Acrylic Nails vs. Gel Nails

Today I’m headed out to get my nails done. I don’t do this all the time but because I’m feeling kind of blah, I thought it might help. As I was thinking about having my nails done, I thought I might have gel nails done instead of acrylic nails.

Here’s a picture of gel nails:

Acrylic Nails vs. Gel Nails


Both gel and acrylic nails have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of gel Nails:

  • The application method and products are odorless.
  • Gel nails are very natural looking and still look like a natural nail without nail polish.
  • There is little to no filing with gel applications so it doesn’t damage our natural nail.

Cons of gel nails:

  • They cost more (this is a big one for me).
  • They don’t last as long and are less durable than acrylic, even though they tend to cost more.

Pros of acrylic nails:

  • Acrylics are very strong. When done correctly and with proper nail care, they can last a long time.
  • Acrylic nail application tends to cost less than gel nail application.

Cons of acrylic nails:

  • They can damage your nail bed, and this damage can create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.
  • The application process involves strong chemicals and fumes.

Okay, I’m more confused than ever! I think I would like the gel nails but because they cost more, I may have to go with acrylic nails.

What do you all think? Have you had experience with gel nails? Which one do you like the best?

Beauty For the Heart~~This morning my devotion was on trust. Trust keeps us from worrying and obsessing, which is something I’m prone to do! The more we trust Jesus, the easier it becomes.

Colossians 2:6-7 says, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

What a beautiful verse! Let’s grow strong in our trust and our faith in Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed day!

Share on Facebook4Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email to someone


  1. Marty Middleton says

    If you have pink and white gel nails, but decide you want some color…can you polish them? Can the polish be removed without messing up the pink and white. Thank you

    • Bri says

      Yes you can! Regular nail Polish remover won’t take off the gel, only the Polish you put on top (:

    • shelby says

      so i go my nails done,and instead of using acrylic powder over the plastic tips they used gel powder then applied gel nail polish on top of it i was wondering if there is a way i can take the gel color off and keep the tips on?

  2. Ariana says

    Gel is just a polish type. Acrylic is a plastic coat that goes on top of your nails, to make them stronger and to hold polish on longer. Gel polish will eventually flake off after a long time, and doesn’t make the nails stronger. It is just a stronger polish type.

  3. Bonnie Parker says

    I would just like to say in my experience with acrylics and gel, they have both lasted me the same amount of time.

  4. lauren says

    I am a nail tech, and the only difference between gel nails and acrylics are that gels are not nearly as durable as acrylic, so you uneducated people saying that shellac and gel polishes ruin your nails, that is an uneducated guess, when in reality its your nail tech who is ruining your nails, by not applying these products correctly!!!, so if u want to complain about gels and acrylics, complain to ur nail tech!!!!!

    • shelby says

      so i go my nails done,and instead of using acrylic powder over the plastic tips they used gel powder then applied gel nail polish on top of it i was wondering if there is a way i can take the gel color off and keep the tips on?

  5. sweetlovely says

    I also am a nail technician and the comment about fungus only being affiliated with acrylic is completely not true, ANY type of nail enhancement can be subjected to a nail fungus as what caused the fungus on the nail is if the artificial nail lifts away from the natural nail plate and water gets trapped into that open space and sits there, now mold or fungus will grow (just like in your bathtub) so you have to be extremely careful with any type of nail extension, I’m most partial to the linen wraps, although I will not put anything more than polish on my nails anymore, my last two experiences were with acrylics, I decided it was too damaging and removed them on New Years Day, well here we are a few days away from July 4th and my nails are still weak, (I have about 3 that need bandages from time to time) I think by the next new year I should be good to go, but if it was not for nailteks I think they would be worst, good luck with your decision

  6. Courtney kenley says

    Oh boy if you have a great nail tech do your nails then nail enhancements of any kind gel or acrylic should not ruin your nails! Acrylic and gel have the exact same amount of fling on the natural nail! Very minimal for both! I hate when people say that acrylic ruins your nails if they are put on and removed properly the neither should ruin your nails. Shellac is really good for your nails because it is more like a polish. You don’t have to file Tall on the natural nail and should not damage the nail plate at all if again put on and taken off properly! If you go to chop shops and get cheap nails then you will pay the consequences if you pay a little more and get high quality nails then it is better for you in the long run! Fungus is not associated with either gel or acrylic it is associated by lifting! Either nail can lift witch can let moisture in and start a fungus! But geez I can’t beleive some of these people they don’t have a clue what they are talking about!!

