SNS, Shellac, Acrylic & Gel nails … explained

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I have decided to write this post as people often ask me what type of false nails I’m wearing. A lot of people have never had false nails and some are thinking of changing from one type to another and are unsure about which option to go for SNS, Shellac, Gel or Acrylic. That’s why I have written this post, to help people pick.

For years I only ever had filed nails with a coat of clear polish. I was never a big fan of dolled up nails, that is until my sister got gel nails, she has long elegant fingers and they just looked so lovely on her that I decided I wanted to get them myself.

I wore these gorgeous gel nails for about a year and loved them. Then I moved to London and just couldn’t get anyone to do them the same way over there so I migrated to acrylic. I wore these for about five years (crazy I know!). Between Ireland, London and Australia, I haven’t come across anywhere to do them as good as the Irish.

I have had all four types of nails so I will tell you about my experience with each of them.

So here are the pros and cons, do’s and don’ts for all four:

Gel Nails

Gel Nails Daly Fashion Fix

The above image is not of my nails (as I haven’t had them in a while) it is a good representation of what they look like. Gel nails give a lovely natural elegant look without a paint overlay. You do have to get them soaked off but they are robust enough to file and shape between refills. With gel, you can get just a gel overlay or a nail tip and an overlay for longer nails. Gel nails are set with a UV light.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails Daly Fashion Fix

This image is not of my nails either but a good representation of the acrylic finish. Again acrylic nail are robust enough to file and shape between refills. They don’t give quite as natural a finish as the gel so I would get a colour over the acrylic.

You can get an overlay or nail tips or just an overlay with acrylic nails. Acrylic nails tend to be a bit cheaper than gel nails. They also have to be soaked off. Acrylic nails are set with a UV light.

SNS Nails 

Acrylic nails Daly Fashion Fix

The above image are my actual nails so this is the kind of finish you can expect. SNS gives a gorgeous finish. SNS always comes in a colour but there are plenty of nude colours to choose from.

You can get nail tips with SNS for a longer nail. SNS tends to be slightly more expensive then Shellac. SNS would not be as robust as acrylic and gel and I would wouldn’t recommend filing and shaping between refills.

SNS is applied by layering and setting powder, no UV lamp needed. SNS is definitely the least damaging to remove, once you soak it in acetone it slides off. If you want to get false nails for a once off I would go for SNS

Shellac Nails

Shellac Nails Daly Fashion Fix

The above photo are my own nails so this is the finish you can expect from Shellac. Shellac is the only option that you cannot get with a nail tip. There is a variety of gorgeous colours you can get in Shellac.

Again with Shellac, I wouldn’t recommend filing and shaping between refills as it’s likely to crack.

My top tip for first timers who want long nails is… Go into the salon with your natural nails short and either get tips or wait until you’re own nails grows out with the strength of the overlay. I have had an overlay done on my own natural nails when they were long and they cracked after a few days as they weren’t strong enough.

Another tip for those opting for Shellac. You can soak off Shellac by soaking some cotton pads in nail varnish remover (as strong as you can find) placing the cotton pad on you’re nail and wrapping the tips of your fingers in tin foil to keep the cotton pad in place.

Lastly just a quick mention on nail shapes, there is a variety you can go for, square, squoal, rounded, oval, almond, coffin or stiletto, if you’re channeling you’re inner Rhianna!

Nail Shapes Daly Fashion Fix

I hope this post has helped those of you trying to figure out the maze that is false nails. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for more beauty updates.

O xx

6 Comments so far:

  1. Aisling B says:

    My friends in Australia have just introduced me to SNS nails, they look lovely. Do you know if Dublin has caught on yet? Where can I get them??

    • orlsnd says:

      Hi Aisling, sorry about the delay, just seeing a load of messages. I haven’t actually gotten them in Dublin yet. I will let you know if I find a good one. x

  2. Connie says:

    Hi, great article, however Acrylic nails are never set in a UV light!

    • orlsnd says:

      Hi Connie,
      Sorry about the delay, I am just seeing lots of messages. Thanks for your message, any salon I went to always used the UV light, maybe there are different practices in different countries. I haven’t gotten them done in Ireland yet. Thanks for following the blog, I love to get the feedback, hope you enjoy my future posts 🙂

  3. Julie says:

    Hi – great write up. I’m in London this week and trying to find a good salon to get my SNS nails filled in/repaired. Would appreciate any recommendations – your SNS mani looked great!

    Thank you!

    • orlsnd says:

      Hi Julie, sorry about the delay, I didn’t see your message. I haven’t lived in London for a few years now so wouldn’t be up to speed with the nail salons there. I would ask how long they have been doing SNS to gauge their experience before making an apointment. I hope you got sorted. x