Beauty, Uncategorized

Are Gel Nails Really Better Than Acrylics?

When I was a teenager and into my early twenties, before kids, I would change my nail polish to match my outfit pretty well every single day. I’m not just talking a coat of polish, I’m talking all out designs – fingers and toes!

I’m sure if you have kids, you can deduct that that kind of time is non-existent when you’re running after those precious gems. My nails took a bit of a back seat in my beauty regime – I kept them short and rarely ever painted them.

Let’s rewind a bit…

I went to beauty school.

Well, kind of.

I went through to become a nail technician right after highschool because I spent the majority of my free time painting nails. I hated everything about those courses except the designs I could paint. I literally had every shade of nail polish you could think of – and I used every single one.

I absolutely loved painting nails.

One time, my sister and I even went to the hospital to paint a dear friend’s nails. When the other patients around heard what we were doing, they wanted theirs done too. That day was so much fun and one of the best times I’ve ever had in my nail painting career.

Now let’s fast forward to 2018.

I wanted to start getting my nails done again. I started looking for the best technician within driving distance and found John – every time I liked someone’s nails, they would always say ‘John does them.’

My nails grow fast, so unless I want broken nails, I need to go every 3-4 weeks. That can get crazy expensive, so I decided I needed to start thinking outside the box again. You know, that whole no-spend August really impacted my spending. Plus, I get so bored with having the same nail polish design on my nails for 4 straight weeks!

I checked out the price list and saw that acrylics were a good $12 cheaper than the gels that I’ve been getting. I sat and asked myself what the actual difference was between gel and acrylic.

You know what?

I didn’t know.

So, as soon as I got home, I googled it (no internet at the nail salon and the only answer I can get out of a technician is ‘gel is better for your nails’).

This is what I found out:

THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!

Ugh!

So, I read article after article and watched a bunch of videos on it and they all said the same thing – same product, different method.

One video explained that it was like baking a cake – gels are like making a boxed cake and acrylics are like baking a cake from scratch. The smell difference is just because our senses can’t pick up the fumes from the gel (although they are still there and just as potent as the acrylics). The only other difference is the way they are cured – uv or led lights cure the gel, while acrylics cure without any special lights. That difference only matters to the nail technician – gels have more play time and acrylics cure (or set) quickly.

So, even though I went through school for this, I had no idea they were the same thing (in my defense, gels weren’t really a thing back then). My new plan is to get acrylics done at the salon and paint my own designs weekly at home. This will save me $15-$30 every month. Violet is really into painting nails, so it will be great bonding time for us. She came home from school the other day and told me that all her friends think it’s so cool that I’m a nail artist (she has kept all of my old practice nails safe to show them).

I think I’ve shared before that my favourite nail polish is the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri. The opacity of these polishes is stellar – you can absolutely get away with one coat. Plus, they dry so fast that sometimes I’m painting my nails on the way to church. Then, the price point on them is so reasonable! I just bought 9 new colours to try out for Violet’s birthday this weekend.

What nail design trends are your favourites? Let me know in the comments and I will try them out!

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