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Acrylics to Gels: Everything You Need to Know About Nails

Updated: Oct 12, 2023


Nail Salon Insurance

Artificial fingernails have come a long way since the original glue-ons you could buy in stores. Fake fingernails are a great alternative for people who can’t grow their nails long. For someone who can’t or prefers not to apply nail polish at home, getting acrylic or gel nails at the salon is a real convenience. It’s also a great way to increase your salon business. Before you decide to add nails to the services you offer, you should consider which type or types will fit into your business.


Types of Artificial Fingernails

The three most popular types of artificial nails used in nail salons today are acrylic, gel, and silk. Each type requires specific supplies and skills to apply them. They also have different uses. Gels or acrylic nails are often great choices for someone who wants their nails to last longer. Silk nails are more common for strengthening nail tips or repairing nail trauma. They cover damaged nails instead of making the nail longer and more ornate.


Applying Acrylic Nails

To apply acrylic nails, you need to mix a liquid monomer with a polymer powder to create the sculpting gel. You can form the resulting gel into any shape you desire, but you have to act quickly. It hardens fast, meaning you must have the expertise to create the new nail while it’s still malleable. Failing to get the nail into the form you want could result in a misshape nail or worse.


One reason that clients like acrylic nails is that they can choose the length they want. They may opt for short acrylic nails that look more natural or go long and dramatic.


Once the acrylics are applied, they grow out with your natural nails. The fake nail grows away from the nail bed, leaving a gap between the base of your nail and the edge of the acrylic. That means your clients will need to return to your salon every 2, 3, or 4 weeks to have the nail filled in. They might have the nail replaced or removed completely. If they decide to remove the nails, you will use nail polish remover to soak them loose.


Potential Problems With Acrylic Nails

One risk associated with acrylic nails is that your clients might hang them on something and tear the nail loose from the bed. Breaking the seal between the acrylic nail and the natural one can allow yeast, fungus, or bacteria to grow.


Acrylics release some unpleasant chemicals and odours during the application process. Some clients might be sensitive to the fumes produced. Removing the nails also involves harsh acetone, which can do damage and dry out the client’s nails.


While acrylic nails are long-lasting, some people don’t feel that they look as natural as gel nails. But most people like applying colours and designs that don’t look natural anyway.

If you offer acrylic nails to your beauty salon clients, you need nail salon insurance to cover any potential problems they might cause. This includes reactions to the chemicals used to create the acrylic and any infections that occur to your client's nails.


Applying Gel Nails

Gel nails are an excellent way to extend the length of the natural nail. You or your nail technician will brush at least two coats of gel onto a client’s nails. The more coats you apply, the more opaque the final result will be. You will put your client’s nails under UV light to harden the gel.


Gels are less likely to cause damage to the nail bed than acrylics. They are also less likely to snap off if you hit them, plus they have a more natural feel.


Potential Problems With Gel Nails

Gels are more expensive than acrylics, but they may be worth it. Gels can keep their colour longer, and they are less likely to chip. You need to fill in gel nails at the same rate as acrylic nails, and the same process is used. If your client wants to remove the nails, you will soak them in nail polish remover. There is also the same risk of getting an infection after nail trauma.


Gel nails have a shiny, fresh look, but they only last about 2 weeks. There is a small risk of UV exposure to the skin, and heat spikes might cause pain. Like acrylics, you must soak gels in acetone to remove them.


Applying Silk Nails

Silk nail wraps are applied to shorter nails to create a more attractive appearance. They add little length in comparison to acrylics and gels. One reason people sometimes prefer them is that they cause minimal damage to their real nails. They also enhance the beauty of their nails in a more practical shorter length.


People with weak, brittle nails who aren’t good candidates for other nail types often get silk nail wraps. The wraps help support and protect nail damage until it grows out.

You apply silk nails by glueing fabric wraps over a damaged nail. In addition to silk wraps, there are also fibreglass, linen, and paper wraps. You or the nail technician fits the wrap to the shape of the nail. It is then held in place while brushing on the glue.


Potential Problems With Silk Nails

The glue will last for two or three weeks before the wrap begins to loosen. They may loosen sooner on people who have their hands in water a lot. But overall, silk wraps produce a beautiful manicure that helps protect the health of your nail. They are one of the least expensive artificial nail options but also one of the least durable.


One of the drawbacks of silk nails is that few beauty salons or nail salons offer them. This might be a good option to add to your salon since it doesn’t have the same competition as gels and acrylics.


Don’t Forget the Nail Salon Insurance

Artificial nails are a popular service these days for people from all walks of life. Offering one or more options in your salon could make you more competitive with other salons in your area. But it could also increase your risk of liability.


Make sure you add the salon insurance you need to protect your business every time you add a new product or service. Any time you expose clients to something new, there is a risk that someone will have a negative reaction. Call Salonsure on 07 3135 7436 to learn more about custom insurance solutions for your beauty business.

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