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Have you ever used gel or acrylic nails?

Have you ever used gel or acrylic nails? What was your experience like?

The only thing I’ve used is CND’s Shellac (which isn’t gel or acrylic, but it’s the closest to either I’ve tried), but otherwise, I’ve only used regular polish. I liked Shellac, but it’s not something I’d personally do as I very, very rarely get manicures/pedicures done professionally. A good friend of mine LOVES Shellac, though.

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blueraccoon Avatar

Haven’t we seen this one before? Am I hallucinating? 🙂

I have gels. I used to have acrylics, but the gels are far superior–they don’t yellow, they don’t break as easily, there’s no mess of powders, they don’t stink the way acrylics do, etc. I get mine done every two weeks, with Shellac polish, so my nails look as good on day 14 as they do on day 1 (with some grow-out). My regular nails aren’t softened by the gels (they’re soft normally though) and my salon is very clean, I’ve never had a problem. I get mine done because my regular nails are soft and peel and I bite them if they’re not done–even if I put polish on them, I bite them. With the gels/Shellac polish, I can’t bite them.

I choose to go every two weeks because by three weeks they’re too long for me and I start chipping and breaking them. If I kept them shorter I could probably go every three weeks. It isn’t cheap, I’ll admit that, but for me it’s worth it and I don’t spend hundreds of dollars collecting nail polish.

Miss J Avatar

What’s the difference between shellac and gel? I have always been told at every nail place that they are the same thing. *shrug* I’ve had shellac/gel and acrylic. I always liked the look of acrylic, but I hated the little pocket of space I’d get between my real tip and fake tip, so I never opt for acrylic anymore because I just feel like that gap is a breeding ground for nasty ish. I liked shellac/gel a lot, but I’m not the type to go for regular manis, which seems to be necessary with them for maintenance. If I had the patience, time, and money for that then I’d probably stick with that, but for now I just do all my manis/pedis myself at home.

Christine Avatar

I just remember CND kept reiterating that it wasn’t gel – this is what their site says, “CND Shellac is the original, one and only Power Polish. It’s not a gel polish – which are basically just “watered” down gels. It’s a true innovation in chip-free, extended-wear nail color!”

blueraccoon Avatar

I don’t know what they mean by that, but Shellac is a hybrid of gel and polish, just like Gelish (another brand). And I think there are other gel polishes, too–OPI has a line, and you can get them in drugstores now. All Shellac/any gel polish is is a nail polish with gel in it that cures under UV/LED light and remains on your nails until you soak or file it off.

I think, Miss J, where you’re getting confused is the difference between gel nails and Shellac polish. Gel nails are an alternative to acrylic nails; they’re an enhancement over your regular nails. The nail tech paints on a bonding coat, which cures under UV light, then the gel layer–usually a very sheer pink–which also cures under UV light, *then* you can apply regular or Shellac polish. Gel nails get filed down and redone when you get a fill.

Does this help?

Miss J Avatar

Still hella confused, LOL. The process of putting on and taking of gel nails is what happens when I get them done. The polish they use is Gelish. They still call it a Shellac manicure at all my salons, though. Next time I will ask for regular polish, and see what happens, but last time I did that when asking for gel nails…they looked at me insane.

blueraccoon Avatar

My salon also calls it a Shellac manicure. I think it’s because Shellac was the first brand to come out as this hybrid polish that cures under light, so it’s kind of like kleenex and tissues, or xerox and copy machines.

Miss J Avatar

Ah, okay! I googled, and something popped up saying that CND’s Shellac is the only non-gel on the market, so I’m thinking they mean that just for their own stuff. I’ve always been told that the polishes are gel polish, but the method is considered shellacing (Is that a word, LOL?), so maybe it’s just CND’s brand doesn’t specifically contain gel, but they call it Shellac just as one would with gel polish because it’s the same method?

Miss J Avatar

Haha. Ditto on not knowing much about nails/procedures. I’ve only went for salon manis a handful of times, so I just listen to whatever they tell me!

18thCenturyFox Avatar

I’ve used acrylics, but never again. I feel like getting my nails filled was a carcinogen overload and none of it was worth it. I don’t feel comfortable with the chemicals in gel nails either which may seem to make no sense considering how often I paint my nails. However I am careful to paint them outside and use “safer” polishes. I also feel like my nails need to “breathe” which can’t happen with fake nails. I feel similarly about lash extensions.

Lee Avatar

I have acrylics. I keep them painted with my trademark pink (OPI La Paz-itively Hot) an love that they don’t chip. The polish on the ends starts to look a little worn after a couple of weeks or so but it’s not super noticeable. I just really like having long manicured nails.

