Using Acrygel for Added Strength & Nail Repairs

Everyone that uses gel polish needs to know about the “acrygel” technique.  Acrygel is a combination of the words acrylic and gel.  It’s a method for adding strength to your nails using acrylic powder and gel foundation, so you get the strength of acrylic with the soak-off ability of gel.  I first learned about this technique on YouTube from Anna’s Nail Art.  I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel and make a video on this since she already has some amazing ones, which I’ll embed at the bottom of this post.  Also, Kim from Ten Little Canvases just recently created a video on how to repair a broken nail with acrygel.

I really just wanted to let you all know that this exists and share my experience with it.  I use the acrygel technique on my mom every time I do her nails because it helps with the splitting that she gets in one of her nails and it makes her gel polish last longer – normally it peels off on her within a week (because she picks at it!).  But she gets much better wear with one or two coats of acrygel underneath her polish.  I also apply it to my nails frequently for added strength.  Below is a photo of what my natural nails look like with two coats of acrygel over them.  I use my Gelish Foundation gel and crystal clear ibd Flex Powder.  As many of you know, I go rock climbing and this really helps protect my nails from breaking when I climb.

It’s not noticeable, but the nail on my middle finger is actually broken near the tip.  It snagged and ripped the other day when my nails were bare, so I patched it up with acrygel and now it’s being held together nicely and it looks and feels like a normal nail.


The acrygel layer(s) under your polish will soak right off like gel polish.  Read my article about how to remove gel polish if you are unsure how this is done.  It usually takes a little longer with acrygel since there are more layers and the bottom layer will be a little gummy after soaking.  I always file down my nails with a coarse file before soaking to make the process go faster. You can also file your nails down and do a fill instead of completely soaking off all of the layers (see the second video below).

This is an explanation of my technique. You can also watch the videos below to see how Anna and Kim do it.

1. Prep nails by lightly buffing them, cleansing with alcohol and applying Gelish pH Bond.
2. Apply a coat of Gelish Foundation gel on each nail.
3. BEFORE curing, sprinkle ibd Flex Powder over each nail and tap off the excess powder.
4. Cure in an LED lamp for 20-30 seconds.
5. Buff the nails to smooth them out and eliminate any thick edges.
6. Use a nail brush to brush off any excess powder.
6. Repeat steps 2-5! (optional)
7. Apply one more thin layer of Gelish Foundation gel and cure.
8. Apply gel color polish & top coat as normal or simply top coat for a natural look.

Video:  Anna’s Acrygel Technique

Video: How to do a re-fill of acrygel instead of soaking off

Video: How to repair a broken nail with acrygel

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233 Responses

  1. Jo says:

    Brilliant to have your tips and knowledge. Don’t know what I would do without your blog.
    Would you say this is stronger than using structure gel under Gelish polish? I’ve had really bad nails this year, splitting low and peeling don’t think the weather has helped!!

  2. Fania says:

    thank u andreaa this is amazing i didnt know that im using gelish hard gel to give length to my nails but i will try this looks very easy. What other brand of powder can ı use??

  3. Fania says:

    what do u hv to say about CND clear powder is it good?

  4. Michelle says:

    Andrea, from the picture you posted, if you used top it off at that time and cured would it look like you have clear polish on? Or does it have a slightly milky look?

    If you wanted to use a colour polish I’m guessing you can just do that after the acrygel as usual?

    Thanks so much for this tip I think it will really extend the life of my Manis!

    • Andrea says:

      Yes, they look pretty natural if you top off with a top coat (like in the first video). You just apply your color or top coat over top of the acrygel as usual.

  5. Arlene says:

    I did this with one of my manicures, but the acrylic powder was sparkly to give the effect of snow on my nails. I’ll definitely pick up some clear powder and incorporate this into my routine. It did take longer to soak off though. Where can I purchase the brand of acrylic powder you mentioned? I love the fill in method, but obviously this wouldn’t work with a colored gel polish.

    • Andrea says:

      It wouldn’t matter if the acrylic was sparkly if you put a color over top, right? Or did it show through? I linked to in the article – that’s where I bought the ibd powder. Fill-in would work if you filed all the way down to the acrygel layer. That’s a lot of work manually, but I’ve seen it done with a nail drill and a safety bit.

    • Stephanie says:

      The same thing happens to me. No matter how much powder I use, or how much gel polish I put on after, or how much excess powder I wipe off, my nails look sparkly and snowy. The acrygel layer also seems to just crumble under my topcoat after a few days. Does anyone else have this experience? I use Gelish and IBD flex powder.

      • Tracie says:

        I have tried this method twice now, only I tried using it over tips with Gelish and CND acrylic powder. The sides of my nails have been getting chewed up so I wanted the extra protection of the tips so they can grow out fresh. Although I love the strength while not sacrificing the thin natural nail look, the sides keep cracking at the stress point where the free edge begins. The first time I thought it was from the full contact tips, but this time I used a micro contact tip and it is still showing stress at the free edge. I don’t wear them long, just an active length. Has anyone also had this issue and if so, have you found a solution? Any other powders that have been successful? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  6. Suzanne C. says:

    Do you have to use a LED light or can I use my UV with bid flex powder? Thanks!

  7. Julianne says:

    Oh my gosh how did I not know about this?!?! I tried it today and it worked amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Aisling says:

    I’m going to try this I’m super excited. I’m having major nail issues at the moment, I’m going to try two layers I think. Is this what you have done or just one ?

  9. Rachel says:

    2 words……love this!! :)

  10. Sheri says:

    Thank You soooooo much for sharing!!!! I was just wondering about this. Have you tried mixing like gelish structure with an acrylic powder?

  11. Charlie says:

    Hi, I am planning on trying this but was wondering, after step 6 when you have wiped off excess powder and want to apply a colour, do you need the foundation gel or do you just put the colour straight on? Thank you. .

  12. Nancy says:

    I tried this last night and used a cheaper acrylic powder. It resulted in kind of a grainy texture even after 2 coats of color and topcoat. In other words, my nails didn’t get that high shine that the gelish topcoat usually provides. Any advice? Not sure if its the quality of the acrylic, or the need to buff more.

