How Long Does It Take to Get Nails Done? (By Type + Pricing)

Personal care, including taking care of your nails, is essential to life. While professionals recommend you get your nails tended to at least every two to three weeks, between 2011 and 2020, most people said they get manicures at least four times per week. However, this can be time-consuming, so most people get their nails done professionally. Does this save time? How long does it take to get your nails done?

A full set of acrylic or gel nails will take 1.5 to 2.5 hours, while a basic manicure will take 30 to 45 minutes. For an acrylic fill, it will take between 30 and 60 minutes. For those wanting a manicure and pedicure, it will take up to three hours, depending on if you’re getting acrylics, too.

In this article, we’ll dive into the amount of time each type of nail service costs so you can accurately estimate how much time you’ll need to carve out of your day for your nail appointment. Plus, it’ll give you a better idea of what will fit into your schedule.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Basic Manicure?

For those looking for a basic manicure, expect it to take 30 to 45 minutes. During this time, they’ll shape, file, and buff your nails to your liking. They’ll also take the time to tame your cuticles and push them back, so your nail beds grow nice and healthy.

This time includes painting your nails as well. However, remember that the actual time you spend will depend on whether you get a plain color or choose to get a design. Of course, depending on the design, it may add up to 20 extra minutes to your appointment time.

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Take to Get Done?

If you’re looking for a full set of acrylics, this will take much longer as you’ll need at least 1.5 to 2.5 hours. There’s much more involved with acrylics, and the time will depend on how long each process phase takes.

Here’s the time breakdown for an acrylic application:

  • Nail prep: Your nails will be cut, cleaned, shaped, and buffed to create a suitable base to apply the acrylics. This can take between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the condition of your nails.
  • Applying the acrylics: The acrylics are applied in layers. The nail tech will sculpt and shape your nails as they go. This can take between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours, depending on how skilled the technician is and the complexity of the design that you chose.
  • Last steps: Once the acrylic has been set, the tech will do one more shaping and style. This is also when they apply the nail art. This can take between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on if you have a basic non-colored tip or an airbrush design.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Full Set of Gel Nails?

Gel nails will take about the same amount of time as acrylic nails. So, you’ll spend between 1.5 and 2.5 hours at the nail salon if this is your choice of service. However, the timing breaks down slightly differently:

  • Nail Prep: Your nails will be prepared the same way. Your cuticles will get pushed back, and your nails will be shaped and clean. This will take between 15 and 30 minutes.
  • Applying the gel: Gel is also applied in layers. The gel will be sculpted and shaped to your liking. This can take 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the technician’s experience. Also, sometimes they take on two clients at once, which can increase the time.
  • Curing: With a gel application, your nails will need to be cured. You’ll put your hands under a UV light for about 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Finishing up: When the gel is cured, they’ll do one final file and apply any nail art you’ve chosen. Depending on the situation, you can expect the last step to take between 15 and 45 minutes.

Is There a Time Difference Between Getting Soft Gel or Hard Gel?

There is a slight time difference between soft and hard gel nails. The additional time is usually during the curing process.

How Long Do Soft Gel Nails Take?

The soft gel nails are more flexible and easier to remove. Curing soft gel nails takes 30 seconds and one minute per gel layer. So, if you’re getting a full set of soft gels with several layers, it will take 10 to 20 minutes to cure it completely.

How Long Do Hard Gel Nails Take?

Hard gel nails will take 2 to 3 minutes per layer to cure. So, depending on how many gel layers you have, you will spend 30 minutes and an hour just for the curing process.

However, the amount of time you spend on soft or hard gel nails will highly depend on the equipment that the salon has. Lower-quality lamps will take much longer to cure gel nails.

How Long is it for a Nail Fill?

For those who like to keep up on your nails, you’ll go for a nail fill in two to three weeks. The filling can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on whether you have acrylic or gel nails.

During this time, the nail tech will file down any area lifted or grown out and apply a fresh layer of acrylic or gel in the gaps.

How Long Does Dip Nails Take?

Dip nails will take around 45 minutes to one hour to complete. As previously discussed, you’ll still get the usual nail prep with dip nails.

  • Base coat application: Your nails will be painted with a base coat that allows the dip to adhere to your nails. For application and drying, this can take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Dip powder application: Once the base coat has dried, your nails will be dipped into your preferred colored powder. Then, the sealant will be applied so that it bonds the powder. The tech will repeat this step until the desired thickness and color intensity are achieved. This will take between 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Shaping and filing: Once your nails have set, you’ll have them filed and shaped, which should take no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Top coat application: Finally, you’ll apply a top coat to seal and protect the dip powder and give your nails a nice, glossy finish. This will take only about five minutes, including dry time.

