Gel vs acrylic nails

09.10.2019
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Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails ?? Discover What is the Difference

Gel or Acrylic? Im Here To Help You Decide

Theres something special, possibly even a slightly smug feeling if your nails are naturally healthy. Regular manicures and rich moisturizer to keep them in tip-top shape. The rest of us hope that by the weekend and that hot date, our extravagant, saved-up-for mani is still good to go.

In these moments, I dreamt of shiny, strong unchippable nails that could keep up with my lifestyle as a 30 something year woman living in New York. The answer? Faking it.

Artificial nail enhancements have come a long way, from the thin acrylic nail designs to modern UV gel nails. Both come with their own strengths and weaknesses. Ill be weighing in to see how theyre different, and at the end of the article Ill show you my little secret: How you can combine the two types to get the best of both worlds.

What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails often get a lot of bad press. If theyre applied properly with good quality products, they will make your nails look strong, healthy and the height of sophistication. One of the main things to bear in mind that acrylic nails should look natural rather than fake (unless youre going super glam!). Next, its a common belief that acrylics can harm your nails. This isnt true, as long as you remove them with care.

So what do the best acrylic nails look like? If youre looking for something easy and affordable, I swear by these Clear Full Cover Artifical Nails by ECBASKET.

ECBASKET 500Pcs Coffin Nails Clear Nail Tips Full Cover Artificial Nails 10 Sizes

ECBASKET 500Pcs Coffin Nails Clear Nail Tips Full Cover Artificial Nails 10 Sizes

$7.49 $13.99

Whats so great about them is that these clear nails will give you a blank slate. You can paint them and decorate them with any nail art you wish. The quality is superb, and theyre the perfect length and thickness. All you need to add is good quality glue. These nails will look ultra stylish and last you for a long time.

What are gel nails?

Gel nails can be achieved in two ways:

(1) Hard Gel Becomes hardened enough to form a nail extension- also known as buff-off nails, where the nail must be sanded down and cant be soaked off.

(2) Soft Gel Requires another gel polish as an overcoat, serving as a re-enforced layer. Soft gel will be cured faster under a UV lamp and doesnt require mixing with powder.

Soft gel nails can be expected to last at least a couple of weeks, hard gel nails even longer. They key to long-lasting gel nails is using an effective UV lamp. There are many good ones to choose from but my go-to choice is this chic Abody nail dryer.

Abody Nail Lamp 48W UV LED Nail Dryer, Gel Nail Lamp with 5 Timer Setting, Automatic Sensor, LCD Display, Memory and Pause Timer Function for Fingernail & Toenail, Pink

Abody Nail Lamp 48W UV LED Nail Dryer, Gel Nail Lamp with 5 Timer Setting, Automatic Sensor, LCD Display, Memory and Pause Timer Function for Fingernail & Toenail, Pink

$29.98 $69.99

Gel and acrylic whats the difference?

Both gel and acrylic have the same basic chemistry, but have differing configurations of the ingredients, creating a different final result. Powders are then added to form a bond with strong adhesive qualities.

Different types of acrylic nails are mixed along with powders to form a strong adhesive bond. Gel nails are self-reliant, with no need for any powder polymers to mix in with them. The other key difference is that with acrylic nails you have to work quickly as they start to harden on contact with air. Gel nails need to be cured under a UV light.

Are gel nails better than acrylic?

Acrylic nailsare harder than gels, yet, perhaps counter-intuitively, less durable. If applied correctly, acrylics can be very robust. The right amount of pressure could break or chip a piece of nail away.

Gels are typically far more flexible, being able to withstand significantly more force than acrylics. UV applications work great with gel nails, curing them into a tight, adhesive bond.

One of my go-to products is the Gellen UV Gel Nail Polish Manicure Set.

Gel Nail Polish for Nails, Soak Off UV Pink Gel Kit Required Gel Base Top Coat LED Nail Lamp

Gel Nail Polish for Nails, Soak Off UV Pink Gel Kit Required Gel Base Top Coat LED Nail Lamp

$14.99 $18.99

The pretty pink and champagne colors are irresistible. This set would make a great gift for any girl who loves to do her nails. The set will come with 6 x beautiful gel inspired polishes. Gellen recommend applying up to 3 x coats to achieve the best results.

How do I maintain my gel and acrylic nails?

Gel does generally cost more than do acrylics, usually around 15-20% more. However, they require less maintenance you can go about 3 weeks before needing work done on your gel-based nails. Thats a 50% increase in durability for a 15-20% increase in cost a great trade-off.

Personally, I prefer the long-term benefits of gel nails, however, if nails arent all that important to you, you may find yourself drawn towards the cheaper cost of acrylics.

Whichever product you choose, its imperative that you care for your nails and hands. Its easy to make it a part of your daily routine. My secret is using natural essential oils to nourish and strengthen nails and cuticles.

One of the best products you can buy is Glamology Organic Rosehip Oil 100%.