    • Andrea says:

      You should use a real fine acrylic powder, but buffing more could also help. I normally buff mine down really well after the second coat until they feel smooth to the touch. You would need to apply color and/or a top coat over top to get them shiny though.

      • Andrea says:

        Sorry, I see that you said you did apply color and the top coat. The acrygel shouldn’t affect how shiny your top coat is at all, but it may make your nails appear a bit thicker. Buffing very well should help a lot :)

  13. Chelle says:

    I’ve tried the acrygel method and have little success putting it on before curing foundation. When I did this method my nail beds peeled during removal even with the foil and remover (I use RCM’s remover because it’s cheaper than Gelish).

    What works for me is foundation, cure like normal, THEN sprinkle or dip my nails in acrylic powder then a thin coat of Simple Sheer then cure. The Simple Sheer adds slight thickness to the acrylic as if it were the nail shop liquid. With this method my nail beds have no more chipping.

    And I too have saved nail tips that have broken and were barely hanging on. I just didn’t want to lose the length of one nail and look uneven and have to trim the rest and I was able to go 4 weeks and that nail didn’t break at all. I did a French the day before Thanksgiving and those bad boys lasted through Christmas.

  14. Suzanne C. says:

    I think I need to apply another coat of foundation gel after finishing with the acrygel steps as I think the polish must have soaked or been absorbed into the agrygel ? It took 5 coats of polish to become opaque… The acrygel took me quite a while to get on correctly but I am so happy with it now. My nails are rock hard with 2 layers of it and my split nail has not split any further. I bought the IBD flex powder you recommended and I am so in love with it!!!

    • Andrea says:

      Yea, applying another layer of foundation should help with that. Be sure that you’re buffing them really well after the last coat too or they may be a little grainy and the first coat of color won’t apply as smooth as normal.

  15. Tamara says:

    I was planning on trying this and now I have a torn nail so I need to repair it first. Did you repair yours the way she did in the last video with the silk strip? I’ve had a hard time getting Gelish to stick to a repair when I use the strips and glue. Will the acrygel bond better than just foundation over the repair? Any tips would be appreciated since every time I do a repair my gel polish comes off that finger in a day or so (it just doesn’t stick). Thanks!

    • Andrea says:

      I don’t use the strips, I just glue the nail together and then apply the acrygel right over it and it seems to hold just fine.

    • Monika says:

      I’ve used -a teabag and Gelish Foundation only- in the past to do a repair and it held so well that two weeks later I removed the whole thing having forgotten there was a bad tear, and my plan had been to leave that nail alone and just touch it up if I could. Whups!

  16. Suzanne C. says:

    I used the silk strips on a very bad tear and then did the acrygel and it is holding great. I did it just like the video and I am so happy with it !

  17. Liz says:

    I just tried this technique for the first time and I will not lie, I was a little skeptical. I am INCREDIBLY impressed! I am one who has a hard time keeping gelish on. I do hair and nails so I use my hands a lot, getting corners of gel polish to stay on the corners of my nails is nearly impossible. I just finished doing my own nails using the acrygel technique and I can already feel a difference. My nails feel sturdy and strong (and look fabulous to boot!)! I purchased a colored acrylic (for the option to have ‘done’ nails without the whole gel manicure) and did two coats of the acrylic and gel combination which added a great amount of bulk. I am eager to try again with more coats and with just doing top coat. I feel confident that this will be a great alternative to me! I cannot wait to show my clients!

    • Andrea says:

      That’s great! Thanks for sharing your experience. I really love the strength that this method provides and I find that my polish lasts longer. Hopefully this will be a good solution for you. :)

  18. Kristina says:

    What type of remover do you use when soaking off your acrygel, acetone or non-acetone? I tried soaking mine off last night and had a very difficult time. I had one coat acrygel, 3 coats gelish, and one coat TIO.

    • Andrea says:

      You need to use an acetone based remover for gel polish. Use a coarse grit nail file to remove the top layers before soaking it will make the process go faster.

  19. Precious says:

    I saw Annas video on this a month ago and thought it was as great idea I just havent had a really bad break in a while to try it. I usually just put a layer of foundation down put my silk strip in it cure then another thin layer of foundation and buff any imperfections from the silk wrap and then apply color and it usually holds up pretty well. I am however going to try this on any future bad breaks.

  20. Katie says:

    Hi Andrea – I love your website and all the tips you give us it’s really helped me in starting out to be a nail technician. I would just like to ask could I wipe my acrygel with the gelish cleanse before I add my gelish colour?

    Thanks Katie!

  21. Scarlett says:

    Hi!! I tried this over the weekend and was very happy with how easy it was! I used a cheap acrylic powder that I had already. I followed all the prep steps as usual however I’m having issues with a few of them lifting at the cuticle. Any suggestions on why this might be happening?

  22. LilaRox says:

    Just wondering, In Anna’s video she mentions the regular hard gel and says you can do it that way as well but you won’t be able to soak off, so my question is, Since I would like to do this and just do refills BUT I want to change my polish color/designs (SOG polish), if I did this process with the hard gel/acrylic bonding powder THEN proceed as normal (SOG gelish foundation, color, top coat), could I remove the SOG layers with the soak off process while leaving the strengthen acrylgel layers so I could do a refill of the strengthen process and follow with new colors and designs. I want to avoid a complete re-do but have the ability to change color/designs.

    • Andrea says:

      I’m not an expert on hard gel, but I once tried using it as an underlay thinking I could use it as a protective layer and still apply & soak-off my gel polish. It didn’t work out. If I were just using regular nail polish it would have been fine, but the acetone still damaged the hard gel when soaking off.

  23. Arlene says:

    I tried the acrygel method with regular acrylic powder this time and love it! Than you for this post. No more worries about breaking my nails!

  24. Jennifer says:

    Does the acrygel get completely removed between each color change? Or will it stay on somewhat? I just purchased this and I would prefer to not have to have it be completely removed every time I soak, any tips?

  25. Erika says:

    I tried this over the weekend and it worked well, but, I bought some cheaper store brand powder from Sally’s b/c they didn’t have any extra fine. My mistake – invest in the good stuff :)
    My nails feel so strong, and I like the little bit of opacity the clear powder provides.

