How Do Gel, Acrylic, and Gel-Acrylic Nails Differ from One Another?


You will find a wide variety of manicures and an endless selection of nail paint colors when you walk into any nail shop in the world. Should you use dip powder or go with the conventional polish? Should you go with acrylic or gel? We’re focusing on the distinctions between gel and acrylic nails today, as well as what it means to have “gel acrylic nails.”

Acrylic versus Gel Nails

The differences between gel and artificial nails are significant. A UV lamp is used to cure gel nail polish after it has been applied to the nail. Instead of peeling off quickly like regular nail polish, this produces an incredibly glossy, long-lasting nail polish that can last for weeks. One further advantage is that it dries in just 60 seconds, so you won’t have to wait around at the salon or worry about your polish getting smudged while you’re searching for cash.

Conversely, liquid monomer and acrylic polymer powder are combined to create acrylic nails. According to nail artist Linh Ngo, a Nail Maxx advisor, “the powder and liquid create a soft dough, which the nail artist then presses onto the natural nail and sculpts into an extension that air-dries.” As a result, the nail develops a thick, resilient “shell” that is less likely to shatter.

gel-acrylic nails
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Gel-Acrylic Nails: What Are They?

According to Ngo, the phrase “gel-acrylic nails” is a little deceptive. This phrase is typically used to describe one of two things:

Gel Inlay

This is a pre-made gel nail extension that is applied in a manner akin to applying acrylics. It isn’t made of acrylic, though, and an LED or UV light is required for curing.

According to Ngo, “the artist creates gel extensions by painting the gel onto the natural nail and a nail form that allows the artist to add length.” There are countless options when length is included. The nail can be painted with any design and filed into a variety of forms.

Acrylic and Gel Layers

According to nail artist Jenifer Pierce, when technicians or others speak to “gel acrylic nails,” they may also be referring to a hybrid technique that blends the two. In this instance, she says, “A gel nail is applied first, then overlaid with acrylic.” “You can use regular or gel polish once the nail is shaped and formed.”

Because acrylics are known to be harmful, some people prefer that the acrylic never contacts the nail bed. In addition, this method adds strength with a thin layer of acrylic while maintaining the more natural appearance of gel nails.

Which Manicure Type Is Best?

Selecting the ideal nail choice ultimately boils down to personal preferences and unique needs, just like picking any other beauty treatment or service.

Because they apply a thinner layer over the nail, gels are the least expensive alternative and also provide the most “natural” appearance. On the other hand, acrylics offer a much tougher shell, making them perfect for folks with delicate or brittle nails or for picky eaters. For individuals who want to truly bling up their nails with crystals, pearls, or chains, acrylics are also a favorite basis.

Theoretically, a hybrid gel-acrylic nail technique would offer the best of both worlds, giving you a stronger yet more natural-looking finish. If you often use gel or traditional polish, it will only cost more and feel more stiff than you’re used to.

The good thing is that you can experiment with several solutions until you find the one that works best for you because your nails grow quickly and your manicure is just temporary. Ask your nail technician what they recommend for your nails and have fun with them, without worrying too much about it.

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