  7. says

    As a professional all I can say is that when you purchase over the counter, you get over the counter. We go to school and are trained professionals in hair, nails, facials, makeup. We are trained and continue to educate ourselves. MOst boxed kits of anything are one size fits all and we are truly not a one size fits all nation. everyone of us is unique. It’s a shame, but in every industry especially our industry, people keep inventing things to put us out of business. we work hard to learn what we do and do it well. hit or miss with some people. good luck

  8. says

    I am a professional cosmetologist and nail tech. Acrylic is the only enhancement that requires a drill and major filing. Gel, silk and gel polish require little to no filing. They all weaken the nails over time. It is never smart to consistently keep them on unless you are okay with weakening the nailbed. However you will not get your hands torn up the way they do with acrylic. EVERYTHING also depends on where you have them done. Take the cheap way and you will get momentary results and more of a chance for fungus etc. BTW fungus is only affiliated with Acrylic and if the salon you go to is disinfecting their implements with each client and sanitizing properly that lliklihood is minimal.
    Bless you

  9. Claire says

    Im a newley qualified nail technician who uses Gelish.
    Can i just say NO ONE should be using a regular emery board to “roughen up” your nails this will cause thinning of the nail plate only very very light buffing to take off the shine will suffice.

    And if a nail tech is using a drill to file down the gel it sounds as though you have a hard gel on (which is buff off only not a soak off gel).
    I LOVE using Gelish (genuine Gelish not the fake rubbish on amazon and ebay) as it’s a soak off gel and the minimal amount of buffing to the nail so so light you wouldn’t believe it!

    Regards Shellac and Gelish they won’t ruin your natural nails IF they do it’s either improper application by a tech who’s not experienced or it’s a FAKE product (as theres many out there believe me!)

  10. Julie says

    As a Nail tech I would like to comment on some points made on this subject.
    A) Gel nails are not less durable, they are actually more flexible than acrylic, so when you break a nail it will hurt less.
    B) Gel nails should not cost more, it depends on your area and what type of nail salon you go to.
    C)Regarding Acrylic Nails”They can damage your nail bed, and this damage can create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.”
    They do not damage your nails. I have seen many clients that take them off themselves, by prying them off. Improper removal is what damages them. They should be soaked off by a professional nail tech. The “fungus and bacteria” happens when they are lifted and are not repaired, leaving a gap between the nail and the product thus creating a problem. This by the way can happen with Gel as well.
    Don’t ever let anyone use an electric nail file (drill) on your natural nails and always make sure everything is clean and sanitized. Look around the salon 1st and see if they are a clean salon, if not I would keep looking. I hope my comments, help your readers.

  11. Elle says

    I just got a set of UV gel nails today, and they did NO DRILLING AT ALL ON MY NATURAL NAIL! They used a regular emery board to rough them up a little, but the only time they used a drill was ON THE GEL.

    If you have a nail tech do it any other way (or if the “gel” is really a powder they mix with liquid rather than an actual gel) — RUN! They are doing it wrong, will ruin your natural nails, and are scamming you.

    I learned the hard way…

  12. Ivey says

    Have you tried Sally Hansen Maximum Growth? All you have to do is apply it to your natural nails, its just a clear nail polish. You apply it once a day to your bare nails or even under a color, I just do not do the color on top because you have to do it daily. Despite that I notice a definite growth in my nails in a week.

  13. Tara says

    Hi, I am a nail biter and am keeping the habit at bay with acrylics. Would gels work or are they not strong enough to hold up. Also I would like to start doing my nails on my own and would like to get a drill that is reliable but doesn’t break the bank. I like to keep my nails short and when I get the acrylics they really try not to but they end up sanding the tip of my fingers (ow). Any advice on gel vs acrylics for me, and a drill? (Ps I am disabled and need the drill. A few years ago I had a cheapo drill and did my nails on my own and thought they turned out well.))

