Yellow, acrylic nails.

How to Choose Between Acrylic and Gel at Your Next Nail Appointment

Acrylic vs. Gel Nails

Getting regular manicures is a must for a lot of people on a monthly basis, especially those who like to get pampered. Some prefer simpler nail polishes, while others go for gel nails, and some swear by acrylics. So, what do you prefer, and what do you usually wear? Keep on reading to see how we compare acrylic vs. gel nails.

What Are Gel Nails?

Gel nails are one of the most popular and loved nails at a beauty salon. These are feminine and not too long, and they still have that natural vibe to them. They are not too thick or clumpy. The manicure is done on top of your natural nails, meaning they will vary in length based on your natural nail plate. In most cases, these are worn by workaholic women, as well as those who like shorter, everyday nails.

Gel nails are made out of hard gel that is built on a natural nail and cured with UV light. The process is a lot quicker than acrylics. Your nail tech will shape the nails per your preference (you get to choose from stiletto, round, coffin and square shapes). Your nail tech will apply one to two coats of gel polish to secure your nails and set them in place. You can color them in any gel polish that is available at a salon. The process itself usually takes around 60 minutes to do. Once done, gel nails last anywhere from 20 to 40 days.

Pros of Gel Nails:

  • They are durable.
  • High-quality.
  • Not too expensive.
  • Perfect for your natural nails.
  • Safer than acrylics.
  • Faster to apply.
  • Perfect for everyday wear.

Cons of Gel Nails:

  • Your nails can become weaker and thinner over time.
  • You might dislike the manicure on top of your natural (short) nails.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are usually long, formal and chip-free nails that people like to wear for formal events and gatherings. They are made out of a high-quality powder that is dipped in a solvent that is used to lengthen the nail and provide a stronger top layer over your natural nails. It is thick, high-quality and almost never cracks. Acrylics are often worn by teens or adults who prefer long, flashy and bold nails.

The application of acrylic nails involves filing down your natural nail to create a rough surface to place the glue on. Your nail tech will apply a significant amount of nail glue onto your nail plate and will mix a unique combination of acrylic powder and high-quality liquid. Once it hardens, the artificial nail mold is then shaped and buffed to make your nails appear longer. You can also go for powder nails that are made out of a polymer. Acrylics cure on their own without the need for a UV lamp. The application will take around 90 minutes to do. Acrylic nails usually last anywhere from 30 to 40 days.

Pros of Acrylic Nails:

  • Long and elegant.
  • High-quality, durable and chip-free.
  • Doesn’t need a UV lamp to cure.
  • Perfect for formal events.
  • Great for people who cannot grow their natural nails.
  • Lasts longer than gel nails.

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Cons of Acrylic Nails:

  • Not as healthy.
  • Takes more time to do.
  • A bit pricier.

Top 3 Tips to Know About Acrylic vs. Gel Nails

1. You Can Do Gel Manicures on Your Own

There is a high chance that you can do gel manicures on your own. All you need is a UV lamp, gel nail polish and a topcoat. It will take you around two hours to master this skill at first, but it will become a piece of cake later on. However, with acrylics, this can take weeks to master, and even special training may be needed.

2. You Can Remove Both Nail Options

You can always remove your manicure in case you are not satisfied with the outcome. In both cases, you will need acetone, cotton and foil. Soak your cotton balls in acetone, put them on top of your nails and secure them with foil. After 15 to 30 minutes, your manicure should come off. Scrape off the residue with a nail file and wash your hands with lukewarm water.

3. Prices Vary

The price-point might be an important factor to consider, especially if you are working with a tight budget. In most salons, gel manicures go for $30, while acrylics go for $70. Customize the look per your needs.

Which Will You Choose?

It all comes down to your personal preference and your style. Everyone’s opinion will vary and depends on the event or activity. If you prefer shorter nails and you are on a budget, gel nails might work better for you. Looking for longer holiday nails, or formal manicure ideas? Go with acrylics. Let us know what you end up choosing; we would like to know where you stand.