Acrylic and gel are scientifically the same thing. Acrylic is a polymer powder mixed with a liquid monomer at just the right ratio to create a hard, robust nail. Gel is a part of the acrylic family, but is self-reliant as it doesn’t require a polymer to be mixed in to create an adhesive bond, it is instead cured with a UV light. Confusing, I know. But all you need to know as a client, is which one is best for your lifestyle and your nails. Acrylic has a pretty bad reputation these days, but any fake nail that isn’t properly applied or removed can damage your nails. The winning side of acrylic is they’re quick to apply(about an hour) and more affordable.
Acrylic is harder than gel and has a higher durability due to its hard and robust flexibility. If taken care of properly your acrylic nails can last up to 4 weeks, although recommended to get filled every 2-3 weeks. The Removal process is fairly quick, filing down the nail flat and soaking it in acetone for approx 20 mins. Acrylic does have a reputation for its unpleasant smell, if you have sensitivities then this may not be the right option for you. If you are one to have issues with the nail appearing less natural due to thickness there are coloured powders available for you.
There are two ways to create gel nails- hard & soft gel. Soft gel is a second layer you put over top the nail to build it up and make it stronger. Most of you are familiar with soft gel in your “Shellac Manicure” or “Gel Polish Manicure”. It can also be easily filed down and soaked off just like acrylic, but in even less time.
Then there is hard gel. People who are searching for a more natural enhancement then gel is for you. Gel is known for its flexibility therefor a more natural feel and look. Gel can be applied with or without a base or Primer, this can be beneficial for people who have allergies or sensitivities. Gel requires curing inside an LED/UV lamp so it is recommended to wear sunscreen. Gel lack the fumes associated with Acrylic nails, therefor considered a safer alternative. Refills for gels are recommended bi-weekly. Removal is fairly simple, it requires being filed off or soaked in Acetone.
But, now there’s a thing called “Dip Nails”?
Dip nails are somewhere between a regular mani and a fake nail. The mani can last anywhere from 3-4 weeks. Dip is simpler and quicker. When a nail salon or technician uses the dip powder process, customers can request to file manually.
Make sure to book with an experienced nail technician when using the drill or an electric file. This will make for a better experience.
The trend isn’t exactly new, it has been around since the 80’s but thanks to Social Media it is making a comeback. Many nail professionals and their customers have experienced and seen the results of stronger natural nails after using the dip powder process. The results are typically visible immediately after the first application and very noticeable among those who have switched to dip powder completely.
Although it’s name is dip it is imperative when done at a salon that it is not dipped and more “sprinkled”. Instead of using UV Rays to seal in your polish, the colour comes from a pigmented powder. Something to consider, often times this product can contain MMD, which is extremely harmful to natural nails and is banned in certain cities so make sure to do your research before using. If you are looking for a more safe and natural we recommend soft gel. Removal of Dip can be time consuming, anywhere between 15-30 mins. That being said Dip powder doesn’t pose any more risk during removal than acrylics or gels.
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