Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails

Gels vs Acrylics: The Ultimate Guide

Nails play a huge role in a woman’s sense of elegance. Every woman wants to feel like a glamorous movie star from time to time – and a beautiful set of nails is a great start to making this happen.

Artificial nail enhancements have come a long way, from the thin acrylic nails, to the more modern gels. Both have strengths and both have weaknesses. I’ll be weighing in to see how they’re different, and at the end of the article we’ll show you our little secret: How you can combine the two types to get the best of both worlds.

What’s the difference between gel and acrylic nails?

All nails actually derive from acrylics, with gels being no exception. The difference is, gels are a member of an acrylic family which has a different configuration of methacrylate and acrylates (used as gel) which forms polymers (binding acting molecules-glue type).

Different types of acrylic nails are mixed along with powders to form a strong adhesive bond. They require a great deal of mixture between the two in order to get the most effective texture.

Gel nails are self-reliant, with no reliance on any powder polymers to mix in with them.

What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails often get a lot of bad press. But if they’re applied properly with good quality products, they will make your nails look strong, healthy and the height of sophistication. One of the main things to bear in mind that acrylic nails should look natural rather than fake (unless you’re opting for an OTT look!). Next, many think that acrylics can harm your nails. This isn’t true, as long as you remove them with care.

So what do the best acrylic nails look like? If you’re looking for something easy and affordable, I swear by these Clear Full Cover Artifical Nails by ECBASKET.

What’s so great about them is that these clear nails will give you a blank slate. You can paint them and decorate them with any nail art you wish. The quality is superb, and they’re the perfect length and thickness. All you need to add is good quality glue. These nails will look ultra stylish and last you for a long time.

ECBASKET 500Pcs Coffin Nails Clear Nail Tips Full Cover Artificial Nails 10 Sizes

$7.59 $13.99

What are gel nails?

Gel nails can be achieved in two ways:

(1) Hard Gel – Becomes hardened enough to form a nail extension- also known as buff-off nails, where the nail must be sanded down and can’t be soaked off.

(2) Soft Gel – Requires another gel polish as an overcoat, serving as a re-enforced layer. Soft gel will be cured faster under a UV lamp and doesn’t require mixing with powder.

Are gel nails better than acrylic?

Acrylics are harder than gels, yet, perhaps counter-intuitively, are less durable. If applied correctly, acrylics can be very robust. The right amount of pressure could break or chip a piece of nail away.

Gels are typically far more flexible, being able to withstand significantly more force than acrylics. UV applications work brilliantly with gel nails, curing them into a tight, adhesive bond.

One of my go-to products is the Gellen UV Gel Nail Polish Manicure Set.

The pretty pink and champagne colors are irresistible. This set would make a great gift for any girl who loves to do her nails. The set will come with 6 x beautiful gel inspired polishes. Gellen recommend applying up to 3 x coats to achieve the best results.

Gel Nail Polish for Nails, Soak Off UV Pink Gel Kit Required Gel Base Top Coat LED Nail Lamp

$15.99 $28.99

The Health Hazards: Removal, Infections, & Odor

Acrylic nails can cause mild infections if not applied properly, leading to damage of the natural nail bed. Filing away TOO MUCH cuticle is a no-no, as cuticle is what protects your nail bed from infection-causing bacteria. Try not to file away the hardened paste. Some experts advise leaving a very thin layer of acrylics, which acts as a barrier, in order to prevent this!

Acrylics have a fairly easy removal process. They can be soaked off by acetone in about 15-20 minutes, or they can be filed down.

Like Acrylics, soft gel nails can also be soaked off easily. The always-reliable acetone can be used for this. Hard gel nails require the filing down of the extension; acetone won’t be strong enough to remove them. Gel nails can take a thin layer from the natural nail bed as well due to the acetone not being completely removed. Gel nails are not recommended for people with brittle, fragile nails.


Nail Maintenance

Gel does generally cost more than do acrylics, usually around 15-20% more. However, they require less maintenance — you can go about 3 weeks before needing work done on your gel-based nails. That’s a 50% increase in durability for a 15-20% increase in cost — a great tradeoff.

Personally, I prefer the long-term benefits of gel nails, however, if nails aren’t all that important to you, you may find yourself drawn towards the cheaper cost of acrylics.

Whichever product you choose, it’s imperative that you care for your nails and hands. It’s easy to make it a part of your daily routine. My secret is using natural essential oils to nourish and strengthen nails and cuticles.

One of the best products you can buy is 100% Pure Organic Rosehip Seed Oil.

This is a true miracle product. And I don’t make those claims lightly! Not only is it the best thing for your nail health, but it works wonders for your skin and hair too. It can even reduce the appearance of scars and tone your skin. Also, it has a lush fragrance, so every time you put it on your skin you will be indulging yourself. 100% natural and organic, this a must have for your beauty and your well-being.

Molivera Organics Rosehip Oil 4 Fl Oz. 100% Pure Premium Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Rosehip Seed Oil -Best for Hair, Skin, Face & Nails – Great for DIY – UV Resistant Bottle



Are Gel Nails Better Than Acrylics/Which is Better?

It all depends on the work you do.

Do you use your hands a lot? Do you have brittle, thin nails? If so, your best bet is gel nails. Gel nails will be more equipped to withstand your active life!

The strength of acrylic nails is their slightly cheaper price. If nails aren’t that important to you, and you’re only looking for a short-term manicure, you might prefer their cheaper price over gel nails’ longer lifespan.

If you’re still uncertain, try asking a nail technician at your local salon for their professional advice. Most should be more than happy to give it free of charge, as a show of goodwill towards their client.

Kara x



We Heart Nails