Manicurist applying nail polish© Getty Images

Gel, Acrylic Or Regular Polish, What’s Best For Your Nails?

Reisha Shetty
Junior Digital Writer

Nowadays, getting your nails to look as perfect as your outfit is an absolute must. With more and more social media influencers and celebrities sharing their love for pampering their talons, figuring out what nail colour or art you’re going to sport on a daily basis is a dilemma that we’re all too familiar with. But, let’s be honest, the daily influx of trends, colours, techniques, is a tad overwhelming.

But don’t fret, we’re here to make things easier. Here’s everything you need to know about gel nails and how to make sure yours are always looking on point.

Kinds Of Nail Polishes

Regular Nail Polish

Affordable, classic and available almost everywhere, regular or basic nail polish has been around forever. While this nail polish is not always long-lasting, it can be reapplied at home with minimum effort—perfect way to avoid chipped nails by the end of the week. Plus, they don’t damage the nails too much and are a lot cheaper in comparison to gel nail polish, which is usually done by a certified nail technician in a salon.

There are many kinds of nail polish available in the market. You can fine nail polishes in different finishes, textures and colours, but the two most popular types are Glossy and Matte.

  • Glossy: Glossy is the regular, go-to nail polish finish for most brands and colours. This is a more classic style and is easier to maintain.
  • Matte: Matte is a smoother finish that gives your nail a very sophisticated look. While there are a few nail polishes that come in a matte finish, there are top coats that you can use on your regular nail polish to mattify them.

Gel Nail Polish

A popular favourite amongst most women is the gel nail polish. This kind of nail polish is usually applied by a certified nail technician, who preps your nails first and then applies the gel nail lacquer and cures it with a UV light to make sure that it’s completely set. Usually, a gel nail polish can last anywhere from two to four weeks depending on how well you maintain it. Plus it grows along with your natural nail length, unlike a regular nail polish that starts chipping off in just a week.

Acrylic Nail Polish

An acrylic nail polish is a combination of liquid and powder colour. The nail polish can be applied on your bare nails as well as extensions without any prep. Once the polish is cured and has hardened, it can then be shaped into your desired nail shape. This type of polish can also last for about two to four weeks since it grows along with your nail.

Nail Stickers

One of the easiest ways to get a fresh manicure when you’re on the go, Nail Stickers are the fuss-free hack that every girl needs in her life. All you need to do is attach the sticker to your nails, and make sure that it sits well on your nail bed. Then, start bending it on the tip of your nails and with the help of a nail filer, remove the excess sticker. Make sure to not overfill your nails to avoid damaging your nail or the sticker.

Dip Powder

Unlike other nail manicure styles, this one uses powder instead of liquid or gel nail polish. Start off by prepping your nails and applying a hard coat, then dip your finger in the powder and brush off the excess from the nail. You have to keep repeating this process until your manicure looks clean and fresh.

Regular Nail Polish V/S Gel Nail Polish

Regular Nail Polish

Key Features

  • Can be applied in the comfort of your home at any time.
  • Is easily available in the market and you can choose from a wide range of colours.
  • Is cheaper than its counterpart.

Best For:

  • Kids and adults with sensitive nails.
  • For anyone who likes to experiment with new colours every other week, this is a better and healthier option for your nails.

Gel Nail Polish

Key Features

  • Hardens your nails so there are lesser chances of them breaking.
  • Super long-lasting and can look fresh for at least two weeks.

Best For:

  • Anyone who likes to have perfectly manicured nails that last longer.
  • People who prefer low-maintenance and long-lasting nails.
  • Anyone who can afford to spend money on getting this manicure.

Pros V/S Cons

Regular Nail Polish


  • It’s good for the health of your nails.
  • It can be applied and removed at any time.
  • It’s a lot cheaper and is easily accessible.


  • It’s not long-lasting.
  • It starts chipping in just a week, which makes your nails look shabby.
  • It starts to fade after just a few days.

Gel Nail Polish


  • It’s long-lasting and can last for upto a month if taken care of.
  • Looks fresh and clean for a long time.
  • It grows with your nails so the chances of chipping are less.


  • Can be harmful for your nails and skin.
  • Can damage your nail beds if you apply it very often.
  • Cannot be applied or removed at home.
  • It’s more expensive in comparison to a regular nail polish.

Different Kinds Of Nail Extensions Available For Gel Nail Polishes

Press-On Extensions

The easiest way of getting extensions, press-on nails, much like their name, only need to be pressed onto your nails with the help of nail glue or a sticker. While these extensions also come in different colours and design, they are not always available for all nail sizes. You can also get your hands on tip versions of these press-on nails that can be applied to the tip of your nails to add more length before you fill them in with gel or acrylic filler.

Acrylic Extensions

When opting for acrylic extensions, start off by buffing and filing your natural nails and adding a nail tip to increase the length. Once the tip is secured, a mixture of liquid monomer and powder polymer is applied, which creates a thick cream-like texture that can be moulded and sculpted over your nails. Once dry and cured, the nails are shaped and buffed to get an even and clean finish.

Gel Extensions

A very popular choice for many, the preparation of gel and acrylic extensions is almost identical. But there are two options to make the extension—you can either stick on a tip or with the help of paper form, you can create the extension from scratch. A gel mould is used to fill in the extension and another coat can be added to even out the nails.

Fibreglass Extensions

Fibreglass extensions are a lesser-known type of nail extensions that are made using fibreglass or silk nail extensions. They are attached to the bed or the tip of the nail and are then sealed to your natural nail with help of resin or glue. After the extension is sealed, you can build the nail up. This process is a lot more expensive and time-consuming in comparison to others since you have to be very careful with fibreglass.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Can we remove gel nail polish at home?

A: While there are many tutorials on how to remove gel nail polish at home, it’s always better to get them removed at a nail salon by a nail technician who will make sure that your nails aren’t damaged in the process.

Q2. For how long can I keep getting gel nail polish on my nails?

A: You can get a gel manicure done 3-4 times without any hassle. But make sure you give your nails a break in the middle so that they have time to recover from the damage endured during the process.

Q3. How to take care of your nails at home?

A: Always apply nail strengthening polish to your bare nails along with some cuticle oil. You can also keep a hand cream handy at all times and applying it throughout the day to ensure your hands, and nails, are always moisturised.