Acrylic Nails vs Gel Nails – Which is best?

The debate between which is better, gel or acrylic is an ongoing one. Anyone who does acrylic nails is going to argue that acrylic is better and doesn’t damage your nails like a lot of people claim, and obviously anyone who does gel nails is going to argue in favour of gels.

So which one is actually better?

As someone who has had both acrylic and gel nails, the answer is simple: Gel nails are 1000 times better.

I used to be obsessed with acrylic nails. I thought they were gorgeous and elegant and there’s an endless amount of styles you can have. And of course it’s true, they do look gorgeous and they can be elegant. But in all honesty, they’re not worth the damage you put your nails through, because as much as acrylic nail artists claim that if you take care of them, acrylics won’t damage your nails, they do damage them. A lot.

For starters, just having them put on does a lot damage. In a lot of places, artists remove up to 70% of your nail when they file them down before putting the nail tips on. That’s really unhealthy for your nails. Especially when they use electric nail files. If you feel a burning sensation when they do it, that’s also unhealthy. That’s a build up of friction from working in one place for too long. You should never feel that which is why it’s a lot better to use an emery board rather than an electric nail file. It may be more time consuming, but at least there’s less damage.

Once they are on, yes they look pretty but they’re weakening your nails. And personally, I don’t think they look very natural at all. They’re a lot thicker than natural nails, even with nail varnish on. And when you knock them against something, it hurts as much as standing on a piece of lego. I’ve known people who’ve had their nail snapped off to painful degrees because of acrylics and people who’ve had infections because of them. And when they eventually get taken off, have you ever noticed how paper thin and fragile your nails are?  They’re supposed to be a means of helping your natural nails grow to a length where you don’t have to wear tips anymore. But how can that happen if they’re getting weaker instead of stronger?

Hence why I converted.

Gel nails have done wonders for my nails. I started out with getting tips, and after two treatments with the tips on, they were ready to be soaked off and the nails underneath were strong enough and long enough that I could just get gel straight onto my natural nail.

When I first went in, I’d just had my acrylics taken off and I cringed at the sight of my nails. They looked awful and they constantly peeled and snapped. After just one round with the gels, they were so much healthier and they grew so much faster. Yes, that can be a downside because you need infills more often, but for me it’s great. I change my mind so much about colour and style that two or three weeks between treatments is the perfect amount of time.

In my opinion, they also look much better. They look just like you’re wearing nail varnish because really, you’re not adding anything extra to the nail. While you can’t do any of the wacky things like aquarium nails or bubble nails with gels, the colour range and manicure options are the same as with acrylics. In fact, the manicure I’ve just had done is colour changing so one minute they’re blue and then they get this really cool gradient into purple when the temperature changes and sometimes they’re completely purple!

In terms of price, it obviously depends on where you go. In the salon I go to, I can get my gels soaked off and reapplied for £21. The start off manicure is a meagre £12.50. That is a price I can never argue with. I’ve yet to find an acrylic manicure for less than £20. I’m sure if I could, people would tell me it was of lesser quality.

But of course, each to their own. If you’re obsessed with acrylics and all you ever want to wear is acrylics, then go for it. But if you eventually want to show your natural nails off to the world and you want something a little less harsh, I would advise that you go for gels. Gels for me have so many more pros than cons, but you can make up your own mind.

Sparkle on! -Ellie .xx