  26. cori says:

    I have tried this technique twice and I am having issues with is peeling after a few hours. It starts lifting on the side walls mainly. Am I doing something wrong?? Could it be the acrylic powder Im using? Please help!!

  27. Natalie says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful technique! I have had it on since last Wednesday, and they are holding up beautifully! One question- I was helping my friend lay tile backsplash in her kitchen over the weekend and I got a crack in my thumb corner. How can I mend this? Right now it is just a line going through my nail.


  28. Nicole says:

    Best thing EVER! Wish I had read this before i spent all my time and money on the Gelish Structure. This is exactly what my poor nails need. Thank you!

  29. Karina says:

    Hi – i love this technique! thanks for sharing as it works great :)
    i do have a question, i would like to use the structure gel i have – i had already purchased before reading this article. With that said, could i sprinkle the acrylic powder to the structure gel? have you or anyone else tried? i try looking online but could not find anything

  30. Mary says:

    Hey , I have the brisa lite smoothing from CND, but my nails are still bendy even w two coats. Does anyone know if the same will work with cnd brisa lite sculpting gel w cnd retention plus powder sprinkled over? I hope so! I just bought it;). I’ve got the whole CND shebang including the light- so I’d like to keep it in the family!

  31. Renee says:

    Hi Andrea, thanks so much for sharing the technique! Have you tried the ibd Flex Powder in any other color other than clear? I’m thinking about getting the the powder in translucent pink to enhance my natural nail color. Thanks!

  32. Aneta says:

    I just bought the gelish nail gel, I am having trouble after I have applied the foundation and 2 coats of polish then the top off and cure for one minute in between each coat with LED light I spray with the cleanser or alcohol and the color wipes off!! What am I doing wrong. I have watched the video many times not sure what I am doing wrong HELP!

    • Andrea says:

      It sounds like your light isn’t curing the polish all the way.

    • Monika says:

      1) Are you curing between each and every step, and 2) Is all the colour wiping off or is it just a little bit, while your mani remains intact? I find I will occasionally have a bit of residual colour that wipes onto the alcohol wipe at the end, and it’s more common if there are areas where I applied the gel colour polish but failed to apply a good coat of Gelish foundation, and then top coat on top, such as on a part of the tip of the nail. If it’s just a little bit of colour, I wouldn’t worry about it; but otherwise, Andrea is totally right, there seems to be something wrong with the LED lamp.

      There is what is called the inhibition layer of polish or top coat that does not cure because it mixes with air and that prevents proper polymerization, but that part of the mani should be very very small, and you should have a perfect colour mani when you are finished with all of your steps. The inhibition layer is the sticky layer you wipe off right at the end.

  33. Sharkiee says:


    Do you typically do one layer of acrygel when repairing or two? I’ve been doing two, but I’m thinking of decreasing but I want to make sure it’s still pretty strong with one layer

  34. Sue says:

    I am am a hairdresser & therefore my hands are in water all the time. I have used the acrylgel system for over a month & have not broke any nails yet. I use the gelish foundation, clear acrylic, & opaque pink sculpture gel because I like the color. Love this tecnique! So easy & natural looking. I have also tried dipping my tip in white acrylic powder for a pink & white look. Looked good but need to master the dipping tecnique, wasn’t that even. I also have a bad habit of sucking & chewing on my nails while watching tv & they are still on. And what is nice is you don’t have to soak off your product. Just fill & fix where needed. Love, love, love!

  35. Barbie says:

    Does the solar oil still permeate through the acrylic layer like it does with cnd and gelish ?

  36. Shannon says:

    This tip changed my life. My personal experience that I thought that I would share, I did try the ASP powder and my whole (acrylic) nail came off like a shell in less than a week. I also noticed that it was very thick, too much for my liking for only 2 coats. I did end up getting the IBD flex in and did it and my nails look amazing. It has only been a couple days but the thickness is perfect, they do not look fake, hard, reinforced but my nails look flawless, everyone keeps asking me where I get them done and they are shocked when I say I did them myself. This is great stuff!!!! I love your blog Andrea!!! Keep up the FANTABULOUS work!!!!!

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Shannon. I’m glad it’s working out for you. I’ve also found that the brand of gel polish that you use can impact the visible thickness of the nails. My nails are a little thick with the Gelish foundation, but other thinner bases like DIY Hard Nails make my nails strong but they don’t appear as bulky.

  37. Shannon says:

    When you are maintain the AcryGel, do you just use regular files, or do you use a nail drill? I seem to eat files from Sally’s. Also if you use any sort of nail drill, what are your recommendations?

    • Andrea says:

      I don’t use a drill, just a regular file. I usually end up soaking mine off and re-applying rather than doing fills though because I do so much swatching over top of mine.

  38. Katia says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing tips Andre! I have a question though I have an LED light and I really dont want to spend more $ on an UV one. Do you know if the IDB soak off Gel Anna mentions on her first video cures with LED? Your insight will be really appreciated :)

  39. Shannon says:


    do you prefer to use the Acrygel technique of use Gelish nail strengther to help with adding some extra strength? Also when you use Acrygel under the gel polish, do you soak that off as well or do you leave it on?

    • Andrea says:

      Yes, I prefer acrygel – I use it with just about every manicure I do. I soak it off when I remove the gel. You can’t really leave it on unless you carefully file off the gel color layers.

  40. Jackie says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I’ve been doing the acrygel technique for over a month now and my nails have never been so strong, I’m really happy about that. But i notice that my gel polish is chipping faster, it only lasts about 6 days and then it starts to chip and peel off. What could be wrong? That never happened before, when I used to do just the regular gel polish, my manicure would always last two weeks.

    I’m using the ibd flex powder that you mentioned in the post and only doing one layer.. my nails don’t look thick at all, but it is chipping all the time.

    • Andrea says:

      Is the polish chipping off the top of the acrygel or is the acrygel actually chipping off of the nail? I’ve started applying a thin layer of base coat over my acrygel layer and that helps bond the polish better.

