How Are Gel-X Manicures Different Than Acrylics?

With so many options for how to do your nails, it's easy to get overwhelmed. From regular polish to dip powder nails, the evolving beauty technology has made it easier to find your perfect fit. However, with so many similar options on the market, it's essential to know what differentiates these nail types. Researching the various manicures available will help you decide the best option for your nail health.

Two popular manicure options are acrylic and Gel-X nails. Both styles are ideal if you want statement nails with various designs. Before deciding on either manicure option, though, you need to know their differences. Acrylic and Gel-X nails can carry various costs depending on the design and the salon. Blue World Dreams explains that the average price of acrylic nails can be around $35, while gel nails tend to cost closer to $50. Gel-X nails are often around $80 and up for an initial set. This cost is not accounting for the tip you would leave your nail technician. 

Although both Gel-X and acrylics are great options for your manicures, their differences might make you reach for one over the other.

What are Gel-X manicures?

If you're a gel user (as an increasing number of Glam readers are!), a Gel-X manicure is a proper solution to your problems. According to, Aprés Gel-X extensions are a hybrid between a soft gel manicure and hard press-on nails. They give you the durability of gel polish and the length of press-ons without leaving your nails brittle when you remove them. Gel-X extensions are applied like a regular gel manicure and offer a soak-off treatment that can last anywhere from two to three weeks. Unlike regular gel polish, you don't need to refill your polish and can get an entirely new set at your next appointment.

Pleji Salon adds that Gel-X manicures can cover your entire nail and seamlessly blend in with your natural nail. By opting for a Gel-X manicure, you can avoid having a lifted nail tip that can easily get caught on things as you go about your day. This seamless transition between fake and natural nails makes Gel-X popular among those who want more length without the associated hassles. Like other manicure options, Gel-X comes in various nail shapes and sizes, meaning you can customize it to the look you wish to achieve.

Gel-X extensions vs. acrylics

Unlike Gel-X, acrylics are known for causing significant nail problems (and, in some cases, allergic reactions). Glowsly explains that Gel-X manicures tend to be better for your nail health as they're lighter on the nail. Acrylic nails will also require slightly more buffing of the nail surface than Gel-X manicures. During the removal process, acrylic nails will require filing down after being soaked in acetone, which is more work than it takes to remove Gel-X extensions (which just require soaking in acetone).

If you are looking for a manicure that will last longer, acrylics should be your go-to choice. Because of the multiple layers, acrylics can last longer than three weeks. Acrylic nails are also ideal for those looking to add extravagant designs or enhancements, considering their larger nail size. Also, if your daily activities cause more wear and tear on your nails, you'll want to opt for acrylic nails to avoid chipping. 

However, Nail Club explains that because of the protective layer, acrylic nails can look more artificial than Gel-X. If you prefer a natural look, Gel-X may be the way to go.