Megan Avatar

I got acrylics twice. They are so thick! Not a fan. I do however want to try gel nails. I’m dying for almond shaped nails and my natural ones don’t grow long enough.

Jaz Avatar

I have a set of Solar nails( a type of gel nail but with glitter at the tip) on right now. They are ok, but I have realized I dont want to keep them up. I would rather spend the money on something else ( food for instance …). Now if I could go like once a month , and my nails still look decent, then it would be different. I think I will just get an gel overlay on my real nails from here on out. I dont really like the damage involved either

JQ Avatar

I have had Shellac done a couple times and I liked it, but it’s not something I care to do all the time. It’s more than I want to spend on my nails and I don’t like having to go back to the salon just to take it off. I would consider doing it again though if I was going on a vacation and didn’t want to have to fuss over my nails while I was gone.

Katherine Avatar

Back in the early 90’s I wore acrylic nails. Then I wore gel acrylic type nails. I quit wearing those kind of nails by the mid-90’s. I’ve had gelish manicures and I did like them but I enjoy doing my own manicures. The only problem I had with them is that my nails tend to grow fast so the cuticle edge would lift and catch on various things. I do my own manicures and usually change out the polish twice a week or more often.

CuriousCreature Avatar

I do my own soak off gels using CND’s Shellac system. The supplies can be found on Ebay and Amazon. All you need to do is go to YouTube and you’ll find tons of videos about how to do it yourself. It goes on like nail polish but wears like gel. You just have to cure it under a UV light. It reinforces my weak nails, doesn’t hurt them, doesn’t chip and it’s perfect for two weeks. You can also layer real nail polish on top. It’s called a Gelly sandiwich and YouTube has video’s about how to do that too. The key is letting the real nail polish (RNP) dry completely before applying the gel top coat and curing. Brands can also be mixed. My base and top coat are CND Shellac which play well with other brands. It’s the best beauty invention- ever.

Jade Avatar

I’ve had both at various times, I don’t like acrylics, but I quite like gels. I don’t get them done very often though, because they are expensive to get done regularly, and they STILL don’t last on me. I’m very, VERY hard on my hands though – I’m a vet nurse, and as much as I like having nice nails, I hate being girly and precious about my hands!

Barbara Avatar

I love my gels. My natural nails are very weak and on top of that I work cleaning house and in a restaurant so my hands are in constant contact with water which does them no favours strength wise. So for me gel is a great way to reinforce them and keep them looking nice.
But for me the best part is that nail polish adheres SO much better to them than my real nails. I tried everything (top coats, base coats, professionals) to make my nail polish stick but it would always be chipped by the next day. I completely gave up on painting my nails when I started cleaning for a living. Which was sad because I really enjoy it. But I found that there’s something about the gel that nail polish just clings to. Now I paint my nails and it wears until I’m ready to take it off regardless of what I am doing in my job/life.

Dinitchka Avatar

The salon where I got my hair done had a lovely nail tech. I finally decided to try fiberglass nails. I had fiberglass for a LONG time until my (now) friend/nail tech had to quit. It took me an entire year of trying to find someone who could do my nails. I was way picky. I did try acrylic. I like the look but could not stand the smell!! Finally crying and bawling on the phone, I got a hold of my friends hubby who passed on my message to my friend. She called me back and said she would do my nails again. It was still fiberglass but she added in a powder every other fill. Around a year later, she had to have back surgery. I told her I was going to find another place to get my nails done. I went to a place another friend had been going to. I was getting acrylics at that time. The tech would add a topcoat ‘seal’ (I now have figured out that she was putting a UV topcoat on my nails) and then put me under a UV light. It would dry my polish as soon as my hands came out of the UV light (which I liked). As much as I liked the look of acrylic, I kept walking out of the shop high as a kite. When I called my friend/nail tech she asked me to meet her at the nail shop she had been going to. Impressed with the man doing her nails, I started going there. He did pink & white (UV gels) on me. Then my eczema started acting up worse. I wasn’t sure if the pink & white was causing my eczema to act up? So, I quit. I did try Shellac once. I was not impressed with wear on MY nails. Because my nails were weak, my nails would bend and the ‘polish’ would bend and crack. *Turns out weak nails should not wear Shellac.* I loved the concept but it was not for me.

I decided to start doing my own nails. It took awhile for my healthy nails to grow out, now they are in pretty good shape. Stronger than what they had been but not strong enough. Buying nail polish is now a LOVE of mine. My friends say I have a problem. I know I do, but as long as I pay my bills, put money into savings and have a bit left over, I see no problems! I love the hunt of LE polishes. I love that my SAs save polishes for me that they know I’m going to miss out on.

