Acrylics, Gels And Shellacs, Oh My! How To Decide Which Nails Are Right For You

A trip to the nail salon for a manicure, pedicure or a polish change is meant to be a relaxing experience. But if you're looking to get a set of fake nails, you might be surprised by all the jargon thrown your way and what exactly each choice will look like when you leave the salon. In fact, even regular nail salon customers can easily confuse one type of fake nail for another, and end up accidentally requesting something other than what they thought they were paying for. Avoid all this drama by reading the tips below to discover exactly what type of nail is the best fit for you.

Acrylic Nails

The application of acrylic nails is one of the most popular services offered by nail salons. The acrylic dries as it is exposed to air to form a hard, durable layer that can be easily customized with different polish colors and just as easily removed whenever you feel that a style change is at hand. That said, if you are sensitive to chemical odors, you may want to consider getting another type of nail that doesn't produce such strong fumes during the application process.

Gel Nails

Gel nails can be applied two different ways: most salons apply the polish color between the base and top coats, while others may apply a clear gel between the two coats before finally adding a second top coat of polish. Gels are popular in part because they are seen to offer several advantages over acrylic nails - mainly that they appear more natural, are quicker to apply, and are not associated with the chemical odors that plague the application of acrylics. However, when compared to acrylics, breaking or chipping a gel nail means a more complicated and expensive touch-up. 

Shellac Nails

Even people who prefer Shellac nails over other types will often refer to them as "gels," but there are significant differences between gel nails and Shellacs. While the former term describes a whole range of products, Shellac refers to a specific type of nail that has become popular as a hybrid option, combining the advantages of both acrylics and gels. Shellac nails appear just as natural as gels, but are also more durable and flexible than acrylics. The application is a breeze, too. But consumers should know that only those with already healthy nails are qualified to have Shellac nails applied.