Welcome to the world of acrylic nails, a realm where beauty and artistry meet! If you’re fascinated by the stunning array of acrylic nail designs and pondering the cost implications of indulging in this trend, you’re in the right place. Today, we delve into a pressing question: How much do acrylic nails cost when done at a salon versus a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach at home? This blog aims to shed light on the financial aspects of both choices, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and budget. So, whether you’re a seasoned nail enthusiast or new to the acrylic scene, join us as we explore the costs and benefits of salon and DIY acrylic nails.

Understanding Acrylic Nails

Before we dive into the costs, let’s explore what acrylic nails are and why they’ve become a beloved choice for nail enthusiasts. Acrylic nails have a rich history, tracing back to the 1950s, and have since evolved into a versatile and sought-after nail enhancement.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are artificial nail extensions placed over natural nails, typically made by combining a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. This mixture forms a hard protective layer that can be shaped, filed, and colored to your preference. Acrylics are famed for their durability and versatility, making them a popular choice for those looking to add length and strength to their nails.

The Process of Applying Acrylic Nails

The application process involves several steps:

  1. Nail Preparation: Your natural nails are cleaned, buffed, and filed.
  2. Applying the Acrylic: A brush is dipped into the liquid monomer, then into the powder polymer to form a bead. This mixture is applied to the nails and shaped.
  3. Curing and Shaping: The acrylic hardens on its own, after which it can be further shaped and buffed to a smooth finish.
  4. Decoration: Finally, the nails are painted with regular or gel polish and can be adorned with designs.

Popularity and Appeal

Their popularity stems from their ability to transform nails into a canvas for artistic expression. Whether you’re looking for a glamorous look for a special event or seeking a durable solution for everyday wear, acrylics offer both aesthetics and functionality.

DIY or Salon: How Much Are Acrylic Nails in Different Scenarios?

Salon Acrylic Nails

When it comes to getting acrylic nails done professionally, the experience is as much about the pampering as it is about the final product. Let’s break down what you can expect in terms of cost and experience at a salon.

The Salon Experience

Opting for a salon treatment means entrusting your nails to experienced professionals. It’s not just about applying acrylic; it’s about the luxury of having someone take care of you. The salon experience often includes a relaxing environment, expert advice on nail health and design, and a flawless finish.

Cost Breakdown at a Salon

  1. Initial Application: The first-time application of acrylic nails at a salon can range from $30 to $60, depending on various factors. This includes nail preparation, application, curing, shaping, and painting.
  2. Maintenance Costs: Acrylic nails require regular upkeep. Fills, needed every 2-3 weeks, can cost between $15 and $30. This is essential to maintain the look and health of your nails.
  3. Additional Costs: Nail art, special designs, or using premium nail polishes can add to the base cost. Repairs, if needed, also come with a fee.

Factors Influencing Salon Prices

  • Location: Salons in urban or upscale areas tend to charge more due to higher operational costs.
  • Salon Prestige and Expertise: High-end salons with well-known nail artists can charge a premium for their services.
  • Materials Used: The quality of the materials (acrylic, polish, embellishments) can also affect the price.

Pros and Cons of Salon Acrylic Nails

The salon option offers professional results, a relaxing experience, and access to expert advice. However, it requires a higher financial commitment and regular salon visits for maintenance. It’s ideal for those who prioritize quality and convenience over cost.

DIY or Salon: How Much Are Acrylic Nails in Different Scenarios?

DIY Acrylic Nails

Embarking on the DIY journey of applying acrylic nails at home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It’s a fantastic opportunity for those who relish creativity and hands-on activities. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of going the DIY route.

Initial Setup and Costs

  1. Essential Tools and Materials: To start, you’ll need acrylic nail tips, acrylic powder, liquid monomer, a nail brush, nail file, and buffer. The initial investment for these high-quality supplies ranges from $50 to $100.
  2. Learning Resources: Fortunately, there are plenty of online tutorials and guides (sometimes free) that can help you learn the application process.

Ongoing Costs

  • Maintenance Supplies: As your skills improve, you might find yourself experimenting with different colors and designs, which would add to your costs minimally.
  • Replacement of Basic Supplies: Occasionally, you will need to replenish items like monomer and powder, but these costs are generally low.

Time Investment and Learning Curve

  • Practicing the Skill: Perfecting the art of applying acrylic nails takes time and patience. The initial few attempts might not yield salon-quality results, but with practice, you can achieve professional-looking nails.
  • Time Commitment: DIY application can be time-consuming, especially in the learning phase. It’s important to factor in this aspect when considering DIY.

Pros and Cons of DIY Acrylic Nails

The DIY approach offers cost-effectiveness in the long run and a sense of achievement in mastering a new skill. However, it requires a significant time investment and patience to learn. DIY is perfect for those who love crafting and have the time to devote to learning the process.

Cost Comparison

Now, let’s compare the financial aspect of salon versus DIY acrylic nails over six months. Assuming bi-weekly salon visits at $45 each, the cost would total around $540. On the DIY front, after the initial investment of about $100, the ongoing costs would be minimal, approximately $30 for additional supplies. However, it’s crucial to consider the value of your time and the learning curve involved in DIY.

Hidden Costs to Consider

  • Time as a Resource: DIY takes time, not just in application but in learning. Time is a valuable resource, and this should be factored into your decision.
  • Quality and Satisfaction: Salon services offer a guarantee of quality, which might not be immediately attainable in DIY attempts.

Making Your Decision

Deciding between salon and DIY acrylic nails depends on several personal factors:

  1. Skill Level and Willingness to Learn: If you enjoy learning new skills and have the patience for it, DIY could be a fulfilling choice.
  2. Budget Considerations: Those on a tighter budget might find the DIY approach more economical in the long run.
  3. Time Availability: If you have limited time or prefer a hassle-free experience, salon services are more suitable.
  4. Quality Expectations: For consistently professional results, salon services are the way to go.

Tips for Saving Money in Either Scenario

  • Salon Visits: Look for new client discounts or loyalty programs at salons.
  • DIY: Purchase supplies in bulk or during sales to reduce costs.


Whether you choose the salon experience for its professional touch and relaxation or the DIY route for its cost-effectiveness and sense of accomplishment, acrylic nails offer a way to express your style and creativity. This exploration into the costs and benefits of both methods aims to empower you to make a choice that aligns with your personal preferences, budget, and lifestyle. Remember, the beauty of acrylic nails lies not just in their appearance but in the joy and satisfaction they bring to your beauty routine.

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