Acrylic vs Gel Nails – Which Manicure Is Best for You

Learn about the differences between acrylic vs gel nails, so you can make an informed decision about which type of manicure is best for your lifestyle.

by grace ashi
acrylic vs gel nails

Which is better for you: acrylic or gel nails?

Acrylic vs Gel Nails: which one should you choose? If you’re considering getting a manicure but aren’t sure which type of manic to choose, this article is for you. This blog post will look closely at various nail art treatments, their contrast, and how they affect your nail health. Finding out what good gel manicure works best for you could depend on lifestyle preferences such as cost versus quality or simply looking nice all day! Let’s dive in and see the different characteristics of each type of manicure: acrylic vs gel nails.

Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails – What are they?

Both are popular choices for nail enhancement and have their pros and cons. Acrylic and gel nails involve the application of a liquid monomer combined with a polymer powder to create an artificial nail extension. Gel nails are painted using a brush or container and “cured” under ultraviolet light to form a strong bond. Depending on your preference, either can provide you with the desired look, though acrylic nails are sturdier and last longer than gel nails.

On the other hand, gel nails are generally more natural-looking since they don’t require dip powders and liquid forms of powder polymer monomer to obtain their shape. If you’re looking for longevity, go for Acrylics; if you want something that looks more like your own natural nails, choose Gel nails.

Acrylic vs Gel Nails -Differences in materials, shape, and color

When it comes to differentiating acrylic nail extensions and gel nails, there are a few notable points that can help identify the differences. Acrylic nails typically have a more complex texture and are more durable than gel nails. They also tend to be thicker, creating an artificial look. On the other hand, gel nails and extensions have a softer texture, making them more susceptible to pressure or chipping.

They allow for a better control of nail shape when applied. Read the acrylic nail shapes guide to learn more about the different types of acrylic nail shapes. It often requires less filing, which helps achieve more natural-looking results. In terms of color, gel nails last longer and come in many shades, whereas acrylic nail colors will often appear faded or dull sooner due to being painted with regular polish. Knowing these things will give you the necessary information to make sure you ask for what type of nail service you prefer when visiting a nail appointment at a salon or spa.

Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails; – how long does each manicure last?

Acrylic and Gel manicures both offer durability that far surpasses traditional nail colors. Still, there is a critical difference between gel and when it comes to how long each type of manicure lasts. Overall, both are hardwearing and require very little upkeep – with only occasional touch-ups needed – yet the lifespan of each kind of durable nail also varies significantly.

While acrylic nails typically last between two weeks and four weeks, depending on nail growth, gel nails often remain beautiful for up to six weeks before needing a visit back to the nail tech or salon. Of course, taking good care of your nails in between appointments with nail technicians will help them last even longer.

Pros and cons of Acrylic nails vs Gel Nails

If you’re trying to decide between getting gel or acrylic nails, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of each. Gel nails tend to be aesthetically pleasing, with a glossy finish lasting longer than acrylic nails.

However, they are usually more expensive and require frequent visits to the salon for maintenance because they tend not to last as long. Unlike gel nail polish, acrylic nails generally require less regular visits for reapplication but often don’t look as polished and neat. They also tend to peel more easily than gel nails, meaning your manicure won’t last as long.

Application Process for Gel, Dip Powder, and Acrylic Nails – What to expect in the salon

Whether preparing for a night out or just looking to spruce up your look, getting a manicure at the salon is a great way to treat yourself. If you’re wondering whether to choose acrylic or gel nails, it’s essential to understand what each type of application entails. Acrylic nail applications involve the use of a powder polymer a dip powder, and liquid monomer. When exposed to air, the polymer mixture binds together—creating the complex, painless layer applied over your natural nails.

Meanwhile, gel nails involve curing the base coat with specially formulated gel under either LED light or UV light so that the base coat of gel polish hardens. For the removal process, gel nail includes soaking off each finger upon removal of gel nail polish. Both processes are relatively quick, generally taking thirty minutes for acrylic nails and about fifteen minutes for gel nails. However, manicures applied with either product will typically last 1-2 weeks with proper maintenance.

How to remove Gel and Acrylic Nails – DIY tips

Removal of gel and acrylic nails can be tricky, particularly if you’re attempting to do it yourself. However, with the right tips, makeup tools, and techniques, removing either type of nail safely at home is possible. If you eliminate acrylic or gel nails, soak a cotton ball in pure acetone nail polish remover and place this over the nail.

For gel nails, use an electric nail file to gently buff off the top layer of the gel off the nail until wholly removed – an electric file is ideal because it offers greater control than manual filing.

