What is the difference between acrylic, gel, and regular nails at a nail salon?

So I have a formal event coming up, and want to get my nails done. Haven't done that before. Always just did my own nails at home. But I figured, since this is a very fancy event, why not get a manicure?
What is the difference between acrylic, gel and regular? I hear acrylic hurts your nails, but is it really THAT detrimental?
I have naturally really hard, thick nails. So I don't want to ruin them. But I also don't want my polish to chip. They grow kind of slow though, so they're a little under finger tip length.
Also, is it true people at nail salons try to steal from you, since you can't use your hands since your nails are wet? I've heard stories about credit cards, cash, phones, etc being stolen.


Most Helpful Guy

  • acrylics are fake nails made of plastic. they're superglued on top of your natural nail. most of the damage is from the superglue tearing off a few layers of your natural when removing the acrylics.


Most Helpful Girl

  • Anything will damage your nails pretty much but here's the difference between them.
    Acrylic or Gel Nails - Both are fake nails that are applied by building product onto your natural nail. Lasts however long you want it to but kills your nails.

    Gel Polish - Lasts 2-3 weeks (from my experience) and is more damaging to nails than regular polish but doesn't chip as easily as regular polish.

    Regular Polish - Lasts 3-7 days for me. If you don't like having your nails done, I'd select this option for a singular event.

    Your nails SHOULD be dry once you leave the salon but expect not to be able to use your hands for about an hour during the process. I'm usually careful for about 30min with regular polish after leaving but it's always dry with gel polish so no need to worry there.

    I've never had an experience where something has been stolen nor heard of it. Keep your belongings with you just in case though. Every salon I've been to has been very kind to me and usually you pay in cash as well as tip in cash to be prepared for that. Hope this helps :)


What Guys Said 0

The only opinion from guys was selected the Most Helpful Opinion!

What Girls Said 7

  • Acrylic and Gel are quite similar. Both use fake nails to create length (of your choice) and a desired shape on the tip, then shaped, buffed and painted/design (painted and design if you wanted to). A liquid monomer and powder polymer will then be applied over your nails to give it a hard protective layer.

    Acrylic uses no UV light to harden that protective layer while Gel does. Gel is more expensive to apply over your nails and Acrylic is more sturdy then Gel.

    If it's only going to be for one night, I suggest just getting normal regular polish over your natural nails (perhaps with a design of your choice) it's less expensive and does not do any form of damage to your existing nails and nail beds.

  • Omg what kind of dodgy salons do your freinds go to to be ripped off?
    Gel are the least damaging to your natural nails of the 2 "fake nails" , however a good technician will take the correct care of application and removal of them.
    Your length sounds good enough for a nail tech to do a french tip and polish of your natural nails and you still look fabulous
    #getyournailsdidright #daydreambeautynz

  • Acrylic nails. Are powder and monomer mixed and placed over your nails, or over tips. Sometimes used to make your nail harder (while it is on. )

    Gel is more of a liquidy thing "polish thing" they paint into your nails, and then bake it under a UV light. And once done, it's dry instantly! Some gelish you can have filled, others need to be removed/ soaked off and re applied.

    Gel/ Acrylic do NOT damage your nails!!!

    The way they take them off does!!!

    Complete misconception to people who know nothing about "fake nails"

    I love my acrylic tips, with gel colour over it. Looks amazing.

    Make sure you're getting it done somewhere really good. And check them out before you have them done. As some nail techs can really mess up your nails..

    Hope this was helpful :) :)

  • Acrylics are fake nails that are glued on. You can get either gel or regular polish on top. They last a few weeks and then you'll probably need a professional to take them off.

    Gel nail polish is called shellac and it's what I get. It's more expensive than regular polish, but it chips very little, if at all. It needs a professional to get removed though (although you could probably remove it at home if you have pure acetone).

    Regular manicure is just like the polish you'd buy in the store. It looks great for a couple days, then it chips and stuff. It's very affordable though, and easy to take off once you're ready.

    • And yes, fake nails will leave you with very thin, brittle nails afterwards. They'll heal in time though.

    • What do you recommend if I were to get my nails done the 10th and have an event the 13th and 14th? Gel?
      I feel regular ones will chip too fast

    • Depends how much you're okay with spending. I would recommend the gels if you can swing it, as well as the cost to have it removed when you're done with them. Where I go, it's $35 for a gel manicure, but I've heard of other places doing it cheaper.

  • Ask a salon near by!

  • you pay before they touch your nails or after your nails are done there is no stealing acrylic nails are the fake long ones, gel is just nail polish but it last much longer but unfortunately never has for me lol and regular and just a manicure i guess normal polish

  • I get my nails done quite often and i almost ALWAYS get acrylic because my nails are short and stubby.
    Acrylic is fake nails that they put on top of yours, and they can make them any shape or length you want. nail polish bonds to it and it doesn't chip very easily.
    Gel polish is just a type of polish that lasts a LOT longer than regular nail polish. If you get this on top of acrylic you should be set for about 3-4 weeks based on how you described your nails!
    Acrylics dont damage your nails that much, and they grow back.
    If you find a good nail salon go there. My first acrylics were awful but i found a good salon and i go to them now. I would ask around and see other people nails and how you like them before going to a specific salon.
    As far as im concerned, most salons won't steal from you. Theyre usually family owned and very well operated an they know theyre getting a large tip along with the payment for the nails so they dont really care.
    I would take the time to google some nail types and see what you like.
    here's a list of some fairly common acrylic nail shapes:
    Rounded Squared (i get this)

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