Glamology Organic Rosehip Oil 100% Pure Unrefined Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Rosehip Seed Oil - Best for Hair, Skin, Face & Nails & Great for Anti-Aging, Wrinkles, Acne Scars (4 oz)

Glamology Organic Rosehip Oil 100% Pure Unrefined Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Rosehip Seed Oil - Best for Hair, Skin, Face & Nails & Great for Anti-Aging, Wrinkles, Acne Scars (4 oz)

This is a true miracle product. Not only is it the best thing for your nail health, but it works wonders for your skin and hair too. It can even reduce the appearance of scars and tone your skin. Also, it has a beautiful fragrance, so every time you put it on your skin you will be indulging yourself. 100% natural and organic, this a must have for your beauty and your well-being.

Are gel and acrylic nails safe?

Acrylic nails can cause mild infections if not applied properly, leading to damage of the natural nail bed. Filing away too much cuticle is a no-no, as cuticle is what protects your nail bed from infection-causing bacteria. Try not to file away the hardened paste. Some experts advise leaving a very thin layer of acrylics, which acts as a barrier, in order to prevent this! Acrylics have a fairly easy removal process. They can be soaked off by using a good quality nail polish remover in about 15-20 minutes, or they can be filed down.

Like Acrylics, soft gel nails can also be soaked off easily. The always-reliable acetone can be used for this. Hard gel nails require the filing down of the extension; acetone wont be strong enough to remove them. Gel nails can take a thin layer from the natural nail bed as well due to the acetone not being completely removed. Gel nails are not recommended for people with brittle, fragile nails.

Still cant decide?

Choosing between gels and acrylics all depends on the work you do.

Do you use your hands a lot? Do you have brittle, thin nails? If so, your best bet is gel nails. Gel nails will be more equipped to withstand your active life!

The strength of acrylic nails is their slightly cheaper price. If nails arent that important to you, and youre only looking for a short-term manicure, you might prefer their cheaper price over gel nails longer lifespan.

If youre still uncertain, try asking a nail technician at your local salon for their professional advice. For inspiration on acrylic and gel nail designs, check out my top recommendations for gel nail products here and follow the latest trends in fashion giants like Elle Magazine.

Kara x


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gel vs acrylic nails
Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails - Difference and Comparison

Acrylic and gel nails are artificial nail enhancements done in place of natural nails. Gel nails tend to provide a more glossy and natural look whereas acrylic are more sturdy and durable as compared to gel.

Comparison chart

Differences Similarities

Acrylic Nails versus Gel Nails comparison chart Edit this comparison chartAcrylic NailsGel Nails
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(1039 ratings)What are they? Artificial Nail enhancements Artificial Nail enhancements Appearance May look less natural than gel nails, especially if applied incorrectly. Natural, glossy Freshly-manicured for up to 14 days Cost Generally cheaper than gel nail application. $25 to $60 Salons typically start with manicure price and add an upcharge up to 50% Durability Lasts longer than gel nails. Up to 14 days Corrosive effect If properly applied with the correct quantity, primers(with or without methacrylic acid) do not etch or damage the nail bed. However, skin contact needs to be avoided to reduce the risk of allergic reaction. Gel nails can be applied with or without a base or primer.(CND GEL uses a non-acid primer to bond the gel to the nail). If primer is applied correctly, it does not damage the nail bed. Curing techniques Slower curing time. Acrylic liquid and powder are applied to the nail and the acrylic nails. Faster curing time. Most gel nails are cured under uv-light; some cure with a gel activator and do not require uv-light (no-light gels). After effects Overuse and incorrect application of primer can cause damage to the nail bed and leave an impression on the nails. Prolonged exposure to water may result in fungal infection. In general, Gel nails applied without a primer leave no hard impressions.Overuse and incorrect application of primer can cause damage to the nail bed and leave an impression on the nails. Prolonged exposure to water may result in fungal infection. Flexibility Acrylic nails are hard and very robust, when applied correctly. Most of them are more flexible than the acrylic nails, but not as flexible as natural nails. Range There is not much variety that you can go with the acrylic nails as far as the material texture is concerned. Gelish 141 colors; OPI 71 colors; Essie -- 36 colors

Contents: Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails

Appearance & Durability

Nail art inspired by the children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

One of the primary factors for choosing gel nails over acrylic is the appearance. Gel nails tend to have a more natural and glossy appearance as compared to acrylic. On the other hand, acrylic nails are very sturdy. If applied correctly and with proper care, may last much longer than gel nails.

Differences in Application

Nail Art inspired by the UK flagmagnifyNail Art inspired by the UK flag

Acrylic nails are attached to the nails and their manicure technique involves the application of primer or glue like substance initially on the nails. Then an artificial acrylic nail is put on top of the existing nail. The curing time is generally slower for as compared to gel nails. If properly applied with the correct quantity, primers (with or without methacrylic acid) do not etch or damage the nail bed. However, skin contact needs to be avoided to reduce the risk of allergic reaction.

