Can You Cut Acrylic Nails with Nail Clippers?

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Discover how to cut acrylic nails with nail clippers and how to reshape them

Long acrylic nails have been a popular trend for a little while now, and although they do look nice and are great for special occasions, sometimes that can be that tiny bit too long for everyday life. 

This is something I have done a few times, and the idea of having to go back to the nail salon to get them filed down sounds like a bit of a hassle to me. So, a frequent question I have asked is, can you cut acrylic nails with nail clippers?

The answer is, yes, you can, you can cut acrylic nails with nail clippers. However, you need to make sure you use the correct nail clippers and use the right techniques to stop you from damaging the nail.

This post will be looking at how to cut down your nails with nail clippers correctly and how to remove acrylic nails.

Can you cut acrylic nails with nail clippers?

Yes, you can cut acrylic nails with clippers, but there is a particular way to cut acrylic nails. If you want to remove your acrylic nails or trim them down, then using nail clippers will help you achieve your task.

Also, if you don’t like the idea of cutting your own acrylic nails with nail clippers, then you can go back to the nail salon, and they can cut them down professionally.

Here is a guide on how to cut down your acrylic nails with clippers to help you do them safely.

Three steps to cutting your acrylic nail

To cut down acrylic nails with nail clippers, you must use large clippers rather than the standard size clippers as it’ll give you a better cut and help prevent ruining both your acrylic and natural nail.

When cutting your acrylic nails with nail clippers, it is advised that you follow these three steps. Begin by starting at one side of the nail, only cut a small part, and slowly move into the center of the nail but do not cut the whole way to the middle. 

Secondly, you need to repeat the first step on the other side of the nail, again moving slowly into the middle but making sure you do not cut it the whole way through. 

Finally, you will cut the middle part that is still connecting the nail. This may seem like a long way of doing it, but it makes sure you have a clean cut without damaging your natural nail. 

It doesn’t matter what side of the nail you start with; however, I would advise you to start with the side of your prominent hand. For example, if you are right handed, create with the side closest to your right hand; this allows you to start with a stronger cut, and it’ll also help you know if you are cutting in the right place.

Another great tip that would make cutting acrylic nails with nail clippers easier is, always try to cut the nail higher up than you intend to. This will stop you from potentially cracking or splitting the nail, and it’ll also provide you with the extra room if you make a mistake so you can correct it. 

If you want to trim down your nail, then doing it higher up will stop you from cutting it too short and leaving you with a manicure you don’t like. 

What to do after cutting the nail

Once you have cut the acrylic nail down to the desired length, you need to file down the nail. When you’ve cut an acrylic nail, it will leave you with a sharp, uneven nail, so you need to fill it down to a smooth, clean finish.

You should file an acrylic nail with slow, soft strokes because you only want to shape the nail and give it a smoother edge. If you were to file it more, it’d take more length off the nail, which is not what you want.

Ensure you regularly check the nail you are filing because you need to make sure both sides of the nail match. If you don’t pay attention to what you are doing, you can end up with one side being shorter or being a different shape. This will help keep them looking consistent and give them a more professional look.

When you have finished filing your acrylic nails and are all at the desired length and shape, you may need to fill in some chips or cracks. When cutting your nails, it may have caused you to chip the nail polish, especially on the tip of the nail, so it is essential you fill this in to make them look tidier. 

You may only need to fill in the smallest areas to match the nail polish and fill it in. However, if you have a big crack or chip in your nail polish, you may need to repaint the nail.

If you are looking for a cleaner, more even finish, you may want to remove the nail polish you already have on your nails and repaint them completely. 

This may be a longer process, but it depends on the look you are going for; if you don’t mind your nails being as flat as possible and just want them to look presentable, then painting on top of the existing nail polis is fine. Still, if you want them to look the best they possibly could be, you may want to repaint them.

If it is only one or two nails that you think need to be repainted entirely then, a way of getting around having to repaint all your nails would be to make it an accent nail.

For example, you could repaint that one nail a different colour or with glitter polish and then match it on the other hand; or if, on the other hand, it is a different nail that needs repainting, you create a more abstract look.

Frequently asked questions

Can I file my own acrylic nails?

Yes, you can file your own acrylic nails, but you need to make sure you use the right type of file. Acrylic nails are strong enough for daily life, but you will need to make sure you have the correct nail file for what you are looking to do.

If you want to shorten your nails’ length, you need to use a coarse nail file with a grit of around 100. You need to be careful with a coarse nail file as it could cause the nail to crack. Use short, soft strokes and pay attention to what you are doing to prevent you from breaking your nails. 

A medium file with a grit of 180 – 220 gives you more control over the shape of your nail. This is a good file to use if you want to shape your nails; it will allow you to have more control and won’t shorten your nail too much. 

Finally, a nail file with a grit between 240 and 280 will give the nail a smooth finish. It won’t shorten the nail’s length or change the shape too much, but it will help even out ridged edges and give it a more seamless look to your acrylic nails. 

Can you reshape acrylic nails at home?

Yes, you can reshape acrylic nails at home. All you need to reshape your nails is nail clippers and a nail file; as we’ve seen early, there are different nail files, so to reshape your nails, you will need a grit of 180 – 220. You could also use a nail file with a grit between 240 and 280 to ensure the edges are even and have a professional look. 

You can choose many shapes for your acrylic nails, so you must decide what you want to have before you start reshaping them. The most common shapes are square, oval, and almond; if you wanted something that is a more on-trend shape, there is coffin and stiletto. 

Can you file down acrylic nails with gel polish?

It is advised that you do not file done acrylic nails with gel polish; although it will work, it will most likely ruin your manicure and could end up damaging your nails. 

Gel polish is sealed around the edge of your nail to ensure it lasts as long as possible in the best condition. Filing down an acrylic nail with gel polish will damage the sealed edges, which will cause your nails to chip easier and potentially peel off. 

If you want to file down your nails, it is advised that you get it done professionally to get a topcoat applied and cured to reseal the edges again. 


So, if you find yourself wanting to change your manicure or you just want to make some small changes, using this guide, you can cut your acrylic nail with nail clippers.

I hope this has been helpful, and you can use it for your manicure; not only will this help you become more confident in your techniques of doing your own nails, but it’ll also help save you money from not having to go to a nail salon.

It is important, though, that you do this with the correct techniques; otherwise, it can cause damage to your natural nail. If your nail does crack or you cut your nail too low, then you should go to a nail salon to get it sorted, as it’ll stop further damage from happening. 

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