not genetically blessed with thick, long nails? no worries - meet nail extensions. nail extensions are growing in popularity due to their ability to lengthen even the shortest of nails. whether you’re a pro or new to the nail game, we’re here to guide you through this trend and explain why you should have a set of them on your hands like, yesterday.
nail extensions vs. nail overlays: really, what’s the difference?
it seems there’s a new hot nail trend daily, and figuring out the difference between them is even giving us anxiety. rather than suffering through a 30 minute youtube video to figure out what constitutes extensions vs. overlay (like we had to do), we made a tldr version just for you - enjoy 🤎
you’ll find artificial nails in two unique types — nail overlays and nail extensions. sorry to keep dragging this out, we're working on our google rankings. keep scrolling to learn more — you're nearly there.
tldr: what are nail overlays
nail overlays are perfect for adding some extra spice to your look without adding any additional length to your nail. . if you want to give your nails a more subtle look, then you probably want to opt for gel polish.. it can give just enough color and texture without a dramatic change, but we promise you'll still enjoy the updated look. but if you're the type to opt for something more noticeable with additional length (absolutely zero judgement here — we encourage it), then you might want to opt for an overlay made of plastic or even acrylic instead.
there are two types of nail overlays: gel and acrylic. again, both of these sit on your natural nail and do no add any length, but look and feel healthy and strong. they also protect the natural nail (but make sure to remove properly to avoid damage).
- gel is a more durable option for those who want their overlay to last longer, but it's not as easy to remove as an oil-based one would be, so you'll need some strong remover if necessary.
- acrylics, on the other hand, can easily peel off in pieces since they only have mild adhesive properties. that makes them the perfect option when quick removal time isn't essential
what are nail extensions
want to feel like a million bucks without spending a million bucks? try our latest obsession: nail extensions 😉
there are two main types we need to break down: nail forms and plastic extensions. we’ll cut to the chase.
- nail forms: you're looking for something that's durable but easy on your budget, then you want nail forms. they come in a variety of shapes, so there will always be one to fit any occasion or style preference imaginable without breaking down as quickly during use, unlike other alternatives.
- plastic extension nails: are made from heat-resistant material to help them stay in place longer. you can wear them with acrylics or other types of paints as well.
what’s the best way to put on nail extensions?
putting on nail extensions isn't always easy, but it's worth all the hard work! trust us; we wouldn't lie to you.
gel extension application requires several steps to achieve perfect-looking nails.
during a manicure or at home, the application process begins with nail prep. think of proper nail prep as a blank canvas. you want to make sure there’s a clean and smooth surface before you begin to ensure your work lasts as long as possible.
ok, now let's get to the good stuff 😊
prep is part of the process when your nails get pampered — cuticle care, filing, and cleaning. then, a nail form attaches underneath the free edge of each natural nail. once the nail form is secure, the application of a hard gel or one-step gel begins.
after shaping your nails, it’s time for gel polish. a gel base coat, polish, and gel top coat are necessary for the nail set. each coat of polish cures under the LED or UV lamp until dry. after that, voilá, you’re done and your nails are looking good (like really good).
how to remove nail extensions?
there are many ways to remove nail extensions but not all of them are the right way.
peeling gel nails off of your natural nail is a really bad idea — like really, really bad. not only could you mess up the integrity of the nail, but you could also cause damage or an infection in between each laying, making it harder for you to get them redone in the future. just trust us, don't do this.
the best way to get those bad boys off properly that works well is to use soak-off treatment. an example of soak-off treatment would be placing a cotton ball drenched in polish remover to the nails and let them sit, wrapped in tin foil. this softens the bonds allowing you to wipe or buff off the leftover residue.
we'll leave step-by-step instructions here so you can save this for later, but feel free to jump to the next section for more info.
remove soft gel extensions
- remove the length from each nail with nail clippers. be nice and gentle!
- use a coarse 180-grit nail file to file the shiny top layer from each nail. filing roughens up the surface and makes the gel more penetrable by acetone.
- soak 10 cotton balls in pure acetone and place one on each nail. then, wrap each nail in a small piece of tin foil.
- allow your foiled fingers to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. it’s the perfect time to watch some tik toks or a tv show — just avoid using your phone.
- remove the foil wraps to reveal the lifted gel. then, use an orangewood stick to push the gel from each nail. follow by filing, buffing, and shaping the nails. finish with cuticle oil, and you’re good to go!
acetone won’t remove the hard gel, so this removal method requires a little extra work:
remove hard gel extensions
- remove the length of the nail extension with some clippers.
- use a coarse nail file to file away most of the gel from each nail, being careful to leave a thin layer. the thin layer will ensure that you don’t damage the natural nails underneath.
- buff each nail to smooth the surface. next, shape your nails and apply cuticle oil. you’re good to go.
how long do gel nail extensions last?
great question! they last two to three weeks on average, so you’ll want new sets ready every time your current ones run out. if it feels like they're too short or that there's not enough space for growth between applications, then don't worry because at this point in time gel refills can be added onto existing treatments — if there's a will, there's a way.
what about a refill, you ask? it's the same as the first application. you can expect your gel nails to last anywhere from 2-3 weeks. as with anything, if they're taken care of properly, they will have a longer life! but it's totally okay if you feel like you want to take them off before.
are gel nail extensions safe?
yes, nail enhancements — both gel and acrylic — are safe when done right! the best way to avoid problems is by learning how they should be applied (and removed). stick with us, we’ve got you covered.
gel nail extensions add length and strength to natural nails. they’re basically steroids for your nails —. these extensions are for you if you suffer from nubby nails that just won't grow. gel extensions are also ideal if you have weak, brittle nails. these extensions are also perfect for anyone prone to biting their nails.
step out in style
gel nails are popular, and there's a reason it's led you here. these extensions are made with nail forms and a hard gel or one-step gel, which form each extension and overlay. once your nail set is complete, you can wear them for two to three weeks. after that point, it’s time for a refill.
we recommend looking for an all-in-one kit that includes builder gel, one-step gel, super bond primer, nail prep dehydrator, non-wipe gel top coat, nail forms, and even some chrome flakes because why not?
we hope this tldr was exactly what you needed and all your questions were answered. have fun with the endless creativity and glam that comes with nail extensions. don’t forget to tag us in your creation — we can’t wait to see your work 🤎.
Gel Nail Extensions vs. Acrylic Nails: How to Pick the Best Manicure for You | Allure
How to Remove Your Acrylics or Gels at Home (Published 2020) | NY Times
Gel Extensions: Everything to Know About This Nail-Lengthening Manicure Technique | Allure