The Beginner’s Guide to Acrylic Nails

hard nail gel or Acrylic better ? in this article we help fashionistas and manicurist who work on nails salon to understand and make a choice

First there was acrylic

No matter how strange it sounds in relation to the aesthetics of nails,

but the first basis for acrylic artificial manicure was dental practice: the basis of tooth filling was the same acrylic powdery mass, which, in combination with the solution, turned into a substance that quickly hardened in the air.

We can This shape or tips is substituted under nail, and a single-phase gel is applied on top for extension, then the acrylic solidifies, shape is removed (tips remain), and a beautiful and durable nail is obtained.

The difficulty in working with this material is speed.

Only an experienced manicure master can perfectly evenly distribute the global gel for extension on the surface of the nail until it hardens, so tips are more often used for extensions – and then the finished nail turns out to be more dense than when using templates requiring special skill. By the way, a good specialist makes nail extensions with gel polish in 1.5-2 hours.

Pros :

Acrylic forms a smooth surface, well hides defects on deformed nails.


First of all, an unpleasant acidic smell.

Both the master and the client suffer, Acrylic coating is not elastic. with increased mechanical load and it can simply burst, The same applies to a sharp temperature drop and In addition. after removing the varnish so the acrylic base loses its shine.

What’s the difference?

The main difference between the products is their consistency, as well as the process of application. The gel is a liquid similar in appearance to a conventional varnish. The build-up of the plates occurs according to the method of varnish coating so only for this purpose special devices are prepared. There are several types of material, which gives this method an advantage. In addition and the gel does not have any smell.

Acrylic nails quickly harden in the air, which does not require the use of special devices.

When choosing what is better gel or acrylic, you should take into account the professionalism of the master. Since it requires more experience due to the rapid drying of the material. To make a high-quality manicure in this way is quite difficult.


Gel and acrylic coating have both pros and cons. The difference between the materials lies precisely in the assessment of their qualities.

The advantages of acrylic include:

  • strength
  • easy removal
  • looks natural
  • lower price for services.
  • Gel augmentation also has several advantages
  • easy to do by yourself
  • material transparency
  • shiny coating;
  • strong grip with natural plate.

Before making a choice, it is necessary to assess the shortcomings of the procedure , and then weigh all the pros and cons.


There are no significant disadvantages of either method of manicure. It depends more on several factors. For example, the gel is not recommended in winter so it is sensitive to temperature changes and acrylic is more resistant to seasonal changes.

Cons of acrylic:

  • not suitable for building up according to the technique “under varnish”;
  • has an unpleasant odor.
  • Disadvantages of the gel:
  • looks unnatural;
  • are not amenable to correction after breaking.

The main disadvantage of the gel coating is the process of its removal so If acrylic nails can be removed with a special liquid , without damaging and the natural plate .
then the gel layer is cut off so In the process of removal . both the cuticle and the native nail are easily injured.

Acrylic is the first and strongest

The nail extension industry started with acrylic. This material is a compound of two substances: a powder polymer and a liquid monomer. When they interact, they form a new polymer that hardens in air. Creating a nail plate from acrylic and an additional special powder is about the same as installing a filling at the dentist. The manicurist applies the resulting gruel to the prepared nail plate, flattens it, polishes it, and then covers it with light powder, pink, cream or white. After that, a manicure is already done. For acrylic nails, you can choose any coating.

The main advantage of acrylic is its strength – it is difficult to break such a nail. At the same time, if it breaks, it often falls off in a piece, without damaging the natural nail plate. Due to their strength, such nails last longer, and, as a rule, correction can be done no earlier than in a month. Acrylic extension is easily removed: you just need to hold your hands in a special solution and the acrylic will come off the surface. This has a gentle effect on natural nails. It should also be noted that acrylic manicure looks quite natural, and a good master can build up nails so much that they will not differ from real ones.

It is important to note that working with acrylic is more difficult than with gel, and requires special attention.

Of course, there are disadvantages to this coating. First, a sharp specific smell of the solvent in the process of build-up. Secondly, after removing the varnish from such nails, the natural glossy shine disappears. True, technology does not stand still and this problem is already being solved. Previously, acrylic nails were polished to a shine using finely abrasive files and oil, which significantly lengthened the time spent on the build-up process. Now there are finish gels that give the necessary gloss and protect the nails from unwanted external influences much faster, better and better than oil polishing.

There is also an opinion that under acrylic nails almost do not breathe, so at least once every six months to a year such nails must be removed. Today, there is a higher quality acrylic that solves this problem. And one more minus: if the work of the nail art master is not professional enough or the acrylic is of low quality, then the thickness of the nails will still give out its increased origin.

Acrylic nails shape
Acrylic nails shape

Tips or shapes?

Forms (usually paper) are removed after the end of the work. They only help to increase the length, and the material is laid out on the nail itself. Tips are plastic plates that attach securely to your nail and stay with you until you finish wearing your nails.
Alisa Patrakeeva, manicurist: “Tips are suitable for very problematic nails with convex side and front pillow, when the nail is drowned in them. Then the form can not be substituted, although now there are technologies that allow you to substitute the form on such problematic nails. Currently, the technology of extension on forms with lengthening of the nail bed is considered more correct. “

An experienced master can advise which type is suitable for your shape and condition of the nails. But you can draw some conclusions yourself.