  41. Jackie says:

    It seams like the polish is chipping off the top of the acrygel.. but I can’t really tell because the acrygel layer is clear, so I don’t now if it is still there.
    I’ll try to put another layer of base coat on top of the acrygel next time, hope that helps…

  42. Noelle says:

    I did the acrygel technique and applied a color and it turned out awesome. My only question is… do I have to remove all the layers to change the color? If so, do you think that if after the acrylic layer I use regular nail polish i can use non-acetone nail polish remover to remove the color and apply a new one?

    • Andrea says:

      You do have to remove all of the layers unless you take the time to file off the top layers only. You should be able to use regular nail polish and non-acetone remover to change the color :)

  43. Paige says:

    Is the acrygel method strong enough to use over a nail tip to give client’s added length??

  44. Alma Iris says:

    Hi, I just tried this following your directions above. When I buff the nails though, the base coat starts to peel. I tried it twice and cured for 1 minute and the same thing happened. I’m looking to use normal polish on top, not gel polish.

    Please advice.

  45. Joanna says:

    will this work with any foundation gel or just gelish? Because I have the fingerpaints base gel

  46. Kerri says:

    This stuff is amazing, usually my gelish chips after a few days as my nails are quite soft, peeling and splitting, so bought the ibd powder and it’s honestly the best stuff I have added to my nail collection! But one question?? Will they eventually ruin your nails?? Can u use it all the time??

  47. sara says:

    hi i seem to be having a problem i use all shellac products and was very interested in your new system, but have tried but within a few days it starts lifting from the tips and overall my nails are not strong. i have applied as instruted by shellac i apply the cnd base coat cure for 10 seconds then add asp powder then cule for 2mins then apply base coat then apply asp power then cule again for 2 mins then add polish 2 mins then use top coat 2 mins didnt work .
    so then i tried a different way like you have suggested apply base coat sprinkle on powder cule for 1 min then repeated again then put polish on cule for 2 mins then add top coat 2mins still having trouble with strength and lifting can you help what am i doing wrong as my mum has her’s done in a salon and they last nearly 4 weeks i have to keep doing mine every 1 to two weeks
    look forward to your reply

    • Andrea says:

      I haven’t tried the acrygel method with Shellac and am not sure if it works the same as Gelish. I don’t cure at all before sprinkling the powder onto the base coat. Unfortunately gel polish also wears differently on people and not everyone will have the same exact results.

  48. Liszt Fanatic says:

    How long does it take you to remove your polish with the acrygel? On average, I’m having to soak for over an hour, at which point the polish is of, but there’s still fragments of the base and acrygel on the nail. But at an hour, I’m too annoyed to stick my fingers back in my nail mates, so I just start buffing and scraping the stuff off.

    I can’t believe that buffing and scraping every week isn’t going to peel off parts of my nail plates, so I need another alternative — even if means no more acrygel (though I really like the strength it imparts to my nails). I’ve tried different removers; I’ve alternated between foils and nail mates. Even heat didn’t help much, except with getting the color off more quickly (the acrygel held on just as tightly).

    Any suggestions?

    • Karina says:

      Liszt: that seems weird. I buff before using the acetone to get the top coat off a bit and it takes me about 15 with the nail mates and it comes off right away

      • Liszt Fanatic says:

        I file the top coat first to break the seal, and I’ve tried filing it way down to try to reduce the soak off time. It hasn’t helped.

        I’m using Gelish base coat, by the way.

    • Andrea says:

      It doesn’t take much longer than a normal soak-off for me. Maybe an extra 5 minutes or so. The acrygel layer gets gooey and scrapes right off. I have to buff a little once I’ve gotten all of the gooey layer off. I’m not sure what else to recommend besides heat. The soak-off can vary depending on the brands that you’re using, and some people’s nails just hold onto the polish better which makes the soak-offs harder.

  49. Karina says:

    I use gelish too. What acetone are you using? I wonder if maybe that is the problem. I use the pure acetone, last bottle was from sallys and the current one from amazon
    Mine with acrygel within 15 min bubbles up and is easy to remove

    • Liszt Fanatic says:

      I’m using Sally’s brand pure acetone. But I’ve tried other brands (Gelish’s, Finger Paint’s), and they don’t make a different.

      • Liszt Fanatic says:

        The powder stuff I’m using is IBD flex power in Crystal Clear. It’s described on the container as “Maximum Flex Chemistry.”

        That was closest in name to what Andrea listed that I could find.

        Is there a “Minimum Flex Chemistry” or something that comes off more easily?

  50. Kerri says:

    I used the acrygel with gelish foundation and gelish colour, the acrygel started lifting after a week and then peeled completely off, I forgot to prep and wipe though. So maybe that was why

  51. Norma says:

    I have been struggling to have my nails healthy I have used everything and anything. I am even thinking of trying to use the ale mana nail strengthen. Does the acrygel damage your nails since you have to redo every 2 weeks it’s like acrylic. Please give me feed back if you can

    • Andrea says:

      It doesn’t damage your nails if you soak it off properly. It’s the same as using gel polish. Proper removal (soaking, not scraping or picking) is key.

      • Johneen says:

        Hi Andrea,

        I’ve really been struggling with this. My nails have become so thin using the acrygel method. I follow the instructions given for removal, but not sure what I’m doing wrong. Is this something you’ve heard before? Can you recommend anything that may help? Thank you so much!

  52. Jennifer says:

    My nails need tips until they grow a little. Would this method work on top of the tips? Hopefully I would only need it for a couple manis until they grow long enough to be without!

    • Andrea says:

      I use it over tips occasionally and it works well. I usually apply 2 coats and then file it down real well so they don’t look so bulky.

  53. cindy says:

    Quick question is ASP bonding acrylic poweder the same thin as the ASP quick dip? I needed to get powder sooner than I tenet could deliver (going on cruise wanted to do nails before leaving) and could only find the ASP clear bonding powder to try the a rygel method. Will the powder work?

  54. Toni says:

    I’ve tried this technique two or three times now, but I’m getting a lot of lifting, and it’s only lasting a week at most without chipping. What am I doing wrong? Or is this normal?

    • Andrea says:

      It’s not normal, but without knowing your prep and techniques it’s hard to say what the problem is.

