Long gone are the days when you pop into the nail salon and only choose a colour for your new look. Now, you can choose different shapes, nail art designs, and even go the route of having fake nails. Most nails cannot stand the pressure of being so long and will chip, crack, or completely break the first chance they get, so the fake nail route is much more popular in this generation. However, even here there is a choice: the choice between acrylic nails and gel extensions. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both.
What Are Acrylic Nails?
Acrylics are probably the more common one of the two, probably because of their affordability. Acrylic nails are made of a combination of liquid and powder and are applied over the natural nail, adhering to the nail tip which is created if any extra length is needed. Then, a brush is dipped into liquid monomer and then into powder polymer. This creates a small ball which is then patted onto the nail bed until the desired thickness and length is achieved. The material is then dried and shaped, adding more as necessary.
Pros and Cons of Acrylic Nails
Because of their popularity, you can get acrylic nails at almost every local nail salon. As mentioned above, acrylics are also very affordable, costing on average between $35-$45 for a full set, and then $15-$20 for refills when they grow out. You can find even less expensive prices if you’ll allow yourself to be a guinea pig for local beauty school students. The disadvantage of the second one is that it may be more time consuming, and depending on the current skill of the student, certain options like nail art and special colouring patterns like marble and ombre may not be available. Nevertheless, acrylics are extremely strong and have little to no chance of breaking off or chipping so long as you’re not doing things like construction work every day.
No matter where you go though, there is always the chance that your acrylics may look horribly unnatural if they are applied incorrectly. In this case, you may want to remove them right away, but unfortunately, removing acrylics is no easy task without damaging the nail bed. Nail salons will remove the acrylics for you, but it will come with a price tag attached to it, usually between the $15-$20 mark.
What Are Gel Nails?
Gel nails are becoming increasingly popular in nail salons, and although they are not quite as popular as acrylics, they’ve definitely made their mark in the beauty world. Firstly, a nail tip is applied if needed for the desired length to be achieved. After that, two to three layers of gel polish is applied with each layer being cured, aka dried, underneath a UV lamp. After the final layer has been dried, the nail is then shaped, filed, and the colour is applied.
Pros and Cons of Gel Nails
Unlike acrylics, gel nails have a more natural look to them and no damage is done to the nail bed if done incorrectly. So, if for whatever reason you are not satisfied with your gel nail extensions, removing them is a very easy process by just soaking the nail in acetone.
Unfortunately, with these incredible benefits, there are cons to this nail treatment. First off: price. Gel extensions are more expensive than acrylic nails, ranging up to $65 for a full set. Also, though not fully proven, the use of the UV lamp for drying the nails has concerned some about the risk of skin cancer because of the exposure to the UV light. Gel nails are not as strong as acrylic nails as well and the gel can be prone to peeling if not taken care of properly.
At the end of the day, both are good options with an equal number of pros and cons for each. It all depends on which one is best for you, your budget, and of course your day to day life. Check with your work to make sure that you are allowed to have extended nails as some workplaces forbid having them for functionality and professional purposes.
Also, remember that Plei Nail Strengthener can be used with both acrylic and gel extensions to keep your natural nails healthy, strong, and ready for their next set.