What to Expect the First Time You Get Solar Nails


Arm yourself with a little knowledge before you go to the salon so you don't get surprised!

The first time I got solar nails (which are sometimes incorrectly called acrylic nails), I had no idea what to expect. Because I didn't really know what was going on, I got some surprises that made it difficult for me to enjoy my nails.

If you are thinking of getting plastic nail extensions, this article will tell you some things you really should know.

While it will not explain the procedure in detail, it does explain the end product and how to make sure you get exactly what you want.

1. Price

The nails should cost between $25 and $35 (in Texas, anyway). Call ahead to ask in your region.

2. Definition

Acrylic nails are those things your grandma used to get. They are full pieces of plastic that are glued from the root to the tip of your natural nails. They aren't as durable as solar nails, and this article is not about them.

Solar nails are what we're talking about in this article. They consist of a plastic nail extension that is glued to the tip of your own nail, and a powder/liquid formula that is painted over the top to seal the entire solar nail.

3. Thickness

Solar nails will end up being quite thick. They will be approximately 10 times thicker than your natural nails (which are still underneath them).

4. Length

You determine the length of your solar nails. You will know how long the manicurist is making your nails by how far she cuts the white plastic tip extension past the tip of your finger.

If you want your nails shorter than what she has cut, speak now or forever hold your peace! Technically, they can be shortened later, but that will take a lot more grinding and filing than if you just say something when she is trimming the thin, white tips.

5. Weight

After your nails are done, they will be noticeably heavier than your original nails. This takes a day or so to get used to. Just ride out that annoying time period.

6. Residue

After your nails are done, no matter how much you wash your hands with the special soap and brush in the salon, you will have residue on your fingers.

This is dried powder/liquid that got misplaced while the manicurist was painting the clearish/pinkish sealant on your nails. You can get it off with extra washing, a pumice stone, and time.

7. The Underside of Your Nails

When you look at the underside of your nails, you will see your own nail. Sometimes, the tip of your own nail fits nicely up against the white plastic tip. Other times, it doesn't.

If you're picky, like me, you can get some nail glue at the drug store and use it to fill in the space between your nail and the solar nail.

I think that helps keep crud from getting stuck under your nails, but that's just my opinion. I have no scientific evidence of that.

8. Care and Keeping

One of the risks of having fake nails is that dirt and germs can get caught under and around them, making your nails dirty (at best) or fungus-ridden (at worst).

I like to keep my nails clean by spritzing them with 91% rubbing alcohol and scrubbing under them with a nail brush every single time I wash my hands.

9. Growing Out

After a week, you'll start to see that your nails are growing out, and there is a line between the solar nails and your new natural nails. Apparently, you can get this line smoothed out by having the nail salon fill more acrylic over the new growth.

I don't know much about that because I've never done it, but that's what I hear. If you don't go back to the salon for maintenance, then you can care for your nails yourself by filing down your solar nails when they get too long.

Don't cut them with a clipper because that will significantly weaken the bond between the solar nail and your own, and it hurts.

Over the following two or three weeks, the solar nail will naturally start to wear off, and you'll see clear spots on the edges where it is lifting up from your natural nail.

If it bothers you, you can have the salon soak or grind off the solar nail, or you can just use nail polish to paint over it.

Nail polish seems to adhere to solar nails better than natural nails, so at least you won't have to worry about chips in the color.

10. The End of Your Solar Nails

After three weeks or so, your solar nails (if not filled) will fall off. Sometimes they come off without you noticing, and other times you might need to pry them off with the tip of a metal nail file (or another nail).

This doesn't hurt, and it doesn't damage the underlying natural nail too much. Your natural nail will be weaker than it was before the solar nails were applied, however, so be prepared to deal with about a week's worth of flaking and cracking in your natural nail.

Good luck with your nails!

Comments 40 comments

TippyToesnNails 6 months ago

Whoever wrote this has NO idea of what they are talking about. This should be removed because of so many inaccuracies. "Solar" nails ARE Acrylic nails! Just a brand of acrylic by CND (creators of Shellac). Basically, it's a schene because it's a quality acrylic that should be offered in the first place. The press on nails are the old ones but solar/Acrylic nails are both liquid and powder combined and added to the nail bed. The application process is exactly the same.