Pros of the forms:

  • the connection of acrylic and gel with the nail is much stronger than nails with glue and tips;
  • when building on the forms, the master has the opportunity to hide some of the shortcomings of natural nails (grooves, growth to the side), and even the hands (visual correction of the curvature of the fingers – the nail is built up a little with a tilt to the side, the opposite of curvature; hands with wide nail plates can be made more elegant);
  • on the forms it is possible to model the nail individually (while the tips are standard in shape);
  • on the forms you can create nails that are correct in the architecture of the nail (beautiful longitudinal and transverse arches);
  • shapes look thinner than tips.
  • Pros of tips:
  • the build-up procedure takes less time;
  • fit any length of your own nail. Forms can be applied only if the edge of your nail is free by at least 1 mm. If the nails are cut strictly under the root – the forms will not hold;
acrylic nails
acrylic nails

Acrylic extension.

extension can be performed on both tips and forms
the most durable of the nail extensions
acrylic nails look natural, they are thinner than gel nails
subject to restoration and repair
removed without sawing
on acrylic nails you can make a three-dimensional design

acrylic loses its luster if you remove the varnish from it with a liquid with acetone
nail extensions with acrylic accompanied by a terrible smell
may cause allergies or irritation to the skin in contact with the material
high-quality build-up can be performed only by an experienced master.
To the question: “Which nail extension is better?”, Most masters answer that acrylic. Since this material allows you to realize any ideas of design and shape of nails. Moreover, customers have become more capricious, and they are no longer satisfied with the usual French, they are served something like this.

Properly performed nail extensions cause only good reviews

Properly performed nail extensions cause only good reviews, as it gives the desired result and does not spoil the nails. Of course, in the process of sawing, they become thinner, and after removing the artificial ones, they look fragile and thin. This is normal, you just need to wait until the natural nails grow back. And everything will be the same as it was before the build-up.

It happens that the body simply does not accept acrylic (or, conversely, gel), then it is worth trying another material. By the way, acrylic nails may not hold up well due to hormonal disorders (taking hormonal drugs, pregnancy), then it is worth trying the gel. To some extent, the intake of antibiotics also affects, as well as hyperhidrosis (excessive humidity of the hands). But I will repeat again: before you change the material, change the master – often the problem is in him.

Nail extensions are one of the most popular beauty procedures. Is its harmlessness comparable to its popularity? Let’s try to figure it out.

Why do they build nails?

In the old days, long nails were considered a sign of aristocracy, since they unequivocally indicated that their mistress could afford to be white-handed, while all the dirty work is done by servants. Today, in order to indicate the social status, fashionistas prefer to use a Birkin bag. Yes, stars paint their nails with unusual drawings, but portraits of President Obama (like Beyoncé) or anything not so much politically relevant are applied to natural nails – short or medium length. Only Lady Gaga can afford long nails on the set of the video. At a secular party with nail extensions, not even Pamela Andreson appears. And only in Eastern Europe, long claw-stilettos are still considered a luxury, and even with a painting under gzhel or khokhloma, and manicurists who own the technology of nail extensions have an endless stream of clients.

How do nails grow?

The top layer is removed from the natural nail, an acrylic or gel composition is applied to it, which is given the necessary length and shape.

When can you not build nails?

Nail extension is strictly contraindicated in fungal nail diseases, nail injuries with damage to the growth zone (part of the nail plate adjacent to the cuticle). However, not one self-respecting manicure master in these cases will not take up the build-up.

Materials and tools for acrylic extension
Materials for extension

The material for extension is acrylic powder, it can be both ordinary and camouflage. You will need the following tools:

Main material for extension – acrylic powder

  • liquid monomer (liquid)
  • glue for tips
  • top
  • bonder (it is also called a degreaser)
  • primer
  • cuticle remover
  • cuticle oil

Acrylic extension tools

  • Nail extension form
  • cutter
  • tips
  • forms
  • respirator, as acrylic has a strong odor
  • manicure tongs
  • tweezers
  • baf with medium abrasiveness
  • dust removal brush
  • container for acrylic
  • pusher or orange stick
  • clothespins to clamp the stress part
  • paper towels.
  • Choosing acrylic powder
Acrylic nails tools
Acrylic nails tools

When choosing acrylic powder, pay attention to the following indicators:

  • The color can be anything. If you are engaged in extensions professionally, then you should have as many different colors of acrylic powder as possible.

Colored acrylic powder

Polymerization rate. The speed of polymerization depends on the speed of solidification. Powder with high polymerization rate is suitable for professionals.

Matte powder is ideal for aquarium manicure and “French” coating. Transparent powder is suitable for edge correction and sculpting.

Camouflage powder is suitable for creating a perfectly flat surface of a natural shade. It can also be used for breakage and deformation of the nail.

Stained glass powder is suitable for creating a manicure with a “lollipop” design. And also to create a crystal effect.

Pay attention to the plasticity of the powder. The more plastic it is, the easier and more comfortable it will be applied.

This indicator is important for both beginners and professionals in the technique of acrylic extensions.

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