How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails can make you look bold and powerful! Plus, spending time in the salon is a relaxing escape from the hectic demands of the day-to-day.

Putting acrylic nails on an adult is one thing but applying them to a child’s nails is entirely different. Adults can take care of their nails without help, and chemical exposures are less of a concern.


What’s the Youngest Age You Can Get Acrylic Nails?

The truth is, it depends. If we must put an age for reference, it should be around 16 years old. Note that every teen and child is different. Some may be ready at a slightly younger age with a parent’s guidance, while others should probably wait until they’re in college or done playing sports.

Below we cover the ins and outs of the question, including what cosmetologists and safety authorities say. That way, you can make an informed decision before deciding on an appropriate age.

minimal age to get acrylic nails


Do Nail Salons Have An Age Limit?

Many salons have an age limit when it comes to acrylic nails, usually around 16 years old. Some even go as far as 18 or require parent permission in the form of a signed release.

However, no law requires them to do this, and you can probably find a salon near you that doesn’t enforce any age requirement. Or, you could purchase and apply acrylics at home. But you might want to think twice before putting acrylics on someone under 16 years old.

Salon owners that impose age rules are concerned about a few things. First, acrylics require some maintenance that younger kids and teens may not be ready for. Plus, there’s chemical exposure to consider.

Add in the fact that kids are more prone to serious nail-related accidents, and you may start to realize the salons with age restrictions might have a good point.


The Dangers Of Putting Acrylics On Children

Dangers Of Putting Acrylics On Children

In 2018, Queen Victoria Hospital in the UK put out a dire warning. They saw a sharp rise in pediatric nail-related incidents. Children were getting their acrylic nails caught in doors and other objects while playing. The fake nails were ripping off and taking the natural nails with them.

Not only is that incredibly painful, but it can also lead to serious medical interventions, like surgery to fix the child’s nail bed! Unfortunately, even with surgery, there’s no guarantee that the nail will grow back correctly.

But those were younger children, more likely to be running around and less conscious of their surroundings. Surely, a slightly older child, say thirteen or fourteen, can handle acrylic nails?

In some cases, that’s probably true, but there are still things to consider before you add nail enhancements to a young teen’s fingertips.

For one thing, acrylic nails need regular maintenance. Bi-weekly fills aren’t optional, especially for younger clients whose nails may grow faster than adults. Fills can be expensive and also hard to keep up with between school and other activities.

Speaking of which, if the teen in question plays sports of any kind, acrylic nails will likely get in the way. It’s hard to catch a ball or swing a bat when your nails are extra long, and many sports programs have rules that forbid having them at all.

On top of that, the application process for acrylic nails exposes the wearer to unsafe chemicals. These chemicals don’t pose much of a problem to full-grown adults, as long as they don’t touch your actual skin. However, children and young teens who aren’t fully developed may be more susceptible to them.


Acrylic Alternatives

Acrylic Nail Alternatives for Children

If you decide your child is too young for acrylic nail types, there are plenty of safe alternatives. Depending on your child’s age, you can take them to a salon for a regular manicure. For very young children, you may want to consider a non-toxic, water-based polish, like these from Piggy Paint.

For younger teens who aren’t quite ready for acrylics but want an enhanced look, stick-on nails will work. You’ll have to shape and apply them yourself, but they can look quite nice with a little effort.

Now you can decide at what age you should allow your daughter to get acrylics.

That’s not to say that younger teens and children have to skip manicures altogether, though! There are plenty of safe, non-toxic options for beautifying your nails; just hold off on the acrylics for a while.

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