What Lasts Longer: Gel or Acrylic Nails?

Generally, gel and acrylic nails are artificial nail enhancements renowned for their long-staying power or durability compared to regular nail polish.

Gel nails give a shiner, more glossy finish—blending perfectly with your natural nails. On the other hand, acrylic nails are sturdy in appearance.

But you may wonder what lasts longer? Gel or acrylic nails? Let’s dive into the answer right below!

What Lasts Longer: Gel or Acrylic Nails?

On average, acrylic nails last longer than gel nails for around 1 week. Acrylic nails have an impressive staying power of about three to four weeks. Gel nails last for a standard 3 weeks and tend to extend up to 4 weeks with proper care, and excellent application.

Acrylic nails can last a bit longer than gel nails because their sturdy nature gives them a solid foundation. As a result, they can last for as long as four weeks.

On the other hand, gel nails have a standard lasting period of 3 weeks without chipping. They also have a tendency to last longer, for about 4 weeks. However, this extended duration is subject to excellent application, proper aftercare, and good brand choice of gel nail polish.

Both gel and acrylic nails can last much longer if you refill periodically every 2 weeks. If done right, both types of polish can last up to 8 weeks, or even more in some cases.

a nail technician doing acrylic nails at a salon

The constant race against time in today’s busy world leaves everyone looking for the most durable nail options to cut back on replacement time. So, I’ll discuss which you should go for acrylic or gel nails, in terms of lasting time.

If you want to compare other aspects of Gel vs Acrylic nails, you can read my other article where I compare them head-to-head from chemical composition, application, removal, refill, etc.

Why Do Acrylic Nails Tend to Last Longer Than Gel Nails?

The chemical composition of acrylic nails makes them a bit more long-lasting than gel nails. They combine a liquid monomer with a powdered polymer and apply it to the natural nail bed. They can be shaped to your desired shape. 

Even though acrylic nails can last up to eight weeks, a constant visit to your nail salon for refilling is best to ensure it lasts long and does not cause any infections to your natural nails.

Gel and regular nails share a similar application, and while giving you the perfect finish, they don’t last as long as acrylic nails do especially for regular polish. Also, people with naturally oily nails cannot wear gel nails for longer than two weeks.

Similarly, such natural oily nails affect the staying power of acrylic nails, only a little bit better than its gel counterpart, because of the solid or powdered polymer included in the mix.

a woman doing acrylic nails

How Long should I wear my Acrylic Nails?

Although acrylic nails last very long, it is not healthy to overwear them without critical attention. 

Nail experts recommend never to exceed three weeks of wearing acrylic nails without going for a refill or nail treatment. This way, you relieve your natural nails of the burden of sustaining the nail attachment and exposing yourself to fungal and bacterial infections as it reduces dirt build-up under your nails. 

In other words, you should never over-stretch the staying power of acrylic nails. Additionally, acrylic nails contain some progressive toxic components whose toxicity only becomes evident with extended wear. 

For example, some fungal and bacterial infections could lead to a total separation of your natural nails from the nail bed, or your skin could also absorb the chemical components in the acrylic nails, leading to melanoma or other skin conditions. So, prolonged wear could endanger your health or instigate the dehydration of your natural nails, leading to more brittle nails. 

While you extend your acrylic or gel duration of wear to get the most of your money, you may end up spending more trying to fix the damage caused to your natural nails out of prolonged wear. Therefore, knowing when to draw the line no matter how long your nails last is profitable.

Factors Influencing the Staying Power of Gel or Acrylic Nails

gel polish is chipped

Besides the recommended wear time for gel or acrylic nails, other factors influence how long your manicure lasts, so it is important that you learn about them as well!

For instance, people with oily nails never enjoy long-lasting manicures regardless of how long the manicure is designed to last. In other words, a gel manicure simply can not last up to two weeks if you have oily nail beds.

So understanding factors that influence your manicure staying power keeps your mind at rest when you experience unexpected chipping or lack of lasting.

Below is a table showcasing other factors that influence the staying power of your gel or acrylic manicure.

Factors Influencing Manicure Staying PowerManicure Implications
The skill of the nail technician Whether you do the manicure by yourself or go to a nail technician, skill extends the wear of your nails beyond the recommended time.
The manicure thickness Thicker applications are prone to easy chipping and do not last long. Too much nail polish takes longer to dry and chips quicker.
The state of your natural nailsNaturally oily nails reduce the staying power of all types of manicures.
Due to malnutrition and some deficiency, broken nails prevent your manicure from lasting longer.
The wearer’s occupationYour type of job affects your manicure’s durability. For instance, if your job requires constantly submerging your hands in water, it can reduce the lifespan of your manicure

You can learn some tips to keep your gel polish from lifting, which will increase the lasting time of your gel manicure.

Fun Fact: Getting your nails done more frequently can serve as a hack for increasing how long your manicure lasts. However, it is a technical means of keeping your manicure fresh (renewing it) and only works for those with enough time to spare on their nails. 

Final Thoughts 

Even though gel nail extensions last up to three to four weeks, their staying power cannot be compared with acrylic nails. While acrylic nails last longer than their gel counterparts, it is not a determinant for which is superior.

When deciding what manicure to wear, it totally depends on your preference. I hope this article helped your choice!