      • Toni says:

        What I’ve been doing is pushing back the cuticles, and shaping the nail, then buffing it all over and wiping them down with alcohol wipes. I realize now that I have not been using the ph bond. Is this what the problem is? How critical is this product?

        • Andrea says:

          You probably need to dehydrate the nail better. The alcohol wipes are only 70% alcohol – try 99% alcohol instead, and use a bonder or primer. I’ve been learning in nail school that proper dehydration is critical to the bond.

  55. Sasha says:

    I have tried this on three occasions, and each time the acrygel has peeled away. Sometimes the acrygel chips away; it is not the polish.

    I have also noticed that my nails tear at tops of the nail. Is that normal? Am I supposed to put acrylic on the free edge?

  56. Chloe Armstrong says:

    Hi Andrea
    I love love your blog

  57. Chloe Armstrong says:

    Not sure if all my post sent. Sorry if I’m repeating mysel. How much extra do you charge for the acrygel ontop of your normal Gelish price? So many of my clients are interested in trying this!

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Chloe – I don’t do nails on paying clients, so I can’t tell you how much to charge :) I’m still in nail school.

  58. Chloe Armstrong says:

    Aw great thank you for getting back to me anyway! I have done it as a trail on a few people now, including myself and I have to say, the results are amazing!! My nails feel so strong

  59. Denisse says:

    Hi I recently started doing the acrygels and I love it. I finish the manicure by painting my nails is there anyway to remove just the color without removing the acrygel? This was I can refill the acrygel without having to remove both the color and acrygel?

    • Andrea says:

      If you are using regular polish you can try removing with non-acetone remover. If you are using gel polish you’d have to file it off to preserve the acrygel.

  60. mayra says:

    I’m doing something wrong, every time i wipe with alcohol it takes the shine away and makes them matte. why is that?

    • Andrea says:

      What are you wiping? The top coat? It could be that your top coat isn’t fully cured. Or you can try buffing your nails with a dry cloth after wiping the tacky layer to see if that shines them back up.

  61. Kristy says:

    Hello Andrea. I Love your blog. I have a question about the acrygel technique. I am following the directions to a T and my end result is very cloudy and has air bubbles. Could it be the acrylic I am using? I am using Beauty Secrets from Sally’s. Thank you in advance.

    • Andrea says:

      It could be. Mine always looks a little cloudy until I apply a clear coat, but I don’t know what would cause bubbles unless there are bubbles in your base gel.

  62. Ally says:

    Hi so since I have the gelish lamp and the gel polish you cure it for 30 seconds even though the time is usually only 5 seconds for foundation?

  63. Melanie says:

    I have been using the acrygel technique for the last couple of months and I love the strength it gives my nails. I do have one question though. I put one coat of foundation and powder then buff a little to smooth out the roughness. Then I put on the color. I have trouble getting the color to go on smoothly because of the roughness of the acrygel. Do you do a second coat of foundation to smooth out the nail before color or do you just buff a lot. I would think that over buffing would thin out the nails and defeat the purpose of the acrygel.


  64. Briana says:

    Hi! I am wondering if I could use the gelish structure gel in place of the foundation? I just ordered some and the powder you recommended and I’m so excited to try this on my nails!

  65. Torrie Hoskins says:

    I just recently tried this technique. I did two layers and my nails are so strong. I used gel polish on my nails alone but that’s not enough to give me strength. I love this method thank you so much for sharing it

  66. Sonja b says:

    I have opi foundation and a lechat gel powder I also have asp powder and no lift powder can I use a combination of any of those with the ibd intense seal?

  67. laquertron says:

    I’ve been using this method for a few months for the added strength it gives but something I haven’t seen anyone mention about is you can use it build a fake nail extension. I broke a nail and lost a lot of length so instead of chopping them all, I jerry rigged a nail form out of clear tape and used the acrygel combo to make a new one. I build up 3-4 layers and file it down until its seamless. I’m sure it’s not as strong as acrylic (never used it before) but works when you only have your gel kit. Lasts at least two weeks on me and I’m rough on my hands.

  68. Torrie Hoskins says:

    Hi Andrea
    I just started using the acrygel technique for a few weeks, I love the strength I get, but my issue is this, I feel like my nails look wider than normal with the acrygel ? im not one to like my wider nail beds, I’ve always wanted narrow nail beds but don’t have them ?I make sure to remove gel if it gets on my skin/cuticles prior to applying the powder, but I still feel my nails look wider ? any ideas as to why that is!? Or is it just me being to picky?

    • Andrea says:

      They will appear thicker because of the layers. It can also flatten out your c-curve making them appear wider. If that’s the case you can file down the sides of your nails to make them more narrow.

  69. Michelle says:

    What is the best primer to use with acrygel

  70. Torrie Hoskins says:

    Hi there,
    I gave the acrygel method a try a few weeks ago, but gave up after a few tries. This method makes my nails look wider then they are, even though I am careful when applying the foundation gel prior to applying powder, why do u suppose this is? I Have the same issue when I use builder gel. I make sure to clean around the cuticles and such before curing also, but I still feel like they are wide looking :(

  71. Torrie Hoskins says:

    I APLOGIZE FOR resending the same comment, I didn’t know you commented back to me…thanks for the info, very helpful :) :)

  72. donna rada says:

    Thanks for all the great tips! I used a acrylic for 10 years because of a chronic splitting nail. I juswitched to Gelish and of course my nails are very thin now! Is the gel as hard on nails as acrylic? And what if you use theacrygel method? How is that long term? Thanks again for all the help!

    • Andrea says:

      Gel polish isn’t as hard as acrylic, and I don’t believe that gel enhancements are either – they have more flexibility. Acrygel is much stronger than pure gel polish, but still isn’t as rock hard as acrylic. It’s durable though and can be filled and maintained.

  73. Brenda White says:

    I am thinking about trying this with tips…exactly what is primer? bonder?

    • Andrea says:

      It does work with tips, I’ve done it a few times. Just blend the tips well before applying the acrygel. Primer is a bonder.

