Nail extensions are the hottest beauty trend that will never go out of fashion, the creative freedom you can manifest is limitless, ever changing and expanding.
With risks of chipped nail polish, broken nails, and more, making the right selection is key for ensuring your nails go the distance. Below, we’re breaking down the differences between gel and acrylic nails, so you know what to ask for at your next visit to a nail salon near you.
Acrylic nails are a mix of powder and liquid monomer that’s combined into a blob of dough, shaped onto your nails with a brush, and then air-dried. When you’re getting a full set of acrylics, the nail technician will usually put on tips, or use nail forms to achieve a more natural look. Each acrylic is then shaped as desired and painted with polish. Nails are then set under a fan to dry.
2- HARD GEL
Hard gel is a nail enhancement like acrylic nails, except it cures in a UV light. It is NOT gel polish/shellac/soft gel/soak off gel. You can put gel polish over hard gel (and you should because it looks great). You can extend the length of the nail with hard gel, just like acrylic. It can be sculpted and shaped just like acrylic. The only difference is that hard gel hardens through UV light rather than through evaporating solvents (like acrylic). There are many benefits to using the innovative nail enhancement that is hard gel.
Gel extension is a process that involves hard gel built on a natural nail and cured with UV light. Like acrylics, gel extensions require an overlay to lengthen your nail. The manicurist uses a nail form, which is basically a sticker that goes under the free edge (the tip) of the nail, to extend the length of the nail.
The rest of your process will flow like regular gel manis: your color is applied with standard soft gel polish and cured layer by layer. If you’re getting nail art, your artist will decorate your tips, and then your nails are sealed with a gel top coat.
4- GEL POLISH
Gel polishes are half regular polish, half gel that is brushed onto the nails. When applying gel polish, apply like a regular application – base, polish color, and topcoat. The only difference is that each coat must be cured or hardened under a UV or LED light for up to two minutes.