Acrylic on toenails….or not?

This is a subject I have been asked on numerous occasions to discuss. Since a lot of my articles tend to be “in the moment” articles, I had to change course this week and chalk a topic off my list.


I know there are many Technicians, some very much respected, whom continue to repair damaged toenails with acrylics.

I say “continue” because many of them, if not most, have been in this industry for a very long time. I have been in this industry for a very long time and there WAS a time when acrylic was all we had. Acrylics was the answer to everything because it was the only answer.

Times have changed. We know more and we should respect our new findings.

I’m reminded of my first meeting with Katherin, President and Founder of the KVG Group. In learning about her journey in the development of Footlogix, I remember her saying products which she herself use to represent, have not changed with the feet of today. She realized the change in health habits, nutrition and how our bodies are reacting to todays world (back in 2007) and how all these changes affect our feet.

Products which have been around for years just aren’t working anymore. There were no changes being made to change with the fast rate of what our bodies, specifically our feet, really need.

Remembering that conversation and watching many of our Technicians still using and thinking acrylic for toenails is okay makes me think how really stuck in their ways people are. For their clients….that’s a really bad thing.

Listen, I am the first to say you can’t change every time something new is introduced. I’m not asking you to. However, making a change for the positive, is always a good thing. When we find out the products we were or are using can be harmful. Or we find out the damage which can be caused from processes we’ve “always done”. It’s time to open up to change.

Acrylics are hard. They have no flexibility. Monomers can and DO cause allergic reactions. Nothing about acrylics make it safe for skin contact.

Toenails naturally flex. Toenails flex when jammed into our shoes. Most toenail restorations are are needed due to damage of the toenail.  Acrylics should not be used….it is NOT flexible.

The damage which can be caused by using acrylic on toenails is scary. It can’t be removed easily…this in itself is very scary. If any type of reaction does occur, removing acrylics quickly and easily is not going to happen. Imagine pressure from acrylics, or an allergic reaction and your client has to wait the amount of time it takes to get it soaked off (in acetone), or how your client will feel when a file is aggravating her already inflamed nail?

In addition, the damage which can be caused if jammed or hurt, can be worse than the original damage itself.

Where is the disconnect or the stubbornness maybe for our Technicians to realize acrylics should not be used for toenail restoration? Is it the lack of desire to learn something new? I’m not convinced. Is it the lack of finances to invest in a better system? I’m not convinced.

I am convinced however, our Technicians who have been doing acrylic on toenails for years…..haven’t had any issues. Therefore, why change it, if it’s not broken?

Here’s why! It only takes one(1) time. Just because it hasn’t happened to you yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. In addition, we all talk about being in this industry because we just love to help others and make them feel good. Walk the talk. Placing a product on the nail or skin of a client which can ultimately cause harm….is not helping.

  • Acrylics on toenails can lead to discomfort and/or infection
  • Acrylics are hard and can not deal with the forces of walking, running or wearing shoes
  • Acrylics are destructive to the toenails and the process of removal is also destructive
  • Acrylic can not come in contact with the skin tissue
  • The opposition (meaning it’s hardness) can pull and or tear the nail from the nail bed, causing infection
  • Acrylic will not support healthy nail growth and is more likely to cause a fungal infection due to moisture which can get trapped underneath

The good news is, there is an alternative. Using a flexible gel, safe for skin contact is the best option. And yes, Centre For Beauty does offer toenail restoration classes using a superior brand of restorative products – Barefoot by LCN. However, the reason for this article is to educate on the harmful affects of acrylic on toenails.

A flexible gel produced specifically for toenail restoration should have these characteristics;

  • Contain long polymers which are flexible and can withstand the forces our toes go through on a daily basis
  • The removal process should be quick and easy
  • The product grows with the nail and formulated with healthy ingredients, promoting healthy growth
  • Is safe for skin contact

All I can do as an educator is help you identify the good and bad of what we do. The rest is up to you. However, if you know the harmful affects of acrylics on toenails……are you still offering them? If not, kudos to you….if yes…I hope this article makes you think!

CJ Murray, President

8 thoughts on “Acrylic on toenails….or not?”

  1. The amount of money being spent on cosmetic cover up with acrylic instead viable solutions to help correct problematic toenails is insane. I have client that spent $200-300 for acrylic toes but upset to spend $175 on a dry pedicure that e file toenails & callouses and has product.

    1. I have been in the Business for over 34 years and I can still NOT wrap my head around some of the thinking. I believe we just have to do a better job with our image and our communication. It’s a big nut to crack yet I do feel in time….we will see the difference. Thank you for reading and for your comment.

  2. Hello I have read this article throughly and it is well written and I absolutely love the advice you give on using acrylic on toes . I am a student at the North American school of podology pursing a podology certificate and I have also taken the NanoFlex by fuzion , certificate which I am so absolutely proud to do now at my
    Salon in Vancouver bc. I am also am educator and agree with you as to how products that have been around for years are not working anymore . I also am a proud user of footlogix products as the y are amazing ! Thank you sooo much for your amazing article ! My IG is lovenails604_

    1. Thank you for your comment and congratulations. I’m always so impressed with ur Technicians who take the time to pursue further education. Footlogix is also one of the brands we carry. In fact, it was my first. They hold a very special place in my heart. Thank you again!

  3. I love your article. You are so correct, acrylic on toes is an absolute NO! I have been a licensed nail technician since 1976 back when the cost of a manicure was $5.00, can you believe that. I admit yes, I did at one time use acrylic on client toenails but, that was then and this is now. We have come a long way. Doing nails is my PASSION, I love doing hands and feet. I am currently working in a senior citizen facility and using Footlogix products on my clients, they love it and so do I.

    1. Gosh Cleo, I got into this in 1987, you have 10 years on me.:) So glad you still love it. And yes, me too….used acrylic when we didn’t know any better nor did we have any options. I commend you on working with the Seniors. They need, good qualified, knowledgable Technicians. They are lucky to have you. Footlogix is a great product. We represent the brand and I have a personal connection with them, as I worked as their National Sales Director in their early days. Great product. Again, good for you and good for your clients. Thank you!

  4. I only use acrylic because it’s what I can buy at our supply store. I am open to trying Nano flex. Do you have sample sizes to try?

    1. Hi, thank you. We offer the Barefoot by LCN on our website. We do not have samples, although we do have a small kit available. WE also also classes to ensure proper usage and proper education and communication for your clients. Feel free to email me direct with any questions.

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