Can You Cut Acrylic Nails – Yes or No

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips

If you’re asking, “Can you cut acrylic nails?” it’s probably because the acrylic nails you’ve gotten put on are way too long. This can be a frustrating experience, and you may not want to return to the nail salon as this wastes time and money. We totally get it! So, can you cut acrylic nails? And if so, is there a certain way you have to do it? If you’re interested in learning the answers to these often posed questions, then be sure to stick around. We’re diving into the details right now! 

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Can You Cut Acrylic Nails

I Accidentally Got My Acrylic Nails Too Long

We’ve all been there. 

You accidentally asked for nails that are way too long, and now things like typing, cooking, cleaning, and more are getting to be difficult (to say the least)!

Thankfully, there are ways to fix this annoying situation. But to do so takes time and research. As you probably already know, cutting your acrylic nails without a strategy could lead to disaster. Acrylic nails are thicker than normal nails and, therefore, won’t cut normally. Because of this, you’ll need to grab a few tools and adhere to certain protocols to keep your acrylic nails in the best shape possible when shortening them.

Interested in knowing what those protocols are? Keep reading, and you’ll soon find out!

How Much Does It Cost to Shorten Acrylic Nails

It’s hard to say exactly how much a nail salon will charge to cut acrylic nails. Usually, the price will hover around $15, but this could fluctuate drastically depending on the nail salon and what kind of acrylic nails you have. Some types of nail jobs involve gel polish which may or may not add to the cost. 

Either way, it is understandable that those seeking an answer to “Can you cut acrylic nails?” would want a professional to handle the matter. But for those who would prefer not to pay additional money for such a simple fix, even $15 may prove too much. 

Thankfully there are ways to shorten your acrylic nails at home. Let’s take a look at some of those ways now! 

Can I Cut Off My Acrylic Nails?

Yes, you can cut off your acrylic nails. But you’ll need to do so carefully and with guidance. Many that cut their own acrylic nails have specific ways they like to carry out the task. Some use fancy instruments, and others use simple nail clippers. Truth be told, some methods are better than others. Still, it is possible to shorten your nails with just nail clippers and a sturdy file. 

We’ll show you how!

What Should You Use to Cut Acrylic Nails?

Cutting acrylic nails can be easily done at home with just a nail clipper and a sturdy nail file. Some recommend that you use toenail clippers to cut acrylic nails instead of basic ones. The idea behind this is that toenail clippers are bigger and stronger and, thus, can get through thick acrylics better.

While this may be true, we’ve found that regular nail clippers also do the job (assuming they aren’t low quality). You can also grab a nail clipper that’s specifically designed for artificial nails. These are commonly sold in beauty stores and on Amazon.

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In addition to this, you’ll also need a good nail file. We recommend not using your typical “spongy” file but, instead, using one that is metal or has a grit of 180-220.

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Finally, if you can swing it, the very best nail file to use when trying to smooth your acrylic nails after cutting them is a glass or crystal one.These nail files do great to offer quick and smooth results, especially since acrylic nails can be very thick.

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With all of this in mind, consider choosing from a variety of the following tools for cutting acrylic nails at home:

  • Acrylic nail clipper
  • Toenail clipper
  • Fingernail clipper
  • Nail file with grit between 180-220
  • Crystal nail file
  • Glass nail file

Can You Cut Acrylic Nails With Scissors?

You may have noticed that we haven’t listed scissors on the list of gadgets to be used when clipping acrylic nails. Indeed, we don’t believe that scissors are a great pick when trying to shorten acrylic nails. Those that have tried it have reported less than stellar results. Thus, we advise you to stick with the aforementioned tools or go to the nail salon if you wish to have your acrylic nails cut shorter.

Can You Cut Acrylic Nails With Gel Polish?

Before we jump into the details in regard to the question, “How can you cut acrylic nails at home?” we’d first like to note that not all acrylic nails should be shortened without the help of a professional. Acrylic nails that have a coat of gel polish over them may need to be shortened by a nail salon technician.

The reason? Gel polish acts as a seal around the curve of a nail. This is what makes it so long-lasting. Thus, by cutting and filing acrylic nails with gel coating over it, you break that seal which may cause your gel coating to chip or peel. Therefore, it isn’t advised that you cut your own acrylic gel nails. Doing so could wreak havoc on your new nail set and cause you more headache (and money!) than it is worth it.

How to Shorten Acrylic Nails at Home

Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t do in regards to cutting acrylic nails at home, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty details concerning exactly how to do it. 

So, if you’re ready, let’s get into it. 

How Can I Cut My Acrylic Nails at Home?

It’s fairly easy to cut your own acrylic nails at home. To do so without the use of a specialty acrylic nail cutter, check out the steps below.


  • Nail or toenail clippers
  • Nail file (180-220 grit – steel, glass, or crystal work best)


  1. Remove the paint on your nails if desired.
  2. Determine the desired length of your nail.
  3. Using your dominant hand, position your nail clippers on the outside of the nail at the desired length you’d like your nails to be cut. 
  4. Slowly and carefully cut from the outside of the nail to the middle. DO NOT cut all the way across the nail.
  5. Once you’ve cut from one side of the nail to the middle, do the same thing on the other side of the same nail. At this point, your nail will be cut all the way across. If it hasn’t popped off on its own, use your hand to carefully peel away the cut piece.
  6. Repeat these steps until all of your nails are at the desired length.
  7. You’ll notice that your nails are now the length you desire but are jagged and unattractive. Use your sturdy nail file to smooth all of the jagged edges on each nail.
  8. If desired, you may repaint or paint over the current nail polish you have for a smooth and even look.

Pro Tips

Always cut your nails slightly longer than you want them to be. This will give more room for error, and you can always file them down later. 

Never start cutting at the middle of the nail. Doing so may cause the acrylic to crack, especially since acrylic tends to be thicker in the middle.

When at the filing stage, do your best only to shape your nail and not take off any length (unless you need to!)

How to Cut Acrylic Nails Shorter at Home

Of course, if you want to make things even easier, you can snag an acrylic nail cutter from the beauty store or Amazon to quickly chop your acrylic nails to the length you want. 

Just know that you still may need to file them, and handling these on your own may get tricky at times, as some only bend the nail without actually cutting through them. To prevent this, be sure that your acrylic nail clipper is high quality.

How to File Down Acrylic Nails

When filing down your acrylic nails you can use an electric file or a regular nail file. Just be sure to use a nail file with enough grit to ensure the job gets done right. 

How to File Acrylic Nails Without Electric File

While you can use a “regular” nail file to file acrylics, it will likely take much longer and may not be as smooth as you’d like. Because most people don’t have electric filers, it can be helpful to invest in a durable high-quality metal, glass, or crystal file for use on acrylic nails. 

Can You Cut Acrylic Nails

Can You Cut Acrylic Nails? Yes, But Be Careful!

Yes, it is totally possible to cut acrylic nails. Still, you’ll need to be careful how you go about doing so. Always be sure to start from the outside and in and never begin cutting down the middle. Also, you should think twice about cutting gel acrylic nails on your own as doing so could ruin the polish and cause them to chip and peel.

We hope this helps answer the question, “Can you cut acrylic nails?” Have you ever cut your own acrylic nails? Let us know!


Can you cut acrylic nails after they are done?

Yes, you can. But you’ll need to do so carefully to avoid cracking them.

How do you cut acrylic nails without cracking them?

Always cut from the outside in instead of cutting them down the middle. This can be done using regular nail clippers and a nail file.

How do you cut fake acrylic nails?

Use a nail clipper to cut the nail from the outside in to ensure the best cut on acrylic nails. 

By Ellis James

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