Formerly the most common type of nail enhancement, acrylic nails are applied to natural nails by first gluing a thin plastic tip to the natural nail. Once all tips have been glued, the acrylic liquid and powder is mixed and then is overlaid on the nail. Acrylic usually hardens in 30-40 seconds and continues to cure to final hardness within 15 minutes. To remove, acrylic is soaked in acetone for 15-20 minutes. Acrylic was once the most popular type of artificial nail because it is much less costly than gel nails. However, there are some downfalls to acrylic nails. If the acrylic nails is jarred, it may create a space between the enhancement and the natural nail. Acrylic is porous, which means that bacteria may enter through the nail into the space that was created. It is not uncommon to develop a nail infection between the natural nail and the acrylic, which can go unnoticed because it is difficult to see the natural nail through the acrylic overlay. Never fear! Gel nails are much safer and healthier…
Gel Nails are quickly becoming more popular as a nail enhancement. Gel nails are applied as a thin layer of gel over the natural nail, with a tip or as a sculptured nail. Sculptured gel nails use a form under the natural nail over which the gel is placed. The gel layer is cured and becomes hard under an ultraviolet light. Usually four or more layers of gel are applied and cured under the light. Removal s a little longer than acrylic removal as gel must be filed off, acetone and polish remover have no effect on gel. Gel nails are more flexible when compared to acrylic nails, this gives a more natural feel as well as a more natural look. Be careful when finding a salon that offers gel nails as a service, many salons will use acrylic first and then do a gel overlay. The best way to tell if this is what the salon offers is to ask if they use a powder and liquid in their gels. All gel comes premixed so mixing the powder and liquid in front of the client is unnecessary. Gel nails are very durable, perfect for the client who works with their hands, cleans often or works outside! Gel is not porous which means that bacteria cannot enter the nail and nail infections under the gel is very uncommon. Since gel is unaffected by acetone, you can paint your gel nails with a regular polish if you so desire for a special occasion!!
Shellac, also known as a soak-off gel, is a gel polish hybrid. It is applied like polish with a base coat, two coats of polish and a top coat. Between each coat of polish, the nails are cured under a UV light. This hardens the polish so it is instantly dry after your manicure. Shellac has properties of gel, but no filing is needed and therefore no nail damage is associated with soak-off gels. Shellac polish has a high-gloss shine and it is self-leveling so no ridges and imperfections are visible in the nail when using darker, more vibrant colors. A Shellac manicure will last up to two weeks without lifting, chipping or losing its shine. One of the most amazing innovations in nails recently, Shellac is also available for toes, and since it is dry instantly, no flip flops are needed! Perfect for winter pedicures!