Why You Should Switch To Gel Nail Polish vs. Acrylics

When you're choosing between gel and acrylic nails, you should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Gel nails and acrylic nails both have unique qualities. However, many individuals tend to prefer gel nails due to their overall advantages.

The main difference between gel and acrylic nails is how they're applied and the product used. Gel nails are made from a liquid resin that is cured under UV or LED light, while acrylics are made from a combination of liquid and powder that is applied to the nails and shaped.

In this article, we'll compare the pros and cons of gel and acrylic nails and offer recommendations on choosing the appropriate one for you.

The good about gel nails

No. 16 Just Peachy gel polish by S&L

Gel nails tend to look more natural and aren't as likely to yellow as acrylic nails.

They're also more flexible and less likely to chip or break than acrylic nails because they're made from a liquid resin that is cured under a UV or LED light.

Plus, gel nails are easier to remove when you use gel polish removers, which takes 5 minutes to remove. Unlike acrylics, which must be filed down and soaked in acetone, which is more time-consuming and damaging to your natural nails and skin.

Since gel nails are easier to remove than acrylics, gel nails are preferable if you get manicures often.

The bad about gel nails

gel nail polish collection by S&L Beauty

Gel nails are more expensive than acrylics. That’s because gel nails require more equipment, such as a UV or LED light, a gel top and base coat, in order to be applied properly. Not all gel nail polish kits come with tools to remove gel polish however -- keep that in mind too.

Gel nails also require more time and effort than acrylics. The curing process for gel nails is time-consuming and needs to be carefully tended to, whereas acrylics can be applied on faster than gel nails, which is a benefit for people in a hurry or new to artificial nails.

That is why gel manicures cost more than acrylic manicures in a salon.

However, the durability and natural-looking appearance of gel nails make them worth the extra time spent applying for some people.

Ultimately, the decision between gel and acrylics will depend on your personal preferences, time and budget.

S&L Fairy Tale Gel Nail Polish Collection

Comparing gel vs. acrylic nail applications items

Gel Manicure Acrylics Manicure
Gel nail polish Top coat
Gel base coat Cotton pads or balls
Gel top coat Nail file
Cotton pads or balls Nail buffer
Cuticle pusher (orange stick) Cuticle pusher (orange stick)
Nail file
Primer
Nail buffer Acrylic brush
Lint-free wipes or a clean, dry cloth Acrylic powder
UV or LED lamp Liquid monomer

A gel nail kit with uv light contains all that you need to start doing your own gel manicures at home.

Comparing gel vs. acrylic nail removal items

Gel Manicure Acrylic Manicure
100% Acetone 100% Acetone
Cotton pads or balls Cotton pads or balls
Aluminum foil Aluminum foil
Cuticle pusher (orange stick)
Cuticle pusher (orange stick)
Nail file
Nail file
Nail buffer
Nail buffer
Lint-free wipes or a clean, dry cloth
Lint-free wipes or a clean, dry cloth
Cuticle oil Nail clippers
Cuticle oil

 

These tools and materials are commonly used by nail technicians, and they can be purchased at a beauty supply store.

With all the right equipment, you can follow steps on how to apply gel polish and do it yourself, instead of spending your money at a salon. You can also remove gel nails at home without having to make a trip to the salon.

What are acrylic nails?

acrylic nails

Acrylics are fake nails made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer. The mixture is applied to your natural nails, then molded into the shape and length you want. They're strong and durable, and a lot of people like them because they make your nails look long and strong.

But acrylics can be brittle and inflexible, which makes them more likely to chip or break. And they're harder to remove than some other artificial nails, like gels.

The good about acrylic nails

Acrylic nails are generally more affordable than gel nails. That's because they're made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer, which is cheaper than the liquid resin used in gel nails.

Also, acrylics can be applied faster than gel nails, which can save time and labor costs for salons. That’s because gel nails require curing under a UV or LED light for several minutes per hand before and after being painted. Whereas acrylic nails harden on their own after the acrylic mixture is applied, eliminating the need for a curing light and speeding up the application process.

