What Are the Different Acrylic Brush Sizes? A Guide for Beginners

What Are the Different Acrylic Brush Sizes? A Guide for Beginners

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Do you want to unlock the secrets to creating flawless acrylic nails?

Buckle up because we’re about to embark on a thrilling journey of creativity and precision!

When it comes to acrylic nail application, your most trusted companion is the brush you use, which will help you bring your wildest nail art imagination to life. They are like magical wands, each with its own unique powers. 

Artistic paint brush. Brush for paint nail art and manicure.

From fine detailing to bold strokes, there’s a size for every creative expression. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned nail artist, understanding acrylic brush sizes is the key to unlocking your full nail art potential.

Ready to unleash your imagination and create acrylic nail art that’s sure to wow everyone?

Get to know the different acrylic brush sizes and decide which one is best for you!

What Is an Acrylic Brush?

Before we dive deep into the different sizes of an acrylic brush, let us first understand what it is and why it’s vital in creating nail art masterpieces. 

A must-have in your nail kit, an acrylic brush is a specialized tool used among many other supplies in the application of acrylic nails. 

Its bristles are typically made from either animal hair or synthetic fibers, such as nylon or taklon. 

Acrylic brushes are typically designed with soft bristles that have delicate flexibility. The softness of the bristles allows for smooth and controlled application of the acrylic products.

While the bristles need to be soft enough to glide effortlessly on the nail surface, they also need to be firm enough to hold the right amount of liquid and acrylic powder for precise use.

Anatomy of an Acrylic Brush

Learning about acrylic brush sizes is crucial, but it’s first necessary to understand an acrylic brush’s anatomy to achieve optional results in your acrylic nail application.

Here are its parts:

  • Bristles — These refer to the thin, flexible strands that extend from the ferrule of the brush.

    They are the working part of the brush, and they play a vital role in the application of acrylic products to the nails. Also, they come in different sizes and shapes.
  • Ferrule — This is the metal or plastic part of the brush that holds the bristles in place. It is usually cylindrical in shape, and it connects the bristles to the handle.

    The ferrule’s material should be sturdy enough to provide stability and durability during use.
  • Handle — This part is usually made of wood or acrylic, which offers a comfortable grip and control while working on nails.

    The handle of an acrylic brush can vary in length and thickness to accommodate personal preferences and comfort.

Different Sizes of Acrylic Nail Brushes

Acrylic nail brushes come in a range of sizes: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24.

Note that the larger the number, the larger and wider the brush will be.

Here are general guidelines on the classifications of various acrylic brush sizes:

  • Small-sized brushes: 2, 4, and 6
  • Medium-sized brushes: 8 and 10
  • Large-sized brushes: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24

For your easy reference, we’ve created an acrylic nail brush size chart reflecting their specific uses below.

Brush SizeUsed By WhomUses
2 to 6Can be used by both beginners and nail tech expertsAllow precise detailing, intricate patterns, and ideal delicate strokes
8 to 10Ideal for beginnersConsidered the best acrylic nail brush sizes for beginners because they allow for easy creation of medium-sized designs and easy buildup of acrylic layers
11 and higherBest used by nail tech expertsExcel in sculpting acrylic nails and building bulk quickly

Choosing the Right Acrylic Brush Size

After getting guidance from the acrylic brush size chart we’ve provided, there are still other factors that you need to consider to help guide your decision in choosing the best acrylic nail brush size for your needs.

Nail Bed Size

Consider the width of your nail bed and adjust your choice of brush size accordingly. 

If you have narrow nail beds, opt for a smaller brush (number 6, for instance). But if you have wide nail beds, go for a larger one (number 8, for instance). 

Remember that your brush should comfortably cover your nail bed while leaving room for precision and control.

Technique and Comfort

Experimenting with different brush sizes will help you determine which one feels most comfortable and enhances your technique. Your brush should feel balanced and allow you to maintain control over the application process.

Design Complexity

If you frequently create intricate designs that require meticulous detailing, a smaller brush size will provide you with the precision required. 

Conversely, if you often work on larger designs or longer nail extensions, a larger brush size will facilitate faster application.

Skill Level

Consider your level of experience in working with acrylic nails. Medium acrylic brush sizes for beginners offer versatility for various techniques. 

Meanwhile, as you gain more expertise, you can experiment with different brush sizes and styles to expand your skill set.

Bristle Shape

The shape of the bristles, whether round, oval, or flat, can influence the type of strokes and effects you can achieve. We’ll discuss this at length in the succeeding section.