  14. Lindsay Moldenhauer says

    I’ve had shellac several times, and it does damage your real nails. I would definitely not recommend it.

  15. Elsa says

    I just got licensed to do nails. I learned how to do all types of nails and gels are my favorite. I refuse to do acrylics since I can’t stand the smell and they can hurt the skin also. Another option would be to get a regular manicure with a gel coat on top so your nail polish won’t chip. I just found your page and it is very nice.
    Have a good day!

  16. Alli says

    Hi, I just had the Shellac nails and I must say… They are Not really worth all the chatter ive heard.
    Within a week my pretty lit’l nails were stained, chipped, needing a manicure.
    I will admit I am a hair stylist. Yep, in water, soaps, chemicals…
    My point is the gels (done professionally) are the best.
    The gel is applied wet. Therefore in my mind they are completely
    Covering all the little nooks and crannies in the nail beds. Thus preventing
    Openings for fungi . I go in every 3 weeks at the very latest, to have them filled. Sometimes every two weeks just for a pleasant mani/pedi.
    They are very thin & Glossy and I always do the punk & white with an occasional
    Nail art on one finger. I would say the gels are the best way to go!
    And remember always…. Always!!!! Use a well known…salon with 5 star ratings!!!

  17. says

    Hey Jennifer
    Thanks for sharing about the NailEZEE with me. When I take my gel nails off I think I’ll try it. I don’t have great natural nails either so I could use the help!
    Have a great day!

  18. says

    Hey Terry!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am loving my gel nails but next time I think I’ll go with the french manicure too because it would last longer.
    Have a great day!

  19. says

    Hey Wanda!
    Thanks for all the great tips! That kit sounds like a great idea and my daughter and I could split the cost too.
    So far, I’m loving my Shellac nails!
    Have a great day!

  20. Debbie Dunbar says

    I have gel nails and even though initially they cost more, they last longer much longer than acrylic. I can go three to four weeks versus two. I have rarely had one break.

  21. says

    My nails are very brittle and break/tear easily so I have worn acrylic nails for 3 years. I get fills about every 3 weeks and it costs me $15.00. I’ve never had any problems with them. Having nice nails just makes me feel so good!

  22. jennifer says

    My nails don’t grow well or very strong,but I’ve found a product that really works for me.
    It’s called NailEZEE. That is actually how it is written on the bottle. It has done a great job on my nails during this past year. I had acrylic nails at one time, but they damaged my nail bed , so not again.
    I get this polish at the salon.

  23. Erin says

    Acrylics made my brittle nails worse. I started taking biotin and vitamin E supplements and my nails finally started to grow in strong! The other thing I have done for my nails is shellac. They are a hybrid between traditional nail polish and gel. A shellac manicure will set me back $25 at my salon, and they are supposed to last 2 weeks, but if you take care of your hands, it will last longer than that. The tech doesn’t have to file down much at all, just a normal manicure filing/buffing. The colors are limited but I always get the same one, a pretty mauve!

  24. Terry says

    I’m a big fan of gel nails! I used to only treat myself to a manicure about once a year because it was a waste of money. A regular manicure would only last about 2-3 days became fore chipping. My nails always broke and my hands rarely looked pretty. A gel manicure lasts 3 weeks. I always get a French manicure so the growing out is barely noticeable. To save $, I alternate between a full manicure and just a polish change.

  25. Gail says

    Hi Cyndi,
    I have pink and white gel nails, and I love them. I have had my nails done for almost 20 years now. I had silk wraps for years because of the smell of acrylic. I can tell you this, since I have had the gel I have never had a fungus. But with the silk wraps I did. Luckily I always had french and could see when something was not right. Now that I have the gel, it lasts me 3 weeks. I only have to go in once a month. She charges $25 for the gel.
    Love your blog. Just found it about a month ago.
    Take care,

  26. Outfit 31 says

    I completely agree with you about Winter clothing. I’ve pulled out all my brightly colored warm items to kinda start celebrating Spring now!!!

