Gel Nails or Acrylic Nails?
These days, you have a wide range of options when it comes to your nails. If you are considering adding fake nails, then you have the choice of classic acrylic nails or gel nails. Each offers its own pros and cons and knowing some information about each can help you make the decision that’s best for you. Here are some things to consider when it comes to choosing between gel nails and acrylic nails.
Gel Nails vs. Acrylic Nails
The main difference between acrylics and gels lies in the product makeup: acrylic nails are made by dipping a brush into a liquid (called monomer) and then placing the wet brush in a powder (called polymer), creating a ball of product that is then placed on the nail bed and patted into place. The product is allowed to cure for a few minutes before filing, but the curing process continues over the next 48 hours. Gel products are pre-mixed and are in an actual “gel” form. A brush is used to pick up a portion of gel and place it on the nail bed, and then it is brushed and coaxed into position. Then the finger is placed in a low-wattage UV light to cure the gel. Once it is removed from the light, it is fully cured.
Pros and Cons of Acrylic Nails
Acrylic nails have been around for a very long time and are quite popular. Most nail salons offer them, and many nail technicians have a lot of experience working with this type of artificial nail. That said, they can also be a bit unnatural looking if applied incorrectly or in a hurry, and are occasionally difficult to remove without damaging the nail below. There is also a strong smell associated with some of the chemicals that are involved in the process, which can make the application unpleasant.
Pros and Cons of Gel Nails
Although gel nails have been around nearly as long as acrylic nails, especially in Europe, they have only become common in recent years. This means that not as many places will offer the technique, so it may be a bit harder to find nail technicians who have experience with gel nails. Even so, gel nails have certain advantages over the acrylics. First of all, gel nails do not require the same type of strong-smelling chemicals to apply or remove them. Gel nails are also thinner and more flexible than their acrylic counterpart and may be a better choice for women with thin, soft nail beds. Gel nails do have some disadvantages. Due to the skill needed to apply them correctly, they tend to cost a bit more and can be more difficult to remove. Also, if they are not skillfully applied, they can look thick and lumpy.
Caring for Your Nails
Once you have your fake nails in place, proper care is best if you want them to continue to look their best. Here are some basic care tips:
- Schedule timely repair appointments. If you break a nail or notice that a nail has begun to lift, get yourself into your nail salon as soon as possible. DIY repairs are a bad idea. For instance, gluing down a loose nail by yourself can cause moisture to become trapped and end up causing an infection.
- Regularly polish them. If you are wearing polish or a French manicure on your gel or acrylic nails, then it’s a good idea to apply a top coat every other day, as this will help to prevent chipping and yellowing. If you are in the sun on a daily basis, then a top coat should be applied every single day.
- Protect your nails. If you have fake nails, you need to protect them when doing any type of housework or gardening work. Be sure to wear protective gloves, and take care when performing everyday tasks like opening soda cans.
Both gel nails and acrylic nails have their advantages and disadvantages. Choosing which type of nail to go with depends on a number of factors, including the amount of money you want to spend, how hard you want to look for a qualified salon, and what look you are trying to achieve.