which nail extension is better

Nail Extension Explained!

Nail extension is not a new concept however in last 5 years, the technology has advanced and therefore there are many different type of nail extensions available. If you are not within the industry or new to the nail industry, it can be a little confusing to decide which type of nail extension is right for you. We often get asked this question and it is a very important questions. Which type of nail extension is better for your nails? 

To answer this question, we need to start by explaining different types of nail extensions and their pros and cons. 

therefore, in this blog, we will discuss:

  • What is nail extension
  • Why choose nail extension
  • Different types of nail extension
  • How long each type of nail extension last
  • Plus we will answer some of the questions we have had from you

What is nail extension?

Beautiful long nails can make a huge different to how you feel and how your hands look. if you have super short nails or unable to grow your nails, nail extension may be an option for you. Nail extension or nail enhancement is a term used when you make your nails longer than they are using specialised products such as nail tips. 

Additionally longer nails provide a bigger surface to create amazing nail art.

which nail extension is better

Why choose nail extension?

There are many reasons why someone chooses to have nail extension such as:

  • Like the way nail extension look
  • Like longer nails but can't grow their own nail naturally
  • Have bitten nails and want to stop biting
  • For special occasions such as weddings, engagement, birthday parties and more

It simply is a choice and you can have your nails extended a little bit or super long.

You can also choose the shape that you want. Some of the common shapes are: Coffin, Almond, Square and Stiletto

which nail shape is better

What are different types of nail extension?

There are many different types and most common ones are:

  • Acrylic nails
  • Dipping nails also known as SNS 
  • Hard gel nails
  • Polygel nails
  • Soft gel nails

Now let's look at each type of nail extension.

Is acrylic bad for nails

Acrylic Nails:

Acrylic nails are combination of mix powder and liquid monomer that create a dough like consistency. To apply the mixed product, an acrylic brush is used. The product dries in air and then it will require a lot of filing to make them look thinner and more natural. 

Acrylic nails were one of the first type of nail extension that were strong enough to last. 

Is Acrylic nails good or bad?

Acrylic nails are less popular now due to a number of reasons.

  1. According to US National Library of Medicine Monomer can cause a range of adverse health effects such as irritation to skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, allergic dermatitis, stomatitis, asthma, neuropathy, disturbances of the central nervous system, liver toxicity, and fertility disturbances.
  2. Acrylic nails use acrylic brush that require animal hair for them to work. As a vegan who strongly is against animal cruelty, this makes acrylic nails is NO option. There are so many other options for have long nails which is not causing inhuman treatment to innocent animals.
  3. They are consider as durable and because often they are thicker, they break harder.
  4. The place where acrylic is applied often smell of strong chemicals. 
  5. Due to excessive filing required, it is a very dusty process and most acrylic nail techs wear gloves. As a client, you should also wear gloves to avoid breathing in the acrylic dust
  6. The nails if not files correctly can look uneven, lumpy and too thick.
  7. The extension can feel heavy on the nails 
  8. There is a chance of over filing and damaging natural nails because acrylic require filing 
  9. Acrylic set can take a long time to create which is not ideal for nail technicians and clients.
  10. Not an option for at home nail extension kit. 

So based on above, we vote NO to acrylic nails.

How long do acrylic nails last?

Acrylic nails typically can last 3 weeks and need to be redone. This is normally done by a process called balancing, backfilling or refill. This means that the nail technician, doesn't remove the whole product but fills the gap between your cuticle and the old nails.

Is dipping SNS bad for your nails

Dipping nails also known as SNS

Dipping or SNS became very popular around mid 1990's because they didn't smell as bad as acrylic and took less time than acrylic to create. 

Dipping nail extension is a type of nail extension that you apply a sticky liquid (super glue) and then dip your finger into the powder (acrylic powder). The powder simply sticks to the glue. This process is repeated until a thicker layer is made. 

Then the nails are required to be filed down to look natural. 

So basically speaking, dipping or SNS is acrylic powder applied to nails using super glue. 

Is dipping nails good or bad?

Dipping nails are slowly losing their popularity due to better systems out there and more and more people being aware of these options. 

  1. They do not have chemical smells like acrylic
  2. Almost anyone who has had dipping has experienced their nails feeling like paper after the product is removed. This is because super glue is not designed to be applied on top of the nails and damages the nails
  3. It is common for dipping nails to look uneven or lumpy. This is not so much due to the product but more it requires a very skilled nail technicians to file it down correctly and it does take time. 
  4. Majority of dipping systems are non vegan which makes is a NO from us. 
  5. Not an ideal option for at home nail extension kit as it never looks as good due to the filing techniques needed.

So based on above, we vote NO to acrylic nails.

How long do dipping nails last?

dipping nails typically can last 2-3 weeks and they are prone to a lot of lifting. This means the nails need to be redone. This is normally done by removing the old nail extensions by soaking the hand & nails in pure acetone that is warmed up by placing the ball of acetone into a ball of hot water. I personally do not like this technique as the heat makes the acetone fume and as a result dries your skin which is damaging to your nails and call cause allergies. 


Is gel bad for nails

Hard Gel Nails:

Hard gel is similar to acrylic nails, except it cures in a LED light and doesn't used monomer. It is NOT gel polish, shellac, soft gel, and soak off gel.

The hard gel normally comes in a tube or a jar and you can extend the length of the nail with hard gel using half cover nail tips or forms. 

