Gel or Acrylic Nail Extensions—What’s the Difference Between Them?

Posted March 29, 2021 by in Beauty

Beauty treatments are something that many of us have missed out on during the last lockdown. With salons set to reopen again from next month, getting a manicure, eyebrows waxed and tinted, lashes applied and some other beauty treatments that you’ve gone without for the past couple of months will be a great way to feel pampered and back to your old self again after a strange year.

If you are planning to get your nails done soon, are gel nails or acrylic nails the best option for you?

Acrylic Nails

When it comes to nail extensions, acrylics are usually the most popular option, and you’ll be able to have them applied at any good nail or beauty salon. Here’s how they work:

A combination of acrylic powder and liquid is used to create a hard cover over your natural nail. Tips will also sometimes be used if you want to extend the length or change the shape of your natural nail. The powder and liquid are mixed together before being gently applied with a brush to the nail bed and brushed over the nail. No heat or light is required for drying since the mixture hardens naturally and quickly at room temperature. It will then be filed and shaped to your desired shape and size and can be coated with your choice of polish.

For longer-lasting results, gel polish can be applied over acrylic nails for extra strength and durability. 

Gel Nails

Gel nails are similar to acrylics in that they are nail extensions that can be applied using a tip, however, they are formed from a jelly-like substance that must be cured under a UV lamp after being applied to the nails. This means that gel nails may often take longer to do compared to acrylic nails, but the results are definitely worth it.

Gel is made from polymer resins that can be applied to your natural nail or over tips that are added to the nails to lengthen them. A base coat must be first applied before the gel is applied in the colour that you like. When finished, gel nails tend to be a glossier choice. 

The Finished Look

The look and feel that you are going for with your nails will help you choose whether gel or acrylic extensions are the best for you. Both can be customised to look however you would like, and any colours can be used—including fun nail art!

Acrylic nails tend to feel heavier on your natural nails compared to gel and might take a while for you to get used to them if you’ve not had nail extensions throughout lockdown. On the other hand, gel overlays are the ideal choice if you want a glossy yet natural-looking result and is often the best choice if you have naturally long nails and don’t want to add tips. 

Choosing between gel or acrylic nails is really down to personal preference, but both will have your nails looking fab.