new dimensions, designs, and patterns have been seen in recent years. If you want to enlarge your nails a bit, Acrylic can be a good choice. Besides adding length to your nails, Acrylic nails can also add strength and style to your nails. There are different ways to apply this nail depending on the look you desire.

6 Tools You’ll Need to Shorten Acrylic Nails at Home

It is possible to shorten your acrylic nails at home. But generally, it is not recommended unless you have experience with nail maintenance. If it is done improperly, it can lead to damage or breakage of the acrylic nails or even injury to your natural nails. But if you have proper knowledge about nails, you can cut your nails at home. For this, you will need some tools-

Tools you’ll need to shorten acrylic nails at home
  1. Cotton balls: For removing nail polish and cleaning the nails, you’ll need cotton balls.
  2. Nail polish remover: This is also used to remove nail polish or other nail products from your nails. It can be useful if you want to change the color of your nails or remove anything left behind after removing acrylic nails.
  3. Straight Nail Clipper: A good set of nail clippers designed for Acrylic nails can be used to trim the length of your nail without damaging the natural nails.
  4. Nail File: A nail file is the best tool for shaping and smoothing the edges of your acrylic nails after trimming them with clippers.
  5. Buffer: This is the tool to smooth and polish the surface of your acrylic nails. It can also be used to buff away any rough edges that may occur when trimming your acrylic nails. It’s important to use a buffer in a proper way to prevent damage to your nails.
  6. Nail Polish: After trimming and shaping the acrylic nails, you can repaint your nails to add color and shine to your nails.

10 Steps to Follow in Shortening Acrylic Nails

If you want to shorten your nails at home, you need to follow some steps:

Step 1: Pick Your Method

Decide whether you want to remove the nail polish before cutting or shortening the nails or you directly want to go for trimming and leave your polish for later.

Pick your method

Step 2: Remove Your Nail Polish (Optional)

If you want to remove your nail polish before trimming, you can use a cotton ball and acetone. You may remove your nails after trimming but removing nail polish before trimming is the more efficient and cleanest way to go further.

Remove your nail polish optional

Step 3: Determine Your Desired Length and Shape

Before cutting or shortening your nails, you need to make sure the length or shape of your nails you desire for. If you want to shorten the length very much, you can skip using nail clippers and directly use a Nail file to shape your nails. The clippers or nail files you will use to shorten acrylic nails should be clean and sharp. If you are not sure about how much you want to shorten, start with a small cut as you can always shorten them later.

Determine your desired length and shape

Step 4: Position the Clippers on the Outside of the Nail

Make sure that the clippers are parallel to your finger. For making a small cut towards the center, Position them on the outside of your nail. Make a good angle towards the center while positioning the clippers. For avoiding damage, you must use sharp clippers.

Position the clippers on the outside of the nail

Step 5: Cut Towards the Middle of the Acrylic On the Other Side

Use the clippers to cut on the other side of your nail to meet at the center. This will help your acrylic nails from damage or breakage. After shortening one side, move to the other side and do the same thing. You should take your time and be gentle while doing this to avoid damaging nails.

Cut towards the middle of the acrylic on the other side

Step 6: Remove the Cut Tip

Once you have finished cutting both sides of your nails, you should remove the tips gently with your fingers.

Remove the cut tip

Step 7: File Your Nails

After removing the tips, you can file out your nails. There are different sizes available. You should choose your desired length and shape to file your nails. The common nail shapes include square, oval, or round. File gently to avoid any damage or breakage to your nails.

File your nails

Step 8: Clean Your Hands & Nails

After filing your nails, go for cleaning your nails and hands with water and soap. Using warm water may bring better results. Make sure your nails are fully dry to avoid any problems in further steps.

Clean your hands nails

Step 9: Paint Your nails

After you finish shortening your acrylic nails, you can repaint them or do nail art. For sealing the look, use a top coat to increase the shine of your nails.

Paint your nails

Step 10: Let the Polish Dry

After applying the top coat, let the polish dry for 20 minutes to an hour. Using a hairdryer may speed up the drying process.

Let the polish dry

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Risks of Shortening Acrylic Nails at Home

Shortening acrylic nails at home can carry some risks if you are not expert enough with this process.

  1. Damaging the Nail Bed: If you cut the acrylic nail too short, it can damage your nail bed and can cause pain, sensitivity, or infection.
  2. Accidentally Cutting the Skin: If you don’t have proper tools and experience, you may accidentally cut the skin.
  3. Weakening the Nail: If you file the acrylic nails too much, you can weaken them and cause them to break easily.
  4. Respiratory Problems from Dust: Acrylic nails can create a lot of dust which can create respiratory problems and allergic reactions.
  5. Spreading Infections: If you don’t sanitize your tools properly, you can spread infections from one nail to another.

Precautions While Shortening Acrylic Nails at Home

Shortening acrylic nails can be done safely if you take proper precautions. There are some precautions you should follow:

  • Use high-quality tools such as nail clippers or files. Avoid using regular scissors or clippers as they can damage the acrylic.
  • Don’t pressurize when clipping or filing your nails because acrylic nails are more likely to break if you pressure much.
  • Avoid soaking your hands in water before shortening your nails. It is better to wait until your hands are completely dry before you start trimming.
  • Wear safety goggles and a mask to protect your skin from acrylic dust.
  • Take your time while shortening acrylic nails. Start with small cuts to get your desired shape and length.
  • Don’t shorten acrylic nails too much as this can weaken and damage them. If you have planned to keep the acrylic for a few more days, leave a little bit of length for your nails.
  • After shortening your nails, make sure to moisturize your nails and hands to keep them hydrated and healthy.


1. How do you make your acrylic nails shorter without messing them up?

Always start with a small cut than you think you want. Because you may end up cutting more length while filing your nails. Trimming with an electric file can be the best and safest way to make the acrylic nails shorter without messing them up.

2. Does hot water melt acrylic?

Hot water is not likely to damage or melt your acrylic nails if it is exposed for a shorter period. But, prolonged exposure to hot water such as taking a long bath can weaken and damage the nails.

3. How do you take off acrylic nails without acetone?

Without using acetone, Using Soap and water can be the best way of taking off acrylic nails. Soak your nails for 10 minutes in a bowl of hot and soapy water. It will help to soften the nails and remove the false nails.

4. What is the healthiest way to remove acrylic nails?

Acetone soak is one of the safest ways to remove acrylic nails without damaging the natural nails. In most salons, this process is used.

Final Thoughts

Acrylic nails are a popular beauty trend that many people enjoy because of their durability and long-lasting effects.  As the nails grow out, they become too long and need to be shortened. While it is recommended to visit a nail technician for this task, some people may choose to do it themselves at home. As there are some risks associated with shortening acrylic nails at home, this can be done safely at home if proper precautions are taken. Effective measures and steps while shortening the nails can lead to a greater result.

Key Points

  • Acrylic nail has become one of the popular techniques for enhancing your nails which adds length to your nails.
  • This is an artificial nail extension that can be customized in different shapes, designs, and lengths.
  • There are some important tools and steps to follow if you want to shorten your acrylic nails at home by yourself.
  • Before shortening your nails at home, effective measures and precautions should be followed. Following the rules can bring you the best results.

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