Gel nails and acrylic nails – what’s the difference?

Everyone loves a good manicure - but chipped, peeling colour a few days in? Not so much.

Acrylic and gel nails both promise to look great and last for weeks. As market leaders they’ve become the go-to solution for a long-lasting, chip-free finish. But what are the differences between the two? And which should you be choosing for your next manicure?

From exactly what they consist of to how they are applied, the team here at Semilac Shop cover everything you need to know about gel and acyclic nails. Read on to find out more...


What are acrylic nails?

Made from liquid monomer and powder polymer, acyclic nails are created by gently brushing this special formula over the surface of your nail. The mix hardens on contact with the air to create an artificial nail which can then be shaped to make your nails appear longer than they really are.


What are gel nails?

There are a few things to understand here as the term ‘gel’ nails is regularly banded about.

Traditional gels are known as hard gels – these can be used to extend your nail in much the same ways as acrylics. So if you’re wanting to lengthen your natural nail, you’re looking for acrylic nails or gel extensions.

But what if you’re just after strength and durability? Then these days there’s a simpler solution on the market – gel nail polish. And often when people talk about ‘gel’ nails, this is actually what they mean.

Offering the best of both worlds, gel nail polish is a hybrid of gel and regular nail polish and can dramatically increase the life span of your manicure but with minimal fuss.


How are they both applied…and removed?

Acyclic nails can look great but let’s be honest, they’re a bit of a faff. To get them looking good you need to spend time sculpting and filing …and that’s before you even start on painting them! Removing acrylic nails is time consuming too. They  take much longer to soak off and the risk of damage to the nail is far greater.

In comparison, a gel nail polish is simply brushed on and quickly cured with UV lighting – leaving you with great looking nails in minutes. Removal is easy too. Acetone wraps will gently lift the gel polish without damaging the natural nail.


Which lasts longer?

Acrylic nails and gel nails can both last for up to 3 weeks. After this though, whilst acrylics may still be going strong, you’ll need to think about refills where your nails have grown out.


Which is better for your nail?

Ok, so there are two ways of looking at this. If you have weak nails, then acrylics can be a great way of strengthening and protecting them. But if they’re not removed extremely carefully, they can cause yet more harm to the nail plate and you’ll need to wait until the damaged nail grows out before reapplying - and so the cycle of weakened nails in a poor condition continues (and who wants to wait ages for their next manicure?!).

Well known for being more flexible than acrylic nails, gel nails won’t damage your natural nail plate…and gel nail polish is even better! It’s quick and easy to remove (read our blog on how to remove gel nail polish at home) and what’s more, you can reapply a new colour straight away.


The conclusion

Yes, we want our nails to look great, but we also need them to fit into our lives - which is probably why more and more of us are turning to the convenience of gel nail polish.

Fast, flawless and with the added bonus of strength and flexibility, gel nail polish fits perfectly into modern life and, in our opinion, is the only real contender for your manicure.


Talk to the experts

Semilac is a leading brand of gel polish, renowned for providing durable, strong and great looking nail products for everyone – whether you’re salon or bedroom based!

Want to find out more about gel nail polishes and the benefits they can offer? Browse the gel collection now or talk to the team at Semilac Shop. We LOVE gel polishes and are always happy to offer information and advice on any of the fabulous products we have available.