How Do I Choose the Best Acrylic Nail Powder?

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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2018
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Acrylic nail powder is a fine polymer powder that, when combined with a monomer liquid, can be used to create artificial nails. To choose the best one, select a powder that will harden into a solid acrylic that is both strong and flexible. While many acrylic nail powders are similar, different products are formulated with various dyes and additives to change their appearance and durability. For the best result, also choose a powder according to its color, quality and ease of use.

The main ingredient in acrylic nail powder is polyethylmethylmethacrylate (PMMA). PMMA is commonly created by combining the monomers methyl methacrylate (MMA) and ethyl methacrylate (EMA). When combined with a monomer liquid, PMMA dries into a tough, rigid resin. In order to create flexible acrylic nails, other polymers are sometimes added to the powder. To choose a strong but flexible nail powder, look for one that contains soft polymer fibers in addition to PMMA.

Acrylic nail powders also come in many different colors. The most commonly used nail powders are clear, white and pink. To create a French manicure, you will need a combination of these nail powders to create the intended style.


For a more colorful manicure, select a powder in the color of your choosing. To create sparkly acrylic nails, look for powders that contain mica, as this substance will make the nails appear glittery and luminous. If you cannot find an acrylic powder in the correct color, nail polish can be applied once the acrylic has hardened to create the desired look.

In addition to containing different pigments, many nail powders also contain other additives to improve their appearance. High quality powders often contain optical brighteners and ingredients that block ultra violet (UV) rays. This enhances the color of the nails and prevents the acrylic from yellowing in the sun. Some acrylic nail powders also contain anti-bubbling agents that keep air pockets from forming in the nails. To choose the best powder, select one that offers these features.

It is also important to choose an acrylic nail powder that is easy to use. When mixed with monomer liquid, some acrylic powders dry very quickly. This can make it difficult to shape the nails. For easy sculpting, look for powders that, when mixed with acrylic liquid, will create a flexible acrylic gel that is easy to control. This will help you sculpt smooth, natural-looking artificial nails that require less filing and smoothing once the acrylic dries.


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Discuss this Article

Post 5

I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but can you put acrylic powder straight into a clear polish or a base coat? I've never used the stuff, so I'm just trying to research accordingly before I possibly get a messed up order for purchase elsewhere.

Post 4

@bagley79-- You will find people that feel strongly about this either way, and I have found it comes down to personal preference.

I have had acrylic tips for many years and seldom go without tips on my nails. If I do, I feel almost naked and feel like something is missing. I also think the look of the tips makes my hands and nails look much more feminine.

It is funny how something so small as acrylic tips on your nails can make a big difference in how you feel. Personally I feel like the tips are better than using a whole nail. This way your natural nails still have a chance to breathe, but you also get the professional look of a manicure.

Post 3

I have only worn artificial nails a few times in my life, and have always wondered if the acrylic nail powder is hard on your nails over time?

I have nails that tend to be soft and crack easily so sometimes I think wearing artificial nails would help with this, but I also think it might just be a short term solution. Would I end up doing more harm to my nails in the long run?

Post 2

I like to use a light pink acrylic nail powder. This gives me a little bit of color without being too bright or bold, and it goes well with just about everything.

My daughter loves to use a mica nail powder because she loves to have glitter nails. I think this looks great for the younger girls, but would feel kind of funny wearing something like this at my age.

I like to give my nails a rest from the acrylic nail powder though. I have found that if I keep the powder on all the time, my nails don't look all that healthy.

Post 1

I have my nails done in a French manicure and usually use acrylic nail tips to get this look. Once you get used to having your nails look like this, it is hard to go back to just your regular nails.

I work in an office setting, so it is easy for me to maintain my nails. I have a friend who loves to garden and work outside, and she doesn't use acrylic nails because she feels they would be too hard to maintain.

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