Gel X Nails vs Acrylics: Comparing the Pros and Cons of Each Type

Gel X Nails vs Acrylics: When it comes to getting a perfect manicure that lasts, gel and acrylic nails are two of the most popular options. But what are the differences between gel x and acrylic nails? And which one is better? Here’s a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of gel x vs acrylic nails to help you decide which is right for you.

Overview of Gel X and Acrylic Nails

Gel X and Acrylic Nails

Gel x nails, also known as gel polish or shellac nails, use a gel polish that is cured under UV or LED light. The gel hardens on the natural nail for a smooth, high-shine finish.

Acrylic nails are made from a liquid and powder mixture that hardens into artificial nails. The acrylic is applied over your natural nails and shaped into your desired style.

Both gel x and acrylics allow you to have long-lasting manicured nails, but they achieve it in different ways.

Gel X vs Acrylic Nails: Key Differences

Gel XAcrylic
Gel polish layers cured with LED/UV lightLiquid and powder acrylic mixture
Thin finishThicker application
Lasts 2-3 weeksLasts 2-3 weeks
Lower risk of damage during removalHigher risk of damage during removal
Quick application and removalLonger application and removal
Wide variety of colors and some artEndless shaping and art possibilities

Durability and Longevity

When properly done and cared for, both gel x and acrylics can last 2-3 weeks on average.

However, acrylics tend to be more durable:

  • Acrylics are thicker than gel x, making them less prone to breaking.
  • Acrylics can withstand daily activities and impact better than gel x.
  • Acrylics are less likely to peel or lift compared to gel x.

However, gel x tends to last slightly longer before needing a fill or removal. The gel polish stays fully hardened which helps extend wear.

Overall, acrylics win for durability while gel x offers longevity between fills.

Application and Process

Getting either gel x or acrylic nails requires going to a professional nail salon. But the application process differs:

  • Gel x: The natural nail is prepped and a gel base coat applied. Gel polish layers are then cured under a LED or UV light.
  • Acrylics: The natural nails are prepared and acrylic powder and liquid are blended together over a nail form. The acrylic is shaped and polished once hardened.

Gel x application is usually faster, taking 30-40 minutes compared to 1-2 hours for a full set of acrylics. For gel x fills, you can be in and out of the salon in under 30 minutes.

Nail Health

Both gel x and acrylics require some degree of nail filing and prep work. And they adhere to the natural nail in different ways:

  • Gel x is bonded with the natural nail, so no glue is required. This helps avoid nail damage during removal.
  • Acrylics require glue for application, which can sometimes damage the nail during fill and removal processes.

However, acrylics allow the nail to breathe underneath the artificial nail. Gel x fully seals the natural nail, which can lead to a higher risk of fungal infections if moisture gets trapped.

Proper application and removal, along with nail care between appointments, minimizes the risks for either option.


Gel x manicures tend to be more affordable compared to acrylics:

  • Full gel x set: $25-$50
  • Gel x fill: $25-$35
  • Full acrylic set: $50-$80
  • Acrylic fill: $30-$50

Salon costs can vary greatly based on your location, the nail tech’s experience level, and any fancy nail art or embellishments added.

Overall though, gel x tends to be the budget-friendly option for getting a perfect manicure.

Style Options

One of the biggest perks of gel x and acrylics is the endless nail color and art possibilities!

Gel polish comes in every color imaginable for a classic solid manicure. Gel x also allows for embellishments like glitter, foil, rhinestones, chrome powder, and more.

Acrylics can be sculpted and shaped into any length or style. From short round nails to super long stilettos, anything is possible with acrylics. Nail art is also easy to add on acrylic nails.

For the most natural look though, gel x provides a thin layered finish that looks like your real nail. Acrylics are thicker and clearly artificial nails.

Removal Process

Removing gel x or acrylics should always be done by a professional to avoid nail damage:

  • Gel x removal: The gel is soaked off, which takes 10-20 minutes. Filing removes the remainder of the product.
  • Acrylic removal: Acrylics are filed down as much as possible. Then they are soaked in acetone for 15-30 minutes for full removal.

Gel x removal tends to be quicker and less harsh on natural nails. But again, it comes down to the nail tech’s technique for safe removal of both options.

Which Should You Choose?

When deciding between gel x vs acrylic nails, consider what’s most important to you:

  • Budget: Gel x is more affordable
  • Durability: Acrylics are stronger
  • Health: Gel x causes less damage
  • Style: Gel x for natural, acrylics for length/shaping
  • Maintenance: Gel x fills are quicker

Both allow you to extend your nails and show off beautiful manicures. It just depends on your priorities and lifestyle factors.

The best way to decide is to try each option out! You may find you love gel for certain occasions but get acrylics for special events. Mixing it up keeps your nails healthy and lets you change up your look.

Caring for Gel X and Acrylic Nails

Caring for Gel X and Acrylic Nails

To maximize the longevity of gel x or acrylic nails:

  • Use cuticle oil daily to condition the nails and cuticles
  • File any lifted edges – don’t pick or peel the polish
  • Avoid removing gels or acrylics at home – go to a pro
  • Use gloves for cleaning and hand creams to avoid excess moisture
  • Protect the nails from impacts and filing them down thin

With regular infills and proper care, you can enjoy weeks of perfect nails inbetween salon visits!

Get Long-Lasting Nails with Gel X or Acrylics

Gel x and acrylics both allow you to have beautiful, salon-quality nails at home. While acrylics offer more durability and shaping options, gel x provides a more natural look for less money. Assess your own needs and expectations to decide which is right for you. With either option, you can have flawless nails that turn heads!

Want to learn more about achieving the perfect manicure? Read more nail care tips and ideas on the Villa Nails blog!

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