Can You Use A Paint Brush For Acrylic Nails |Best Substitute|

Acrylic nails are an excellent substitute for natural nails, but doing nail art at home brings many questions to mind. You may overthink many aspects, especially when you’re used to visiting a salon. 

Can you use a paintbrush for acrylic nails or not? If you can use it, what will be the results? Thank God, I’ve my woman (Managing Director at Natural Glow) who keeps me up to date whenever I write about acrylic nails. 

In the blog post, I’ll clear out many questions and discuss how to choose the best acrylic nail brushes, alternatives to nail brushes, and how to clean brushes for acrylic nails and make them last longer.

Why You Should Not Use A Paint Brush On Acrylic Nails?

You can use a paintbrush for acrylic nails, but I’ll never suggest doing so, as brushes are designed for specific tasks. If you use a paintbrush to put on your acrylic nails or do nail art, you can’t expect the desired results. There are reasons why you can’t use a paintbrush:

  • Brush Hair 

The hair of the brush has a lot to do with your acrylic nails. Paintbrush usually has rigid bristles that may be synthetic or derived from natural sources ( Animals like horses and badgers). These brushes can suck the nail liquid, nail primer, and acrylic nail polish, making it difficult for you to apply the products. 

Moreover, the longer bristles can spoil the designs when applying the polish to the nails. In addition, control over such a long and dense-haired brush may be complicated. 

  • Brush Size 

Another potential reason why it is not good to use a paintbrush for your acrylic nails is the size of the paintbrush. They are more significant in length, and even the smallest paintbrush will be larger enough not to fit your acrylic nails. 

The length of the handle makes it difficult to hold the brush and apply products over the nails. Moreover, the stiffness and pattern of bristles on paintbrushes are incompatible with smaller sections like nail beds.

  • Irregular Streaks 

If you choose a paintbrush for acrylic nail art, you’ll end up with irregular streaks and unnecessary spots on the nails due to the size, bristles, length, and hair pattern of the paintbrush. You can’t expect a smooth and even finish. 

Moreover, if you’re willing to draw sharp designs on your acrylic nails, it is impossible to achieve with a paintbrush

  • No adhesion 

A paintbrush is never a suitable option if you use it to apply nail primer, nail liquid, and powder. Moreover, it is not a good option for sealant too. If you do so, the products will not be appropriately applied and will miss coverage over the nail bed resulting in weak bonding and, ultimately, nail lifting. There are many other reasons why acrylic nails lift.

How To Choose A Brush For Acrylic Nails? 4 Things To Know

A right and compatible brush is the soul for getting the best outcome while doing your acrylic nails. But it’s quite tricky for some women to pick up a suitable brush.

No worries, I’ll help you in this regard. I’ll give tips to consider when buying nail art brushes and talk about some of the best brands I’ve personally witnessed which are effective in getting your desired results. Take into account the following things while going for a nail brush. 

You know you can reduce acrylic nail fill costs by following the proper guidelines.

  1. Brush Shape

The shape and size of acrylic nail brush can turn your nail art designs into totally different ones. So be very serious while selecting a specific brush. For instance, a striper brush which has a long handle, and a thinner body, is used for straight-lining, while flat-haired and short brushes are suitable for covering larger sections of nails.

  1. Quality

The quality of the brushes matters a lot if you’re looking for long-lasting strands and non-compromising nail art. A range of brushes is available in the market when it comes to spending for it. 

You can find a complete set of 10 brushes for 20$, or a single brush may cost you 30$. But I suggest never ignoring the quality when it’s about sparking your personality. Lower quality may be light on the pocket but can affect your nail art.

  1. Bristles

Nail art brushes can be found in synthetic and natural bristles or hair. Brushes with natural hair can be good, too, but synthetic ones are blended with additional features. For instance, they are made acid-resistant and cruelty-free. Moreover, they are resistant to acetone found in many nail polish removers and much more durable than natural bristles. 

