Difference Between Gel and Acrylic Nails: What to Choose When? (2022)

Must Read
Smriti Razdan
Smriti Razdan
Smriti started her journey by attaining a degree in computer applications. She loves to indulge in reading undiscovered stories only to draw profound explanations about life and its existence. She welcomes you aboard on her expedition of finding herself. Smriti writes her content with a smile on her face hoping to transcend it to her readers.

Who feels like your hands get half without your nails? High-five to you! Without nail extensions, some of us would still have baby hands. Be it Gel or Acrylic, we cannot survive without both. But But But! How do you know which one to choose and when? Well, here you will find ‘Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails’. 

Getting Nail extensions is a part of my self-care. It’s that important! I’m sure it is the same with you. When did you get your last manicure? Didn’t they ask you which one do you want, gel or acrylic nails? This question is heard by all the nail freaks many times and here is your clear answer. 

Gel nails are softer than acrylic nails, which makes them more natural-looking. On the other hand, acrylic nails are tough, and not as expensive as gel nails. But that’s not it. There are many key points of difference between gel and acrylic nails. You can check all of them out here. 

Without waiting further anymore, we will jump right onto all the basics of nails and go through the main difference points. Also, check out which one should you choose and for what occasion.

What’s the Difference Between Gel And Acrylic Nail Extensions?

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: Insider

Before looking at the differences you should know what are gel and acrylic nails. It will help you decide what you want and how often you want to get nail extensions.

There are also chances of damage from getting nail extensions which makes it really important to know the difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails.  

What are Gel Nails? 

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: Cute DIY Projects

Gel nails are applied by a three-step process. Brushing a base coat, applying nail polish, and applying a topcoat over natural nails. After every coat, you have to keep your nails under UV light for around 30 secs. Then give it two minutes to cure. After setting up, the gel polish will get hard and won’t smudge like regular nail paints. 

You must know How To Instantly Remove Color Street Nails: The Complete Beginner’s Guide 2022 

What are Acrylic Nails?

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: YouTube

Acrylic Nails are a combination of a liquid and powder applied to your natural nails with the help of a brush. Once it is set, acrylic nails get hard and are filled to the shape you want. After filing, a base coat is applied, then nail polish is applied and a top coat for the last finish. In the end, nails are simply set to dry under a fan.

So now you know what are gel and acrylic nails, and the key points of difference between gel and acrylic nails. You might be thinking that since both are artificial nails they might look similar. It is not so! Both gel and acrylic nails look quite different in terms of shine and luster. 

Check out, How To Remove Polygel: A Complete Reliable And Professional Guide 2022

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: STayGlam


It has been found that gel nails only stay up to 14 days correctly. After that, gel nails start to peel off from the corners of the nails. When it comes to Acrylic nails, they tend to stay longer than gel nails and don’t fall off from the corners. 


Another difference between gel and acrylic nails is that gel nails are softer than acrylic nails. This is another reason why gel nails look more natural. Gel nails can break if they are very long. Whereas, acrylic nails are as hard as they can be. They rarely break and look thicker than gel nails. So gel nails are soft and natural-looking while acrylic nails are very hard and strong. 

Also, read Which Hairstyle Suits My Face Shape: Expert Advice by Top Celebrity Hairstylists

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: One Million Ideas

Removing Process

When you want to remove your fake nails, if they are gel-based, then you just need to soak them. You take a cotton ball dip it into acetone, place it over the nail and cover the whole nail in aluminum foil. After 10 mins, your gel polish will easily come off.

If you want to remove acrylic nails, then that is quite a task. As you might already know, acrylic nails get hard and won’t break or get damaged easily, which also means they won’t get removed easily. To remove acrylic nails, you have to fill your nails. After that, you have to wait for weeks before the damaged nail grows out. That’s why it is always recommended to get your acrylic nails removed by a nail technician. 

Also, read 5 Best Products for girl’s hairstyles: Professionally Recommended

Difference between Gel and Acrylic Nails
Source: Novocom.top

Now, because gel nails provide a good number of choices in nail polishes and are less damaging they are also expensive than acrylic nails. This is another key difference between gel and acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are around $20-$46 but gel nails can go easily from $25-$60. 

Key PointsGel NailsAcrylic Nails
Real or Artificial?Artificial NailsArtificial Nails
AppearanceMore natural than Acrylic NailsLess natural than Gel Nails
FlexibilitySoft but not as soft as natural nails.Hard and Tough
DurabilityUp to 14 daysLasts longer than gel nails
RangeGelish- 141 colors, Essie- 36 colors, OPI- 71 colorsNot much variety is available in Acrylic Nails
Removing ProcessEasy, Can be done at homeDifficult, Expert Service Required
Does it damage after removal?NoYes

What to Choose & When?

Keeping all the key points of difference between gel and acrylic nails in mind. You should choose between these two wisely. If you care about your nails greatly then you should go for gel nails without a thought. They leave your natural nails with almost no damage and roughness. But acrylic nails damage natural nails hugely.

Also, check out 9 Best Kids Hairstyles for Girls in 2022 | Easy Step By Step Guide

If you have to keep nails at all times then you can go for acrylic nails for sure. Because acrylic nails are durable and won’t break easily. Their cheap cost also makes them a good option for a long duration of time. 

Wrapping Up

After knowing the difference between gel and acrylic nails, you can easily decide which one you want and for what occasion. Hope this article was helpful to you. Share this article with fellow nail freaks and let them know about the difference between gel and acrylic nails. 

Comment below your thoughts about nail extensions and Have a Nice Day!

Frequently Asked Questions

What lasts longer gel or acrylic?

Acrylic nails last longer than Gel nails.

Are gel nails stronger than acrylics?

No, Acrylic nails are stronger than gel nails.

Which fake nails are healthiest?

Gel nails are the best ones, as they involve the least amount of damage to the natural nails.

Should I cut my nails before putting on fake nails?

Always keep your natural nails short before applying for any nail extensions.

Are gel x nails better than acrylic?

Gel nails are considered a better version of acrylics. Primarily because gel nails don’t have any harsh chemicals like methyl methacrylate and toluene (which can seriously harm your nails in the long run)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Articles Like This