I now wear fiberglass smile line tips for strength. I LOVE these: http://www#sallybeauty#com/french-manicure/NLBSS05,default,pd#html?cgid=Nail03-06 and I top my painted nails with Seche Ultra V UV-Activated Topcoat. I did find at Wam-Lart, Kiss brand, like what I wear now. Once my set runs out (I bought the big tip set) I am going to try the Kiss ones.

Jessi Avatar

I was a big nail biter, so I got a hard gel set because there was no way I was going to want to bite into that. After about 8 months, the upkeep and filing down on the nail bed seemed like it was getting into the red zone for me, so I stopped. I still keep my nails polished at all times, but my natural nails are now nice and strong on their own.

xamyx Avatar

I did acrylics off & on for *years*, but I stopped for a few reasons. First, my nails (like my hair) grow freakishly fast, and the upkeep is too expensive & time consuming. Also, I’ve seen several exposès on the dangers of nail salons. I have found places I feel I could trust, but again, back to the first issue. A third reason is that I like to change polish more than once a week, and because I like microglitter polishes, I *have* to use an acetone remover, which is horrible for acrylics.

Now, I just invest time & money into buying my own products, and do my own manicures & pedicures. I also use Sally Hansen Triple Strong & other similar products to both make my nails less prone to breaking, and the color last longer.

Phoebe Avatar

I’ve only had a gel manicure before. And I didn’t like it at all. My nails grow out too fast to make it worth it. And it’s a pain in the butt to remove. Regular polish works great for me.

AngieN Avatar

I have acrylic nails – I’ve had them for years. My girl keeps my implements separate; I’ve never had a fungus or infection, and she’s the second-longest relationship I’ve ever sustained (not counting my children) – LOL! I don’t use Shellac, because I like the freedom of being able to change my polish if I choose between visits, or use a glittery topcoat, or something to “freshen” it up. I get a fill every four weeks.

Natasha Avatar

I’ve never tried acrylics, but I did take the plunge with gel/shellac this past summer and was very happy! At last, a nail polish that lasts longer than 28 hours! As a professional facepainter and henna artist, I’m pretty hard on my nails, so even with the gel, it only lasts a week…but they look gorgeous for that week! I can’t justify manicures every week, so I tend to just do them for special occasions. I did a gel pedicure and my toes looked fabulous for 2 months!

Irene Avatar

I’ve never tried gel or acrylic, but I had my nails done a few times with OPI Axxium by a friend of mine who is a pro manicurist. It was the best thing ever! I have pretty weak nails that break often so I could never grow them as long as I like them, but with the soak-off gel manicure they were in perfect condition, and the polish wouldn’t chip for about 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I now live in another country, and I can’t afford to go to a salon.

Eyeshadow AA Avatar

I’ve had acrylic, solar, and every other type of nails that you can get but I prefer nothing but regular nail polish now… It drives me crazy to type when I have fake nails on. I have always had good experiences when getting my nails done except when they have cut my cuticles with the drill – super painful. My friend did get a nail fungal infection from getting acrylics which totally freaked me out.

Joyce Avatar

If my nails are strong, healthy and long, I will do shellac nails as its more natural and I can soak them off myself after two weeks. If my nails are short, then I will get my nails extended with gel nails. Gel nails last me about a month and are less healthy for your nail bed. Shellac and Gel nails are great for vacations when you want a perfect mani/pedi and not worry about touch ups or chipping.

Susan Nevling Avatar

Used acrylics years ago but got a stubborn fungus infection requiring treatment by a dermatologist. Nothing since. Tried the stretch on colors of polish but they peeled in less than a day. I have very thin soft nails that break and peel constantly. They also bend

Monolids Avatar

I did acrylic nails once and when I had them removed, I saw that my read nails were lifting off their beds. I think it was onycholysis.

I got all worried, but let them be without nail polish for about 2 months, and they gradually grew out and back on to the nail beds. Scariest experience of my life, and it happened to ALL nails on my fingers. Never again.

kEG Avatar

I have used acrylic nails to help me stop my disgusting nail biting habit. I found them to be difficult to get used to since I use my hands a lot. I also ended biting the acrylics as well-ewww! My own nails are short but not terribly so-it’s just much easier with my own nails

Amanda Vance Avatar

I had acrylics about 4 or 5 years ago, and then a few years before then too. I love long nails, but before recently I wasn’t able to grow and maintain my natural nails. Getting rid of the acrylics destroyed my nails but they eventually returned to normal.

I definitely wouldn’t suggest wearing acrylics long term.

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