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Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails – Which are the Best?

What is Nail Extension? Difference between acrylic and gel nails

How often do you re-apply your nail polish or reach out to buff and file your nails every time they chip off? We get it – it’s hard to maintain your natural nails. That’s why you may want to try nail extensions that are sturdier and easier to maintain.


So what is a nail extension? These are nails that last longer and look better. The most popular types include gel extensions and acrylic nails. You can choose between the two choices in addition to availing the benefits of a manicure and pedicure at one of our salons near you. Wondering what is the difference between acrylic and gel nails? Here’s a guide on gel extensions vs acrylic nails that should make your choice easier.

What are Acrylic Nails?

Wondering what are acrylic nails? One of the key differences between acrylic and gel nails is that you can try acrylic nails to give your nails a fairly realistic appeal. Acrylic nails consist of a polish and powder or liquid monomer combination that is spread over the natural nail as an extension to give it an appropriate shape and length. The procedure involves,

  • Cutting and filing your natural nails.
  • Buffing the nails to make the base rough so that the acrylic can be applied properly.
  • Applying the powder or liquid hybrid mixture to create an acrylic dough. The technician will then shape it across your nail bed to give it the perfect shape and length.
  • Putting a base coat and nail polish colour as per your choice.
  • Applying the top coat that seals the polish.
  • Air drying your nails to perfection.
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Every step of the process involves air drying the polish, coat after coat. This ensures that the nail doesn’t chip off and the polish remains durable till the acrylic nails are taken off after weeks.

What are Gel Extensions?

When deciding between acrylic vs gel nails, gel extensions do not use a mixture to create extensions for your natural nails. They are then applied on your natural nails with the help of a gel glue and shaped properly. Gel extensions utilise three coats – a base coat, gel nail polish and a top coat that can be applied on the nail tips. Each coat is dried off under a UV light for around a minute or two. This is done to ensure every coat becomes sturdy and durable, without the risk of smudging unlike regular polishes. The procedure involves,

  • Cutting and filing your natural nails.
  • Buffing the nails and wiping them clean.
  • Using a gel glue on each nail to apply nail extensions based on the size and shape.
  • Shaping and filing the extensions to give them a groomed appearance.
  • Applying a base coat on the nail tips and drying it off under the UV light.
  • Choosing a gel nail polish colour of your choice and drying that layer also under the UV light.
  • Applying the top coat that seals the polish. This is dried off for one last time under the UV light to reveal a beautiful look.

The final look will consist of polished, glossy or matte nails (based on your preference) that will make you stare at your hands all day long! You can also get nails without the extensions as this process can also be administered on natural nails.

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Which is Better: Acrylic or Gel Nails?

Wondering what is the difference between acrylic and gel nails? If you’re looking to book your next nail appointment, you can consult the technician about the differences before you begin.

Ideally, you need to consider the following factors before choosing gel extensions and acrylic nails.

Differences Acrylic Nails Gel Nails
Longevity Acrylic nails can last you around a week or so. Gel nails or gel extensions last for at least 14-15 days.
Durability Since acrylic nails last for a shorter duration of time, they are not durable. Gel nails are more durable than acrylic nails, making them suitable for daily chores or sporty activities.
Appearance Acrylic nails are sturdier in appearance. Gel nails provide a glossy finish to the extensions.
Process Acrylic nails can be dried off by air. Gel nails have to be dried off under UV light.
Removal Acrylic nails can be removed by acetone. You can dip your hands in the solution for 20 minutes to peel off the extensions. Gel nails cannot be removed via acetone. You need to have the gel filed off from the nail.
Risks of Infection If not correctly applied, acrylic nails can create infections or damage to the nail bed. Gel nails are relatively safer than acrylic nails and do not pose any risks for infection.
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Now that you’re aware about the difference between acrylic and gel nails, you can also check out some nail trends that are going to be huge in 2023!

Our Nail Pick

If you ask what we prefer between acrylic vs gel nails, we can provide you with a number of options to choose from at our nail salon. We cater to both acrylic and gel extensions, and have some other interesting nail extensions, art formats available at our Mumbai and Bangalore salons.

Get your question answered about which is better acrylic or gel nails by visiting our salon directly or booking your appointment online.  Make your nails look dazzling, and fresh! 

Also, if you want to gain comprehensive knowledge about the application techniques for both acrylic and gel nail paints enrol in Bodycraft Academy’s esteemed Bodycraft Academy Nail Art Course.

FAQs related to Gel Extensions vs Acrylic Nails

What is the cost of getting acrylic nails?

The price of getting acrylic nails starts from Rs. 2500.

What is the cost of getting gel extensions?

The price of getting gel extensions starts from Rs. 2800.

How can I get my nail extensions removed?

If you have acrylic nails, visit our salon after a week to get your extensions safely removed. If you have gel extensions, we recommend coming after 15 days. In case you want to remove your artificial nails at home, we recommend cutting off the extensions to make them as short as possible. Proceed by dipping your nails in acetone-free nail polish remover for at least 20 minutes. This process will soften the artificial nails making them easy to remove.

How do I remove haldi stains from my nail extensions?

You can buff your nails at home to remove the stain. In case that doesn’t work for you, proceed by dipping your nails in lemon juice for about 10 minutes. This will lift off the yellow, turmeric colour without damaging your extensions.

Which of the nail extensions are more flexible in nature?

Since gel extensions last longer than acrylic nails, they can be flexibly used in your daily routine. That being said, it is also important to ensure that there is no outward impact on the extensions as it can lead to breakage of the nails or pain on your nail bed.

Do you get a manicure with gel nails?

While getting gel nails, your nails will be cut and filed. However, unlike a regular manicure, it won’t follow the process of massaging and moisturising your hands, in addition to applying a gel lacquer. Gel nails utilise a gel polish that is UV dried rather than air dried.

Can I do a manicure after getting nail extensions?

Since nail extensions are applied on the nail bed, we advise getting a manicure only after removal of the nails.