There are many factors that contribute to the end cost of a set of acrylic nails, from a basic full acrylic set with a regular polish to a set with the additional extras of all the bells and whistles. What you have in mind for the outcome of your nails will determine the final cost. Here’s a guide to what to expect or what to charge when making an appointment or giving your clients prices.
Something to note, however, is that the type of establishment you have, what city you are located in, and the ambiance of the salon are all determining factors that can influence prices from basic and affordable to luxurious and expensive. There are three main levels of price range. At the lowest cost level are small, local shops, then mid-range are spas and salons, and at the most expensive price point are hotels and resort spas.
Full Acrylic Set
The salon you go to or work at and the skill level of the nail technicians, as well as the ambiance, will contribute to the amount you charge or get charged for a full set of acrylics. At the average level, a full set of acrylics alone usually costs between $30 and $35.
Pink and White
If you’re the type of gal that loves the classic pink with the white tip look, you can opt for a pink and white set. This is a different way of applying acrylics so that you have a natural-looking French manicure. It tends to cost around $60-$80 for this service, but if you know you'll want a continuous French design, it could save your client money in the long run.
When you begin to add on services like gel polish, you climb up the cost ladder a bit. Gel polish usually costs anywhere from $30-$35. So you’d tack that on to the price you are already paying for the acrylics. Sometimes salons offer discounts if you are getting a full set and will do the gel polish for slightly less.
Most salons typically charge $5 per nail design. A French manicure is a popular, classic, and timeless look and is usually $5-$10 extra for that design. Since getting a design on every nail can add up pretty quickly, many nail clients opt for an accent nail with a design instead of a design on every finger.
Nail Charms, Gems, and Stickers
Where you source your nail decorations from can influence the amount they charge for you to get them. For example, Swarovski crystals? Money. Stickers should be pretty affordable, and they are easy for the nail tech to apply, so that is a pretty safe bet if you’re on a budget but still really want some interesting nail designs.
A simple polish change without a full-on manicure consisting of cuticle cutting, nail reshaping, buffing, and a hand massage is usually around $20 for a simple polish that isn’t gel or shellac. But you get what you pay for, and we all know regular polish doesn’t last too long before it chips.
Acrylic nails are a commitment. They're not a one-shot and done type of deal, and it's something you will be putting money into monthly in order to keep them looking fresh. You’ll have to be sure this is an expense you can budget into your lifestyle if you are making the choice whether to get acrylic nails or not.
Life happens, and sometimes we break a nail. The cost for a nail repair is usually between $10 and $15 per nail repair. If you break a nail, usually, you won’t need to make an appointment and can pop right in your salon since the service doesn’t take very long.
If you want to keep your acrylic nails looking spiffy, you’ll have to get fills every 2-3 weeks, depending on how fast your nails grow. When you’ve had your acrylics for a while, and your nails are growing out over time, you'll see a gap between your cuticle and the acrylic nail where you will see your new nail growth. This look isn’t that appealing, and it means it's time for a new manicure.
In this situation, as long as the acrylic tips are all still intact, you will simply need some more acrylic to fill in the gap. This doesn't take much time or effort from the nail tech and usually costs around $10 plus a new polish - whether you opt for regular polish or gel polish will determine the price increase, bringing you to between $20 and $30 total.
Acrylic Nail Removal
If your client wants to change up your look, they feel like it's time to take a break from the acrylic nails for a while, or maybe it's becoming too expensive, and they need to tighten your budget, they’re going to need their acrylics removed. It is best to get acrylic nails professionally removed by a nail tech because ripping them off can cause real damage to natural nails, which can take months for them to regrow healthy again. Acrylic nail removal usually costs $10-$15, but it is worth it.
The nail technician will clip the acrylic tips off then file the surface down with an electric file before soaking the nails in acetone for about 20 minutes to loosen up and scrape off any remaining acrylic.
Communication Is Key
If you don’t want to deal with the shock of an unexpected price or have an unhappy customer because their nail service costs more than expected - have an open line of communication between you and your client. If they only want to spend a certain amount of money that day, they should let you know their budget and see how you can work together to compromise, so you both feel satisfied with the service and the outcome.
You get what you pay for. If you go to a high-end salon and pay the big-ticket for the full set, chances are good the high-end salons have more experienced nail techs and use higher quality, reliable, brand name products. Considering this, sometimes paying more off the get-go pays off in the end. When nails are not prepared properly, if a nail tech is rushing and doesn’t buff and file your natural nails down, you may experience something called “lifting.”
Acrylic nail lifting is when the acrylic begins to lose its adhesion to the natural nail, and the bottom part of your nail nearest to your cuticle begins to lift off. This makes your nails more prone to breaking and can also make your nails vulnerable to infection or bacteria growth since water and germs can get trapped between the acrylic nail and your real nail resulting in major problems.
Additionally, paying for regular polish at $15 versus a $30 gel polish on top of your acrylics may save you money that day -- but the manicure is not going to last as long if it’s not the durable gel or shellac. This means you’ll have to go in sooner for a touch-up, costing more money in service fees and a tip.
How much your acrylic nails cost will depend on where you go and what you want. Yes, for different services at more high-end salons that give you complimentary champagne to sip on, your nail day can definitely add up. But, feeling good and getting pampered and leaving with glammed out nails… isn’t that priceless?