How to Apply Nail Tips without Acrylic?

Want to apply nail tips but don’t have an acrylic binder? No worries; there are many alternatives to acrylic for applying nail tips. One of them is polygel, which is long-lasting and looks alluring on your nails.

If you want seamless nail tips without acrylic, you are in the right place. So, let’s check out the alternatives!

How to Apply Nail Tips Without Acrylic?

You can use polygel, instead of acrylic, to apply nail tips. It works as well as acrylic and provides you with a salon-level manicure at home. Polygel is a long-lasting binder that will provide you with a beautiful manicure for weeks. It is also easy to apply nail tips using polygel at home!

How to Apply Nail Tips Without Acrylic

In this article, we explain all the steps on how to apply nail tips without using acrylic. We discuss, in detail, the two methods used, so anyone can get a beautiful manicure at home.

All the tips mentioned below will help you achieve long-lasting and perfect nail tips. So, let’s dive right in!

Step-By-Step Guide to Applying Nail Tips Without Acrylic

Applying nail tip extensions without acrylic can look poor because they are visible and don’t blend with your natural nails. There is also a very visible line there, which painting your nails won’t even cover. 

The good news is, you can make it work without acrylics. The best way is to use polygel

Below is a table summarizing the differences between acrylic and polygel binders. You will see that polygel is an obvious choice, in the absence of acrylic: 

FeaturesAcrylic BinderPolygel Binder
PriceExpensive for DIY, starting at $40More Affordable than acrylic starting at $20
UV LampNo UV Lamp requiredRequires UV/LED Lamp for Curing
DurabilityMore durable lasts 4-6 weeksStrong but not as durable as acrylic, lasting 3-4 weeks
Ease of UseRequires mixing of liquid and powderPremade hence easier to use
Removing ProcessHard to remove (requires soaking)Easy to remove

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply nail tips using polygel:

Things You Need

Here is the checklist of items that you will need to apply nail tips without acrylic:

  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Nail Buffer
  • Nail Extensions
  • Nail Glue
  • Nail Cutter
  • Nail File
  • Polygel
  • Nail Brush
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Adhesion for Polygel
  • Topcoat
  • LED Lamp

Step #1: Prepare Your Nails

a nail technician cutting the cuticles

Nail prep is important if you want an even and smooth application of polygel. Push back your cuticles by using a cuticle pusher. File the nail surface using a nail buffer. Don’t put too much pressure on your nails while filing, otherwise, you may damage them.

Step #2: Apply the Nail Tips

Use good-quality nail glue to stick the nail tips on your nails. The stronger your glue is, the longer your nail tips will last. 

Step #3: Cut and File the Nail Tips

a nail technician shaping the nail tip

Nail tips are usually very long so you need to cut them to your desired length. After cutting the tips, file them to achieve a better shape. 

Step #4: Clean your Nails

Use alcohol wipes to clean your nails. This step makes the polygel stick better to the nails.

Step #5: Apply Polygel Adhesion to Your Nails

Apply a strong polygel bond aid. Bond aids also keep your natural nails healthy while providing a suitable surface for the polygel to stick.

Step #6: Apply Polygel

Apply your favorite color of polygel to the nails. Start with the center where the tips meet your natural nails and slowly blend it to both sides. Keep the cuticle area thin so that it looks natural and well-blended.

Add a small amount of product at first, to avoid too-thick nails. Slowly build the polygel layer up until you get the desired thickness.

You can also use a clear polygel and paint it later with regular nail polish.

Step #7: Cure Under UV Lamp

Cure the polygel by placing each hand under a UV lamp to seal everything in. It will take around 1 minute, per hand, for the polygel to harden under the lamp.

Step #8: Apply Topcoat

Apply a top coat to add shine to your nails. Remember to cure the top coat under the UV lamp as well. If you are not sure how long to cure each gel polish coat, check out my article to learn more.

Can You Apply Nail Tips Without Polygel or Acrylic?

If you don’t have any binder like polygel or acrylic to blend the nail tips in with your nails, we have a hack for you. This hack won’t give you as good of a manicure as polygel or acrylics, but it is a great way to do your nails at home.

For this you will need:

  • Nail Tips
  • Nail Glue
  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Nail Buffer
  • Nail Cutter
  • Clear Nail Polish
  • UV Lamp
  • Nail Polish of Your Favorite Color
  • Topcoat

Step #1: Prepare Your Nails

Prepare your nails as you normally do for polygel nails. Push back the cuticles and file the nail surface. Wipe the nails with baby wipes to remove any residue.

Step #2: Place the Nail Tips

Place the nail tips on your natural nails using nail glue. Cut the nail tips to your desired length and file them to get a suitable shape.

Step #3: Apply Clear Gel Polish

The hack starts from here. Use the brush of your clear nail polish and pick a bead-sized amount of the gel polish. Place it in the area where the nail tips meet your natural nails.

Quickly blend the clear gel polish like you would blend polygel or acrylic. Repeat this step until you get the desired application.

Step #4: Cure the Gel Polish

Cure the clear gel polish under a UV lamp for 30 seconds. If you skip this step, the nail polish won’t dry completely. It can smudge off and the whole manicure will be ruined.

Step #5: Apply Colored Coat

Choose your favorite nail polish and apply it on to your nails as normal. 

Step #6: Apply Gel Top Coat

Apply a gel top coat to seal everything in. A lot of people may skip this step, but it’s important to know that gel polish needs a top coat.

Voila! You have a gorgeous manicure at home.

Final Thoughts

Not having acrylic doesn’t mean you can’t apply nail tips at home. Polygel and gel polish are great alternatives to acrylic for applying nail extensions. Both work perfectly and allow you to get a beautiful manicure.