Can you apply acrylic nails without primer?

The process of applying acrylic nails includes the usage of several products to make it last longer and give a sleek well-structured nail. And a nail primer is one of those several products.

You can apply acrylic nails without primer, but it won’t be long-lasting and ensure successful adhesion. Without a primer, the acrylic nails have a high chance to cause early lifting and ultimately come off. Thus, it is much recommended to use that product.

This product is swiped across your nails before the application of the acrylic. It prepares the nails so that the acrylic can stick to it firmly. However, when using it, you need to apply it the correct way. Using too much of an acid based primer will cause chemical damage to nails and overtime thinning of the nail plate.

But some also choose not to apply a primer at all for acrylic nails. This choice boils down to what kind of product you are using, your nail type, whether the person applying the acrylic is skilled enough, and how dehydrated your nails are of oil.

One can also use a primer when applying gel or regular nail polishes. However, it is not necessary unless your nails are easily prone to chipping and peeling.

What does primer do for acrylic nails?

A primer is the first and most essential step when it comes to acrylic nail application. It primes the nail plate to make the acrylic adhere better to your natural nails. It does so by dehydrating the nail and removing it from its natural oils.

In short, it makes the nail bed a better surface for the acrylic to remain stuck to it for a long time without causing lifting or peeling. If applied in the correct way, the primer will disappear once it gets dried.

Here’s how the nail primer work

  • It helps to dehydrate the nail to suck out any traces of moisture and oil from your natural nails for the acrylic to stick to it better.
  • The super sticky layer of the primer works as a glue for the acrylic to adhere better.
  • It produces microscopic tears and holes on the nail place, allowing the acrylic to grip into your nails for a longer time.

Don’ts of a nail primer

  • Wait for the first coat of the primer to dry completely before proceeding with another coat.
  • Don’t apply any product on wet primer
  • Do not apply more than two coats of primer
  • Do not re-prime the same area over and over again, as it will lead to thinning of your nail plate
  • Acid-based primer should not touch the skin

More about Acrylic Nail

What type of nail primer should you use?

In the nail care industry, you will come across two types of nail primers— acid base and acid free primer. The one you should choose for acrylic nails depends on your preferred choice, expertise, and budget.

Acid primer

It’s best suitable for people with an extremely oily nail plate as it dissolves all the excessive oil. Acid primer is an updated version of the traditional nail primer that uses methacrylic acid, which has corrosive properties. It is a much safer option than that and even has better adhesive properties.

But since it contains alcohol, acid primer can be damaging to the skin. Thus, you need to use it as minimum as required and avoid its contact with the skin. Otherwise, it will create blistering and other skin irritations.

Acid free primer

It is a safer alternative to acid primers and is best suitable for beginners. Acid free primer works as a double-sided adhesive for the acrylic to stick better. It contains an ingredient that changes the natural PH of your nail when applied.

This change is what makes the acrylic adhere to the nail. It has a sticky texture and can also cause skin irritation if used inappropriately.

What can I use if I don’t have acrylic primer?

If you don’t have an acrylic primer, make a DIY nail primer. Combine Acetone and Isopropyl Alcohol, and the mixture will get rid of most of the oil and moisture from the natural nails for better adhesion of the acrylic. But of course, the results may vary as it is not the same as a store-bought nail primer.

It’s best to buy a good-quality nail primer if you wish to make your acrylic stay for a longer period of time.

How long do acrylics last without primer?

Although you would have to go for refills every two weeks, acrylic nails can last from six to eight weeks. But without the use of a primer, it will last even less than that. Plus, chances are it can also cause lifting and peeling of the acrylic the very next day.

Can I use a base coat as a primer for acrylic nails?

Basecoat and nail primer are not the same products, and they work differently. Nail primer is used before a base coat and is applied during acrylic nail manicure. And the basecoat is applied during the use of gel and regular polishes.

One can use both of the products, but it’s generally not advisable unless you are too prone to chipping and lifting.


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