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.

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