When it comes to nail care, there are so many things to consider. Are you a person who can’t seem to hold onto a nice, shiny new manicure for more than twenty-four hours? Do you like to have a new colour added weekly? Or, do you prefer long and claw-like extensions?
For some women, a basic manicure will do it all. When you do prefer to go beyond the basics though, there’s a wealth of options available. Whatever the case may be, there is the right nail shape, size, length and colour out there for everyone.
Before deciding what’s right for you, it’s important to know the difference between the different types of nail options. Once upon a time in the early 00’s, acrylic nails were all the rage. After all, who could forget square white french tips? Then came gel nails, which allowed a new alternative to the original acrylic. Following on is the newer solar nails, which has become widely popular in recent years. The basic option of a simple manicure has, of course, always been around for those who prefer the simpler things.
Both gel and acrylic nails are fake nails placed over your natural nails. Both can mimic the shape of your nail, or extend it. When you’re wanting longer nails, you are going to be asked for acrylic or gel extensions. They are different products, made from different ingredients, and applied using different techniques. And both of them have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Solar nails, on the other hand, are a type of acrylic nail which are manufactured by Creative Nail Design. Solar nails come in pink and white colours, similar to that of a French manicure, and are often considered superior to regular acrylic nails. More on this below.
With the above explanations in mind, let’s break down what each type of nail brings to the table, and how they differ. Below, a guide to gel, acrylic and solar nails.
What are acrylic nails?
Acrylic nails are made by a combination of powder polymer and liquid monomer. That might sound a bit too chemistry for you, but basically they create a hard protective layer over your natural nails. The liquid quickly hardens as it is exposed to the air. The acrylic dries transparent, so often a nail polish is added after.
It’s safe to get acrylics as often as you wish, but research nail technicians in your area so that you’re sure that you go to someone who is properly trained and experienced in applying them.
While acrylics are a great option for those who love a well put together manicured look, truth be told they require a lot of upkeep. Acrylic nails need to be infilled by a nail technician every two to three weeks. They can however be worn for six to eight weeks before they need to be removed and replaced with a fresh pair.
Acrylic nails are also among some of the most expensive in nail care. The exact cost of a set of acrylic nails can vary based on where you live and the nail salon, but expect to pay over $50.
- Acrylic nails are very hard and robust
- They last for a long time (when taken care of properly)
- They are easy to remove when done professionally
- Acrylic nails provide a great canvas for you to apply nail polish and colour
- Acrylic nails look less natural than gel nails
- They are not easily fixed if broken from home
- If applied incorrectly, acrylic can look unpolished
- The application process involves chemicals
- Acrylic nails can damage your nail bed and leave long term damage
- The nail process is long and expensive to upkeep
What are gel nails?
Gel nails are quickly becoming one of the most popular artificial nail applications available. Many people tend to confuse gel nails with shellac nail polish. This confusion comes because shellac contains gel and also uses UV light to dry. Gel nails are brushed onto your nails in three steps by a nail technician: a base coat, polish colour and top coat. Each coat has to be cured (hardened) in a UV light for two to three minutes. The nail is then filed to the desired shape and/or design.
Gel nails tend to be around similar pricing to acrylic nails, again depending on where you go. An application of a full set can cost anywhere between $25 and $60.
- Natural, glossy, freshly-manicured finish
- Lasts up to 14 days
- Fast finish time
- More flexible than acrylic nails
- Easy to remove
- Nail process does not require chemicals
- More expensive than other nail techniques
- You can’t easily fix a gel nail at home
- Removal can result in nail damage
- Nail process does require exposure to UV light
What are solar nails?
Solar nails are one of the newer trends available in nail care. Simply put, solar nails are a type of acrylic nail manufactured by Creative Nail Design. While solar nails are acrylic in nature, they are often considered superior to regular acrylic. Sonar nails are available in pink and white and look very similar to a French manicure. They offer the perfect nail finish for weddings, birthdays or any other special occasions.
Unlike regular acrylic nails, solar nails are not extensions. Extensions tend to cause damage to the natural nails, especially if used or worn over long periods of time. Solar nails are actually embedded into the natural nails, which makes them tend to cause healthier outcomes for the natural nail.
This is also why one of the biggest benefits of solar nails is its strength. They are very strong and do not break easily under pressure. Acrylic and gel nails can break under just light pressure.
One of the questions many have is how long do solar nails last. Generally speaking, they last for three weeks if not filled in. After those three weeks, they will naturally fall off.
- Solar nails give a clean, flawless finish (no chipping)
- Solar nails are renowned for their enhanced strength and durability
- They look similar to natural nails
- Solar nails will not cause damage to natural nails
- Solar nails are easy to maintain
- Solar nails are expensive
- You are limited with design and colour options
- Applying solar nails can leave a residue