You asked

Can you tell me the difference between gel and acrylic nail extensions?

Women have a lot of options when they hit the salon to get their nails done. If you're considering nail extensions, then you’re going to be asked whether you would like acrylic or gel. So, before you make your decision, here's what you need to know.
Both acrylic and gel nail extensions require applying a false nail tip to the nail using nail glue. The difference between the two methods occurs after this. Acrylic application involves using a mixture of a polymer powder and a liquid monomer. The mixture starts to harden in 30–40 seconds after application and continues to cure to final hardness typically within fifteen minutes. Gel nails on the other hand, require the application of a gel base coat, colour and top coat. Each layer must be cured under a UV light for approximately two minutes.
Pros of acrylic nails
  • The removal process is simple and straightforward, requiring the nails to be soaked in acetone.
  • Acrylics are very strong. They last a long time when they are appropriately cared for and are very robust.
  • Acrylic nail application tends to cost less than gel nail application.
Cons of acrylic nails
  • They can damage your nail bed, which can create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
  • Acrylics can appear less natural than gel nails, especially if applied incorrectly.
  • The application process involves strong chemicals and fumes – and there is a strong odour when applying acrylic nails.
Pros of gel nails
  • Gel nails look more natural and glossy than other forms of nail extensions.
  • The curing time is faster than acrylics.
  • Gel nail mixtures lack the fumes associated with acrylic nails - they're considered a safer, more eco-friendly option.
Cons of gel nails
  • They don't last as long and are less durable than acrylic, even though they tend to cost more.
  • A gel nail tends to shatter when it breaks, and therefore has to be reapplied by a nail technician.
  • Gel nails need to be filed off, although there are some soak-off versions.

More questions

Wearing a dark nail polish can be daunting, but there is nothing to fear! In fact, anyone can wear it. Some women just wear dark colours in the winter and change to brighter colours for the summer. Here we will...
When the weather heats up, it’s time to opt for soft, pretty shades on our nails and to get rid of the dark vampy colours we’ve been wearing in colder weather. Summer shades are fun and fresh and...
Instead of a traditional French manicure, why not try a half-moon one? The half-moon manicure features a colour on the moon of your nails whereas the French manicure highlights the tips of your nails. Half-moon...
There are many nail products on the market including manicure sets, nail art kits and nail design tools. With the right equipment and knowledge of a few techniques you can create colourful and fun designs on...
Yellow nails are far from pretty, but however unsightly they are not usually anything to worry about. In this article we will look at what causes them and how you can avoid them. Why do our nails go yellow...
It is surprisingly important to know how to use nail clippers properly. If used incorrectly, they can make a problem such as a hangnail or an ingrown nail far worse and ultimately, this could result in pain or...
We need our nails for lots of reasons; they make it easier to pick up small things and to scratch an itch. Our nails are also an indication of how healthy we are, weak and discoloured nails may mean that...
We all want gorgeous, perfect looking nails. If you’ve ever had acrylic ones, you’ll know how great they can be at hiding what lies beneath! Whilst acrylic nails are unlikely to cause harm your...
Having cracked nails can both look bad and also cause functional problems. We need strong nails more than we realise, we may use them to pick up small things like coins, or to peel labels off things during the...
To get gorgeous, healthy looking and manicured nails, you need to have access to the right tools. Not only do you need the right equipment, but you need to know how to use them. We all want to have beautiful...



Hello Mama!
Help us help you by allowing us and our partners to remember your device in cookies to serve you personalized content and ads.

We're on a mission to help our mums and their families thrive by informing, connecting and entertaining.

Join us in our mission by consenting to the use of cookies and IP address recognition by us and our partners to serve you content (including ads) best suited to your interests, both here and around the web.

We promise never to share any other information that may be deemed personal unless you explicitly tell us it's ok.

If you want more info, see our privacy policy.