Fake fingernails - the lowdown
Gel, Shellac, Bio-Sculpture, Brisa Gel, acrylic…going to a nail salon or nail bar has never been so confusing! But all these nail enhancement options at our fingertips give us the luxury of weighing up what’s the best, most cost-effective, time-efficient and long-wearing nail solution. The only challenge is deciphering what it all means!
Thank goodness for the nail geniuses as Beauty Heaven…
What it is: A relatively new product to hit the market, Shellac goes on like a polish, sets hard like acrylic and is thin and flexible like gel. But more impressive than the combination of all of these features is that Shellac sets instantly. You can leave the salon and pick up your keys straight away.
It goes on in a few thin, glossy coats with a UV light to set. Takes just 10 minutes to apply after your usual shape and buff.
Who it’s good for: anyone who is time-poor, likes a natural look and has a bad track record of smearing their polish two seconds after leaving the salon.
How long it lasts: Up to fourteen days.
Cost: Around $25-$45
What it is: A tried-and-tested salon fave; Bio-Sculpture gel nails are a permanent nail colour that doesn’t wear or chip. Like Shellac, Bio-Sculpture is thin, strong and flexible with a natural feel and look. It’s applied under a UVA light and finished with a top coat gloss. It can also be applied clear over nail tips if desired. Most nail technicians will take around 45 minutes to apply a set of gel nails and set them and they’ll last anywhere from three to four weeks, if you take care of them.
Who it’s good for: Anyone who wants a long-lasting natural-looking set of nails and can spare about 45minutes once every three to four weeks.
Cost: Around $55-$65
What it is: Considered a superior alternative to traditional acrylics, Brisa Gel delivers similar results, but with less time and effort. The acrylic-free gel is hypo-allergenic, so it’s perfect for people with sensitive skin and it’s also odour-free, so no more nasty chemical-induced salon head spins.
The gel is self-levelling, requiring less filing and works like a permanent top coat, allowing you to grow out your own natural nails. Like acrylic, it can also be used over tips in a clear form for a French nails look. Brisa Gel comes in clear and colour form, so it can be applied thin like a coat of polish, or built up over false nail tips. It lasts around three to four weeks.
Who it’s good for: Acrylic lovers who are looking for a less harsh alternative for their nails that’s also slightly more time-efficient and natural looking.
What it is: The acrylic versus gel rivalry is as long-running as the blokes ‘Ford versus Holden’ equivalent. You’re either team acrylic, or team gel – it’s rare to find a boat jumper. That’s probably because acrylics offer such a different product to gels; they’re extremely long-wearing, not made to be flexible or ultra natural (though a good nail technician should achieve a thinner, more natural look), but ultimately tough as nails (excuse the pun).
Applied by mixing an acrylic powder with a liquid that sets hard after air-drying for several minutes, gel diehards have acussed acrylic lovers of having damaged nails from the drilling and filing that has to be done to the natural nail to prepare it to bond with the acrylic. That said, acrylic wearers usually visit the salon half as often as gel devotees, with a good set of acrylics lasting anywhere from four to five weeks.
Who it’s good for: People who use their hands a lot (typing, working with animals, etc) and want nails that are strong and will last the test of time. They look most natural on people who wear them short, with coloured polish.
Cost: Around $35-$45