The Difference Between Gel And Acrylic Nails

57There are plenty of options to choose from when you decide to have your nails done. Gel and acrylic nails have been a popular choice for a long time. However, they both have their own pros and cons. If you are currently attempting to decide which option is best for you, there are some things you need to know and consider before making your choice.

Gel Nails

Let’s consider gel nails first. The product is pre-mixed and ready to apply. The gel typically has a jello or pudding like consistency and has to be applied carefully and accurately to avoid bumps and ridges on the nail. Afterwards you will have to place your hands under a UV light to set the application. You will find that they set faster than acrylics. Gel nails are somewhat more expensive than acrylics due to the skill needed to apply them. Shaky hands can result in an uneven coating. They’re also more easy on the nails as they lack the harmful chemicals that acrylic nails require and are more malleable. However they can be harder to take off than acrylics.
You do not need a base to do gel nails, but some choose to use it to seal the bond between the nail and the gel. Nevertheless, even if primer is used correctly it won’t affect the final look. Correctly being the key word, for using too much primer can damage your nails and leave you with a messed up design. When you decide to go for gel nails, you can choose a variety of colors and looks whereas acrylics are mostly one-dimensional. When done correctly, gel nails can look very natural and will help to enhance your nails. Gel nails can also be done at home but it is more advisable to go to a salon to get them done.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are a different story. They are cheaper and can also be done at home for those with enough experience. They also are more likely to last more than a couple of weeks which is usually how long gel nails last. Due to the chemicals used to apply acrylics, the air can take on an unpleasant smell and the chemicals could harm your skin as they are slightly acidic. Contact with skin could also create an allergic reaction. Women with weak or thin nail beds should make sure that they get an experienced stylist who knows what they are doing and can reduce the harmful effects.

Many salons have sufficient air circulation that can help dispel the fumes. If you have breathing problems, such as asthma or COPD ask if they could turn on a fan or open a window. Pregnant women are advised not to get acrylics because the chemicals and fumes may harm then or the fetus. When acrylic nails are done, the manicurist dips a brush in a substance called monomer and then in a powder called polymer.


This makes a more solid blob that is then pressed onto the nail. This mixture starts to harden when exposed to oxygen. Even though the product can be filed after a few minutes, the curing process can take up to 48 hours. It is important to take care to be gentle with your hands so you won’t upset your new look.
Acrylics can be very stylish and pretty, but might not be ideal for women who are more subdued and prefer a natural look to their nails.

The stylist can take steps to make them more natural like filing them down to a normal length. Like gel nails, if acrylics are applied wrong they could leave impressions on the nail and cause damage. They can help protect your own nails but if they are ripped off or broken, you’re in for some serious pain. Acrylic nails are also very hard and durable but can be easy to take off with little damage.shutterstock_487650487

They can be submerged in acetone and soaked off unlike gel nails, a good advantage if you decide you don’t like your current look. Another upside to getting acrylics is if one is broken, you can repair it from home depending on how much damage is done. Despite their low prices, and easy application process, there aren’t many options or looks to choose from concerning acrylic nails. It is possible to paint your own designs on them though. With either choices you can have french tips, or nail art and the like. Some people who get gel nails may want to have them airbrushed to make them more shiny and glossy.


Protect Your Nails

Once you make your choice as to which nail look you want done, it is important to keep water and heavy moisture away from your nails as this could cause you to pick up a fungal infection. This goes for acrylics and gels. If you break a nail or notice peeling or chipping and lack the know-how to fix it yourself, try to snag an appointment with a salon as soon as possible. Be careful to not aggravate the injury while you wait for your appointment.

Another way to increase the wear time of your look is to apply a topcoat consistently. This can strengthen the surface of your nail and keep your nail from chipping and peeling. If you spend a considerable amount of time outside in the sun, try to take precautions when working or doing housework. Wear gloves when washing, cleaning, or doing laundry.


Both gel and acrylic nails can be beautiful and have their own ups and downs. They both can help to protect your nails, strengthen them, and enhance their appearance. Consider your own tastes and preferences before you make your decision. If you are an indecisive person, you may want to get acrylics because of their ability to be switched up and easily removed. If you prefer many colors and live a hectic life with little time to pamper yourself, gel nails are the way to go as they can be applied quickly and can still look sophisticated and professional. It’s all up to you and your desires.