Ben 9 months ago

Can guys get these???

Laurie Kilborn 12 months ago

I would imagine if your own nail is painful after filing, then they filed too

much. The object is to lightly take the shine off before doing an acrylic. There shouldn't be any pain involved. Maybe it's inexperience, or they are trying to rush.

Definately going to an experienced tech would be in anyones best interest, if you want the job done right.This will avoid problems for your nails,short term or long term.

she;by 19 months ago

i have a question, so i got my nails done,and instead of using acrylic powder over the plastic tips they used gel powder then applied gel nail polish on top of it i was wondering if there is a way i can take the gel color off and keep the tips on?

ally 21 months ago

dude she needs more info bday im going and need info what kind of nail is better acrylic or gel please tell me ll appreciate it

laurie frazier 2 years ago

Have solar nails and when i press down they feel like they are going to fall off or not on right what do i do

Tayla 2 years ago are so wrong. When you go to a discount nail salon and get your nails done and you tell them you want solar nails it is not acrylic (Power and liquid) based. Solar nails are a gel based nail but because everyone wants to run to these cheap nail salons that get you in and out as fast as you sit down you believe the crap they spill.

Your nails should never be heavy after having solar nails or acrylic nails done. Your nails shouldn't be thick either if they know how to properly apply the chosen method of nails. Also in most cases they will not just fall right off your nail after three weeks if done properly. You also should NEVER pry them off. You are causing damage to your nail bed and natural nail.

Please stop putting such poorly written crap out there. You make professional nail tech look awful and end up scaring people away from having beautiful nails.

payton 2 years ago

my nails are painful ???????

Liza 2 years ago

Nail tech 22 years. I have heard a lot of non sense over the years but this pushes the envelope. Solar is a brand as mentioned above. It is acrylic none the the less. Prying ANYHING off your nail with a metal ANYTHING will cause serious damage making your nails susceptible to infection as well as other unsightly things. If there is one thing I can't stand it is people doing a professionally half assed job making our industry look bad. Others who post ignorant uneducated rants about a professional product they know nothing at all about also makes our industry look bad. Please heed the advice of the above nail techs and go see a profession nail tech.

Nail Tech 2 years ago

Solar Nails are a brand of acrylic nails. Acrylic nails weren't around until the '90s. The fake plastic nails that glue on from the root of your nail to the tip are fake nails. Please quit posting blogs that are incorrect and absolutely unsupported.

arzoo 2 years ago

very difficult preparation of long nails

Debbie 2 years ago

Oh my goodness I had this done today for the first time. Wish I read your article first as I feel like I have 10 prosthetic fingers and can't even pick a piece of lint off the floor!! Ha ha

Kelly 2 years ago

This article is some of the most INCORRECT & RIDICULOUS crap I've ever read!! The person writing this article clearly is NOT a professional nail technician and should NOT be giving nail advise to anyone!!! Please disregard everything you've read in this article as it is all completely WRONG!! SMH!!!

Denise Becker 2 years ago

You obviously aren't a nail tech. You have no idea what you are talking about. I am a nail technician and everything you said is completely false. Acrylic nails are built with a liquid and powder. Those plastic stick on grandma used where just that, stick on. Solar nail doesn't even exist. It is a brand of acrylics used by a manufacture. Know what your talking about before posting things.

Nailtechinseattle 2 years ago

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Please visit a licensed nail professional at your earliest convenience. If you are going to write a blog - at the very minimum you have a responsibility to be informed! Dear heavens - you had so many mistakes my head spun!

Janet Schneider 2 years ago

This article is a JOKE!! If you would go to a professional nail technician, you would not experience any pain, residue, heaviness etc.. You are going to the wrong places (NSS) which means non standard salons...Remember the saying " You get what you pay for"

Amy Murphy 2 years ago

OMG. Please go find a licensed nail tech you can communicate with. This article and the comments below are so full of wrong information I feel like I just need to dictate my Nail Theory book on here. PLEASE.. I BEG you.

Angel 2 years ago

Huh? I'm MORE confused now....

