A little bit of history...
Acrylic nails have arisen from acrylates used in dentistry.
Trough the 50's, a dental technician from America experimented with these products and discovered multiple uses for acrylic beside dental prosthetics.
Acrylic nails were born.
Gel nails also have arisen from products for dentistry, but these have arisen much later, around the 80's.
The purpose of artificial nails:
*strengthen the nails
*lengthen the nails
*fix nails from cracks and rips
The different types of artificial nails:
Artificial nails can be divided in 4 types.
The most known and most used are gel and acrylic. Less known and less asked for are
silk (wrap) and fiberglass.
This is a "ready to go" product that can be applied immediately to the natural nail.
Gel only hardens(cures) or crystalizes under the influence of UV light, which makes it workable for a very long time.
*Base gel is a thin gel that ensures good adhesion with other gels. Can also be used as a high shine finish gel for color gels.
*Color gels are used instead of nail polish, for a longer lasting result without chipping or fading.
*Builder gel is a thicker gel and is used for creating strength and that nice arch. This gel comes in different tints (clear, pink, ...)
Gel needs to be stored at room temperature (preferably 20°c or 68°F)
If it is too hot the gel will become runny and if it is too cold the gel will become too thick.
When builder gel is turning from a gel-like substance into its hard form under the UV light, the gel produces heat and some people find that a bit painful. Tell them that if they feel heat, that it is normal. Some brands create more or less heat than the other.
Note: Do not sit outside or near a window, the UV light from the sun will start to harden your gel, even if it's not sunny outside.
This exists of two components (liquid and powder) that have to come in contact with each other.
Exposure to air of these conjoined products will start the crystallization and you have to work fast.
This is fabric of natural source that is woven close together.
The silk is applied to the nail with nail glue. On top of the silk comes 3 layers of glue which needs to be hardened layer after layer. Afterwards the nail is shaped with a file. And for a final result the nail may or may not be polished with nail polish.
This can be compared with silk. But this is an artificial products that is woven not so close together. It is applied the same as silk.
Gel vs. Acrylic
Either way, you may or may not extend the nails with a tip or a form.