  27. says

    I love gel nails! Waiting until the nails on my one hand get long enough to do and I’m planning on having it done again. Ive had it done a couple of times. A lady in our church gets hers done in somewhere in Lexington cheaper than anywhere in Nicholasville (where I’ve gotten mine done), and hers look better. I’ll find out where and let you know. Gail

  28. Wanda says


    I just got a gel manicure (mine was called Gellac (shellac) about 3 weeks ago. I LOVE it!! There is no filing or grinding away at your natural nail. The polish your nails as normal but with the gel products and cure it under an LED light. Mine are just now starting to show that they need to be redone. Not chipping but wearing away at the tips. I wash dishes without gloves and take care of my 2 grandsons 3 days a week and they have held up this long. I noticed Sally Hansen has a kit for $50.00 that includes an LED light, and the gel and setting product but not the nail polish. They do sell the polish seperatly, OPI also has gel polish that you can use. You can even paint over the gel polish with a different polish if you tire of it and then go back to the original gel if you use a polish remover without acetone in it. I saw on the Small Things Blog Kate had painted a heart on her gel nails for valentines day. I would say the only problem would be soaking the gel off of your nails. My gel set was $20.00 cheaper than acrylics in my area and so far lasting 3 weeks. My daughter and I are going to split the cost of the kit so it is more affordable for us both. Sorry so long of a reply!! Have a blessed day…

  29. Loretta says

    Hi Cyndi! It’s so nice to get pampered every once in a while–you deserve it :)
    The gel nails are fabulous; I agree with every point in your list of pros and cons and so this is what I do. Let your salon do the initial gel application and then keep it up yourself at home with the gel nail kit. The one I use is by Kiss, purchased at CVS. It’s super simple and not nearly as smelly as the acrylic kits. I’ve had really good results with the home gel kit and I think you might like it. For under $15 you can get several full gel manicures out of it. Enjoy your day!!

  30. says

    Bonnie I’ve never heard of Shellac nails but I will check into it. I haven’t ever had gel nails but when I read about them they acted like they didn’t damage your original nail as much as acrylic.
    I’ll find out today. Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Have a great day!

  31. says

    Sandy I’m always afraid of fungus. It may only be 2 people but if I was one of the 2 people I would be devastated. Who knows I may come out today with just a manicure! :-)
    Have a great day!

  32. says

    Jenifer if you have great natural nails I would never do acrylic or gel! My nails just don’t grow although even when I get acrylic I keep them short. They just look nice.
    Have a great day friend,

  33. says

    I’ve never heard of silk nails, I’ll be googling that! :-) I do hate the smell of acrylic and they mess my natural nail up so much!
    Have a great day!

  34. Bonnie says

    I was under the impression that they do have to do quite a bit of filing to do gel nails. This would not be something I would like. I’m also not keen on acrylics. (I just do my own nails at home.)

    If I were going to do anything outside of a plain manicure, I would look for a salon that did Shellac manicures. Like gel (I think) but with no damage to your natural nails. And lasts a long time.

    I know you’ll look great no matter what.

  35. Sandy says

    I’ve always wanted to get my nails done (acrylic, never heard of gel before today), but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve known 2 people who have had fungus grow under their nails after having acrylics, and ruined their nails for good. I know it’s only 2 people, but I just can’t take that chance. So, I live with my short nails and try to make them look as good as possible. {sigh} Whichever one you decide, I’m sure they will look fabulous!! :)

  36. says

    I used to do acrylic nails, but they were tearing up my own nails. My fingers actually HURT because of them so I had to quit wearing them. I have never heard of gel, they sound really good actually. But I hated spending so much on acrylic, so if they cost more, forget it. Lol. I take good care of my own nails and they grow fairly quickly so I will stick with natural! :)

  37. says

    Pre-children, I had both gel nails and silk nails and really liked both. They looked and felt natural and never gave me issues. One time, the nail tech misunderstood and started prepping me for acrylic fills and the chemical burned my skin so badly, I cried. It was AWFUL! They told me I was one of the super sensitive ones and that reaction isn’t common, but, just based on that experience, I definitely would never attempt it again. (You’re very right, though– acrylic IS cheaper!)