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3 Alternatives to Acrylic Nails You Need to Know About

If you neglected your nails this summer and want to get them back into shape quickly, but don’t have the time to devote to nail supplements or to wait for them strengthen and grow out, you might think acrylics are the answer. Well, think again — acrylics might look fab, but there are drawbacks. Mainly, the chemicals used to apply them are bad for your health and can do serious damage to your nails over time. Luckily there are some alternatives. These nail treatments will give you the gorgeous manicure you’re after without the dreaded downsides of acrylics.

1. Gel Nails: GelColor no-chip nails have become a modern beauty mainstay: They’re virtually indestructible, impossibly glossy, and offer two to three weeks of flawless nails.

Gel polishes are comprised of stronger ingredients that grasp the nail tighter than traditional lacquers and are strong enough to stand up to daily wear and tear without chipping. Gels are cured under a UV or LED lamp creating a hardened layer of polish that makes it more durable and longer lasting.

The removal process for gel polish is more complex as well, requiring the nail to be soaked in acetone to properly dissolve the formula off of the nail. We know that once you’re used to a flawless mani, it can be hard to take a break. However, alternating between non-toxic gel manicures to non-toxic traditional polish, or going bare can help to allow nails to rehydrate and repair.

When your nails are naked, treat them with a strengthening treatment or a nourishing oil, such as Ella+Mila First Aid Kiss or LVX 3 In 1 Treatment.


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2. Dip Powder Nails: Dip powder nails are a good option if you’re looking for something more than a gel manicure, but aren’t ready to commit to fake nails yet. You’ll start with a base coat and buff as usual. Then, like the name suggests, you’ll actually dip your nails into a powder in the color of your choice. Your manicurist will shake off the excess powder and apply a sealant and topcoat. Unlike gel, there’s no need to dry under a UV light, making this a healthier option for the skin on your hands. They last longer too. Expect three to four weeks of flawless nails.

You’re probably thinking, “But is it healthier than gel manicures?”. They are similar in that both provide an extra layer of protection to natural nails. As mentioned dip nails don’t require UV/LED light and are typically a much quicker process to apply from start to finish.

Much like a gel manicure, dip powder nails can be removed by soaking the nails in acetone for 10 minutes and wiping it off with a paper towel. However, the powder doesn’t always slide off easily. If soaking the nails in acetone for 10 minutes doesn’t work, the powder will need to be removed with an electric file.

Regularly putting your nails through the aggressive removal process can damage the nail matrix. The easiest way to avoid this is by giving your nails some breathing room once a month between dip powder manicures, just like you would with gels.

And again, when your nails are naked, treat them.


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3. Gel-X Nail Extensions: Similar to acrylics, but without any of the toxic methyl methacrylate, Gel-X Nail Extensions are a solid alternative.

Fans of this method like how natural the extensions look and feel, which is also why it’s a popular pick for celebrities like Janelle Monae, Elle Fanning, Candice Swanepoel, and Ashley Graham.

You can pick from a variety of shapes like square, round, or stiletto, and your manicurist will use a small amount of gel to secure the extension to your own nail. It dries under an LED light and colorful gel polish can be applied per usual if you’d like. Unlike acrylic or hard-gel extensions, Gel-X tips don’t just sit at the tip of the nails. Instead, they cover the entire nail bed from cuticle to free edge. These are strong and sturdy and can last up to three weeks.

If you’re looking for a fresh set, prepare to designate at least an hour and a half for extensions. Plus, add more time if you want to add gel polish on top. You do not have to use gel polish with Gel-X nails though.


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Be sure to learn everything about this awesome program and even send out referrals.

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