Acrylic nails offer women from all walks of life the opportunity to rock stylish and strong nail designs that celebrate womanhood. But Black women and acrylic nails go hand and hand. From ancient times to the current day, our ability to set trends, and push the envelope is unparalleled.
Fake nails date back to ancient Egypt originally worn by Egyptian royals as a symbol of wealth and high status. Acrylic nails as we know them now were invented accidentally by a dentist who used his dental acrylics to mend his own broken nail in the 1950s. Fast forward to the 1980s when a Black woman, THE FASTEST WOMAN ALIVE, Ms. Florence Griffith Joyner wore them and popularized them as part of her trademark style while racing for Team USA in the Olympics.
Even with centuries of historical and cultural impact, acrylic nails (like many other Black cultural inventions) are still often devalued and described as unprofessional or “ghetto,” when worn by Black women, meanwhile applauded and praised as chic and trendy when worn by others.
This post celebrates everything that is bold, beautiful, and undeniably Black about acrylic nail styles. From short to long, nude to bedazzled every look brings with it fierce, fashionable femininity, Enjoy!
Are acrylic nails unprofessional?
No. Acrylic nails, like natural, polished, or gel nails are professional and appropriate so long as they are clean, not chipped, and not impeding your ability to perform in your professional role.
How many nail shapes are there?
There are approximately 8 nail shape variations: Square, Round, Oval, Squoval, Almond, Stiletto, Coffin, and Ballerina. An additional 5 shapes are Mountain peak, Arrow Head and Edge (similar to Stiletto), Lipstick, and Flare.
Are acrylic nails expensive?
A full set of acrylics can range from $25-$55 depending on where you live and the reputation of the nail technician. Researching your nail tech’s work including online reviews and referrals can help you avoid unsatisfactory results, infections, or long-term damage.
If you’d like to reduce the cost by doing your own nail set at home, all you need are:
- Nail File & Buffing Block
- Nail Drill
- Cuticle Trimmer with Cuticle Pusher
- Gel UV Nail Lamp
- Nail Prep/Dehydrator
- Acid Free Nail Primer
- Dappen Dish
- Acrylic Nail Brush
- Lint Free Wipes
- Acrylic Powder
- Acrylic Liquid (we recommend Medium Speed or Maximum Adhesion for beginners as you have a slower drying time)
- Top Coat (either Air Dry, Mega Gloss or Matte Top Coat)
- Pure Acetone (optional)
- Cuticle Oil (optional)
- Acrylic Artificial False Nail
- Manicure Brush (optional)
Please only attempt to do your own acrylic nails if you already have some knowledge of nail application. If you’ve never done your nails at home, please go to a nail salon near you.
But if you’re up for the challenge and insist on doing your own nails at home, then I suggest watching this video to see how to use all of these tools and products to create the perfect nail set at home, please watch the video below.
Will acrylic damage my nails?
Over time, acrylic nails can leave your natural nails dry and prone to breakage. Removing acrylics improperly can worsen this damage. Leave it to the professionals when it is time to remove your acrylics. Staying hydrated, taking breaks after 3 months of acrylic applications, and taking supplements can help combat potential damage.
If you´re a DIY queen and would prefer to take down your own nails at home, please watch the video below to see how to safely take down your nails without damage.
1. Natural pink crystal bling
Iridescent rhinestones and diamond-like encrusted nail jewelry take these pink nails to the next level.
2. Burnt orange gold foil stilettos
Matte top coat and nail foil complement gold and bronze jewelry.
3. Black and natural crystal flaming hearts
Gemstone nail jewelry and rhinestones use the full length of this acrylic canvas in this chic handpainted design.
4. Dark taupe ballerina nails
Monochromatic classic ballerina nails are a perfect fit for moms folding clothes to bosses closing deals.
5. Powder pink rock candy ballerina nails
The powder pink color evokes the ballerina slippers that give this nail shape its name. Rock candy texture accentuates the ring finger and draws attention to any sparkly jewelry on that hand.
6. Assorted French tip designs on square nails
Variety is the spice of life. Here the indecisive can have it all; pink and white, cow print, rhinestones, and cartoon faces. No holds barred.
7. Pastel cartoon French tips
Pretty pastels take a page from a comic strip borrowing dimension, shading, and shadow techniques from cartoon illustrations. A simple but unexpected design.
8. Classic French tip freestyle square nails
Classic pink and white is beautiful with freestyle sweeping swooping lines for added interest.
9. Just Desserts sparkly square nails
Sweet tooths only. Here dessert-themed charms, jeweled appliques, rhinestones, and magnetic nail pom poms scream birthday girl season.
