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What Are The Different Types of Acrylic Nails?

types of acrylic nails

Beautiful, sleek nails are the perfect finishing touch for a woman’s well-dressed appearance and often some type of acrylic nails helps us accomplish this. Nature does not always cooperate when we ladies attempt to grow and manicure our own nails, so it is helpful to know the types of different artificial nails we may get at the nail salon.

Types of Artificial Nails

In the end, there is only one type of acrylic nails, but there are several types of false nails. They include:

  • Acrylic nails
  • Gel nails
  • Sculpted nails
  • Wrap nails

Each type has strengths and weaknesses. All strive to create the look of natural fingernails. All require a lot of maintenance to keep them looking fresh and natural over time.  The availability of a wide selection of colors and designs also makes them fun and fashionable.

woman getting manicure

How Acrylics Are Created

Acrylic nails are created over your own nails in one of two ways. Both involve mixing a polymer powder with a liquid monomer and applying it over your own nail. This special mixture begins to set within 20 to 30 seconds and will be completely hardened within fifteen minutes.

  • Tips
  • Tips are used by gluing lightweight nail-shaped plastic plate pieces on the end of your own nail then covering the entire nail with the acrylic mixture while carefully shaping it.

  • Forms
  • Forms are fitted on to the nail and used to mold an artificial nail out of the acrylic mixture. The form is then removed so the nail can be shaped properly and buffed to a glossy shine.

french manicure
Tips and acrylic powders themselves are available in the ever popular French manicure style (tan or pink and white look) as well as sparkles, a variety of colors, contours, and some “special effects”.  You may choose to have nail polish applied to your finished nails or have the color built into the nails themselves. Acrylic nails are the thickest, strongest and most durable of all the artificial nails.

Gel Nails

Gel nails are made of polymer resin that hardens under ultraviolet (UV) light. These nails are a bit more expensive but are also more flexible and generally look more natural than the acrylics. They are not as durable or strong, however. The UV gels are usually left on to grow off with your natural nail. There is a selection of soak-off UV gels available for use which can easily be removed with acetone. No-light gels have also been developed as an alternative to UV light-cured gels.

Sculptured Nails

These nails are applied to your natural nail with either fiberglass gel or acrylic material on a form that lengthens and sculpts the nails into the desired appearance. These nails must be “filled in” on a regular basis to maintain their “natural” look and last the longer.

If you would like to learn more about acrylic nails and how to take care of nails, then you should consider taking a nail tech course.

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