Whether you’re a novice or a pro at manicures, you’ve probably heard the terms “gel” and “acrylic” nails thrown around. But what exactly is the difference between these two types of manicures? And which one is right for you?
To clear up confusion, we asked nail pro Rebecca Isa and celebrity manicurist Elle to give us the scoop on the main differences between gel and acrylics.
Here’s what they had to say:
According to Elle, gel and acrylic are two different formulations that are used in nail enhancements. Gel is a more flexible product that’s cured under UV lights, while acrylic is made from a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that’s mixed as it’s applied to the nail plate. It’s then “cured” or hardened by exposure to air, not light.
The difference between gel and acrylic nails is a common question for women who want to get their nails done. Here’s what you need to know about gel and acrylic nails.
Both gel and acrylic are plastic-like materials that are used as nail enhancements.
The main difference between gel and acrylic is that gel nails use a UV light to cure the product and harden it on your nail, while acrylic nails air dry on your nail. Other differences include the application process, cost, finishing look, and removal process.
If you’re just getting started with nail art, you may be wondering about the difference between gel and acrylic nails. Both are used to create durable finishes that can last for weeks, and both are available in a wide range of colors. But on a practical level, there are a few important aspects to consider when choosing which one is right for your style.
Gel Nail Basics
Gel nail polish is a long-lasting variety of nail polish made up of a type of methacrylate polymer. It is painted on the nail similar to traditional varnish, but does not dry until it is cured under an ultraviolet lamp or ultraviolet LED. Gel polish can be more durable than regular nail polish, but it is also more brittle, and may peel, chip or shrink.
“Acrylic is a liquid and powder that are mixed to create the acrylic that is sculpted on your nail,” says Corynne Cirillo, owner of Union Square Nails. “A gel is a product that is cured under an LED or UV light.”
To get acrylic nails, you should go to a salon (or try it at home—here’s how). You can get gel nails done either at a salon or with an at-home kit. Though this article contains tips for applying and removing gel polish at home, you should see a professional if you want gel sculpted onto your nails, as it’s very difficult to do yourself.
The Difference Between Acrylic Nails and Gel Nails
The difference between the two nails types is simple: Acrylics are created by mixing a liquid monomer with a powder polymer to create a hard protective layer over your natural nails. Gels start out in much the same way (liquid+powder), but gels don’t need to be “cured,” or hardened under UV or LED lights like acrylics do. They simply dry on their own. Once dried, gels stay hard until removed in the salon.
Whether you’re a lover of long nails or just like to keep your nails healthy, you may have considered trying out acrylic or gel nails. While they can both help to strengthen and lengthen your nails, there are some differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision on which treatment will be best for you.
Acrylic is made up of liquid monomer and powder polymer, which mix together and then harden. The hardened product is then applied to your nail to extend its length. When you go to the salon for acrylic nails, a technician will apply primer to your natural nail, then dip a brush into the mixture and apply it to your nail. Then, she’ll use a file to shape the nail and make it even with the rest of your nails. Acrylics can also be done at home with a DIY kit, but it’s usually better to have a professional do them so they look neat and cause minimal damage to your own nail.
Acrylics can last anywhere from two weeks to several months, depending on how quickly your nails grow and how well they hold up. You can also get acrylic refills if you don’t want them removed completely; this is usually done
Gel nails and acrylic nails are both popular artificial nail enhancements, but they each have their own pros and cons.
Acrylic nails are made of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer that combine to form a hard protective layer. They are usually shaped and filed down to the desired shape. Acrylics can be removed by soaking them in acetone for about 15 minutes. Acrylics may weaken the natural nails, so it’s important to take them off after two to three weeks before any damage is done to your natural nails.
Gel nails are a little different from acrylics; they are made from a combination of polymer resin and monomer liquid gel. Gel nail polish can last up to three weeks without chipping or peeling, even though it can be removed using acetone after about 20 minutes of soaking. They also don’t require any drying time before you leave the salon, which means no smudges or smears!
The best part about gel nails is that they don’t require any special tools or skills to apply them; all you need is some gel polish and an LED curing lamp. And since they don’t damage your natural nails while they’re on, you can keep getting manicures as often
Gel nail polish is a long-lasting variety of nail polish made up of a type of methacrylate polymer. It is painted on the nail similar to traditional varnish, but does not dry. Instead it is cured under an ultraviolet lamp or ultraviolet LED.
While regular nail polish formulas typically last two to seven days without chipping (and are subsequently removed with nail polish remover), gel polish can last as long as two weeks with proper application and home care. Soak-off gel polish can be soaked in pure acetone to dissolve when being removed; while a no-light gel requires filing the gel away (similar to acrylic nails) when being removed.
Gel polish can be applied over natural nails and over synthetic tips, or directly onto a person’s fingernails. The effect is similar to that of false nails, but without using any glue or other adhesives, which may damage the natural nail.
Gel color coatings are thinner than traditional gels, and cure quickly under ultraviolet light. They provide a glossy coating that resists chipping longer than ordinary nail polish and even acrylics, which have to be filled every two weeks.