A few years ago, getting a manicure was as simple as that—getting a manicure. The only decision ladies had to make was how long they wanted their nails to be and what color they wanted.

With the advancement of science came different formulas for better and healthier options. Ladies have so much more to consider now. Natural or fake nails? Dip, gel, or acrylic? Not to mention all the brands that claim to have the best products.

We don’t want these options to take the joy out of your manicure experience so here are some basic differences between the three so you know what to ask for during your next nail salon appointment.

 

Gel Manicure

There are two types of gel nails—soft gel and hard gel.

Soft gel have jelly like consistency and because it’s too soft to be used as nail extensions, they are applied just like regular nail polish. But unlike regular nail polish, gel polish have better shine, brighter colors, and lasts longer.

Hard gel, once cured can be hard enough to form nail extensions and a lot of ladies prefer them over acrylics because they are flexible enough to feel like natural nails. With the skill of a professional nail technician, you can have lots of options—you can choose to make them slender, pointed or whatever shape you want. The choice is really up to you.

Both soft and hard gel require UV rays to harden. They don’t cure unless you put them under certain UV nail lamps which is a concern for some. Experts recommend to apply sunblock at least 30 minutes before you put your fingers under the lamp.

 

Gel Nail Application

To apply gel as nail extensions, the nail tech will apply a thin layer of gel first then add more so it can be shaped as you desire. Gel nails may be more expensive than acrylics but they are also more flexible so they feel more natural. After the application of a final coat, the nails are cured under a UV nail lamp. Air drying is not an option when using gel nails.

Those who get gel polish or extensions should overcome the temptation to peel them off once they start to chip. This can damage your nails because there’s a big chance that you’ll include the top layer of your nail when you do this.

 

Acrylics

Among the three, acrylics has been around the longest. Plenty of ladies still choose this option because of the wide varieties of colors and styles that you can apply to your nails. They are cheaper than gel nails but they are rigid and do not have the same natural feel. Women also complain about the chemical smell during application

 

Acrylics Application

Like gel application, acrylics are also applied in three layers: a base coat, polish color, and top coat. Unlike gel nails and polish, you don’t need a special light for it to dry. Special glues are used to keep acrylics in place that’s why it emits a chemical smell when applied.

With proper maintenance, acrylic nails can last up to a month and they can also be easily repaired which makes them a less expensive choice.

 

Dip Manicure

Dip falls somewhere between Acrylic and gel manicure. So many ladies consider dip manicure as the perfect manicure. If you haven’t tried getting one yet, you can go to YouTube and find plenty of ladies sharing their dip experiences. It’s quite fascinating how easy dip manicure is to apply while giving remarkable results at the same. Best of all, because it’s long lasting and doesn’t easily chip, it keeps fingernails beautiful for weeks.

Dip manicure is a popular option among health conscious women because unlike gel nails, there is no need for UV light for it to cure and unlike acrylics, there’s no need for special chemicals to help it harden

Some would say that dip nails are the best of both worlds—they last longer, easy to fix, and have a natural look to them. The only probable downside is that dip manicures could not be used as nail extensions to give you that slender look you may want.

 

Dip Manicure Application

To apply dip polish, first, a coat of base is needed then nails are dipped in powder. The powder comes in different colors and shines and lasts up to two weeks (some ladies say even up to 4) without cracking or chipping off.

Dip does not get damaged easily but because they are applied to your actual nails and not as extensions, you can enjoy its beauty for the length of time it takes for your nails to grow up to a new length.