Which Nail Polish Type Do I Choose?

When you first look at a nail salon price list you are bombarded with choices; there are so many different types of nail polish out there – what do you choose? Should you choose gel nails? Or what about Acrylics? Hang on; then there are powder Dip nails as well…. confused yet?

Well, there is no need to be, in this article we are going to take a look at each type of nail polish, how they differ and which type is best for you.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails have been a staple in nail salons for many years and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

What are Acrylic Nails?


A lot of people think that acrylic nails are the fake nail tips that you can apply, but this is only part of the procedure. The term acrylic nails refers to the type of polish that is painted on after the fake nails are glued in place.

The Acrylic polish itself works by combining a powder and acrylic liquid that starts a chemical reaction causing the nail polish to harden.

This polish is then painted over the nail tip which had previously been glued in place.

Acrylic Nails Advantages

  • Acrylic nails have a long wear time – they are very durable and will last to the point where you will likely have to fill them as your nail grows out.
  • They are easy to repair if damaged – acrylic nails are easy to repair should you happen to damage them before they need replacing
  • Acrylic nails cost less than the other salon nail polish types
  • They are easy to remove – the removal process for acrylic nails is much easier than gel nails

The Downside of Acrylic Nails

  • They look less natural than gel nails – they can look unnatural and are an obvious fake nail
  • They can damage your natural nails – the chemicals involved in the acrylic substance can damage your natural nails
  • The application of acrylic nails is difficult – there are many steps involved and some of the steps require extensive experience to get the desired look

Who Should get Acrylic Nails

If you are on a budget, or you are always damaging your nail polish, then Acrylics are perfect for you. The low cost will keep your purse happy, and the durability of acrylic nails is second to none!

Gel Nails

A more recent addition to the nail salon industry, gel nails are fast becoming one of the most popular selections.

What are Gel Nails?

Where acrylic nails require a mixing of two products to start the chemical reaction, gel nails needs a specially designed nail lamp which produces UV light to initiate the chemical reaction and harden the nail polish.

Gel nails are also exceptionally easy to do at home if you can’t make it to the salon. You do however need some specialized equipment which you can purchase in a gel nail kit.

Gel Nails Advantages

  • Look more natural – the end result after a gel nails application looks very natural.
  • Applying gel nails produces no fumes – acrylics and powder dip nails both produce fumes when curing
  • Simple to use – while there is a few steps to the application procedure, it is a relatively simple process to apply gel nails
  • It takes only 60 seconds per coat to cure – this may vary depending on the nail lamp type and the polish brand

The Downside of Gel Nails

  • Can be difficult to remove and if done incorrectly can damage the nail bed
  • Requires specialized equipment
  • Much harder to repair
  • Higher cost than acrylic nails

Who Should Get Gel Nails
If a natural look is important to you, then gel nails are the way to go. If you apply gel nails correctly, then you can expect 3+ weeks out of your manicure!

Powder Dip Nails

Probably the most recent addition to a lot of nail salons treatment list is power dip nails. You may otherwise know of these nails as SNS nails, as this is the most popular brand of powder dip nails right now.

What are Power Dip Nails?

Powder dip nails involve painting bonder onto the nail, then dipping the nail into a colored powder, a gel top coat is then applied to finish the nail.  The chemical reaction takes place when the bonder touched the powder, causing it to harden into a super smooth surface.

Powder Dip Nails Advantages

  • Creates an ultra smooth nail surface – the finish of correctly applied powder dip nails is amazing
  • Protects your natural nails – contains additives that help strengthen your nails
  • Powder dip nails are very light; your painted nails won’t feel any different to your natural nails
  • No special equipment required

Powder Dip Nails Disadvantages

  • Can’t be refilled, so need to be removed before being re-applied
  • More expensive that gel nails or acrylic nails
  • If the nail technician is inexperienced, then a poor finish may be the result

Who Should Get Powder Dip Nails?

If you have damaged nails from previous nail polish applications, then give powder dip nails ago. They have additives in them that help strengthen the nails and the finish is fantastic.


Vanessa is a mum, a wife and a lover of all things to do with nails and nail polish! She have worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years but is currently an at-home mom looking after two young kids.

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