Gel vs. Acrylic Nails: Which Is Best For You?
Written By: Shelby Andrews
Edited By: Shannon Marginson
Gel vs. Acrylics: the age-old question when it comes to nail care. Which one is better? Which should I choose? What’s the difference? These are all common questions we hear from our clients at The Spa Room.
The short answer: both options come with their own pros and cons. Before you choose which is best for you, it’s important to understand the difference between each treatment.
Acrylic Nails 101
What are Acrylic Nails?
Acrylics are one of the most common artificial nail options currently on the market. They are created using a combination of a liquid monomer and powder polymer. The combination mixes together to form a soft acrylic ball that can be moulded into an artificial nail. Once the acrylic is applied to the nail, it hardens to become a strong, false nail. It can then be buffed and filed to your preferred shape and style.
Benefits of Acrylic
The biggest benefit of choosing an acrylic nail is the durability—an acrylic set is known to be extremely resilient, and in turn, last longer on the nail. If taken care of and removed properly, they can be a great (and cheap!) option for clients with brittle nails.
Cons of Acrylic
Unfortunately, there are a few cons to choosing acrylic nails. While the finished product is absolutely beautiful, it can also look unnatural if applied incorrectly or not thinned enough. Additionally, acrylic nails are difficult to remove, and often result in a damaged nail bed or peeling natural nails once the acrylics come off.
Due to the reputation that Acrylic nails have, many places may try and pass their acrylic products off as “UV Gel” or “Gel” - just be aware! The mixture of a liquid and a powder is always acrylic.
Gel Nails 101
What are Gel Nails?
Gel nails are quickly becoming one of the most popular, healthier, artificial nail options. Unlike acrylics, a gel nail is made from a jelly-like substance that requires a UV or LED light to “cure” the product. When the gel is exposed to UV or LED light, it causes the molecules in the gel to “burst” and create long interlocking chains that harden the gel to the natural nail! Once the nail is hardened, it can be filed and polished with a top colour of your choice.
Benefits of Gel
As mentioned above, gel nails are a healthier alternative for the nail than acrylic. They are less likely to cause damage to the natural nail or nail bed. Gel nails also feel more natural and less rigid than acrylic, so if you accidentally hit them against something they are less likely to snap! Gel nails are also easier to remove, quicker to cure, and have less of a chemical smell than acrylic during application.
Cons of Gel
While gel nails are most definitely a healthier option, they also come with their own issues. First and foremost, gel nails don’t always last as long as acrylic and can be prone to peeling. They can also be more expensive to apply due to the skill set required and product sourcing.
At the Spa Room, we do not offer acrylic nails as a service due to the amount of cons that outweigh the pros. We do, however, offer regular shellac polish from the company Bioseaweed, as well as gel polish from the company Magic Gel.
Magic Gel differs from other Gel companies because it is Vegan, Cruelty Free, Carcinogen Free, and Canadian! Most of our Gel colours are a one-coat application for quick and full coverage. Our builder gels, used for extending the natural nail, use an advanced technology to reduce the overall heat level that clients typically feel with other products.
The bottom line: there are benefits to both nail styles—it’s up to you to choose which one best matches your nail desires. If you’re uncertain on which to choose, you can always speak to an esthetician to learn more about each process.