  1. Other Details

There are other things you’ll need to be familiar with when buying a brush for your acrylic nails. Some brushes come with caps helping you carry them in your purse and put them in your bag. The cap prevents bristles from damaging.

Some brushes have folded organizers with them, helping you put them in place and carry them with you in your routine traveling.

Moreover, some are colour coded, meaning that they can be distinguished by type via their bristles color. 

Best Acrylic Brush For Nails

After learning how to choose a brush for your acrylic nails, let me mention some of the best brushes for acrylic nails by various brands which are used by a woman widely.

  • BQAN 1 Pc Nail Ombre Brush

This nail brush uses a high-quality metal handle. The bristles are composed of Kolinsky sable hair, which is stiff and compatible with nails. The PVC case provides extra protection for the hair. 

The brush can be cleaned easily. The bristles are acid resistant and can withstand acetone compounds making it a durable nail art brush.

  • Kolinsky Acrylic Nail Brush By Six Angles

It is another one of the best brush for acrylic nails that comes with solid packing to avoid damaging the bristles during shipping. Bristles are covered in a wax layer to protect them from misplacing and harming. 

The brush can be easily cleaned with warm water as it doesn’t retain the acrylic due to slippery and quality bristles. Moreover, it is affordable and commonly used for one-stroke nail painting.

What Brush To Use For Acrylic Nails?

There is no exact measurement scale to specify what type of brush you need for acrylic nails. It depends on your requirements and the effects or designs you want to attain. But make sure to use the brush intended for acrylic nails. 

Don’t go for alternatives; brushes are made according to the nature of the products (Primer, polish, sealant powder) and the designs (sharp lines, details, smooth finish) you want. Many nail kits comprise relevant brushes. Here are some tips to help you decide the kind of brush you need and what size brush is best for acrylic nails.

  • Detail Brush 

The brush is designed for fine details, line outlining, lettering, patterns, etc. The short hair provides good control over the brush, while stiffer bristles help you reach your goal efficiently.

  • Square Brush

This type of brush is suitable for one-stroke designs. It has flat edges making it ideal for blending colors to achieve multiple gradients. Moreover, the brush can apply the paint in broad bands.

  • Round Brush

The round brush is suitable for outlines and designs having dimensions. It is the best size brush for acrylic nails and is used for larger rounds and covering large sections with paint. Moreover, it is good to apply the primer evenly.

  • Fan Brush

This type of brush is used for applying glitters and sometimes pigments. It can be used to get your nails some wispy marks. Horizontal streaks are brought out by dragging the brush from one edge to another.  

  • Angled Brush

The angled brush has a slider shape helping you get one-stroke designs. They are good acrylic nail brushes for cleaning, like removing nail paint from the edges and cuticles. 

  • Pointed Brush

The brush has a pointed end, and bristles are converged at the tip. It can be used for thin lining and fine details along with shapes. Due to its pointed tip, it’s easy to handle and move over the nails. 

Can You Use A Makeup Brush For Acrylic Nails?

Make-up brushes can be used to apply paint or nail polish on acrylic nails, but it’s not that straightforward; you’ll not get detailed designs or a perfect finish. Make-up brushes come with smaller handles making it challenging for you to work with nail art.

Moreover, they have thicker and more dense hair, which is definitely a hurdle while working on smaller sections like nails.

Especially if you choose a brush having natural hair, the paint will be soaked by the hair, and the vibrancy of color will not be as perfect as expected. On the other hand, synthetic-haired brushes are recommended by many artists and designers. 

Another related question is can you use paintbrushes for make-up? Yes, you can. Paintbrushes are an excellent alternative to make-up brushes. They are good as long as you’re using them for a powdered foundation like blushes and eye shadow etc. 

Can You Use Paint Brushes For Nail Art?

Paintbrushes are a good alternative when it comes to painting your nails. But you have to work with them differently and carefully to avoid spoiling your nail art. 