I'm a nail tech. 2 years ago

I do nails professionally. I just want to make sure you're aware of a few things. Solar nails are the same as acrylic. The solar powder is just more refined and doesn't lift or yellow near as quickly if at all. They are usually ten- fifteen.dollars more expensive then a regular acrylic full set. The applications have the same basic procedure, but solar uses two separate powders; one for the tip and one for the nail bed. Regular acrylic is usually just one powder put over different tips for certain effects (like French or natural) or painted.

Also if you're left with acrylic on your hands when you're done with your nails point it out to your tech because they messed up. No acrylic should be left on your skin

sam 2 years ago

This is not entirely correct. What you are talking about ARE acrylics. All solar nails are are acrylic. True solar nails no longer exist. They are a discontinued line by cnd. Now the closest thing are their retention line. On the contrary, solar nails are the fancy charge you more way of doing p&ws or now more commonly p&glitters\mylar. All it is is them putting more than one color powder on your nail. The only thing that is different in the salon are gel nails, as even "true" solar nails are just a more durable line of acrylic.

Na. 3 years ago

The worst part about getting fake nails is that they grind your natural nail down so it is really thin and rough they say this is done to help the acrylic adhere to the nail better but in my opinion I think it is a scam to keep you coming back. I found one place over in treasure island that didn't "grind" my nails down before acrylic and they did great...Having my nails grinded down can be painfull especially month after month of nail refills, When I go I try and urge them not to grind my nails so thin there is no need for the extra pain and discomfort, I feel they get carried away with the grinder a lot.

TxNailGirl 3 years ago

I've been a nail tech for 20 yrs& this is blowing my mind to see other nail techs giving advice and it's incorrect ! "Solar" is the brand name of acrylic liquid & powder products by Creative Nail Design. I've used this product for 20 yrs and NEVER have had to use any kind of light for these nails. The reason they are more expensive at the "discount nail salons" is because the product is very expensive! If it really is "Solar" the liquid they use will be purplish in color. I use straight acetone to remove polish every day...ever tried to remove red polish with non acetone remover? It's fine to use Acetone as a polish remover. I never post on these sites but I hear of clients paying extra for "solar" nails and they are not getting what they are paying for. I've gone myself to a "discount salon" to have my own nails done and left disgusted at how half assed they did their job to get you out in 30 minutes and people wonder why their nails are popping off in a clients have gone 6-8 weeks between fills and to my amazement they are all usually still in tact...that's how it should be if your nail tech does her job correctly!

Sara 3 years ago

Lol ! Solar nails are acrylic nails, first type of acrylic to b more specific

Amber 3 years ago

Oye, so confused! Lol, I am a nail tech & am trying to find info on these solar nails. Gel? Acrylic?? Is it made by Creative? Or completely different? Anyone with any info would be so, so helpful!!! Thanks!!!

Katie 3 years ago

Solar nails ARE acrylic nails. The powder and liquid (monomer/polymer) is acrylic. The only difference between solar and acrylic is they add a gel top coat so they don't yellow if you go tanning. The "pieces of plastic" you are calling acrylics, are only tips with no acrylic. For the people who are saying they hurt, yes they may hurt for a few days afterwards as your nails are adjusting.

Meg 4 years ago

First of all almost everything you said was false beginning with the definition of acrylic nails. Everything there after followed suite with almost no truth to it whatsoever. I feel bad for anyone who is new to nails and took any of this as truth.

lez 4 years ago

i am having mine done for the first time ever for my prom :D is there anything i should do befor hand to get my nails and skin in better condition for having them? thanks

Amanda 4 years ago

wow i thought i was not one of the regular nail salon customers. I have had solar nails for a little over a year. There is different colors you can choose from for the tip, from white, off-white, red, blue, green, etc. No the nail, like other have said, will not fall off. On how often should you refill your nails if you do want to keep them? Depends how fast your nails grow. My friend can go a whole month without refilling them, I on the other hand have to go every other week. I personally only have the pink powder on my nails and no tip so it looks more natural and i don't have to refill the tip either, making it cheaper for me. Also instead of using the fake nail as the tip, you can request to get the tip powder in the color you want and just refill that. Yes you can put polish on top of the nail but when removing the color make sure you have a polish remover with no acetone. Acetone will rub the nail off. Hope this helps. :)

