Gel vs. Acrylic Nails

If you ever search for a manicure that can last longer than regular nail polish, you’ve likely been faced with the gel or acrylic nails option. While both of these are perfect for trying out different nail trends, picking the right style for you is easier said than done. With risks of broken nails and chipped nail polish, choosing the right technique is the way to ensure that your nails will last long.

Both acrylic and gel nails are artificial nail enhancements that are done in place of natural nails. These options can both provide you with good-looking nails. But which do you think is a better choice for you? You can decide by figuring out how gel and acrylic nails differ. If you’re ready to figure this out, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you the differences between gel and acrylic nails to help you decide what to choose on your next nail salon visit.

Gel Nails


There are three steps done to make gel nails. First is brushing a base coat, then a nail polish, and lastly, a top coat over your natural nails. With each of these coatings, the nail is placed under a UV light between 30 seconds up to 2 minutes to let the polish cure. Once cured, the gel polish will harden and will not smudge like regular nail polish. Gel nails have a glossy and freshly manicured look.

Gel nails are perfect for those who want to extend the length of their natural nails. You can opt for gel extensions that consist of an extended tip. Your nails will also undergo the normal process of applying a gel nail polish system and placed under a UV lamp to dry.

Acrylic Nails


Acrylic nails, on the other hand, are made of liquid and powder that is laid over the natural nails using a brush. When the mixture is applied, the nails are filed and shaped to match the look of the natural nails. After shaping the hard acrylic nails, each nail is painted with a base coat, nail polish color, and topcoat. The nails are then set under a fan to dry.

Difference Between Gel and Acrylic Nails

Both gel and acrylic nails can give similar results. However, there are key differences with each nail style. As mentioned earlier, gel nails involve brushing coats of polish on natural nails and are cured using a UV lamp. Once completed, gel nails can last up to 14 days without chipping. After that period, gel nails may begin to peel or lift at the corners.

If you want to remove gel nails, you just need to soak them off. Usually, a cotton ball soaked in acetone is placed on each nail and covered in aluminum foil. After 10 minutes, the gel polish can be removed easily. Even though gel nails are prone to peeling, they are more flexible compared to acrylic nails. In addition to that, they also won’t damage your natural nails.

Acrylic nails, on the other hand, can give a hard, protective layer because of the powder and liquid hybrid mixture that they are made of. Since they are very durable, you don’t need to worry about your nails breaking, lifting, or cracking. However, one of the downsides of acrylic nails is that they look less natural compared to gel nails. Aside from that, they are also quite challenging to remove without damaging your nail bed.

To be able to keep the acrylic set intact, you need to refill your nails every few weeks. Also, when you remove them, you need to wait for your damaged nails to grow out to get your nails back in shape. Usually, acrylic nails are removed by nail technicians from nail salons, unlike gel nails that can be removed easily at home.

Between the two options, acrylic nails are generally cheaper than gel nail applications. However, in terms of comfortability, most people do not like acrylic nails due to the uneasiness that follows the cuticle. Gel nails, on the other hand, are just like gel and take their shape themselves, making them comfortable on the hands.

Which is the Best Nail Style for You?

Like many things in life, the answer to this question depends on your personal preferences. For instance, if you are searching for a sturdy nail style but still want natural-looking nails, then you can opt for gel nails. They are also great if you want to prevent your nails from getting damaged. But if you are trying to avoid cracking or peeling nail polish after a week or two, then acrylic nails are perfect for you.

However, you need to remember that both of these options, when applied incorrectly, may run the risk of damaging your nails. Therefore, if you want to get the best gel or acrylic nails, it is better to go to a licensed nail technician and nail salon to get a manicure. We hope this post helped you learn more about the differences between gel and acrylic nails.