How Long Does It Take To Get My Nails Done?

Getting your nails done is a treat. It is fun and relaxing, and you end up looking and feeling like you can take on the world as long as you have that manicure.

Having your nails done can be time-consuming, and figuring out what type of nails you can do with your time is helpful. So how long does a nail treatment take?

How Long Does It Take To Get My Nails Done?

The length of a manicure depends on the type of nails you want. Gel manicures can take up to an hour. If you want art, it can take up to 2 hours. Acrylic on natural nails can take around 45 minutes, while sculpture and tips can take 1-2 hours. Infills and fixing nails take between 45-90 minutes.

a nail technician doing acrylic nails at a salon

The times of a manicure will vary depending on the nail type, artwork, whether you want tips, and if you want solid colors, mixed, or French tips. Let’s look at the length of each type of manicure and the factors surrounding it.

What Factors Affect The Length Of A Manicure?

Other than the type of nails you want, several aspects can determine how long it will take to get your nails done. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you want it done on your natural nails, or do you want tips?
  • Do you plan on getting any artwork done?
  • Is the nail technician qualified and experienced?
  • Do you want solid colors or French tips?
  • Does your nail plate require additional prep before starting?
  • Are you choosing short or long nails?

Each of these questions will influence whether your nail job will take an average or longer time. Additionally, consider that quality, neat, and long-lasting nails take time.

a nail technician is doing a manicure

How Long Does A Gel Manicure Take?

There are different variations of a gel manicure. Let us get into the time it takes to do each type:

Gel Polish Manicure

A gel overlay is a manicure with an application of gel polish and builder on your natural nails. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, determined by the factors influencing the manicure length.

If your nails are clean, ready, and prepped, the nail tech won’t have to do much other than maybe a quick buff to smoothen your nails and apply a base or builder coat.

The gel layers need baking under the UV/LED between coats before applying a topcoat. An experienced nail tech can complete this process within 45 minutes. Others may require 60 minutes or slightly more to do a neat job.

Gel Overlay

A gel overlay takes longer than a regular gel manicure. If you don’t know the difference between gel overlay and gel polish, I recommend reading my comparison of gel polish vs gel overlay so you know how they differ. A gel overlay may take around 15-20 minutes longer than a gel polish. This is due to additional steps in applying a builder gel coat between the base coat and natural nails.

Gel Manicure With Tips

Getting a gel manicure with tips takes slightly longer than a basic overlay. If you require artificial nail tips as extensions or to give your nails a bit of shape, it requires a couple of additional steps in the manicure process. This adds around 15-30 minutes to the total time.

The tips must be glued to your nail and held in place for a few seconds to secure them. They must be clipped to the length you want and then filed into shape to smoothen the edges. The tips will also require buffing down onto your nail to give it a more even surface to make it look natural. In total, gel nails with tips can take 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the influencing factors.

Gel Manicure With Artwork

Gel manicures with artwork will require significantly more time to get done. Intricate designs, adding glitter, stickers, etc., need more precision which takes longer. The entire gel process must be done, whether it is an overlay or over tips. Then factor in the artwork and experience of the nail technician. You could be looking at 2-2,5 hours.

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Take?

a woman doing acrylic nails

Similar to gel nails, variations of acrylic nails take different lengths of time to do. They are listed below:

Acrylic Overlay

An acrylic overlay is the application of a thin acrylic layer on your natural nail plate. When considering the steps of nail prep, sculpting, application, and drying, the entire process of acrylic overlay can take between 60-90 minutes.

Acrylic Nails With Tips

Acrylic nails with extension tips will require slightly more time than an overlay. The tips are typically used as extensions or to give all the nails a unified-shaped edge. The process of gluing, clipping, shaping, and filing them can take 90 minutes to an hour. The nail prep and experience of the nail tech play a significant role in this timeframe.

Acrylic Nails With Sculpted Extensions

Sculpted extensions use the acrylic polish mixture to create the extensions instead of nail molds or tips. Few salons offer this because it requires a lot of time and precision from highly experienced nail technicians. The sculpting can add around 30 additional minutes to the process. And the entire session can take between 2-3 hours.

How Long Do Dip-Powder (SNS) Nails Take?

an esthetician doing dip powder nails

Dip-powder nails, more commonly known as SNS nails in the nail manicure industry, are similar to acrylic nails. Dip powder is a finer consistency, and the nails are dipped in the powder, unlike acrylic, which is applied with a brush and monomer. Dip nails are a treatment between a regular polish manicure and acrylic nails. It is more flexible and natural looking and simpler to apply and remove.

SNS nails don’t require UV/LED drying, significantly reducing time. The treatment can take 45 minutes to 1 hour, including prep, application, and drying.

How Long Does It Take To Fill In And Fix Nails

Getting a fill for your nail treatment every two weeks can be easier, cheaper, and less time-consuming than getting a new manicure. A general filling-in takes around 30-45 minutes to smoothen the gap between your gel/acrylic and your nail and fill it in.

Filing and fixing can take slightly longer. If your nail treatment has chips, cracks, or peeling, a couple of nails have completely fallen off, or you need shortening, the nail technician will need a little more time to sort the situation out. Fixing these issues and filling in can take around an hour to 90 minutes, depending on how extensive the damage is.


Getting your nails done cannot be a rushed process. Most nail treatments can take anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours, while specific design requests can take longer. Factors like nail prep, type of nails, and tech experience influence how long it takes to get a nail treatment done.