Skip to Content

Can I Use A Paint Brush For Acrylic Nails? [ Here’s The Answer ]

Acrylics give out a bold and glamorous fashion statement and look gorgeous on your fingernails. Choosing the right brush is the key to getting the perfect acrylic nails, and its proper application is very important to obtain the most effective design as desired.

For this purpose, the brush you pick has the perfect quality bristles and a precise cut to get the best out of the acrylic manicure you plan to get.

This article helps you concerning the relevant considerations you need to think about regarding the same and assists you in making the decision a bit easier for you.

Can I use a paintbrush for acrylic nails?

It is not generally advisable to use a paintbrush for acrylic nails. Instead, it is advisable to use an acrylic brush that works with the acrylic monomer product.

Although you can still opt for using a paintbrush, your results will be quality-wise inferior compared to the results obtained while using an acrylic brush.

Paintbrushes are designed keeping with mind its altogether different purpose of using them. Although it may seem somewhat logical to go ahead and use one particular brush for multi-purpose utility, there is a reason why there are different brushes made for different uses.

Although it might add to the cost to use different brushes for different tasks, the quality of work you get. As a result, using them makes it worth it.

If you don’t care too much about the difference in quality, you can go ahead with the same, but make sure to cleanse them thoroughly with oils and turpentine (which repels acrylic paint) clean them quickly after each use.

Why should you not use a paintbrush for your acrylics?

As stated above, it is not advisable to use a paintbrush for doing your acrylic nails. It is because paintbrushes have a different kind of hair which does not go along too well with acrylic products.

The average paintbrush usually consists of stiff or short hairs, either natural or synthetic. The paintbrushes composed of natural hair come from a badger or a horse.

In contrast, synthetic ones usually have bristles made from polyester, nylon, or maybe even both. These materials cannot complement acrylic powder and monomers very well, instead intended to be used with paint that has a different composition and texture altogether.

Another major reason not to use a paintbrush for your acrylics is their size. Even the smallest paintbrushes, in general, are much larger compared to acrylic brushes.

It is very hard to find a paintbrush in the market as per our requirement, especially one appropriately sized for a fingernail. The precision and care required with the tool in applying the acrylic product cannot be done properly at all using a paintbrush.

What can I use as an acrylic nail brush?

It is good to be aware of the different categorizations and options available to use among acrylic brushes before investing in one. The same is listed below to help you make that decision about your prospective investment.

Natural vs Synthetic Brushes

Brushes with natural bristles are generally the more preferred choice. However, synthetic acrylic brushes are entering the market owing to their compatibility with acrylic products and a longer-lasting tendency.

The best natural brushes for acrylics have natural Kolinsky hairs (also known as sable hair). It is a great brush to work with, enabling the product to get collected in the brush’s belly and holding the liquid for a more effective application.

The hair does a good job of retaining its shape even if wet. Going with natural brushes requires being more regimented in your cleaning (use acrylic brush cleaners or acetone) to prevent it from getting stiff and subsequently damaged.

Synthetic brushes are generally made of polyester or nylon and do quite a good job of mimicking the feel of natural brushes, coming in quite a range of soft and stiff variants.

They complement the acrylic resin much better, are a cheaper alternative, and are much easier to clean.

Durability might be the only issue with them in case you don’t tend to care for them properly and are generally more preferred for nail art. It would help if you avoided acetone to clean these kinds of brushes as it may cause damage to them.

Brush size and shape options

You can use small-size brushes for detailed work, mid-size brushes for versatility, and larger-size brushes to paint larger surface areas. It is advisable to start with a smaller brush and then work your way up to larger ones with more practice.

Smaller brushes will help consistently apply the liquid and powder altogether, allowing more even distribution. They will make sure that you cover all the edges of your nails properly without spilling them into your fingers, avoiding any potential allergies.

With more experience, you may want to use larger acrylic brushes to speed up the process, allowing lesser strokes to cover the same area, giving you superior and faster results once you have acquired some expertise using them.

You can start maybe with a size six brush, then move on to a size 8, 10, or 12 brush as you have a skill and confidence boost with more practice. Professional nail technicians generally like to work with sizes 10-12.

Regarding the shape, the options you have are either going for round and pointed shaped brushes capable of bold strokes providing exquisite detailing; or going for flat or rectangular shaped brushes having a flat square end that is capable of making fine and longer strokes suited for larger areas.

Generally, professionals prefer oval-shaped brushes because of their specialty in detailed work.

The oval-shaped round and pointed type brushes have a larger belly that tapers to a large point of bristles. In contrast, the flat surface of the rectangular type brushes can hold more acrylic liquid convenient for broader strokes.

Typically, for best results, it is recommended to use a size eight acrylic brush having a precise and pointed tip crafted from natural kolinsky sable hair.


In conclusion, it is generally not recommended to use a paintbrush for applying acrylic products to your fingernails. However, you may still proceed with some precautions, as mentioned.

It is best to invest in an acrylic brush that will give you superior and better-quality results than a regular paintbrush, as they are more compatible with acrylic products.

It’s good to start with a smaller brush and then move towards larger brushes with more practice and expertise.

Oval-shaped brushes help with the detailing.

You can choose from natural kolinsky sable hair bushes or go for polyester or nylon hair-based options of comparable quality if opting for synthetic hair brushes.

Make sure to properly clean your acrylic brushes each time after use to last longer and do not get damaged much easier.