  74. Liz says:

    Hi, I have done this technique several times and they have come out great! This last time though my nails look cloudy almost as if you can see the powder granules. Did I do something wrong?

  75. Johneen says:

    Hi Andrea,

    I’ve really been struggling with this. My nails have become so thin using the acrygel method. I follow the instructions given for removal (buff top layer, then soak using my nail mates and pure acetone), so I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Is this something you’ve heard of before? Can you recommend anything that may help? Thank you so much!

    • Andrea says:

      Your nails can become thin if you are over buffing or scraping the top layers off instead of soaking. You can try using a strengthener or repair treatment like IBX to improve them. Biotin supplements are also great for hair and nails.

      • Johneen says:

        Okay so I know for sure that I haven’t been scrapping, but I may be over buffing…or using the wrong file? I usually buff right after I remove the acrygel to even the nail, so could it be that I’m using a file that’s too course? Thank you for the feedback and recommendations!

  76. Mireya says:

    What is the best kind of led light ?? I have a gelish mini I don’t know if it is strong enough to cure acrygel? I think it’s 4watts. What lamp do you recommend and how many watts??

    • Andrea says:

      Please read my reviews on individual lamps to determine the best fit for you (features & pricig, etc). I recommend at least 36 watts for UV, and 24-36 for LED.

  77. Monique Zwaenepoel says:

    I broke a nail last Saturday and though it was barely hanging on, I have successfully managed to repair it using the Acrygel tecnique! It was so easy and quick: unbelievable. I am really impressed with the IBD flex powder, what a fantastic product and I wouldn’t have know about it if I hadn’t have read this blog. All credit to Andrea.

  78. Hilary says:

    I love doing acrylgels! I found that curing the foundation layer before adding the powder gives me less bulky buildup.

  79. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    What process do you use to remove the AcryGel? Do you have to file the first layer off or just soak off with 100% Acetone? Any new suggestuons to make this process easier to remove?

    Thank you!

    • Andrea says:

      I remove it just like gel polish. Break through the top coat with a file and soak with your preferred method. Add heat if it doesn’t come off easily. I find that it soaks off just as fast as a gel mani usually.

  80. Briana says:

    I have been doing my own gel at home for over a year. I wanted my nails to grow long and I have tried this method plenty of times and my polish peels right off, like 20 minutes later. I just purchased an OPI LED light and use it on 1 min setting because I was thinking it wasn’t curing enough. I use the structure gel in a thin layer and then the powder you suggested in this article and then two coats of color and then a top coat. It happened without this acrygel method as well, with my RCM light, which is the reason I splurged on this new light. Please offer any help! Has anyone else experienced this? I love been using 70% alcohol to cleanse the nail first. Maybe I need a primer?

  81. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    Oh LAWD help me! I did everything you suggested to remove the AcryGel & it wasn’t easy. I soaked the nails for over 30 minutes & still struggled. Going to try it again but this time I’ll only apply 1 layer of powder. Stay tuned and thanks!

    Love your Blog!

  82. Rhyanna says:

    Thanks for sharing Andrea, I tried this technique today and I love it!! I used Gelish Foundation and NSI Attraction Sheer pink as I already have some in my stash and it worked really well. I did 2 Acrygel coats and then my regular gel polish mani and the result is amazing. I’m a professional nail tech and used to to do my own acrylics but they’re very time consuming so this is a fantastic alternative without the strong acrylic monomer smell and this technique took half the time. It’s great to feel like I have the best of both worlds, the strength of Acrylics with my beloved gel polish. I’m so excited about this, just had to tell someone!! :)

    • Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

      Rhyanna, would you mind posting when you soak them off? Curious how long it takes. Thanks!

      • Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

        Rhyanna, what method did you use to soak off the acry/gel and how long did it take to soak off? Thank you!

        • Rhyanna says:

          Sorry for the delay in reply!!
          As I’m a trained Nail Tech and experienced in using an e-file (not recommended for DIY-ers), I filed the SOGP colour off and a fair amount of the Acrygel, similar to if I were preparing my nails for an Arcrylic refill. ***At no point though did I file down to my natural nail, as I would with an Acrylic refill, I left a thin layer of Acrygel on my natural nail for soaking off the remaining***
          I then soaked off the remaining product with pure acetone (cotton wool balls and nail clips) which took approx 15 mins to properly remove. To be honest, if I didn’t file down the majority of the product first, it would take at least 25 mins – 1/2 hour to fully soak off if you were to do it properly without harsh nail scraping which is a no, no. I would recommend if you are a DIY-er just to take the time to soak them off but make sure you are not at any point scraping product off your nails. If you haven’t already seen these nail clips for removal of SOGP, consider getting them as they are so much easier to use than the foil wrap method on your own nails.

          Hope this helps,
          Rhyanna :) x

  83. Ai4Linh says:

    Which brand is better IBD Flex Powder or Star Nail So Fine? and why do you prefer one over the other?

    • Andrea says:

      I haven’t tried many acrylic brands and can’t offer comparisons. The only ones I’ve tried are the IBD Flex Powder and the Revel brand acrylic – of those two I liked Revel better because it was finer and gave a smoother finish with the acrygel technique.

      • Leslie Ann says:

        Hi Andrea, are you using Revel’s Sculpting Acrylic powder? Just checking as they have a dip system as well, but that seems completely different.

  84. Connie says:

    Hi Andrea! First off, I LOVE your site/blog!!! I’ve gotten so much valuable information and tips, I can’t thank you enough!!

    Ok, on to my questions…

    I have tried the acrygel method several times and I really like how it works. I use the Gelish products as you do.
    1) I’ve seen some other videos and they apply the SOG base coat > LED cure> SOG top coat and acrylic powder > LED cure > 2nd layer of SOG top coat and acrylic powder > LED cure > lightly buff nail and cover with SOG top coat > LED cure. This doesn’t seem right to me as I would think there would be adhesion issues with using top coat over top coat with no base coat. Your thoughts? (I hope that’s not too confusing :0)

    2) Have you used acrylic powder with the Gelish Structure Gel? I’m thinking it would work well to add shape and curve to the nail. Please advise if you have tried this and any tips you may have.

