Deciding Between Acrylic or Gel Nails

There are so many ways that you can modify your nails, and make them gorgeous and stronger. Gel nails and acrylic nails are two of the most popular options when it comes to manicures. But what’s the difference between them and which one is better? How can we possibly make a decision between acrylic or gel nails when they’re both so awesome? Here is everything you should know about each one before you decide for yourself.

What’s the Difference?

Both techniques are similar in that they provide stronger, more attractive nails, however the main difference lies in the technique and the end results. Acrylic nails are replica nails that are applied to the full nail, or to the tips of the nails. This can lengthen your nails and improve the shape. Acrylic nails are applied using glue. Gel nails involve applying a polish like material over your natural nails. The substance is then hardened under a UV or LED light. This won’t give you longer nails, however it will give your nails strength, protection and an overall more polished appearance that will last up to 2 weeks.

Let’s have a more in depth look at the positives and negatives of each of these manicures.

Gel Nails


  • The overall appearance of gel nails is more natural than acrylic nails. That’s because it is simply a polish applied to your own nails. It won’t alter your natural nails as much as acrylics do.
  • Gel manicures are easier to do at home.
  • Once you’ve mastered the removal, gel nails are not damaging. In fact, they often protect and promote the growth of your natural nails until you take it off.
  • The entire process of applying gel nails is much quicker than acrylic.
  • The application is odorless.
  • You get the strength of acrylic nails with a more subtle and natural finish.


  • Gel nails won’t last as long as acrylic nails. That’s because they’re more susceptible to damage and chipping. When a gel nail is damaged, it’s not so easy to fix it. It usually means it’s time for a whole new manicure.
  • They’re usually more costly if you choose to go to a salon to have it done.

Acrylic Nails


  • Acrylic nails are incredibly strong, and when they’re done correctly, they can last ages.
  • The cost is less expensive at the salon.
  • They provide a perfect canvas for nail color and nail art. You can even use gel nail polish with your acrylic nails and combine both methods for an even more manicured look.
  • Damage to an acrylic nail is easier to fix. You can even fix it yourself at home.


  • Acrylic nails can be a lot more damaging to the nail bed. If they are not done correctly, there is a higher risk of fungus and infection.
  • Removal can be a pain in the butt. Strong chemicals will be involved in the soaking process in order to get them off. It’s usually best to go to a nail professional to have them correctly removed rather than do it yourself.
  • Like gel nails, you can do acrylic nails yourself at home, but the technique is a lot more difficult to master. And there are tons of different supplies involved.
  • The fumes that come from the glue and acrylic materials is not very pleasant.
  • They don’t have the same natural appearance as gel nails. At worst, acrylic nails look bulky and fake.

There’s good and bad to be had from both of these manicure methods. In the end it comes down to personal preference, and what you’re trying to achieve with your look.