Similar to acrylic, hard gel requires to be filed to shape. Unlike Acrylic, hard gel is not as harmful. 

Is hard gel nails good or bad?

Hard gel nails are not as popular as other nail extension techniques. However they do look a lot more natural and much lighter than acrylic. There are a few things you need to know about hard gel nails specially if you are not a trained nail technician and want to do nail extension at home.

  1. Similar to acrylic these need to be filed to shape otherwise can look even, and unnatural. 
  2. Hard gel nails can not be soak off, which means if you want to remove them, you have to completely filled them off your nails. This increases the risk of over filing and damaging your natural nails. 
  3. Hard gel nails need a lot of practice to get perfect and when you are starting, it can take a lot time to complete a set of nails.

So based on above, we vote MAYBE to hard gel extension. 

How long do hard gel nails last?

Dipping nails typically can last 3-5 weeks. This means the nails need to be redone. Similar to acrylic nails, this is normally done by a process called balancing, backfilling or refill. This means that the nail technician, doesn't remove the whole product but fills the gap between your cuticle and the old nails.

Is polygel bad for nails

Polygel Extension:

Polygel extension is normally sold in a tube and it is a mixture of acrylic powder and gel. Polygel consistency can be described at patty like gel and it is  easier to apply but still requires a little bit of filing however not as much as acrylic nails, dipping nails or hard gel nails. 

Generally a plastic nail used to help shaped the polygel and then it is applied onto the nails. Because it has gel in the product, it needs to be cured under a LED lamp. 

To remove & replace, unlike hard gel nails, you can soak off polygel or backfill it. 

Is  polygel nails good or bad?

Polygel nails didn't become super popular and we believe it is because dipping nails were still very popular and polygel if not applied correctly may not last. One key advantage of polygel over acrylic nails, dipping nails and hard gel nails is that it doesn't take as long to create because it requires a lot less filing.

  1. Polygel nails often pop off if not applied correctly
  2. It needs a little bit of practice to learn how to apply them
  3. It may be a good option for at home nail extension kit however you need a few key tools to be able to do this at home.
  4. If applied thin, it can break easily because often there is nothing to support the extended nails.
  5. It still requires filing to shape and can be uneven if not done correctly.

So based on above, we vote MAYBE to Polygel extension. 

How long do polygel nails last?

If applied correctly, polygel nails typically can last 3 weeks before requiring to be reapplied. This means the nails can be removed by soaking them similar to dipping and reapplied or you can similar to hard gel nails refill them. 


Is gel bad for nails?

Soft Gel Nails:

Soft gel nail extension uses gel based products to extend your nails. They are also called soak off nail extension because they are 100% soak off unlike hard gel nail extensions and they do not have acrylic in them. They are purely gel based. These are not the same as gel polish as they are stronger and you can extend your nails with them.

The newest technology in soft gel nails is Brush on Builder gel or Builder Gel in a Bottle.

Similar to all the other nail extension systems we have talk about, soft gel nail extension can be done using half cover tips and forms. 

However there is something even more exciting about soft gel nails that has made a nail extension at home or at salon even better.  This new technique is called full cover tips. 

What is full cover tips?

Full cover tips are the type of nail tips that cover your whole nails. The advantage they have is that they are pre-shaped and therefore do not require any filing. Most importantly they look and feel natural and anyone can do these with a little bit of practice which makes these the perfect at home nail extension kit.

Is soft gel nails good or bad?

Soft gel nails are starting to become super popular thanks to their ease of use, perfect shape and celebrities endorsement such as J.Lo. 

  1. Doesn't need filing to shape
  2. It is super fast to apply therefore a more economical solution if you own a salon
  3. It is easy to learn and you don't need to complete a nail technician course to learn how to do it. 
  4. It is the best solution out there for at home nail extension kit 
  5. It feels and looks like natural nails

So based on above, we vote Yes to full cover nail extension. 

How long do soft gel nails last?

Soft gel nails typically can last 3-5 weeks. When it is time to redo them, you can either remove them or refill the gap with the builder gel in a bottle. 

Your questions answered about nail extension:

Are nail extension the same as acrylic?

No, acrylic is a type of nail extension and there are many other types of nail extension that you can choose. 

Is nail extension harmful?

Some nail extension like acrylic and dipping can be and some like full cover nail extension are not.

Is nail extension painful?

NOOOOO! If you ever go to a salon and it is painful, stop the process and run out of the door. 

Is there a nail extension without filing?

Yes, full cover nail extension do not require filing on your nails as the full cover nails are already shaped and don't require reshaping.

Can I do nail art on top of nail extension?

Yes, you can paint and add nail art to all of the nail extension systems that we discussed. 

What is the best & safest type of nail extension?

In our opinion, full cover nail extension because:

  • Feels like your own nails
  • No filing required
  • They are strong
  • Last as long as other types of nail extension
  • Less damaging to your nails
  • They are super fast to apply
  • They don't have strong fumes
  • They are the best at home nail extension kit

Where to purchase full cover nail extension kit?

At Mitty, when we were researching what products to create for nail extension we decided to offer the best and the safest nail extension which is full cover nail extension. So to make it easier, we have created a nail extension starter kit to help you get started. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, you can comment below or email us if you have any questions info@mitty.com.au

Interested in learning more? check out our nail courses and nail trainings. We offer both online and face to face training. (Australia only). Click HERE to find out more

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