10. Baby blue variations on long square nails
The baby blue color palate will pair perfectly with blue denim of any shade. The combination of nail jewelry, gems, texture, and glitter is giving big date night energy
11. Rhinestones and glitter and bears oh my! Long mauve square and stiletto nails
If you can dream it, then you can wear it. Nail charms come in every shape, size, and gummy bear flavor. Glitter sand adds sparkle and dimensions to this flirty look.
12. Mint and lilac short stiletto nails
Stiletto? Mountain peak?, Sharp almond? No matter what you call the shape, these pastel pretties are a Spring fever dream.
13. Chocolate love on white square nails
She’s got her eyes on you! These freestyle chocolate hearts are serving up Black Love in a whole new way.
14. Sesame after dark, cartoon art on long square nails
Elmo? Cookie Monster? Is that you?? The artist puts a new adult spin on our favorite childhood characters. Every neighborhood has an after-hours scene!
15. Mirror French manicure on short square nails
Acrylic styles can be short and cute, especially when long glamorous nails impede your work. This short mirrored manicure is great for newbies who need to type or perform precision tasks.
16. Simple nude and white coffin nails
This subtle white outline emphasizes the coffin shape without overpowering the monochromatic nude paint.
17. Shades of pink and assorted gemstones on long square nails
A pink color palette showcases floral, freestyle designs, and jewels for a most feminine style.
18. Purple reign on long ballerina nails
Majestic purple hues, regal nail jewelry, ombre paint, and freestyle accents make for a royal style fit for a queen.
19. Hand-painted French tip in pink and white on ballerina nails
Softly sweeping white paint accents are understated and elegant.
20. Pink and gold variety coffin nail “press ons”
These ready-made designs are easily applied at home. Press-on kits make mixing and matching super easy.
21. Green gradient stiletto nails
These wicked green stiletto nails are frighteningly fierce.
22. Candy shop long square nails
Meet your boyfriend at the candy shop in these summertime sweet nails. Colorful charms are youthful and fun.
23. Minimalist natural square nails with pink and white accent and acrylic strengthening
Here acrylic is layered upon natural nails to reinforce the natural length. A subtle powder and hot pink angular accent design emphasize natural nail contours.
24. Powder blue mountain peak (short stiletto) nails
Prom perfect, masterful maid of honor, fine in formal wear. This perfectly posh look demands a closeup.
25. Gray sky pearl coffin nails with rhinestone accents
White? Gray? Clouds? Sky? No matter the color name this mystery gray sky color is always a conversation starter.
26. Under the sea mermaid jewels and glitter on coffin nails
Black girl mermaids are all the buzz here lately. This mermaid tail color palette will turn heads.
27. Pretty in pink and gold on coffin nails
Glitter makes everything better.
28. Skin tone neutrals on coffin nails
Gold foil, marbling, and ombre effect showcase how neutrals are everything right about this style.
29. Natural and nudes on medium almond nails
Nail stencils will guarantee a precision gold line every time.
30. Tropical bright freestyle on long square nails
These beach-ready acrylics boast bright tropical colors and designs. Is it summer yet?
31. Pink oval nails
Bubblegum pink against chocolate brown skin is a stunning contrast.
32. Golden drip on nude almond nails
The gold drip is a sexy addition to neutral matte nails. This design is alive with movement.
33. Shady French-tipped coffin nails with jeweled accent applique
Diamond studded nail jewelry is just the statement piece to turn heads. The gray contour shadows add depth and nuance to this classic design.
34. Clear and white heavenly square acrylic nails
This angelic look is soft, sweet, and innocent. The white petal art is cloudlike and as weightless as an angel’s wings. Perfect for weddings and graduations.
35. Sandy gold textured square nails
Nail glitter powder adds visual interest and texture to this neutral color palette. The large Gucci logo charms are an unexpected nod to luxury.
36. “I Do,” Wedding day french with pearl studded tips on pink and white coffin nails
Nothing says “going to the chapel” like a classic pink and white manicure. The pearl studding is symmetrical and stunning.
37. “Out of this world” glitter, marble, and ombre technique on space-themed coffin nails
Here various paint techniques combine to bring the night sky alive right at your fingertips.
38. Just peachy short coffin acrylics
A simple peach color palette gets a boost with opaque glitter paint.
39. Elevated pink and white with freestyle tips and rhinestone accents on coffin nails
Another fun and flirty variation on the classic pink and white.
40. Classy claws matte black stiletto nails with silver glitter and rhinestone accent
This final look is EVERYTHING. Black matte claw-like stiletto nails are powerful, strong, and sexy. The silver rhinestone studded accent nails grab your attention, while the other eight nails won’t let you look away. Pair this look with leather, not lace.