Courtney 4 years ago

I just got my tips on yesterday, they do feel weird after aa while but then you get used to the,, it is hard to do everyday stuff but that's the price you pay for beauty. The nails will be rejected by the skin and will come off on their own accord. Just use moisturiser on your nail beds until they seem healthier again, I was told to leave the nails until they just are rejected by my finger(-:

unknown 4 years ago

This has a lot of bad information. To keep your nails healthy, you should get them filled every 2 weeks. Why would you not? It's a waste of money if you don't. It only costs 10 dollars.

unknown 4 years ago

when they fall off does it take yyour nail with it???

kassandra 4 years ago

they said you can refill them in 3 weeks and thank god mine dont hurt anymore or feel heavy any more im gonna try to get them refilled whatever that means but what i do know is where i went they charged me $40 per person and to get them refilled they are going to charge me $30 im going to shop around

Ziggy-zag 4 years ago

I did mine the first time two weeks ago and it didn't feel heavier. They look almost natural and no white residue at all.

Mine did hurt a little for a while and it doesn't any more. I'm guessing that it is due to the thinning of your natural nails when they file them down. I'm starting to wonder what's next...? Can I get it re-done without having them replaced if it's still nicely intact?

kassandra 4 years ago

actually i just got home from getting my nails done or the first time and they are solar and they do feel heavier also they are hurting me and im not sure why so if someone could tell me why they hurt or why they think they would hurt that would be great thanks

Cheyenne 4 years ago

J Jackson, you can use nail polish remover as long as it is Acetone Free. Acetone is what dissolves the artificial nail. 90% of this article is wrong. Solar nails ARE in fact, acrylic nails. The only differences between solars and regular acrylic is:

Solars are stronger and last longer

The solar powder is made with a no lift acrylic formula

They are solar because the powder is cured under a solar lamp before application, and then when finished they are sealed with a top coat of clear gel polish. This prevents them from turning yellow, and makes them shine more. Regular acrylics turn yellow after about a week because they only use buffing cream on them, so dirt adheres to them.

There should NOT be any residue left on your fingers after getting your nails done. That is not normal what-so-ever.

Your nails will not feel heavier, they just feel tight because of all the product on them, they stop feeling tight because after a day or so they loosen up a bit (it is only noticeable in the feeling, not the look)kind of like a new pair of shoes.

They will not fall off on their own. They may break off or after a while pop off very easily but prying them is not recommended. When you pry off the nail it tears off multiple layers of your nail off causing them to be even more thin than they would if you soaked them off in pure acetone.

Hope this helps!

(I have been a nail technician for 10 years)

Wow 4 years ago

Wherever you had your nails done, don't go back!

There are 3 kinds of fake nails (not including the press on stuff you mistaken called acrylic). Pink & Whites (Solar Nails is simply a brand name,they are just colored acrylics), Gel, and fiberglass (a fiberglass mesh is applied under the acrylic, it is invisible when finished).

None of them will fall off.

None of them are harmed by putting polish over them.

There should NOT be any residue on your fingers.

Your nails will be thicker but should not feel noticeably heavier.

Never ever pry the nails off! As someone said above, it will seriously damage your natural nail. If you want them off, soak them in acetone or go to a salon to have them do it.

There is no reason not to say if you want them shorter, it takes a mere minute to shorten them. It would be rude to wait until they are completely finished to say something though.

Your nail tech should use a light filing to remove any "dirt" under the nail at the time of application and during fill ins.

J Jackson 4 years ago

Taylor, you can't use nail polish remover on solar nails. It destroys the solar nail.

Taylor 4 years ago

if i get solar nails can i paint over them with nail polish without the worry of Nailpolish remover taking the whole nail off after i want to change nail polish

Addicted to Solar Nails 4 years ago

Solar nails will not fall off by themselves after three weeks. I usually wait at least 3 weeks before going to get them filled and if I could stand them being gross and ugly for longer, I'm sure they would last many more. Your nail basically has to completely grow out before the solar nails will 'fall off'. Also, you should NEVER pry them off! This can SEVERELY damage your natural nail beds and is EXTREMELY painful! I've done it and it's one of the most unpleasant experiences!

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swb78 5 years ago from Gainesville Georgia

I obviously don`t use nail salons *laughing* but I enjoyed your hub. You are a very good writer. Welcome to the Hubpages and good luck to you!!

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