It's important to remember that the longevity of acrylic nails depends on how they're applied and taken care of. If you give them the right care and maintenance, acrylic nails can last longer than gel nails.

    The bad about acrylic nails

    Chipped acrylic nails

    If you're thinking about getting acrylics for your nails, there are a few things to consider. For one, they can be more brittle and less flexible than gel nails, so they're more likely to chip or break.

    Compared to gel nails, acrylic nails are more difficult to remove. You would need to file down the acrylic nails before soaking them in acetone to fully dissolve the remaining material.

    Unlike gel nails, which has three layers of coating, you only need to file down the top coat. Beneath the top coat are two additional layers (the gel polish and the base coat), which prevents you from filing down to your natural nail.

    Plus, acrylics are more prone to yellowing over time. This is because the mixture of liquid and powder mixture used to create acrylic nails can cause yellowing of the natural nails over time.

    In contrast, gel nails are less likely to yellow because they are made from a liquid resin that is cured under a UV or LED light.

    Overall, gel nails are a better alternative to acrylic nails when considering the health of your natural nail and longevity.

    Common questions about gel vs acrylic nails

    These are the common questions that people often have when comparing gel and acrylic nails.

    Which type of nail is more natural-looking: gel nails or acrylics?

    Gel nails are more natural-looking compared to acrylic. This is because gel nails are made from a liquid resin that is cured under a UV or LED light, creating a natural, translucent look, similar to the natural nail.

    Acrylics, on the other hand, are made from a mixture of liquid and powder mixture, which creates a hard and opaque nail. Plus, gel nails are less likely to yellow over time, so they'll maintain their natural appearance for longer.

    Gel nails are a more natural looking choice between the two.

    Are gel nails more durable than acrylic nails?

    Gel nails are generally more durable because they're more flexible and less brittle than acrylics. This means they're less likely to chip or break.

    Gel nails are also more resistant to everyday wear and tear, like typing on a keyboard or opening cans. However, the durability of gel nails depends on how they're applied and maintained.

    With proper care, gel nails can stay strong and durable for as long as three weeks.

    Are gel nails easier to remove than acrylic nails?

    Yes, gel nails are generally easier to remove than acrylic nails.

    This is because gel nails are made from a liquid resin that is cured under a UV or LED light, which means that they can be easily dissolved using acetone.

    In contrast, acrylic nails are made from a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer, which creates a hard and durable nail. But this also means acrylic nails must be filed down to remove them, which can be time-consuming and damaging to your nail bed.

    If you want to be able to switch between different manicure designs frequently or if you want to avoid damaging your natural nails as much, gel nails are your choice.

    Which is more damaging for your natural nails: gel nails or acrylics?

    Acrylics tend to be more damaging because they're hard and inflexible, which makes them more likely to catch on surfaces and chip or break.

    Additionally, acrylic nails are more difficult to remove than gel nails, which means that they may be more likely to damage the natural nails.

    Gel nails are more flexible and less rigid, so they're less likely to chip.

    3 comments

    I definitely think gel is a way better option.
    I’ve been doing my own nails with polygel for a little over 3 years and they’ve grown so much longer and stronger within the first year of switching over. I don’t even remove the entire coating anymore; I just file it down and basically do fill-ins. I can keep a set for a little over a month with 1-2 breaks if not none at all depending on how long I have them.

    Dee June 13, 2024

    I have been having my nails painted with acrylics and my usually strong nails a splitting all over
    the place, so at present I’m back using ordinary nail
    Polish , so that they can recover.

    So I am wondering if gel would be a better option

    Shirley April 23, 2024

    Thankyou for your answers and questions on acrylis and gels. Many people say gels are more damaging but If removed correctly are more natural and easier to apply.
    I have done acrylics and find it a little harder.
    Thankyou

    Evita October 05, 2023

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