First, you need to select a suitable-sized paintbrush that can fit your nail art and is easy to control while designing.

Secondly, the brush needs to be free of contamination, as debris or dust particles can affect your nail craft. 

Finally, make sure you use the brush gently to avoid irregular spots and attain a smooth and even finish.

Substitute For Acrylic Nail Brush/Tool

It’s frustrating when you’re in a hurry and late for an event and can’t find your acrylic nail brush. Although the alternatives can’t be as perfect as the regular brush, they are still better than leaving without your nail art for a party. 

  • Toothpick is a good option and can be used as a dotting tool to give an immediate designer look to your nails. Make sure you don’t peel nail paint. Use it smoothly over the nails and avoid pressing it hard. 
  • The toothbrush is another option that can be used for lining and applying polish. If you’re skillful, sharp details can also be drawn with it. But again, it will not give perfect results.
  • Bobby pins are good for dots and designs. Just open the pin and press it to give it a straighter shape. Dip it into nail paint and press it over the nails for fine dots. 
  • Pencil can be used for nail art as well. They are suitable for more extensive and rounded dots and provide charming results. Make sure you’re taking excess paint on the tip of the pencil to give an opaque effect to your nails. 
  • Cotton buds are perfect for textured designs. They may not provide a smooth finish, yet they are convenient to paint over the nails when you have no other option left. 

How to Clean Nail Art Brushes?

I think you’ll never want your nail art brushes to be expired sooner. These brushes can retain the nail paint if not washed properly, making you dispose of them. You can make them stay newer for longer by cleaning them properly. Here is how to clean acrylic nail brushes.

  • Take liquid soap and warm water. First, spill warm water over the brush and wet it thoroughly. 
  • Pour liquid soap into your palm and apply it to the bristles of your brush. It is as simple as applying oil to hair.
  • Massage the brush generously to make it absorb the soap and dip it into the internal bristles. Leave the soapy brush for a few seconds.
  • Wash the brush with warm water, and make sure you put pressure on the bristles so that water reaches the roots of the hair.
  • After the paint is entirely removed from the brush, put it on a side to dry or take a piece of cloth to soak the excess water from it. 
  • It is optional if you want to disinfect the bristles with ethyl alcohol. Finally, store the brushes in your nail kit organizer. 


Can you use a paint brush for nail polish?

Paintbrushes are entirely different when it comes to applying nail polish. They should not be used for nail art as they possess rigid bristles, which can spoil your nail designs. Moreover, they are difficult to control due to their size and shape.

Can I use a paint brush for acrylic nails?

A paintbrush can work for acrylics, but you can’t expect as perfect results as a nail brush can provide. The main reasons are the paintbrush’s shape, size, stiffness, and quality, which are incompatible with the nails.

Can you use any brush for acrylic nails?

No, it is not recommended. If you’re willing to get the best designs on your nails, you should use a sharp and fine-haired brush having synthetic bristles. Moreover, a compact, stiff-haired brush will help you spread and cover the entire nail plate. 

What can I use instead of an acrylic nail brush?

Instead of using an acrylic nail brush, you can opt for a paintbrush, makeup brush, toothbrush, toothpick, dotting tool, pencil, and cotton buds. But keep in mind these alternatives will not give the desired output. 

Can you use watercolor brushes for acrylic nails?

Although you can use watercolor brushes for acrylic nails, you’ll not be able to get those attractive and perfect nails because these fake nails require special brushes having fine and compatible bristles for their filling and design.

Final Thoughts

So, can you use a paintbrush for acrylic nails? Yes, you can use it. Painting your nails at home is always a challenging task if you’re not skillful, but with the right design tools and brushes, the results will not be disappointing.

Spending on quality brushes is worth it if you’re self-conscious and never want to compromise your beauty, fashion, style, and overall personality. All the aspects relevant to the topic are explained in the post. I hope the information is helpful for you.  

Thank you!

Marissa Arnold

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