So you’re tired of do it yourself or want to spoil yourself just a tad and go with acrylic or gel nails for the perfect manicure look.  But which is best for you?  And you thought the only thing you needed to decide on was nail polish color!  Both acrylic and gel nails have their pros and cons. Keep reading to decide which is the best for you!

Acrylic nails. These are the most popular types of artificial nails.  They are a combination of a liquid and powder that creates a hard protective layer over your natural nail.  A nail tip is applied to the nail, then a ball is created by dipping a brush into a liquid monomer and placing the wet brush into a powder polymer.  This ball is then placed on the nail bed and patted into place using a liquid monomer.  The finish product cures normally by air drying.

The pros. Acrylic nails are very popular and many nail salons offer this service.  They are rather affordable, often costing around $35 for a set and $15 for refills.  As these are common, you don’t have to search very hard to find someone who is skilled in this type of nail.  They are very strong and you don’t have as much worry of cracks or breaking of the nail.

The cons. On the other hand, acrylic nails can look unnatural if they aren’t applied correctly.  They are difficult to remove without damaging the nail bed which means you may have to pay for refills every few weeks or wait out the growing out period of potentially damaged nails.  There are some work places that won’t allow acrylic nails due to hygiene hazards of long nails. Acrylic nails also have a pungent odor during the application process because of all the chemicals involved.

Gel nails. Gel nails are quickly becoming very popular in artificial nails.  To get gel nails,  a nail tip is first applied if the length of your nails needs to be extended.  Then two or three layers of gel nail polish are applied and each layer is cured with a UV lamp.  The nail is then filed and polished with your desired color or nail art.

The pros. Gel nails have a more natural look with a glossy finish. Unlike acrylics, if the nails are primed correctly, there is no damage to the nail bed. Gel nails cure faster than acrylic nails since they are cured under UV light. Gel nails are also more flexible than acrylic nails. There is no odor, and gel nails can easily be removed with no damage to the nail bed by soaking in acetone.

The cons. For as nice as gel nails are, they also are more expensive and can run between $25 to $60 per application.  Because a UV light is involved, there may be an increased risk of skin cancer.  The gel is not as strong as acrylic. Gel nails are at prone to peeling.  Gel nails can’t take the beating that acrylic nails can.

If you are still uncertain about which nails you should try, why not give each one a trial run to see which you like better?  Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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