Going to the salon is just one of those things all girls love to do. It’s time for yourself or to spend with friends and it just makes you feel special and pampered. Once you have arrived at the nail salon the nail technician will ask you if you want gel or acrylic nails and I know how often we just flip a coin in our heads and choose the first one that comes to mind but do you know what the difference is between the two?

Gel nails

Gel nails provide the same strength as acrylic nails however they appear more natural than acrylic nails. They will only harden when exposed to UV lights and is somewhat similar to that of normal nail polish as they apply a base coat, polish that has a colour and then a top coat to finish it all off. With the application of each coat, it must be exposed to UV light for 2-3 minutes. Both types of nails will essentially undergo a chemical process to bond to the natural nail.

The pros of Gel Nails

  1. Gel nails generally appear more natural and glossy than other types of nails such as acrylic.
  2. The curing time is faster than acrylics, so for those ladies who are always on the go – this is the type for you!
  3. Gel nail mixtures lack the fumes that are associated with acrylic nails, I’m sure you have smelt that acrylic smell as you walk past a nail salon, it’s not too pleasant.
  4. They are considered safer, less harmful to your nail bed and more eco-friendly.

The cons of Gel Nails

  1. They don’t last as long as acrylic nails do and are less durable than acrylic, even though they tend to cost more.
  2. Most gel nails require a UV light for curing, so if you want gel nails you have to go to a nail salon.
  3. If a gel nail breaks it is a mission as it can sometimes be more of a shatter effect than a clean break, so self-fixing a break is not usually an option and you will need to go back to the nail salon.
  4. Gel nails often need to be filed off, however there are some soak-off versions so make sure to ask your nail technician.

Acrylic nailsGel vs Acrylic

Acrylics nails are applied using a liquid monomer and a powder polymer which creates a hard protective layer over your natural nails. Acrylics will only harden when exposed to air and when the acrylic hardens, it provides a smooth surface to apply the nail colour onto.

The pros of Acrylic Nails

  1. If you break an acrylic nail you can almost always fix it at home by yourself.
  2. The removal of acrylic nails is simple and straightforward when performed by a professional and the nails are simply soaked off.
  3. Acrylic nails are very strong and if done correctly with proper nail care, they will last you a long time.
  4. Acrylic nails cost less than gel nails.

Cons of Acrylic Nails

  1. They damage your nail bed and sadly this damage can create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria and the regrowth of nail will be weak.
  2. Acrylics tend to look less natural than gel nails especially if applied incorrectly.
  3. The application of acrylic involves strong chemicals and some not so nice smelling fumes – pregnant women are advised not to use acrylic nails during their pregnancy.

So which one is the one to choose?

When choosing between gel or acrylic, In my opinion gel nails that you can soak off are the way to go. Gel might not last as long as acrylic but the fact that it looks more natural and doesn’t harm the nail bed is the whole reason to use gel. You might not always be able to afford to keep up gel or acrylic nails every month and at least with gel nails you can soak them off and never have to worry about the fact that the nail bed is ruined and will take a long time to repair itself.

However some people’s nails simply do not take to gel and then the best option is acrylic, so the next time you are in the nail salon give the soak off gel a try and then if that does not work simply opt for the acrylic next time, just make sure the nail technician does the application well and isn’t rushed. Finally, if you do choose acrylic then make sure to soak them off correctly so as to not damage the nail bed too much.

How much will gel or acrylic cost?

At Sorbet, gel and acrylic will cost about the same amount which is R435.00 and a soak off is R50 if you intend to get a new set with the nail salon.

Love Danni x

Danielle Combrink