    Thank you in advance and please keep the posts coming!!

    xo – Connie

    • Andrea says:

      I have only tried using the acrylic powder with the base coat and not a top coat. I know it works well with multiple layers of foundation + powder, but I’m not sure about using multiple top coat layers. I often top coat before stamping or doing nail art and then to coat again and there aren’t any issues with the top coats adhering to one another. I would think that it would definitely be more difficult to soak off though.

      • Connie says:

        Andrea, thanks for the reply!!

        Not sure if you saw my 2nd question in regards to using acrylic powder with Gelish Structure Gel? Please let me know what you think, I’m anxious to try this out!

        A million thank you’s!!! ❤️

        • Andrea says:

          I’ve never tried using Structure Gel with the acrygel method, so I can’t really provide any input. I think it would work the same as the Foundation gel, and you might be able to get a little more shape out of it if you build it up.

  85. Nele says:

    Is it possible to do this with base plus from Pink Gellux in stead of the foundation from gelish?


  86. Hi, all …I like this blog soooooo much:) Bravo Andrea, You made great job:) I am nail tech more than 20 years, my nails is very very thin, I like to go rock climbing too, and I like my garden, my passions is enemies for my hands and nails. I tried many different gels, and acrylics, I tested many combinations with different results. I had best result when I used Gelish products >PH bond > one coat Foundation > cured>one thin layer G. Structure gel> dip in Harm.acrylic (its more dust than another acrylic )>leave it on air 10-15 seconds, than cure. Again, all it 2. layer structure>dip in acrylic>cure. I have amazing resultats. Now I am in process testing dip in Harmony colors acrylic:)

    • LuckyLucy says:

      Hi Studio…will you please post after you have used the dipping powder on what technique you used to soak off? I’m having issues because its difficult to remove & has ruined my nails. Thank you! ?

    • Andrea says:

      I’m so glad the acrygel technique is working well for you! Our hobbies are hard on our hands and we have to protect our nails the best we can :)

  87. Rachel says:

    I am so happy I found you ! I’m so excited about this new technique ! I did it for the first time the other day with adding extensions and they turned out perfect!! I have clients who have the acrylics on now can I do an acrygel fill on them and continue using the acrygel method on them ?

    • Andrea says:

      I don’t use regular acrylic so I don’t know how this would work. I’d think you would get the best bond by sticking with the same medium.

      • Rhyanna says:

        Hi Rachel,
        As great as I find this technique is for personal use and it works well to grow out natural nail tears or splits and I haven’t had any bad reactions, it is not something I would offer or perform on paying clients. Likewise don’t perform an Acrygel in-fill on your clients who already have acrylics, for a few reasons. Acrylic Enhancements, (liquid Monomer and Acrylic powder – Polymer) is a completely different system/technique to the Acrygel method and on clients, you should never mix 2 different products which were not manufactured to be used together, as you never know what bad reaction(s) may occur. Depending on your country, it could be a salon insurance risk too. It’s much safer when performing professional services on clients to always keep to industry recognized nail enhancement systems and methods. If you want to change your clients to an alternative nail enhancement system, you will need to completely soak of the Acrylic enhancements first before applying a new product. Or if you would like to offer your clients a product with a similar look and feel to Acrygel but an industry supported system, look into something like SNS Nail Systems which have been around for years. Their products are specifically manufactured and tested to work with each other to ensure a safe service for clients. Happy researching and all the best! :) :)

    • Mabel says:

      LeChat has a system called Gelée Powder Gel and another brand Sheba Nails has a system called Gelcrylic. Both systems use the same idea, combining powder with gel, but the powder and gel are designed to work together. Maybe you can check them out. :)

  88. phoebee says:

    Hello Andrea! I just found your blog yesterday :) This is the first post i read (found it on pinterest).
    I want to try this method. I think I’ll go get the ibd flex powder to give it a try this week. I am wondering though, the end result, is it solid strong (like a full set of acrylics would be)or are the nails still bendable/flexible?

    • Andrea says:

      It depends on how many layers you do, but it’s somewhere in the middle between gel polish and acrylics. It adds a lot of strength and even one coat makes them pretty hard, but not quite as hard as a set of acrylics. Two coats adds even more strength.

  89. LuckyLucy says:

    Hi, is the IBD powder different from other powders? Is it easier to soak off? Thank you & Merry Christmas ?

  90. Christina says:

    Thank you Andrea!! I applied two coats using this method with Gelish foundation gel polish and a small pot of acrylic powder I got in a nail rescue kit from Orly, then did my regular Gelish manicure overtop. My nails are still perfect after 2 1/2 weeks!!! I also had a bad tear and used the silk wraps recommended in one of the videos you linked on this page. It worked great! There’s a lot of new nail showing and my nails are so long and strong!!! Thank you!

  91. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    Hi Andrea, can I use ‘Gelish Structure Gel’ to adhere/glue on nail tips & build them up rather then nail glue? Thanks! ?

    • Andrea says:

      No, Structure Gel is only meant to be used as an overlay on natural nails, not for tips or enhancements. It’s not strong enough.

      • Diana - Studio Di - Croatia says:

        If you add acryilic powder its OK, for Tips system

      • Mrs j says:

        Thanks for this amazing idea.
        I think I can answer everyone’s questions in one go as tried all combinations of acrygel.

        I started using the acrygel system in Jan 2016… I do tips using gelish structure gel with sallys asp clear powder and it works AMAZINGLY ! I have soaked off and filed off. I even do in- fills!!!..No lifting or peeling and I have never been able to wear gel polish for more than 3 days in the past.

        My steps:
        *prep nails
        * dehydrate
        * ibd bonder/ primer
        *thin layer structure gel
        * sprinkle powder
        ***** repeat gel and powder
        * cure
        * final layer of structure gel but no powder
        *wipe and then file / buff smooth and contour nail( ie file sides and tip thinned than c curve)
        *then wipe and gel polish, stamping, glitter etc

        If you need more tips let me know

        • Monika says:

          Hi Mrs J and Andrea,

          After the layer
          *structure gel (MJ) / foundation (Andrea, me)
          *sprinkle powder

          do you use alcohol and wipe to clean off residual powder that was not absorbed before repeating the above or do you just paint over it with the next layer of structure/foundation? I find I need to clean off the powder because otherwise I have it all over the brush and it is difficult to apply the next layer. How do you do it and am I doing something wrong if I need to wipe between layers of (foundation/powder/cure)?

