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This guide is to explain the differences between Acrylic and Gel Nails.
Acrylic is a hard, thick plastic susbtance which can be applied over the natural nail or tips. Most Nail Techs use a primer (or glue if you have fake tips) on the natural nail which literally eats into the surface of the nail to created a rough surface so the acrylic will stick to the nail.
Acrylics are VERY hard and not flexible. Most people (including myself) knock their nails on something, whether its the car door, or even typing on the keyboard. All these shocks and knocks will loosen the chemical bonder (the primer or glue) which eventually deteriorates. Because acrylic is so hard, the whole lot will snap off and then your nail is broken. Most of the time the natural nail is damaged with the knock and then if you apply the acrylic over the top to fix the nail you keep damaging the natural nail and it doesnt get a chance to heal itself.
Even if you are one of the very few ones who doesnt stress your nails and they last the 3 - 4 weeks, constant use of the primer/bonder and the suffocating effect of the Acrylic on your nail will damage your natural nail plate, so if you decided to take your Acrylic offs later, your nails will be very thin and damaged, and will take an average of 6 months to grow back to the healthy nails you had before they were put on.
Another thing about Acrylics: acrylic powders and bonders are very cheap to buy, you can even buy them off ebay! So the Nail Tech is making a HUGE markup on nails, they would probably cost between $2 - $5 for products, and the rest is the service! Plus also the smell is just gross and over powering, it mustnt be very good for your health or the Nail Tech`s health!!!
Gel Nails are like a gel (as in one you would put in your hair) and they cure (go hard) under a UV lamp. You can actually buy different types (Bio Sculpture make one called "S Gel" which is just as hard as acrylic), including coloured Gel which is great for toes! You can have french, clear, or coloured and they are applied over the natural nail without damaging the nail plate. The other bonus is that i personally think that they look more natural than acrylic as they arent so thick and they are super shiny.
I will admit that Bio Sculpture Gel Nails are my favourite to use (plus they are the ONLY GEL product that doesnt contain Acrylic!), and thats why i refuse to do Acrylics! The best thing about them is that there is NO SMELL, no dust, no drilling, and when taken off your natural nails are still the same to when you put them on.
Bio Sculpture Gel Nails have minimal chemicals, make you nails look super shiny, they are thinner, yet more stronger as they are flexible as if you hit your nail they wont snap off they will flex (it hurts when you hit your nail, but at least your nail is still intact!) so your nails will last longer.
The way that they are so flexible is the way that you sculpt the nails. They are thinner at the nail bed and at the free edge (the end bit) and thicker in the middle which is where you need the strength. With acrylics it hard to get it thin at the nail bed as you only have a certain amount of time to sculpt the nail because the product air dries quickly, thats why you can get a bit of a ridge when the nail starts to grow out and its looks obvious. Because Bio Sculpture Gel is thinner at the nail bed, you actually cant tell unless you examine them closely!
Hairdressers have their hands in chemicals daily. Washing hair, perms, washing dishes, hand creams etc can ruin your nails. If your nails are done with Bio Sculpture Gel Nails they should definitely last 4 weeks! Yes even with all the stress (knocking, cleaning, hair washing) they last that long. Thats why I think you should choose Gel Nails compared to Acrylic Nails, especially Bio Sculpture Gel Nails.