WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SNS, ACRYLIC, GEL, OPI, SHELLAC What’s the difference?
different countries have different definitions of the same term. the term “Gel” can mean a very different thing in the UK to US or Australia and even within the same country.
here at Airlie Day Spa, working with Nailz By Dezign, we offer a number of different services and we will try and explain, the difference, benefits and limitations of each.
NORMAL POLISH (NAIL LACQUER)
simple to put on, simple to take off, we use the OPI brand of nail polish, which is a quality brand, but out of all our services will have the shortest lasting finish. (See Below – How long will my polish last?)
with the humidity in this region, normal polish can take an hour or longer to dry hard and you should consider this when deciding on normal polish for your nails. a walk along the beach shortly after leaving the salon can ruin your perfect pedicure, or for that matter a swim in the lagoon may ruin your manicure!
GEL POLISH (OPI GEL AND GELISH)
gel polish is applied like a regular nail polish onto natural nails, but uses a special base coat, 2 or 3 coats of colour and a special top coat. each layer is cured under a LED light. there is zero dry time.
it cannot be used to extend your natural nail length, however, the gel component in it does add strength and durability to the nail.
gel polish will last longer than normal polish (lacquer); we estimate three times longer.
gel should be removed by soaking in acetone, either at home or in salon.
in summary, gel polish is a great pop of colour that stays looking great for longer than regular nail polish, and maintains a protective layer for the surface of your nails.
shellac is actually a brand name and product of the company CND, it is essentially the same system as gel polish. (above)
when you want longer nails, or want to change the shape of your existing nails, we offer acrylic extensions.
usually for an initial full set, tips are applied (think ‘fake nails’) and then the acrylic, which is a polymer powder, and monomer liquid, which are used together to overlay over the top. the acrylic hardens as it is exposed to the air. your nails can then be shaped and as long as you want. finally your nails are then painted. (we always recommend a gel polish or even SNS over the top – see below).
the upkeep is to have an ‘infill’ every two-three weeks, as opposed to removal and reapplication.
gel extensions (hard based gel)
around the world, hard based gel provides added length and strength to your nails and is more flexible than acrylic and SNS.
unfortunately we have found problems with hard base gel lasting here in the tropics, so it is one service we do not offer.
SNS, short for Signature Nail System, is a powder dipping system.
first, your nails are prepped and primed in exactly the same way that they are for acrylic application. if you want extra length, tips are glued on at this stage exactly the same as acrylics (above)
a base coat is applied, followed by the nail being ‘dipped’ into a coloured powder. this process is repeated a number of times to create the required strength and structure.
there is no ‘curing’ or ‘setting’ under a LED or UV light. because the powder is coloured no painting is required and there is zero dry time.
we do not infill SNS nails, so when you have regrowth you will have to do a full removal and re-application. It is removed by soaking, in a similar way that gel is removed.
SNS provides a bit of extra strength and length to your nails, whilst maintaining a lightweight feel. It is much thinner than acrylic but thicker than gel polish. It’s a great way of getting a bit of extra strength in your nails, whilst maintaining a more “natural-looking” finish.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
• nail polish lacquers – 15 to 20 minutes
• gel polish – 20 minutes
• acrylic full set or infills – 1 hour
• SNS – 1 hour
• gel polish removal- 15 to 20 minutes
• SNS removal – 15 to 20 minutes
• acrylic removal – 30 to 45 minutes
HOW LONG WILL MY POLISH LAST?
this is the biggest question of them all, with so many variables depending on what you do, how you treat your nails, the condition of your own nails when you come in.
the times here are ONLY an average, depending on many factors (see below) your nails may last longer or shorter
• nail polish lacquers – 1 week
• gel polish – 2 weeks
• acrylic full set or infills – 2-3 weeks
• SNS – 2-3 weeks
WHY DOESN’T MY POLISH LAST AS LONG AS I EXPECT?
unfortunately the time frames given above are averages only.
• your toes in Melbourne in socks and shoes are protected and gel polish may last 4-6 weeks
• walking on Whitehaven Beach, with fine sand exfoliating your toes and feet, followed by a perfect afternoon of swimming in the ocean, then dinner out in Airlie and dancing the night away in your jandles, flip flops and thongs; then you can understand your gel polish wont last as long, and could well start to chip or lift within 5-6 days.
• if you have soft and flexible nails, (either naturally or from constant nail drilling in nail bars) you may find your polish does not flex as much as your own nail and they will lift or peel off, much quicker than normal.
• unfortunately some of us have oily nail beds at different times of our lives, and although gel will stick to oily nail beds much better than normal polish, it is not a miracle solution.
• sometimes we don’t know the explanation, but if you have a problem, do come back in and let us help, it could just be one nail lifted and we will always help whenever we can.
• if you smudge or knock your normal polish when you leave up, just come back in and we will touch it up for you, we offer this as we know realistically 10% of people will knock their nails within an hour before they set hard. if you are the unfortunate 10%, we want to look after you.
how do I take the polish off?
with the exception of normal nail polish, we recommend all other finishes are professionally removed.
• nail polish lacquers – nail polish remover – Just wipe over
• gel polish – a light buff to break the surface of the gel and then soak in acetone
• acrylic full set or infills – a gentle drilling of the acrylic ONLY to break the surface and then soaking in acetone
• SNS – soak in acetone, generally no filing or buffing required
what’s the best for my nails?
there is very little evidence that any product is any better or worse for your nails than each other.
what causes damage to your natural nails is not the product itself, but the application and removal process. there are certain things you should avoid.
• don’t pick your gel (shellac) polish off – gel polish sticks to the top layer of your nails, picking this off removes the top layer and weakens them.
• use caution with a nail bar drilling your acrylics or gel off. we see too many cases of people’s nails scarred and ruined by excessive use of nail drills. this damage can take many months to grow out and your nails can only be drilled so far, or they become hyper sensitive and super thin. it will make any further nail finishes much harder to keep looking good.
Why are your prices so different to home?
we appreciate in different parts of the world and country people pay different prices for nail services. this can be because of the cost of living, expense of wages, rents, differences in products used.
we pride ourselves on paying our staff properly, using quality products, spending time on cleaning, sanitising and replacing our equipment.
we have set our prices at a sustainable level for us, obviously you can find cheaper services elsewhere and of course you are welcome to use any service that fits your needs and budget.
LED and UV lights
there has been recent discussion over how safe the lamps are that cure gel polish
it is a personal decision and if you are worried you should research further and take additional precautions. we have noted through reading of others research
• both LED and UV lights emit UV radiation (similar to the suns rays)
• we only use LED lights
• LED is generally thought to emit less UVA rays (the damaging ones)
• LED sets gel polish quicker so you are exposed to less UVA rays
• the UV rays you are exposed to, during a manicure are negligible compared to the UV rays you are exposed to in your daily life
• if you do have any concerns, you can limit your exposure by putting sunscreen on your hands and fingers prior to your manicure. you can also wear fingerless gloves to reduce exposure.