          I wonder also whether missing the ‘wipe’ step is why some have the loose layers of acrylgel in their manis that are sometimes mentioned in this series of comments.


          • Andrea says:

            After applying the powder I buff the nail lightly and then use a nail brush to remove the excess powder. Then apply another thin layer of base/foundation over top of the powder layer. I actually keep a separate bottle of foundation for this step in case any little bits get in the bottle, but brushing thoroughly usually eliminates most powder residue.

  92. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    Thanks so much! ?

  93. Bre Suddreth says:

    I love your website and it is definitely my go-to site to find great gel polish swatches and info! My question is when you are done with the acrygel application and you are ready to do a gelish application over i,t do you need to put another coat of foundation before you use the color gel polish? I’ve watched so many tutorials and everyone seems to do things a little different. Some people cure a foundation layer and then starting the acrygel application and some don’t. Some people cure another foundation layer after the agrygel application and some don’t. I’m sure it’s all trial and error and what works best for each individual. I have very thin nails so I just want to avoid them lifting and/or peeling from adding the acrygel process which is obviously adding time to my already long time it takes me to do just a normal gelish application (i’m a bit of a perfectionist to my own detriment!)

    Thanks for your time!

    • Andrea says:

      I have found that applying a thin layer of Foundation over the acrygel helps the color adhere. When I don’t use that layer the color sometimes peels off of the acrygel layer.

      • Diana - Studio Di - Croatia says:

        I know about this problem, after I started to work with Harmony acrylic powder, no more problems, because Harmony has finer particles, and soak off gel absorbs it better

      • Bre Suddreth says:

        Thanks so much for your quick response! Your website has been invaluable to me! Thanks again :)

  94. Michelle says:

    Hi I’ve been using this technique for nearly two years now but lately I have experienced the gelish peeling off from the acrygel on a couple of my clients. It has always been fine. I rough up the acrygel with a block buffer dust off then 2 coats of colour and then the top coat. The clients experiencing this have never had this problem before when I’ve done their nails. Why could this all of a sudden be happening?

  95. Tonya says:

    I am planning to do my own acrygel manicure and I am having a hard time understanding how you change the gel nail polish without ruining the acrygel manicure? Do I have to remove everything just to change the nail polish or is there a way to do it without having to reapply the acrygel manicure all over again? Thanks in advance!

    • Andrea says:

      As Connie said, you would have to file off the gel color if you wish to do a fill and re-apply color. Otherwise you soak off everything and start over.

  96. Connie says:

    If you are using gel polish (no chip) the only way to get it off without taking off the Acrygel is to drill/file it off. If you use regular nail polish you can remove with non acetone nail polish remover and it won’t affect the Acrygel.

  97. Andrea says:

    No foundation gel? I would think that the base/foundation would be needed to get the best bond.

  98. Anette says:

    Hi Andrea. I am going to try this for the first time and I am ordering everything off the internet. I have splitting nails and wander if you can recommend a gelish colour that looks as natural as possible but still covers the the splitting. Thank you so much for this blog. It has been super helpful! Im really excited about trying this myself.

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Anette – you can check out my Gelish gallery to look for a color. You can also use just a base and top coat and do clear to keep them natural. :)

  99. Rhonda says:

    I’m about to order the supplies I need to give this a go. Seems kinda perfect. I’m reading “sprinkle” the IBD powder, and I have a question. Is that literally a pinch, sprinkled over the nail? Could I dip my nail (think NextGen), then dust off the excess? Thanks for the great blog packed with ideas and product reviews!!

  100. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been having a lot of trouble with this technique. I apply base coat then do another base with the acrylic powder. however, no matter what the acrylic layer seems to just crumble. If I hit my nail hard enough the corner just turns to powder underneath the topcoat and peels/crumbles away. I use gelish, and the ASP bonding acrylic powder with a LED lamp, cure for 1 minute. Thanks guys!

    • Andrea says:

      Do you brush or wipe off the excess powder after curing the acrygel layer? After curing, I buff the nail, brush off the excess powder, cleanse with alcohol and then apply another layer of base coat before moving on to color or top coat.

  101. Mary says:

    Andrea does this work with Pink Gellac Base2 also?

  102. Denisse says:

    Andrea can this technique be used with the gel polishes that do not need the lamps to cure? For example the sally Hansen miracle gel


    I still haven’t tried this technique, but i really want to. Can i use colored acryic powder, or does it have to be clear?

  104. Jasmine A says:

    Hey I want to try this ASAP is there other brands you use, can you do this method with any acrylic powder that a good quality or is there certain wording I need to look for i.e. i seen this brand on amazon Mia Secret, will other brand acrylic powder work with the dip/sprinkle method.

    • Andrea says:

      You can pretty much use any brand of acrylic powder. I prefer a very fine powder and have been using the Revel brand for a while now.

  105. Alma says:

    Help! I recently purchased a couple of Gelish polishes from Cosmoprof and the brushes are completely warped :( Do you have any idea what can be causing it?Luckily I was able to exchange one but not the others as I couldn’t find the receipt :( they are to pricey not to be able to use them. Thank you fir any info!!

    • Andrea says:

      It sounds like the polish cured in the bottle, there’s not a fix for that unfortunately.

      • Alma says:

        Oh no :( I keep all my gels away from light that is so weird. I have about 6 bottles now and these are not the cheapest gel polishes. Thanks for your email!! Really appreciate it!

  106. Nikyra says:

    Where can I purchase Acrygel?

  107. Diane Moore says:

    To help speed up removal, file acrygels with rough file to remove clear top coat and then place fingers with acetone foils in a sandwich bag and then in a bowl of warm water. The heat helps the acetone work faster, 10-15 minutes. I’ve been using your technique with colored acrylic powder and clear top coat and my nails look like they were done professionally. My hands are constantly being washed and exposed to different solvents in my job, but my nails last and have to be filled in due to growth. Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions!