Gel tips and acrylic nails are two popular types of nail enhancements, each with its unique characteristics. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the best for yourself, you may find yourself confused. This has actually triggered many ladies to ask about “which one is better between gel tips and acrylic.

Gel tips are made from a gel-like substance that is applied directly to the natural nail. They are cured under a UV or LED light. Acrylic nails are made by combining a liquid monomer and a powder polymer to create a hard and durable material. Neither is definitively better than the other, as each has its own set of advantages. 

The choice between gel tips and acrylic nails ultimately comes down to your personal preference and specific needs. In this post, I will discuss the cons, pros, differences, and similarities of gel tips and acrylic nails to help you decide which might be better for you.

What Are The Benefits Gel Tips Offer

Gel Tips vs Acrylic Tips

Gel tips have gained popularity due to their numerous benefits and advantages. Some of the perks that getting gel tips has to offer include:

1. Gel tips give a natural appearance 

Gel tips offer a natural and glossy finish that closely resembles natural nails. Their transparent nature allows for a clean, polished look that complements any style or outfit. 

Moreover, gel tips offer a natural look and feel that is difficult to replicate with other nail enhancement methods. This advantage makes them an ideal choice for those who want a manicure that appears as if it’s entirely their own.

2. Gel tips can last for long duration

One of the standout advantages of gel tips is their exceptional durability. Gel nail extensions are known for their robust and long-lasting nature. They are less prone to chipping or breaking, making them perfect for individuals with an active lifestyle. 

The strength of gel tips ensures that your manicure remains flawless for an extended period, providing value for your investment. Also, this durability makes them an excellent choice for those with weaker or more brittle natural nails.

3. They are not heavy

They are thinner and more flexible, making them feel lighter on your nails. This advantage provides an elegant and refined appearance while still offering the necessary support and durability. Gel tips are lighter compared to acrylic nails, which can feel heavy and uncomfortable for some individuals.

4. Gel tips have a versatile nail design

Another benefit of gel tips is that they provide endless opportunities for creative nail designs. Whether you prefer a classic French manicure, vibrant nail art, or a trendy ombre effect, gel tips are highly versatile and can accommodate various styles. The gel material is easy to shape and mold, allowing nail technicians to create stunning and unique designs.

5. Gel tips have minimal odor and toxic fumes

They have minimal odor and the absence of toxic fumes during the application process. This is a significant advantage for those who are sensitive to strong smells or individuals who prioritize a more environmentally friendly choice.

Setbacks of Using Gel Tips 

Gel tips, while they offer many advantages, also have their share of disadvantages that individuals should consider before opting for this type of nail enhancement. Here are some of the drawbacks associated with gel tips:

1. They are prone to lifting

Gel tips can be more prone to lifting from the natural nail if not applied correctly. This can lead to water and debris getting trapped between the gel and natural nails, potentially causing fungal infections.

2. Gel tips are time-consuming and expensive

Applying gel tips involves a multi-step process that can be time-consuming. The curing of gel layers under UV or LED lamps requires additional time, which may not be ideal for those with busy schedules. 

Also, Gel tip applications can be relatively more expensive than traditional nail polish or other nail enhancement options. The initial cost includes the price of the gel kit and the need for professional application.

3. Using gel tips requires UV or LED exposure

Gel nails require curing under UV or LED lamps, and this exposure to ultraviolet light can be a concern for some individuals. Prolonged exposure may increase the risk of skin damage, particularly for those with sensitive skin or a history of UV sensitivity.

4. Difficulty in removal 

Removing gel tips at home can be challenging and may lead to damage if not done correctly. Professional removal is recommended, but it comes with an additional cost.

Benefits Of Acrylic Nails

Gel Tips vs Acrylic Tips

1. Acrylics are durable

Acrylic nails are exceptionally durable. They can withstand everyday wear and tear, making them a great option for individuals with active lifestyles or jobs that are tough on the nails.

2. Acrylic offers a great level of customization

Getting acrylic nails offers a high level of customization. You can shape, extend, and style acrylic nails to create the desired look. This versatility allows for various nail designs and lengths.

You can apply it to short or long natural nails, giving individuals the flexibility to choose the length they prefer. This versatility suits various style preferences.

3. They are very strong

These nails provide added strength to natural nails, reducing the risk of breakage and chipping. This makes them an ideal choice for those with weak or brittle nails.

4. Acrylics are affordable 

Acrylic nails tend to be more cost-effective compared to some other nail enhancement options, making them accessible to a broader range of individuals.

5. They can quickly applied

You can be applied relatively quickly at a nail salon, making them a convenient choice for those with busy schedules.

Downsides Of Getting Acrylics

1. Acrylic can easily damage natural nails

One of the most significant drawbacks of acrylic nails is the potential for damage to your natural nails. The application and removal process can weaken your natural nails, making them more prone to splitting, peeling, and breakage.

2. Acrylic has a strong chemical odor

The use of chemicals during the acrylic nail application process can produce strong and unpleasant odors. This may not be appealing for individuals sensitive to such scents or those in close quarters with others.

3. They have thick appearance

Acrylic nails can sometimes appear thicker than natural nails. While this can be a style preference for some, others may find it less appealing or less natural-looking.

4. They get discolored easily

Over time, acrylic nails may start to yellow or become discolored, especially if exposed to UV rays or when using tanning beds.

Differences Between Gel Tips And Acrylic 

1. Their application process

Gel tips are typically applied in several layers, including a base coat, gel extension, and topcoat. Each layer is cured under a UV or LED light to harden.

Meanwhile, acrylic nails are formed by dipping a brush into the liquid monomer and then into the powder polymer to create a malleable ball. This ball is then sculpted onto the natural nail and allowed to air dry.

2. Difference in odor

Generally, gel tips have a milder odor during application compared to acrylic nails, making them more comfortable for some people. However, acrylic nails produce a strong, noticeable odor during application, which can be a concern for some people.

3. Difference in appearance

A glossy finish is what gel tips have, and it tends to resemble natural nails, offering a more natural look. While acrylic nails have a more robust appearance and are highly customizable in terms of shape and length.

4. Diffrence in flexibility 

Gel nails have some flexibility, which can make them less prone to breakage, but acrylics are usually very hard.

5. They require different maintenance

Gel nails typically require less maintenance and less frequent fills. Acrylic nails usually require more care in terms of fills and shaping to maintain their look.

Similarities Between Gel Tips And acrylic

Gel tips and acrylic nails, while they have distinct differences, they also share some similarities. Here are the similarities between gel tips and acrylic nails:

  • Both gel tips and acrylic nails involve the application of a sculpting material over the natural nail to create length, shape, and strength. 
  • When properly applied and cared for, both gel tips and acrylic nails provide enhanced strength and durability compared to natural nails. 
  • Both gel tips and acrylic nails can be applied as overlays on natural nails to reinforce and protect them, or they can be used for extensions to add length and shape.
  • Gel tips and acrylic nails are compatible with various nail polishes, including regular nail polish and gel polish. This allows for a wide range of color and design options, from classic looks to intricate nail art.
  • They both require regular maintenance and fill to keep the nails looking fresh and intact. Fills involve filling in the growth gap near the cuticles, ensuring the continued stability and appearance of the enhancements.

Frequently Asked Question

Is gel or acrylic better for weak nails?

Gel nail is still the best for weak or brittle nails. Gel nails are often recommended for fragile or brittle nails due to their flexibility and lighter weight. The flexible nature of gel nails makes them less prone to breakage, which is beneficial for those with fragile nails. 


In the end, your decision should be based on your desired look, lifestyle, and how much maintenance you’re comfortable with. It can also depend on the skill of the nail technician performing the service, as both gel and acrylic applications require specific expertise.

Disclosure: This article, other beauty and fashion tips on SheBegan are contributed by experienced fashion professionals, beauty & cosmetics experts. Read our full research and editorial process here. Also, our posts may contain affiliate links, read our full affiliate disclosure

As an expert in all things nails, I weave words with finesse, creating articles that delve into the mesmerizing world of nail artistry. From trendsetting designs to cutting-edge techniques, my writing unveils the secrets behind captivating nails. Join me on this creative journey as I share my passion, knowledge, and insights, opening doors to a realm where nails become works of art.

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