Different Acrylic Brush Shapes

Now that we’ve sufficiently covered everything you need to know about the size of your nail brush, it’s important to note that considering its shape is also equally important. 

When it comes to getting acrylic nails, you may be wondering what brushes to use for acrylic nails and which shapes you should choose. 

Let’s explore the different acrylic brush shapes one by one. 


The round brush is a popular choice for acrylic nail application. It has a pointed, rounded tip and a cylindrical shape. 

The advantages of a round brush include the following:

  • Wide range of nail art techniques. The fine pointed tip of a round brush allows for intricate detailing and precise control.

    It’s perfect for creating delicate designs, fine lines, and intricate patterns. In addition, its full round shape can also be ideal for creating large, sweeping strokes.
  • Incredible blending and fading. The round shape enables effortless blending and fading of colors, making it ideal for creating beautiful gradients and ombre effects on the nails.
  • Control over bead size. The rounded shape helps control the size of the acrylic bead, allowing for better application control and manipulation.


The oval-shaped acrylic brush features a slightly flattened shape with rounded edges. 

It offers unique advantages for acrylic application:

  • Versatility. This shape provides versatility because it allows you to work on both narrow and wide nail surfaces. It’s great for filling in areas of visible nail growth, creating smooth overlays, and extending the nail bed.
  • Seamless blending. The round edges of the oval brush make it easier to blend your acrylic seamlessly into your natural nail, achieving a smooth transition between the nail plate and the extension.
  • Enhanced coverage. The wider surface area of the oval brush allows for quicker coverage of larger nail surfaces, saving you time during application.

Flat Square

The flat brush has a square-shaped ferrule and flat bristles, creating a wide, straight edge. 

This shape offers several benefits:

  • Speed and efficiency. The flat shape covers a larger nail area with each stroke, making it perfect for quick and efficient application, especially when working on full sets of extensions.
  • Smooth and even coverage. The flat edge helps achieve a smooth and even layer of acrylic, reducing the need for excessive filing or shaping.
  • Building structure. This shape is ideal for building structure and thickness, providing a solid foundation for sculpting and shaping nails. 

Expert Tips for Working With Acrylic Brushes

Aside from determining what acrylic nail brush size is best for your needs, there are some more expert tips that we can offer to help you achieve excellent results in your acrylic nail application!

Read on to learn more.

Choose Quality Brushes

Invest in high-quality acrylic brushes made specifically for nail art such as the Kolinsky Acrylic Nail Brush Set from Saviland, which features durable, soft-bristled brushes in sizes ranging from 6 to 14.

Quality brushes have well-constructed bristles, a sturdy ferrule, and a comfortable handle. Good brushes hold their shape, allow for precise control, and ensure smooth application.

Prep and Prime the Brushes

Before using a new acrylic brush, it’s essential to properly prep and prime it. 

All you have to do is dip the brush into monomer liquid and gently press the bristles against a lint-free paper towel to remove any loose or stray bristles. This helps to ensure a clean and well-shaped brush head.

Master the Liquid-to-Powder Ratio

Achieving the correct liquid-to-powder ratio is crucial for optimal acrylic application. Practice and experimentation will help you find the right balance.

Add liquid to the brush first, then gently touch the tip of the brush to the acrylic powder to pick up a small, workable bead.

Control Product Consistency

Control the consistency of the acrylic bead on your brush by controlling the amount of liquid and powder you pick up. 

For precise and detailed work, a drier and firmer bead is recommended. For building bulk or extensions, a wetter and more pliable bead may be required.

Master Brush Control

Manicurist applying nail polish to a woman's hand in a beauty salon

Developing brush control is essential for creating clean lines, smooth surfaces, and precise nail art.

Practice different brush strokes and techniques to improve your control and precision. Experiment with light pressure, varying angles, and consistent movements.

Clean Brushes Between Colors

When transitioning between different nail colors or shades, make sure to clean your brush thoroughly. Doing this prevents color contamination and maintains color accuracy.

Use a brush cleaner or dip the brush into monomer liquid and wipe it against a paper towel until the color is completely removed.

Acrylic Brush Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your acrylic brushes are essential to ensure their longevity and optimal performance.

Make sure to follow these tips by heart to you keep your acrylic brushes in excellent condition for longer.

Be Gentle

When using your acrylic brushes, be gentle and avoid applying excessive pressure. Acrylic brushes are delicate tools, and rough handling can lead to bristle damage and breakage. 

