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No matter how many manicures you get, simple things like a poor diet or washing dishes can make your nails weak and brittle. Instead of trying to make the best of a bad fingernail, try out false nails to make your tips look polished and perfect. Once you head to the salon, the nail technician will ask you a question: Acrylic tips or gels?
If you choose a gel manicure, the nail technician will apply a thick-viscosity gel to your natural nail and let it harden – or “cure” -- under an ultraviolet light. “People that want a thinner, more natural look usually opt for gels,” says licensed nail technician Hilary Brown. They’re a good choice for people who are active with their hands, “such as nurses who are constantly washing their hands, as they are more flexible than an acrylic enhancement.” Gel nails don’t need to be filled in as frequently as acrylic tips, so you don’t have to head back to the salon as often.
“Hard and durable, acrylics have been a popular choice for women for years,” says nail tech Brown, nail division manager for Essential Salon Products of Holliston, Massachusetts. Technicians apply an artificial tip to the natural nail and apply a combination of a liquid (monomer) and powder (polymer) to create a nail, according to Virginia nail specialist Nikki Dancy. These work better if you’re rough on your hands because they're the strongest type of artificial nail. The drawback is that they can also look artificial, particularly if the nail technician isn’t very talented. Acrylic tips need to be filled in every two to three weeks.
How to Choose
“Gels versus acrylic tips is a matter of personal preference,” Dancy says. “I can't say that one is better than the other; it just depends upon the clients’ personal preference.” Consider your lifestyle and talk to your nail professional to make the best choice for you. “Nail professionals should always consult with the client before services to determine which product will suit the client’s lifestyle, needs and commitment level,” says Brown.
If you’re not sure that gel or acrylic tips are right for you, there’s a third option available: Shellac nails. “Shellac nails are rapidly growing in popularity in the salons across the United States these days,” Dancy says. Shellac is a combination of nail polish and gel that allows you to maintain your natural nail. Additionally, it lasts for up to two weeks. “So no more cracked or peeling polish,” she says.