Can You Paint Your Nails With Acrylic Paint?

Can acrylic paint be used as a nail polish? Let’s figure this out!

Today painting on nails has become a true art! Professional nail artists create real masterpieces on both natural and fake nails, so no wonder that lots of products are produced for this industry, from all sorts of nail polishes of all possible colors and shades to glitters and different nail decorations: crystals, beads, etc.

However, those who want to go even further may wonder whether acrylic paint can be used on nails as well! Sounds odd, you may say. However, people often ask this question, and today, we have decided to investigate this subject.

As a result, we have prepared this article, from which you will learn more about using acrylic paints for nails. We will tell you whether or not this type of paint can be applied onto your nails, and why.

Also, you will learn whether it is possible to paint your fake nails with acrylics, and whether acrylic paints are toxic for our fingernails.

In addition, we will tell you how acrylic paints will work on fake nails (if they will work at all), and also whether it is possible to mix your regular nail polishes with this sort of paint. So read on, it is going to be very interesting today!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Your Nails?

If you like to experiment with your appearance and your nails are not an exception, you have probably already tried most of what the nail art industry has to offer to its devoted clients!

This is why you will sooner or later come to a thought of whether you could paint your nails with acrylic paint instead of nail polish.

We know that this may sound childish – to apply acrylic paint on nails! – but believe it or not, quite many people wonder about this! So the answer to this question is the following.

Technically, it is possible to apply acrylic paint on your real fingernails. But don’t rush to jump with joy! See, using acrylic paints for painting your nails may not be that successful as you would like it to be. And also, this type of paint may even be dangerous!

As for the application issues, acrylic paints are not designed for being used on human nails.

Can You Paint Your Nails With Acrylic Paint
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Yes, these paints (we mean artistic acrylics now) can be applied on many different surfaces including fake nails that you can have at a salon or even including real human fingernails.

However, since initially the paint was designed for other purposes, it will most likely be applied unevenly causing a messy finish instead of a perfectly smooth and thin layer that your nail polish would give.

And finally, let’s not forget that acrylic paints contain harmful chemicals pretty often.

So if you use such paints that are not non-toxic, they may damage the nails and even cause allergic reactions or skin irritation on your fingers and hands!

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Your Nails
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Is Using Acrylic Paint On Nails Safe?

Those who are curious about the possibility of using acrylic paints for nail art often worry about the safety of it. They want to know whether this type of paint can cause any damage to nails and whether or not it can stain them. So, let’s try to find the answer!

First of all, whether or not acrylic paint will damage your nails depends mostly on its ingredients. Generally, non-toxic acrylic paints won’t harm the surface of your fingernails.

Additionally, acrylic paint is water-based, so you can remove it relatively easily.

However, you must always keep in mind that toxic types of acrylic paint should never be used on nails! Even if it doesn’t harm the nail’s surface, it could increase your odds of heavy metal poisoning!

Is Using Acrylic Paint On Nails Safe
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Related: Can I Use Acrylic Paint On My Face?

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic For Your Nails?

As we have already mentioned above, using acrylic paint for nail art might be dangerous for your health. When painting nails with acrylic paint, you always need to keep in mind that these paints are made with the use of harsh chemicals most of the time. Some acrylic paints contain toxic or dangerous ingredients.

Generally, these take the form of various heavy metals, many of which are used as colorants in certain paints.

And we guess there is no need to remind you that applying heavy metals onto the body is dangerous! As these compounds move through the body, they tend to build up.

With time, and with the right quantities, such an accumulation will damage your organs like the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and of course, the skin since it is the first one to come in direct contact with heavy metals.

Finally, when enough damage occurs, serious complications can arise, including organ failure that can lead to death.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic For Your Nails
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Lead, cobalt, copper, chromium, zinc, and strontium are all used in some acrylic paints.

As for cadmium, a colorant that can be found in some red-toned paints, it is not just heavy metal! It is also listed as a probable carcinogen! That means that extended exposure of your body to cadmium may cause cancer. Plus, it carries the organ-damaging potential of other heavy metals, including possibly leading to organ failure.

As for manganese which is also used as a colorant, it is also pretty hazardous! While having some of it in your diet is good for your health, if manganese is inhaled, it can harm the nervous system!

On the other hand, non-toxic varieties of acrylic paint are way less harmful or even harmful at all. Putting those on your nails shouldn’t cause an issue unless you happen to be allergic to one of the paint’s ingredients.

This is why, if you want to put acrylic paint on your nails, read the label carefully first to make sure that no toxic ingredients are present!

ACRYLIC PAINT ON NAILS 101: beginner friendly #NailArt #NailTechACRYLIC PAINT ON NAILS 101: beginner friendly #NailArt #NailTech

Related: How to Fix Lumpy Acrylic Paint?

Will Acrylic Paint Leave Stains If Applied On Your Nails?

This is another point of concern for those who want to try and use acrylic paint on nails. And the answer is yes. Acrylic paint can stain your nails indeed. The pigments in this type of paint may get absorbed into the nail surface, and as a result, there will be a trace of the paint’s color left behind.

Usually, the best measure against staining your nails with acrylics is a clear base coat. Not only does this prime the nail for color, but it also acts as a protective shield, preventing the pigment from touching the nail surface.

