You’ve probably encountered the gel nails vs. acrylic nails argument if you’ve ever looked for a manicure that lasts longer than conventional nail polish. While both of these alternatives are excellent ways to experiment with different nail trends, finding the appropriate look and method for you can be challenging.
Making the appropriate choice is essential to ensuring that your nails last the distance given the hazards of broken nails, damaged nail polish, and more. To help you know what to request at your next manicure visit, we’ve broken down the distinctions between gel and artificial nails below.
How Do Gel Nails Work?
Let’s review the fundamentals of what you receive with each before delving too deeply into the gel nails vs. acrylic nails debate. A base coat, nail polish, and top coat are brushed over your natural nails in a three-step process to create gel nails.
The nail is exposed to a UV light to cure each application for between 30 seconds and two minutes (dry). The layer of gel polish hardens and won’t smudge like regular nail lacquer once it has dried. The end result is a set of nails that have a shiny polish and appear to have just been manicured. Gel polish can be applied to both natural nails and nail extensions, often known as tips.
How Do Acrylic Nails Work?
Acrylic nails are created by brushing a mixture of liquid and powder over your nail. Your nails are filed and sculpted to resemble natural nails once the mixture has been applied.
Each acrylic nail is normally coated with a conventional base coat, a nail polish color, and a top coat once it has been sculpted. Then the nails are placed under a fan to dry. Although acrylic can weaken your nails over time, it can also be put to tips or to your natural nails.
Editor’s tip: For the ultimate manicure that has strength and extended wear, you can actually combine the two looks by having gel polish cured over your acrylic nails.
What Sets Gel Nails Apart From Acrylic Nails?
Although gel and acrylic nails can produce results that are comparable, there are important distinctions between the two nail types. As we previously discussed, gel nails are normally created by brushing polish onto your natural nails and curing them under a UV lamp. Applying acrylic is much slower than this, especially since the nails dry instantly and frequently have a more natural appearance. Online kits are now available that enable you to get gel nails at home. Once finished, gel nails typically remain intact for 14 days or more. They may begin to peel or lift at the corners near the conclusion of this time.
All you have to do to take off gel nails is soak them off when you’re ready to do so. Each nail is often covered with a cotton ball soaked in acetone before being wrapped in aluminum foil. The gel polish can be readily removed after 10 minutes. Although gel nails can peel, they are thought to be more flexible than acrylic nails. However, both types of nails carry the danger of wearing down your natural nails over time.
On the other hand, because of the hybrid powder and liquid mixture used in the creation of acrylic nails, they offer a hard, protective covering. You normally don’t have to worry about your nails breaking, lifting, or cracking when you have acrylics because they are robust (you may even notice that your natural nails grow longer and faster with acrylics).
However, they are not infallible, and if you work with your hands a lot (such as when typing, washing dishes, or lifting weights), they could break. If your technician doesn’t take the time to smooth them down to look more natural, acrylic nails can also appear thick. Listening to your favorite podcast while you wait in the salon may be a good idea if you’re applying conventional nail paint over acrylic because drying time can take some time. Additionally difficult to remove without harming your nail beds are these nails.
You’ll need to renew your nails every few weeks if you want to keep your acrylic set intact. And you frequently end up with long, weak nails after having acrylic nails removed. To restore your nails back in form, you’ll need to wait for the damaged nails to fully develop.
Gel nails can be easily removed at home but acrylic nails are often removed by a nail technician in a salon. Without taking the necessary precautions, removing either could result in damaged and brittle claws. If you’re wondering which is worse for your nails—gel or acrylic—you should know that both can look gorgeous when done properly and have the potential to harm your nails if worn consistently or removed incorrectly.