Gel vs Acrylic Nails

Gel and acrylics are both hugely popular options when it comes to artificial nails, but whether you prefer gel or acrylic nails ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both methods provide the means of creating beautiful nails with added length, strength and a gorgeous aesthetic, whether you’re looking for a natural look or something a bit extra! 

Trying to decide between acrylic or gel nails for your next home manicure or trip to the salon? From their look and feel to their durability, there are few factors to take into account when choosing between the two. Here at Naio Nails, we’ve created a guide to the pros and cons of gel vs acrylic nails with key information to help you decide which suits you best.

Gel vs Acrylic Nails 

Appearance

One of the most important aspects of deciding between acrylic or gel nails is, of course, the overall appearance you can expect after application. 

Though they have a completely different method of application (more on that soon) gel nails and acrylics result in a very similar appearance. Both gels and acrylics can be either made to match the length of your nails or applied as an extension using nail tips or forms. The main difference in appearance between the two is that acrylics are a little thicker than gels, while gels are glossy and provide a more similar look and feel to your natural nails.

Method of Application

Acrylics are a mix of liquid monomer and a powder polymer which is applied to your nail and shaped to the length you desire before being air-dried to harden. You can watch our video on the basics of acrylic application for a full tutorial!

Gel doesn’t require mixing and comes in individual pots in the colours of your choice. Gel nails are applied in much the same way as standard nail polish but in three steps; a base coat, your gel colour and then a topcoat, before curing under a UV or LED light to dry. The end result is much harder and more resilient to chipping than standard polish.

Flexibility

While both gel and acrylic nails are sturdy, gel nails have more flexibility than acrylics and are not as hard to the touch.

Longevity

When it comes to longevity, you can expect gel nails to last up to 2 weeks, while acrylics generally last longer than gel nails if looked after properly.

Removal Process

The safest way to remove acrylic or gel nails without damaging your natural nails is by soaking them in acetone. If you don’t know how to do this without causing damage to your nails, always return to a professional nail technician. If you want to do it at home, you can view our video on this for handy tips, bearing in mind that gel will only soak off if it’s a soft gel, hard gels can only be removed by filling.

Gel Nails Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Glossy appearance 
  • Slight flex so is comfortable to wear
  • Relatively kind to your nail bed
  • Simple application process
  • Easy to remove
  • Soft to file

Cons:

  • Not as long-lasting as acrylic nails
  • More expensive than acrylic
  • Repeated removal can cause damage to nail beds

Acrylic Nails Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Hard and sturdy
  • Long lasting when applied correctly
  • Easy to remove
  • Generally less expensive than gels
  • Can use acrylic to create 3D designs

Cons: 

  • Not as natural-looking as gel nails
  • A chemical smell during application
  • Quick curing time can make it difficult for beginners to apply

If you’re new to artificial nails, we hope this guide has helped you weigh up which you’ll opt for at your next trip to the salon. As there are advantages and disadvantages to gel or acrylic nails, the choice is a personal one that comes down to preference. Here at Naio Nails, we’re big fans of both! Whether you’re a professional nail technician or want to try your hand at applying your own artificial nails at home, you can find everything you need in our acrylic and gel departments, as well as our range of essentials

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