Acrylic nails have been a game changer for millions and millions of people all over the world.
Giving everyone an opportunity to have beautiful, perfect nails without having to “baby” them the way you do your natural nails – and opening up an almost unlimited amount of design options and real nail art creativity – these little beauties are fantastic for the most part.
There is, however, one little wrinkle when it comes to acrylic nails that you’ll want to be aware of, especially if you haven’t had acrylic nails in the past.
Acrylic nails tend to “yellow” over time – sooner than you might think, too – and if you’re not sure of why it happens (and how to fix it) you’re probably going to be really frustrated.
Especially if you’ve spent a decent amount of money at a salon to have your acrylics done. That’s why we put together this detailed guide, though.
By the time you’re done with the inside information below, you’ll know everything there is to know about why your acrylic nails turned yellow, how to remove yellowing from your nails, and even how to prevent the yellowing from happening going forward.
Ready to jump in?
Why Did My Acrylic Nails Turn Yellow?
There are a couple of different reasons that your acrylics have turned yellow, including (but not limited to):
- Older materials being used – especially monomers and polymers – and that’s led to your acrylics having yellow aging
- The acrylics may not have had enough time to drive properly
- The acrylics may not have been sealed properly and
- The acrylics may not have any UV protection (or UV protection applied)
The common culprit behind salon done acrylic nails beginning to yellow has to do with out of date products being used (often times inadvertently and accidentally) as well as a generally sloppy application process.
The chemicals used to create acrylic nails are designed specifically to react with very specific chemical agents, but they also have a tendency to react to the chemicals inside of their containers as well.
Mixing together different monomers and different polymers might help a salon save a little bit of money. But it might also cause a chemical breakdown between the two monomers, especially if a new monomer is added to a container it wasn’t designed to be held into begin with.
Polymers have the same problem, too.
It’s also possible that the nails that have been done for you were not treated with UV protection.
This also usually happens inadvertently and accidentally, but there are certainly some nail salons out there that don’t really appreciate the importance and value of UV protection on nails that are prone to yellowing and discoloration.
Of course, it’s also possible that your acrylic nails have begun to yellow because the nails themselves weren’t allowed to dry completely after the primer was applied.
New enhancements can “tint” the nails if the primer is left wet – and that’s definitely a major driver behind yellowing.
At the same time, smoking, tanning, and even eating certain kinds of foods (like curries, for example) can sustain and change the color of your acrylic nails as well.
It’s best that you avoid all of that whenever possible – or be sure to get your nails done AFTER you’ve eaten your favorite curry and visited a tanning booth.
Can You Remove “Yellowing” from Acrylic Nails?
Though it’s never fun to watch as your (often expensive) acrylic nails begin to yellow, the good news is that there are a couple of solutions available to help you easily fix that problem – all without having to go back to the salon.
First, a little bit of lemon juice can work wonders to remove the yellowing from your nails.
That sounds counterintuitive – adding yellow acidic lemon juice to your acrylic nails to remove yellow staining – but it really does do a wonderful job. You want to use just a little bit (only after dabbing a small amount on your nails to make sure you won’t get a negative reaction) and only enough to get the yellowing out.
Secondly, you can “wash” your acrylic nails with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution.
Use four parts of water to a single part of hydrogen peroxide, soak your acrylic nails for up to 10 minutes, and then dry everything completely.
You’ll be stunned at the transformation.
Whitening toothpaste (especially whitening toothpaste that includes peroxide) can be a game changer as well. You’ll want to gently scrub your nails with whitening toothpaste until you get all of the yellowing stains to release.
Finally – and this is a bit of a nuclear option, to be fair – you might want to use a little bit of bleach on your nails.
You have to be really (REALLY) careful with this approach, though.
A single tablespoon of bleach should be mixed in a single cup of water, given time (after being stirred) to distribute evenly, and then you should use an old toothbrush dipped in the solution to scrub the yellowing away.
Be careful, though.
Even diluted bleach can wreak havoc on your skin. Try everything else before you try this!
How Do I Prevent Yellowing in the First Place?
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent yellowing from happening in the first place, including (but not limited to):
- Double checking with your salon that ALL of the products they are using are new, are compatible with one another, and include non-yellowing agents in them
- Avoiding any UV exposure, especially when your acrylic nails are brand-new
- Avoiding any personal activities that can stain or yellow your nails – eating brightly colored foods, spending a lot of time in the tanning booth, spray tans, smoking, etc.
Other than that, though, you’re going to want to embrace the fact that your acrylics might yellow later down the line and use the tips and tricks highlighted above to get them back to better than brand-new condition.
At the end of the day, you might find that your yellowed acrylics are too far gone to be restored without a lot of headache or a lot of hassle but you don’t want to abandon them completely.
Bust out a darker shade of nail polish in those circumstances and cover the nails completely.
It’s a great fix until you get your nails redone, anyway!