Does Gel Take Longer Than Acrylic?

Gel and acrylic nails typically take around the same amount of time unless you get hard gel nails. Opting for the harder nails will increase the curing time needed, thus making it take longer than acrylic nails.

Does a Pedicure Take Longer Than a Manicure?

A pedicure does take about 15 minutes longer than a manicure because you soak your feet for about 10 to 15 minutes before they massage your foot, exfoliate and remove callouses, and moisturize. This does not include the time it takes to paint your toenails or care for the cuticles on your toes.

Do Shellac and Gel Nails Take the Same Amount of Time?

Shellac nails take less time than gel nails do. They’re both similar in terms of the steps that are involved, as well as the curing process. You’ll need to sit with your hands under the UV light to cure the layers; however, shellac nails only take about 1 to 1.5 hours, and gel nails can take 1.5 to 2.5 hours.

Can You Get Your Fingernails and Toenails Done in the Same Day?

If you need a manicure and pedicure, you can usually book those on the same day. However, you should check with the nail salon, as each place has its own preference. If they allow you to do this, most people should expect to spend a decent amount of time at the salon.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Manicure and Pedicure?

For those who want to get your manicure and pedicure done together, a basic manicure and pedicure will take between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. If you want to get acrylics done this time, you might be at the salon for 3 to 3.5 hours, depending on how busy they are.

It’s always best practice to contact the salon you’re booking at to ask them for their time estimates, especially on that day. It’s not always a simple answer, as it mostly depends on the amount of nail techs available, how busy they are, and whether or not you’re a complicated client.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Nails Done?

Of course, something else you’ll likely need to consider is the amount it costs to get your nails done. This will vary depending on the location, the type of nail service you’re seeking, and the pricing structure of the salon you go to.

Below is a chart reflecting the price range of each nail service most salons offer:

Nail ServiceRegular Price RangeGel/Shellac Price Range
Basic Manicure$15 – $25$25 – $45
Basic Pedicure$25 – $45$35 – $60
French Manicure/Pedicure$25 – $40$35 – $60
Spa Manicure/Pedicure$35 – $60$45 – $75
Acrylic Nails$30 – $60$20 – $40 (Fill)
Gel Nails$35 – $70$25 – $50 (Fill)
SNS (Dip Powder) Nails$40 – $75$30 – $60 (Fill)
Nail Art/Design$5 – $20 per nail$10 – $30+ per nail
Nail Extensions$40 – $100+N/A
Nail Repairs$5 – $15 per nailN/A
Nail Removal$10 – $20N/A
Nail Extensions Removal$15 – $30N/A
Paraffin Wax Treatment$5 – $15 (add-on)N/A
Nail Polish Change$10 – $20$15 – $30 (Gel/Shellac)
Nail Spa PackagesStarts at $50Varies
Mobile Nail ServicesVaries (typically higher)Varies (typically higher)

Please remember that these are approximate cost ranges, and prices can vary significantly based on factors such as the salon’s location, reputation, and the complexity of the nail design or service you choose. 

The above estimates do not include a 15 to 20% gratuity. But, your salon’s price will depend on their location, reputation, and whether you get designs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Gel Nails Last Longer Than Acrylic?

Gel nails last longer than acrylic nails as long as they are correctly applied and cared for because they’re more flexible, which makes them less likely to crack or break. They also look more natural and are less likely to turn yellow. And because of the curing process, this makes them more durable than acrylics.

What Prep Work Should I Do Before Getting Nails Done?

At your nail appointment, the tech will cut your nails, remove old polish, and shape your nails. However, some salons don’t include paint removal in their manicure, so you should do this beforehand to avoid paying the extra fee.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Nails Removed?

If you’re heading to the salon to remove your nails, this will take between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the tech’s method. Here’s a breakdown of the time variations:

  • Soaking Method: Sometimes, the techs will have you soak your nails in acetone. This can take 20 to 45 minutes for the nails to break down for easy removal. The whole process can take up to one hour.
  • Electric File: If they use an electric file to file your nails off, this will take around 30 to 45 minutes. However, this can ruin your natural nails even more than the nail application itself.
  • Professional Drill: Sometimes, the tech uses a professional drill to get gel nails and acrylics off quickly. This is a quicker method and is excellent for when you’re in a rush, as it only takes 15 to 30 minutes.

Wrapping It Up

While going to a salon to get your nails done is super convenient, it will still take some time. So, check with the salon you’re going to for an accurate time window you can expect for your service. The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.

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