Most gel nails are cured under uv-light; some cure with a gel activator and do not require uv-light (no-light gels). Gel nails can be applied with or without a base or primer. (CND GEL uses a non-acid primer to bond the gel to the nail). If primer is applied correctly, it does not damage the nail bed.

Removal Process

Both acrylic and gel nails frequently requires professional help for better results. Nails can also be soaked rather than filed off, which is a fairly popular technique these days.

Cost

Acrylic nail extensionsmagnifyAcrylic nail extensions

Acrylic nails are generally cheaper than gel nail application.

Comfort

Most people do not like acrylic nails because of the uneasiness that follows to the cuticle. Gel nails, on the other hand, are just like a gel and take their shape themselves and hence are very easy on the hands.

Flexibility

Acrylic nails are hard and also look thicker than gel nails. Any stress applied to acrylic nails can hurt the original nail. Gel nails are flexible and not hard on the touch.

After Effect

Overuse and incorrect application of primer in acrylic nails can cause damage to the nail bed and leave an impression on the nails. Prolonged exposure to water may result in fungal infection.

In general, gel nails applied without a primer leave no hard impressions. Overuse and incorrect application of primer can cause damage to the nail bed and leave an impression on the nails. Prolonged exposure to water may result in fungal infection.

Video Explaining the Difference

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References

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Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails

By: Editorial Staff | Updated: Dec-6, 2017

Some women undergo certain enhancements as part of their beauty and personal care needs. In terms of nail care, they often have treatments ranging from simple manicures and pedicures to more elaborate nail accessories. When it comes to nail modification, the most commonly used are gel nails and acrylic nails. They are both false nail applications and are used by many women. But did you know that there are quite a few differences between gel and acrylic nails? Continue reading as we have laid out for you the items that set these two cosmetic nails apart.

Summary Table

Gel Nails Acrylic Nails Softer, less durableHarderMore flexibleHard and robustOdorlessHave strong chemical smell and fumesCuring requires UV lightCuring occurs the moment the chemicals are combinedHave a more natural and glossy appearanceLook less natural than gelLast up to 2 weeksLast longer than gel nailsMore expensiveLess expensiveHarder to apply, requiring the help of a nail expertEasier to applyHarder to fix or replace when damagedEasier to fix or replace when neededNon-porous, dont soak off and cannot be removed easily with acetoneMore porous, easier to soak off with acetoneLess prone to bacterial contaminationMore prone to create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria

Descriptions

Applying gel nails
Applying gel nails

Gel nails are cosmetic nails that are made from polymer powder and monomer liquid. They also contain oligomers, identified as short chain monomers, which make the artificial nails flexible. Gel nails are odorless and look quite similar to natural nails. They are also noted to be safe and eco-friendly. After being applied by the nail expert, the fingernails go under ultraviolet light for two minutes to cure. Other types of gel nails are also available that do not require exposure to UV light. They only need to be sprayed or brushed with a gel activator to start the curing process.

Once done, gel nails appear nice and glossy and can last up to two weeks. An advantage of gel nails is that they are non-porous, thus are less prone to bacterial contamination. However, they are thin and prone to breakage. They are also quite pricey and expert assistance is needed when they get damaged as they are hard to fix and replace. When removing, gel nails often need to be filed off and require a lot of work.

Applying acrylic nails
Applying acrylic nails

Acrylic nails are artificial nail enhancements made from a mixture of polymer powder and liquid monomer. Curing happens instantaneously as the chemicals are combined. They are commonly used as cosmetic nails primarily because of their durability. When applied correctly and cared for properly, these nails can last a long time. However, acrylic nails do tend to have strong chemical smell and fumes which make them a little less desirable. It is not advisable for pregnant women to use acrylic nails. Nevertheless, they are still preferred by many since acrylic nails are not that expensive and are easier to apply and remove. Its as simple as putting on a special glue and fixing the nails in place. To remove them, the nails can simply be soaked off with acetone.

Apart from aesthetic purposes, acrylic nails are also used to help protect the natural nails from further breakage or splits. However, they can also damage the nail bed. Acrylic nails are porous and the breakage can create a possible breeding ground for bacteria.

Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails

What is the difference between gel nails and acrylic nails? Gel nails are softer and more flexible while acrylic nails are harder and more durable. In terms of smell, gel nails are more favorable as they are odorless compared to the strong chemical scent of acrylic nails. When it comes to curing, gel nails require UV light, whereas acrylic nails cure the moment the chemicals are mixed together. Gel nails have a natural, glossy appearance and can last up to two weeks. They are generally more expensive. Acrylic nails, on the other hand, may look less natural but they last longer than gel nails and are also less expensive.

Gel nails are harder to apply and also harder to fix when damaged. One would need the help of a nail expert in both the application and removal process. Conversely, acrylic nails are easier to apply and fix when needed and can be done at home. When it comes to personal hygiene, it would be better to go with gel nails as they are non-porous, making them less prone to bacterial contamination.

Video

Watch this video to see the differences between gel nails and acrylic nails.


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