Do not try to peel or pull off either type of nail, as this can damage your natural nails. Once the surface and nail plate have been sufficiently removed, finish the process with a regular file and buffer before washing and moisturizing your hands afterward. These simple steps will help ensure you have a safe and successful nail extension DIY experience! Check the DIY Acrylic nail kit and best dip powder nail kits guide.

Aftercare for Gel Nails vs. acrylic nails

Caring for your nails, regardless if they are an acrylic set or gel, is essential to maintain their look and longevity. It is recommended that you avoid hot water and use lukewarm water instead when washing your hands.

Make sure to dry your hands with a clean towel after you wash them. Additionally, if you plan to have long nails or wear gel polish on the nails for over a few days, apply cuticle oil twice a day and reapply fresh gel nail polish every four days to prevent chipping. For an even longer-lasting mani-pedi experience, professional or challenging gel manicures are recommended every two weeks to help replenish lost moisture from everyday activities such as washing dishes. The time invested in caring for acrylic or gel nails will ensure beautiful nails and healthy, long-lasting results.

Cost Comparison of Gel vs Acrylic Nails

The cost of both gel and acrylic nails can vary significantly. Generally, acrylics will cost more due to the products used and the time it takes to create them. A complete set of solid-color acrylics is typically between $30 and $100, depending on the salon. In contrast, gel nails usually range from about $35 to $60 for a complete set, with an extra charge for any added decorations or designs.

Regular maintenance costs are also generally lower for gel nails than acrylic tips, making them the better option if you plan to maintain your manicure over time. Consider your budget and lifestyle before deciding which type of nail would work best for you.

Dip Powder vs Acrylic vs Gel

Dip powder nails use the same process as acrylic nails but with a pigment-based powder that hardens when exposed to any particular activator solution. Gel nails use UV light-curing polish that sets within sixty seconds. The curing process for regular nail polish is much quicker than dip powder or acrylic nails. You can also jazz them up with nail art. Acrylic nails are made from a mixture of liquid monomer and polymer powder that forms a thick paste.

It solidifies after being applied to the nail artist’s natural nail bed, creating a solid, long-lasting protective layer. While there are similarities between all styles, each one offers unique benefits, such as speaking with a nail technician. Read our Dip powder beginner guide to everything you need to know about Dip nail power.


In conclusion, when deciding between acrylic or gel nails, you must consider your lifestyle, budget, and desired look. Gel nails can last up to 14 days and typically require more maintenance than artificial nails.

Acrylic nails are cheaper but less durable. Both have unique pros and cons, so it’s best to examine each option before deciding. Whichever type of manicure you choose at the nail salon? Your nail technician can apply nail strengthening, which helps extend the longevity of gorgeous nails of both options over time. So, which one will you choose for your next manicure? Comment below!

Acrylic vs gel nails FAQ

What lasts longer, gel or acrylic?

Nails tend to be much longer to wear because of their chemical nature, unlike acrylics. Acrylic nails provide a strong protective coating over the actual fingernail bed. They’re usually cheaper because they’re widely available.

Is gel more healthy than acrylic?

Gel nails are also healthier alternatives to acrylic nails. The nail will be damaged more easily. It also feels more natural and less rigid than acrylic nail does, reducing the chances they snap.

Which manicure is most harmful to your natural nails?

Neither acrylic nor gel nails are inherently damaging to the natural nails if applied and maintained correctly. Each manicure requires proper sanitization procedures and regular visits to the salon for maintenance, regardless of the type used. Acrylics can be hard on your natural nails. if you have sensitive skin or brittle nails, gel nail polish is a better manicure option.

Which is more expensive, acrylic or gel nails?

Acrylic nails tend to be more expensive than gel nail polish nails.

What are the least damaging fake nails?

Choose soak-in gel nails to replace acrylic nails. Although gel nails may cause brittle nails, peeling or cracks, they have greater flexibility than acrylic nail polish. It reduces cracks in your nails. You can get regular nail polish and request soft gel nails that absorb less harsh chemicals and are less likely to be filed off.

Do gel nails look better than acrylic nails?

Generally speaking, compared to gel and acrylic nails dilemma, they look natural in appearance. Gel manicures typically appear natural-looking compared to acrylics, and the color is smooth and glossy.

Acrylic vs gel nails: which one is better for natural nails

The other acrylic liquid nails will usually last longer than gel polish if applied to natural nails. Gel polish are typically more resistant to breakage and results in less brittle natural nails.

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