If you’re interested in working in the nail care industry, then you’ll need to know the differences between a number of techniques and mediums. For instance, do you know what the difference is between acrylic and gel nails? And do you know what PolyGel, a revolutionary new treatment sweeping across the industry, involves? Read on to find the answers!


What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails are extensions of natural nails. Applying them involves filing the natural nail bed down, and then adding a mix of acrylic powder and liquid. This creates an acrylic which is used to mould the artificial nail. After this, nail polish can be applied to the smooth surface.



  • Acrylic nails can last for up to 4 weeks.
  • They are very hard and resistant to damage.
  • They provide a smooth surface for applying nail art.
  • Clients can choose the length of the nail.


  • They can cause damage to natural nail beds.
  • They sometimes look less natural than gel nails.
  • When applied, the process involves unpleasant chemicals and fumes.
  • Unlike regular manicures where nail polish can easily be removed, acrylic nails have to be soaked in potentially harmful acetone.


What are gel nails?

Gel nails are not extensions – they are formed by brushing three coats of gel onto the natural nail. A base coat is first applied, followed by a polish colour and then a protective top coat. After being applied, each coat is cured under a UV light for a few minutes.



  • They give a shiny, fresh look.
  • They are more flexible than acrylic nails and therefore less likely to chip off.
  • Drying time is much quicker than a regular manicure.
  • There are no unpleasant fumes during application.


  • They only last for up to 2 weeks.
  • Exposure to UV rays can be dangerous to skin.
  • The UV light can also cause heat spikes which cause pain to the nail bed.
  • If badly applied, the gel can peel off.
  • The removal process also involves soaking in acetone.


What are PolyGel nails?

Developed by nail care product specialists Gelish, PolyGel was designed to combine the positive aspects of both acrylic and gel nails. This revolutionary product uses a mix of acrylic powder in a gel base. The treatment is applied like gel, starting with a base layer, followed by polish and then a top layer.



  • PolyGel nails are both strong and flexible.
  • The formula has a pleasant scented odour.
  • They cure fast under a harmless LED light.
  • They are very light and comfortable to wear.
  • They can be easily filed off with a nail file and buffer.


  • They can cause heat spikes when incorrectly applied.
  • They are significantly more expensive than other treatments.


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