This reduces the odds of staining, ensuring your nails are their typical color when you remove the polish and paint. By the way, we find it important to note that traditional nail polishes can stain nails, too! Without a base coat, the pigments make leech into the nail, causing discoloration.

Will Acrylic Paint Leave Stains If Applied On Your Nails (2)
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Like this, you can see that artistic acrylic paints are not that harmless as you might think of them before.

When used directly for what they were created for (meaning art and application on canvas), these paints will not cause any harm to your skin or nails. Especially if you work in protective gloves, e.g. in latex ones like those that doctors or dentists wear.

However, if you decide to give it a try and apply acrylic paint on your fingernails, the aftermath might be quite unexpected and harmful! The least bad thing that can happen is that the paint causes skin irritation.

But if you apply acrylics onto your nails regularly, you are putting yourself at risk of your body accumulating heavy metals that these paints often contain!

Will Acrylic Paint Leave Stains If Applied On Your Nails
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What Type Of Acrylic Paint Is Best to Be Used On Real Fingernails?

If you are going to use acrylic paint on your real nails, not on fake ones, we would recommend you opt for their non-toxic varieties.

Like this, you will make sure that no potentially harmful ingredients such as heavy metals will come in contact with your skin or nails.

In addition, using non-toxic acrylics reduces the health risks and possible issues connected with inhaling the paint fumes, such as the breathing in harmful heavy metals that can happen with toxic acrylic paints.

However, even with non-toxic acrylic paint, it’s wise to use a base coat nail polish before applying the color. This seals the nail, creating a protective layer. Plus, it reduces the chances of staining, ensuring your nails are their usual color when you remove the paint.

What Type Of Acrylic Paint Is Best to Be Used On Real Fingernails
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Can You Use Acrylic Paint For Nail Art On Fake Nails?

After all that we have told you, you might be thinking that acrylics are forbidden for you from now on and forever. But in fact, it is not like that!

See, this type of paint can be very hazardous when used on your real nails, but if you use it to paint on acrylic nails, it’s absolutely fine and safe!

In fact, acrylic paint is often used for nail art in salons since this paint has its benefits in comparison with nail polishes, even the professional ones. It is easier to work with when you are creating designs in comparison to many traditional polishes, particularly versions that are thicker than average.

Moreover, acrylic paints can dry faster than nail polishes. This is ideal if the nail art features fine lines, as slower drying times could cause the paint to spread or smug, ruining the design.

Besides, acrylic paint is water-based, which means it is easier to clean it up than to do it with nail polishes.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint For Nail Art On Fake Nails (2)
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As long as it is hydrated, you can get acrylic paint out of brushes and off of skin with just water!

This is also why acrylic paints are successfully used for painting on fake nails including acrylic ones and press-on ones.

As you probably know already, acrylic paint can bond with a pretty wide range of materials, including the plastic that is usually in press-ons and the polymers you find in acrylic nails.

However, if acrylic paint is used on acrylic nails, you usually paint on a base coat of traditional nail polish first. This is needed in order to create a smooth surface which is easier to work with. Also, it seals the acrylic nail material thus protecting it. You can also use acrylic paint on gel nails, by the way.

Like acrylic nails, a base coat of polish is usually painted first, creating a viable surface for nail art made with acrylic paint.

Acrylic paints are so versatile that they can even be used for stamp nail art! In fact, stamping is just another way of getting a design onto a nail.

Instead of using a brush, it makes use of a small design which is engraved into a plate. By applying paint to the engraving, you can transfer the design onto a surface with a quick press.

Generally, you need fast-drying paint when using such nail stamps. That ensures the design doesn’t spread or bleed before it dries in place. Since acrylic paint is typically fast drying, it can be a suitable option.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint For Nail Art On Fake Nails
Credits: Kathleen77 , via Crello.com

Is It Possible to Mix Acrylic Paint With Regular Nail Polish?

Those who do nail art for some time or have just started this business often wonder whether it is possible to mix nail polishes with acrylic paints. However, the answer will depend on what exactly you are planning to do!

See, acrylic paints can indeed be successfully used if you need to apply them on top of the nail polish that has already been applied onto the nails’ surface.

However, if you wonder whether you can combine acrylic paint and your nail polish to create a homogeneous mixture, this is impossible to do!

Is It Possible to Mix Acrylic Paint With Regular Nail Polish
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The two substances have very different compositions. As a result, if you try to mix them into one substance, it will lead to different chemical structures. If you try to combine them, they will simply not blend. Instead, the nail polish will most likely clump, creating globules in the acrylic paint.

However, it is still possible to mix two nail polishes for creating custom colors! And of course, you can mix two acrylic paints to craft unique shades and colors, just like you would do when painting on canvas.

When you combine two of the same kinds of paint or polish, their composition is similar enough to allow the shades to fully blend, leading to a final paint that’s as smooth as the two original colors.

So, now that you know way more about using acrylics on your nails and the effect these paints may have on you, you will be able to safely use them to create your nail masterpieces without any harm for your health and hands!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Will acrylic paint peel off my nails itself?

Yes, it will, but you’ll have to wait for quite a long time.

⭐ How to remove fresh acrylic paint from nails?

Just wash it off with warm soapy water.

⭐ Why does my skin on fingers feel dry after I use acrylic paints?

You might be allergic to some components in it. Better ask your dermatologist about it.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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