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Which type of fake nails are best?

Manicure
Manicure

Interview with Sarah, director of SGD Body & Beauty, which originally appeared in HealthLogix. These are some of the factors in understanding which type of fake nails are best for your individual lifestyle.

Can you please explain the technology/process for gel, acrylic, SNS and shellac nails? There are so many resources online for explaining the process for these types of nails in layman’s terms.

Acrylic nails were the original, and have been around since the 70’s.  An artificial nail extension is applied, and then glued on with liquid monomer and polymer powder, which is then hardened under a UV lamp.

Gel nails are available in hard and soft versions.  Hard gels can be formed into a nail extension, and hence will also offer length.  As the name suggests, these products are applied as a gel, which is then hardened under an LED or UV lamp.  Soft gels are products like shellac, and other gel polishes, which are applied as a polish, and then hardened or set, usually under an LED lamp.

SNS nails are a gel type system which utilise a brush on base, which is then dipped in powder. Click here to read more. 

Could you also list the pros and cons of each of the above to help us understand which type of fake nails are best? Artificial nails such as acrylic and gel nails offer instant length, with the addition of an artificial nail tip, however, technicians usually drill and file the natural nail as part of the process, which can thin and weaken the natural nail.  Hence,when the artificial nail is removed, often by soaking in harsh chemicals such as acetone, the natural nail is significantly weakened and the surrounding cuticle and skin is also damaged by the acetone used for removal.  Shellac and other similar UV gel polish systems ofter similar strength and shine to artificial nails without the need for drilling and filing, however, they do not offer the instant length.  Shellac does also use acetone to remove, but this is added to a small pad, and wrapped in foil, and left to activate using the body heat to help remove the polish.  As the acetone is limited to the small pad over the nail, the whole finger tip/toe is not exposed to acetone, resulting in less damage to the skin, cuticle, and surrounding area.  If any form of artificial nail (even Shellac type treatments) is peeled off, it can also cause layers of the natural nail to peel off with it, weakening the nail and resulting in a rough surface.

Why did you stop using artificial nails? How did your nails suffer? I stopped using artificial nails, as a result of very weak, unhealthy nails, which were prone to breakage, and wouldn’t even hold a coat of normal polish as the surface was extremely rough and uneven.

If women were seeking nicer nails, which type of treatments would you recommend? Which types are best? I would recommend Shellac like treatments, as they do not require filing and drilling of the natural nail.  In particular,  Orly Gel FX.  Orly Gel FX is a shellac type gel polish system, which includes a vitamin enriched nail tip primer, and vitamin infused base coat, and cures under an LED lamp in only 30 seconds.  The nail tip primer strengthens the tip of the nail, and preserves the health of the natural nail, as the tip is often the area of the nail most prone to breakage.  The base coat is also vitamin infused providing nourishment to the natural nail.

Is it possible to wear artificial nails without damaging the natural nail? If so, how?  This is often the key factor in which type of fake nails are best. It is possible to wear shellac type gel nails, or SNS gel nails without damaging the nail by filing.  To minimise damage, always have them removed correctly (or buy supplies to remove them correctly at home, Priceline sells shellac gel nail removal tools and supplies), so that you don’t peel off layers of nail when you remove them.  Also, only soak or leave the acetone pads on your nails for the shortest amount of time possible.

Aside from weakening your natural nail, can artificial nails pose any other risks? (infection, illness due to bacteria trapped under them etc.) Artificial nails, particularly those processes with drill, and file the natural nail can result in the nail becoming weakened, and more susceptible to breakage.  As artificial nails are also kept on the nail for a long time, up to 3-4 weeks, if the application technique is not flawless, it can result in bacteria or moisture being trapped under the surface, which can result in infections and illness, but this can also apply to any polish or treatment which covers the nail for a significant period of time.

I’ve heard SNS is different to gels, acrylics etc. as it doesn’t use UV light and contains minerals to strengthen the nail. Can you discuss whether this is true and why/why not?  SNS nails are different, they do not require a UV lamp to cure them, given the slightly different chemistry of the powders.  They also feel quite light compared to traditional acrylics, even though the application can be quite similar, apart from the tip.  You often don’t apply a tip as part of an SNS treatment.

How exactly do artificial nails damage our natural nails? Is it the filing before they are attached, the removal by soaking them in acetone? Or something else? The damage to the natural nail from artificial nails is mainly due to the filing, and the acetone used for removal, or by peeling the artificial nail or shellac off without using the correct removal process. The question of what type of fake nails are best is often influenced by these factors.

If a woman was considering getting, or had been using artificial nails for a while, what advice would you give them? If a woman had been using artificial nails for a while, I would definitely recommend giving your nails a periodic break, and moving to a treatment like Orly Gel FX, where the vitamin infused base coat will help your natural nail to strengthen and grow back.  From then, stick to healthier treatments like shellac polish or SNS nails, which are not going to damage your nails as much, and ensure you always remove the polish correctly.

Anything else to add?

Always remember to remove nail enhancements correctly, and if you are short on time, why not try searching for a local mobile service? Contact us now if you’re short on time but still want the best in nail care. We can also help you with a personalised recommendation on which type of fake nails may be best for your lifestyle.

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