To Gel, or Not To Gel — That is the Question

Choosing whether or not to get artificial nails shouldn’t be as complicated as a Shakespeare play. Making a stress-free nail decision is possible. You just have to know the pros and cons of the options that are available for you.

What are Gel Nails?

opi gel

There are two types of gel, soft gel and hard gel.

Hard gel can be cured and used as artificial nails or nail extensions. This product can become tough enough to be used to extend the nail past the limit of the natural nail.

As the name implies, soft gel are gel nail products that are too soft to be used as artificial nails. They are, however, great as polish and are gaining popularity among frequent nail salon-goers. This is most probably because gel nail products are considered more natural than other nail polishes, they stay intact for weeks without chipping or cracking while maintaining a high gloss.

In addition to its long-lasting quality, plenty of women opt for gel nails because they’re non-toxic, don’t give off a chemical odor, and don’t turn nails yellow.

Gel Nails vs. Acrylic Nails

acrylic nails

Acrylic and gel nails have similar results. They are used as extension for short nails to make fingers appear longer and more slender. While both nails have the same function, they have different properties that could help you decide whether to go for acrylic or gel nails.

Acrylic nails have been a staple in the beauty industry for years. When applied properly, they are perfect canvas for applying nail art and nail color. This kind of nail extension is applied using a liquid monomer and a powder polymer, with air exposure, they create a hard layer over natural nails.

–    Odor

One downside of using acrylic nails is the foul chemical odor that it emits during and after application. Pregnant women are advised not to use them because of this.

Gel nails do not have a strong smell like acrylic nails, this is why they are considered as a more eco-friendly option.

–    Look and Feel

When applied incorrectly, acrylic nails have a tendency to not look as authentic as natural nails, they may even feel uncomfortably thick and inconvenient for some. And although they are thick and tough, they are not flexible which might cause discomfort.

Gel nails are stronger than natural nails but are not as rigid as acrylic nails. Some women appreciate that the nails offer some flexibility.

–    Curing

Acrylic nails only need air exposure to cure, however, some brands can take up to 24 hours to fully cure even though the nail polish on top of it is already dry.

To cure gel nails, some type of UV light machine is required. This makes it very hard to apply them at home.

Making Your Choice

We hope the pros and cons listed above will help you decide which kind of nail treatment you will get for your next appointment. Whether you go for gel or acrylic, here are some more tips to make sure your nails and nail beds stay beautiful and healthy.

–    Overfiling is your nail’s worst enemy. The removal of your nails’ protective layer before an application will make it absorb chemicals that will cause a lot of damage. If possible, ask your tech to stay away from a drill file.

–    Do not try to peel or forcibly remove gel off your nails. Doing this could remove 2 to 3 layers of nail surface and cause permanent damage. Nails should be soaked in professional grade products that will gently remove the gel.

–    Now that your nails are on point, don’t go home empty-handed. Ask your nail tech for support products that you can use at home for maintenance and touch-ups in between appointments.