What Exactly is Acrylic Powder For Nails?

Acrylic Powder for nails

Acrylic Powder for nails and liquid are widely used and very popular for nail extensions, throughout the world. We all most probably use it on clients or ourselves quite regularly. In a previous article we discussed in detail regarding liquid monomer. This time around its the powder or polymer’s turn to feature. Have you ever wondered how it works? How it’s made? Or even why one would be better than another? If yes then read on as we examine specifically nail polymer powder.

How is Acrylic Powder for Nails Made.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that you can’t make polymer (powder) without monomer. Acrylic powder is actually polymerized monomer. Yes you heard right powder is made from monomer.


For this article suffice it to say that at the factory a combination of different monomers are placed in a large mixer. The powdered polymer typically used in acrylics is Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). PMMA produces a very hard inflexible acrylic. Thus it may be blended with softer polymers to improve its flexibility. Water is then added to dilute it.


Since monomer is hydrophobic (doesn’t like water), it does not dissolve but remains suspended as tiny beads. While mixing rapidly, an initiator, benzoyl peroxide is added. Catalysts are added to the monomer. Following this other required additives are placed in as well. The water is drained away and thus the beads dry.

How does Acrylic Powder for nails work?

Remember all this talk of Benzoyl peroxide and a catalyst? Well now we discover what they actually do. The process is a little boring but certainly worth knowing, here goes…. Briefly, the catalyst added to the liquid, breaks the initiator added to the powder, in half. This creates two free radicals. Each free radical combines with a monomer, energizing it.

The energized monomer attaches to another monomer creating a covalent bond. A covalent bond is the strongest type of chemical bond. Energy moves to the new partner monomer. This partner monomer attaches to another monomer and so on, and on, creating long polymer chains.

The chains wrap around and encase each polymer powder bead, fusing the beads into the acrylic nail. The reaction ends when there are no monomers remaining.

The Finished Product

Ultimately we land up with the fine powder we all love. Different factories have different processes but ultimately the faster the powder is spun the finer it will be. The art of making the best acrylic powder and liquid is not easy nor cheap.

Why You are Always Told Not to Mix Products

Why have I bored you with all the above? It is hoped that one can now better understand not to mix brands, particularly with acrylic. Firstly powder is made from monomer, surely it is better and makes good sense to mix it with that same monomer? Second the activator and catalyst, one in the liquid the other in the powder are designed to work perfectly together. Another brand may work but possibly not perfectly.

Cheap Can Never be Good with Acrylic

We also sincerely hope that you can more easily understand that cheap acrylic does not use the same processes nor ingredients as the best acrylic powder and liquid. It is simply not possible to sell an acrylic for a few $$ that has all the ingredients and has been through the same process as more pricey ones.

Can I make My Own Acrylic?

Of course you can. All you need is a degree in cosmetic chemistry. Next would be 5 to 10 years experience. Lastly a billion or two to set up a top class facility :))). Luckily for us these tasks have been done already for us. There are only a handful of factories that make true and pure polymer, none are in China I am afraid to say.

Please see here>> for QD’s fine range of acrylics, made to highly exact and precise specification in the U.S.A.

In Conclusion

Hopefully this article has been helpful. Just remember, it’s not magic it’s science.

Hope you enjoyed it. Till next time happy nailing!

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