How To Shorten Your Acrylic Nails At Home Without Ruining Your Manicure

A lot of us are guilty of wanting long, trendy acrylic nails with all sorts of fun designs, only to get home and realize that it's hard to wipe or open a bottle of orange juice and a bag of chips. Celebrities and influencers make it seem so easy on social media, but carrying around two or more inches of nails isn't light work. Shortening the nails sounds like a better solution than toughing it out for another couple of weeks.


If you fall into this category, don't fret just yet. Not everyone is cut out for 24/7 long nails and that's fine. If you're not planning another visit to your nail tech anytime soon, then you can actually trim your acrylic nails yourself at home without worry. 

You don't have to have painfully long eagle talons on your fingers to want to shorten them, either. You can go from medium length to short acrylics from the comfort of your home. Sometimes, you just need a nice, clean break — or ten of them, preferably.

You'll need some at-home nail tools from your stash

If you're tired of your long acrylic fingernails and you want to reduce their length without the hassle of booking a nail appointment, look no further. You can definitely shorten your nails at home without fear of damaging them or ruining your polish. It's a stress-free process that calls for tools you probably already have in the house.


Speaking to Byrdie, LA manicurist at Trendy Talons, Adriana Gutierrez, listed out two options for people who want to cut down their acrylics by themselves that include cutting their nails with the polish still on or removing the polish entirely. Apparently, unlike gel polish, structured nails would best need to be slimmed down by filing because they tend to be bulky, hence why the polish would need to be removed.

According to her, you'll need just seven tools: some cotton balls, a top coat, nail polish remover, nail polish, a straight nail clipper, a buffer, and a 100/180 nail file.

Trim your acrylics carefully to avoid breakage

If you are removing your polish before trimming, then go ahead and wipe it all off with the cotton balls and polish remover. Now it's time to cut the nail. Adriana Gutierrez warns against cutting the nail clean off at once because acrylic nails would break from that kind of impact. Instead, she advises cutting a bit off of either side of the nail in an alternating pattern until the cut edges meet and the excess nail falls off. 


Next, you can choose to debulk the nails along the tips by tilting the file "down towards the free edge." This is to fix thick nail tips obtained after cutting. Then, you file your nails, buff them, polish them, and finally, apply the top coat.

If removing your polish and designs during the shortening process doesn't sound appealing, then you can opt for gel polish during your manicure instead. This would be ideal if you know that there's a chance you may want to trim your nails later on. If you are a lover of acrylics, don't forget to let your nails rest for some time in-between new sets. Acrylic nails typically last longer than a gel set. How often you change your acrylic nails should depend on your nail health. You may also have to remove your acrylic nails at home entirely if they are giving you too many problems.