Acrylic Or Gel: Which One Will Ruin Your Nails Faster?

Acrylic Or Gel: Which One Will Ruin Your Nails Faster?

Are you still contemplating between acrylic nail vs gel nail? We are sure you will no longer be confused when you read this!

Due for a manicure and can’t decide between acrylic nail vs gel nail? Are you wondering which one is more worth it and lasts longer? And are gel nails really as safe as they claim to be?

Let’s break it all down to get the low down on which of these two nail extension products are actually better.

What, wear And How: Acrylic Nail vs Gel Nail


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Whenever somebody mentions acrylic nails, the first thought that often comes to mind is crazy elaborate nail art on claw-like extensions. I was led to think that most acrylic nail art designs are always over-dramatic, impractical and over-the-top-in-your-face.

So naturally, I never understood the need for them until I broke my nail two days before my wedding. And that’s when I decided to weigh in my options.

I found that acrylic and gel are two separate things. Acrylic is liquid and powder. Whereas gel is just gel.

Acrylic nails are formed by combining liquid and powder mixes. When combined, it becomes this dough-like blob that can be shaped using a natural-haired brush onto the nail and then left to air dry and cure.

Gel nails, on the other hand, are painted on with liquid from a little pot that has the consistency of syrup. This is then cured under a UV light resulting in a harder nail.

Which One Is Better?

Both are awesome products and have their own pros and cons.

Gel nails 

Alisha Rimando, executive vice president and creative director of Artistic Nail Design told Racked that gels form a harder, non-porous surface. This means they don’t stain — and they also last quite long!

Another plus point is that your nail technician is less likely to make a mistake when it comes to gels because you take as much time to shape it before curing it under a UV lamp to set. Gels also cure instantly, so it really reduces the possibility of you smudging or ruining your nails when you leave the salon.

However, the downside with gels is that they don’t come off as easily. So in the end, you might need a nail technician’s expertise to file them off.

Acrylic nails

Acrylics, on the other hand, are more porous and have a higher chance of staining. Their best selling point is that they are easier to soak off in acetone and you don’t actually need to make a trip to the nail salon for this. 

Acrylics are also more commonly found and slightly cheaper than gel.

The only drawback is putting up with the horrible odour that wafts up during application. Applying acrylic also requires a lot of skill because your nail technician has to work fast before it sets. When applied wrongly, acrylic can end up feeling uncomfortably thick and annoying on your nails.

Overlay nails

You may also be surprised to know that there is no hybrid between acrylic and gel nails.

However, there is such a thing as acrylic with a gel overlay to get a great shine on finished nails. When pitted against each other — acrylic nail vs gel nail — the finished product will look the same.

The only difference is that a gel overlay can give you instant shine, whereas the nail tech would probably need a lot of elbow grease to buff acrylic to the same amount of shine.

Price Comparisons For Acrylic Nail vs Gel Nail In Singapore

1. 8Twenty8 Nails

Acrylic Or Gel: Which One Will Ruin Your Nails Faster?

Source: 8Twenty8

Price for Acrylic Extension Tips (Full Set):  S$120
Soak off extensions: S$40 | Click here to check out their other services.

2. Manicurious

Acrylic Or Gel: Which One Will Ruin Your Nails Faster?

Source: Manicurious

Price for Gel Extension Tips (Full Set):  SGD 160-170
Gel soak off: S$22 | Click here to check out their other services.

Acrylic vs gel: Which ones cause more damage upon removal?

When you talk about acrylic nail vs gel nail, marketing has really gone all out to promote gel as a safer alternative that wouldn’t damage nails. Salons also come up with fancier names, which then allow them to charge more for gel nails.

The truth is none of these artificial nail coatings will damage the natural nail when properly applied, correctly maintained and carefully removed.

Natural nail damage only happens due to the aggressive and careless removal of either product. Another common mistake is over-filing and this could be the result of older methods with plastic nail extensions that don’t bond to the nail very well.

So back to the proper removal of either nail extensions–an experienced nail technician would know not to over file and to leave a thin layer of product to protect the natural nails.

Acrylic Nail vs Gel Nail: What Do We Recommend?

Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is finding a technician who knows what they are doing.

When choosing between acrylic nail vs gel nail, you also need to take into consideration your nail technician’s skill set. Have a chat with them. What are they better at? Which method do they specialise in?

Personally, we prefer gel nails to acrylic ones, only because they feel more natural and less bulky on the nails.

But what about frequent exposures to UV lights? Isn’t that supposed to be bad for you? The truth is that the amount of UV exposure is really quite minimal. But if you are concerned and would like to stay protected, we recommend putting on some sunscreen about 20 minutes before your appointment at the salon.

(Feature & lead image courtesy: Pixabay)

Written by

Rosanna Chio