How Thick Should Acrylic Nails Be?

Decided to do your acrylic nails but don’t know how thick should acrylic nails be? It is a common question I got asked a lot.

New nail artists can’t figure out the ideal thickness of acrylic nails. Too-thick nails look bad while too-thin nails break off easily. Both thick and thin nails are ideal in different situations. Therefore, you should find a balance between both so the nails look beautiful and last long as well.

So, let’s get started!

How thick should Acrylic Nails be?

The ideal thickness of competition acrylic nails (the ones for looks only) is as thick as a business card. While that of salon nails (wearable and long-lasting) is as thick as a credit card. Also, the apex area should be the thickest and the cuticles should be very thin to completely blend with the nails.

Before choosing the right thickness for your acrylic nails, it is important to know the pros and cons of both. Let me walk you through what you need to know about acrylic nail thickness!

how thick should acrylic nails be

Ideal Thickness of Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are surely thicker than your actual nails, but when acrylic nails are too thick, they look ridiculous. Instead of giving you a beautiful manicure, thick acrylic nails can ruin the whole look.

The thickness of acrylic nails is as important as choosing the right color and design for your manicure. Even though acrylic nails are extensions of your original nails, they are still supposed to look as natural as possible.

Thickness at Different Parts of the Nails

The acrylic nails should be 0.03 inches thick at the free edge. Only the apex should be thicker than other areas. But it shouldn’t be too thick. 

You don’t have to add too much product on the apex. It should be only twice as thick as the free edge. 

The cuticle area should be the thinnest so that it can blend in with your natural nails. It is important for a natural-looking application. 

Longer nails will need to be thicker. If the tip goes far away from your natural nail length, it has to be thicker. Otherwise, it will break off easily.

The thickness of Salon Nails vs Competition Nails

The best way is to use a credit card or business card to measure the thickness of the acrylic nails. Salon nails should be as thick as a credit card whereas a business card is great for measuring competition nails.

As competition nails are only for looks, their thickness is kept minimum so that they look amazing and natural. Salon nails are thicker so that they can last longer and uphold everyday tasks.

The thickness of the nails also depends upon your lifestyle. If you use your hands a lot for doing chores or something that can make your nails break, it is better to keep them a little thicker.

However, the thickness shouldn’t be more than 2 business cards. Otherwise, it will look unnatural and not pretty at all.

a thick acrylic nail set

Thick vs Thin Acrylic Nails

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of both thin and thick acrylic nails and how you can handle them both!

Thick Acrylic Nails

Thick acrylic nails are great for long nails. Long nails tend to break easily. They get stuck in different places and are more likely to crack or break. Long nails can become more durable if they are thick due to their added strength. So, if you want to have long acrylics, go for thicker ones. 

Thick acrylic nails are visible and easy to guess that they are fake. Moreover, if you have thin hands and fingers, they might look unnatural. So, you will have to find a balance and the right thickness according to your hands and fingers.

Thick nails are great for creating different molding designs too. They add depth to your original nails. 

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of thick acrylic nails!

Added StrengthUnnatural Look
Adds Depth to NailsTakes a lot of Product and Time
Not Sharp like Thin NailsDon’t Look Good On Thin Fingers

Thin Acrylic Nails

Short acrylic nails can be thin. They won’t get stuck in different places so they don’t require the added strength. You can easily get a natural-looking manicure by keeping your acrylic nails short and thin. 

The cuticle area should be thin in both cases so that it can seamlessly blend with your nails. On the other hand, the apex area should always be thicker because it is a stress point. If that area doesn’t have enough product, the nails will break halfway.

Thin acrylics can cause scratch marks too if you itch with them as they are quite sharp.

Thin acrylic nails are great for people who want a natural look. But if you get thin acrylics with long nails, it won’t be long-lasting. The nails will break off easily. 

Here’s a list of the pros and cons of thin acrylic nails!

Natural LookBreaks Easily
Looks Good on Thin and Thick FingersNot Good for Long Nails
Great for Short NailsSharp and Causes Scratch Marks

After you have an understanding of the ideal thickness, pros and cons of thick and thin acrylic layers, let’s discover some helpful tips to help you get what you want.

a nail technician doing acrylic nails

Tips to Get Perfect Acrylic Nail Thickness

Here are a few tips to achieve perfect acrylic nail thickness!

  • Use less product at first so you don’t have to waste your acrylic liquid and powder.
  • Thicken the nails by layering up the products. 
  • Practice the ideal thickness on a single nail first. When you are happy with that thickness, use that nail as a guide for the thickness of other nails.
  • The cuticle area should be the thinnest, the apex should be the thickest, and the thickness of the free edge should be in between. 
  • Use a credit card as a scale of the thickness of the acrylic nails. 

Final Thoughts

The thickness of acrylic nails is important. They shouldn’t be too thick as they will look unnatural. They shouldn’t also be too thin as they will break off easily.

If you are getting your nails done at a salon, you can always ask the salon for recommendations on the ideal thickness you should get. Or you can ask the technician to stick to a number that you like.

Apex is the most important part of your nails while doing acrylics. So make sure the apex area is thick enough otherwise the nails will break from the middle.

I hope this article is helpful to you, and good luck with creating the perfect thick acrylic nails!