Clean Your Brushes Immediately

After each use, ensure to clean your acrylic brushes thoroughly to remove any acrylic residue. 

Dip the bristles in monomer and gently wipe them on a lint-free paper towel or cloth. Repeat this process until you’re sure the brush is clean and free of any product buildup.

Avoid Excessive Acrylic Buildup

While working, try to minimize the amount of acrylic product that accumulates near the brush’s ferrule. Excessive buildup can harden and compromise the bristles’ flexibility and performance.

Wipe off excess acrylic regularly during application to prevent buildup.

Shape and Reshape the Bristles

To maintain the desired shape of your acrylic brush’s bristles, reshape them while they are still wet after cleaning. 

Use your fingers or a brush shaper tool to gently reshape the bristles into their original form. Allow the brushes to dry completely in their proper shape. 

Store Brushes Properly

Store your acrylic brushes in a clean and dry container, such as a brush holder or case, to protect them from dust, moisture, and other damaging environmental factors. Make sure the brushes are not bent or crushed to preserve their shape.

Avoid Contact With Harsh Chemicals

Keep your acrylic brushes away from harsh chemicals, such as acetone or nail polish remover, as they can damage the bristles and affect their performance.

Additionally, avoid exposing the brushes to extreme heat or direct sunlight, as this can cause the bristles to warp or melt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use a Large Acrylic Brush To Pick Up Smaller Beads?

No, it is not recommended. 

First, the size of the brush directly affects your ability to achieve precision and control during the application process. 

A larger brush may make it more challenging for you to accurately pick up the desired amount of acrylic powder. Hence, it may result in uneven distribution and potentially affect the final look of the nail.

Next, the consistency of the acrylic mixture can be compromised when using a larger brush with smaller beads. 

The ratio of acrylic liquid to powder is crucial for creating a workable and smooth bead. By using a larger brush, you may unintentionally alter this ratio.

Furthermore, a large brush may not be able to effectively maneuver and work with smaller beads. The bristles of a larger brush are generally wider and less precise, making it challenging to place the beads accurately on the nail surface.

Is an Oval or a Round Acrylic Nail Brush Better for a Beginner?

We recommend choosing a brush with a round shape if you want an acrylic nail brush for beginners. 

Round brushes offer versatility in terms of application techniques. They are ideal for both detailed work and creating larger, sweeping strokes. This versatility allows beginners to practice a wide range of nail art techniques.

Also, round-shaped brushes allow for easier control, especially for beginners who are still developing their brush control skills. It allows for smoother movements and helps prevent sharp lines or edges.

Synthetic Fibers vs. Animal Hair: Which Is Better for Acrylic Brushes?

If you ask us what’s the preferred material for the acrylic brush bristles, synthetic fibers would be your best bet.

Synthetic bristles, such as nylon, are favored for their durability and resistance to chemicals found in acrylic products.

These synthetic fibers are specifically designed to withstand repeated exposure to acrylic liquids and powders without becoming frayed or damaged.

They are also less prone to absorbing moisture, which helps prevent the buildup of bacteria and product residue, allowing the brushes to enjoy a longer life span.

Can You Use Paint Brushes for Acrylic Nails Instead of Acrylic Brushes?

No, we don’t recommend it.

While paint brushes and acrylic brushes may seem similar, there are significant differences that make acrylic brushes better suited for the job.

Acrylic brushes are specifically designed for working with acrylic products, ensuring optimal performance and results.

For example, the bristles of acrylic brushes are made to withstand the chemicals and solvents present in acrylic products.

They are also designed to hold and distribute acrylic powder and liquid efficiently, allowing for precise and controlled application.

Additionally, the shape and size of acrylic brushes are specifically tailored for nail enhancements. They often have a pointed or flat tip, allowing for better maneuverability and accurate placement of acrylic beads.

Paint brushes, on the other hand, are not designed for these specific requirements and may not be able to handle the chemicals or provide the desired control.

Want Picture-Perfect Acrylic Nails? Consider Your Acrylic Brush’s Size

Selecting the best acrylic nail brush size is a personal choice that depends on your preferred techniques, the complexity of your designs, and your expertise level.

Multiple acrylic nail brushes in different sizes isolated on a gray background

Whether you opt for a small-sized brush for intricate nail art, a medium-sized brush for versatility, or a large-sized brush for quick acrylic application, remember that practice and experimentation will help you master the art of acrylic nails.

With the right brush in your hand, your nail art creations will flourish, allowing you to showcase your talent and create stunning designs.

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