Nails

7 Alternatives to Acrylic Nails: The Nail-Friendly Manicures

7 Alternatives to Acrylic Nails: The Nail-Friendly Manicures
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Looking for healthier nail enhancement options?

Acrylic nails may offer stunning results, but they have drawbacks, including potential damage to your natural nails and high maintenance needs.

Portrait of happy young woman polishing nails with nail file lying on comfortable sofa at living room and looking at camera with smile.

Discover superior alternatives to acrylic nails right here!

The Top Healthy Alternatives to Acrylic Nails

What are some alternatives to acrylic nails, you might wonder?

Explore the best ones in the following sections:

Hard Gel Nails

The hard gel extension is applied over the bed and nail tips and is built according to the desired length and nail shape using nail forms, such as these VNC form extensions.

A woman is applying a nail polish to her finger, exploring alternatives to acrylic nails.

Once the product is set on the nail, it is cured using an LED light or UV lamp for around 60 seconds. 

When done properly, your hard gel nails can last up to three weeks without chipping. They’re flexible and less prone to breakage, making them great acrylic nail alternatives.

Here’s a video showing how gel extensions are done:

Pros

  • Faster application
  • Easier to remove
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Can withstand everyday wear and tear
  • Tends to emit less fumes
  • More flexible and less brittle
  • Free of methyl methacrylate and toluene

Cons

  • Not as tough
  • Tends to be more expensive 
  • Shorter lifespan

Top Products for Gel Nail Extensions

1.

Beetles Poly Nail Extension Gel With UV Light Starter Kit

The ultimate starter pack you need if you’re new to the world of DIY gel nails!

Primary Benefits: Offers ease of application; safe for nails; contains no harsh ingredients

Features:

  • Lasts up to two weeks
  • Durable
  • Quick-building

You’re set to do your gel nails with the Beetles Poly Nail Extension Gel With UV Light Starter Kit!

2.

Modelones Poly Nail Extension Gel Kit

Opt for Modelones Poly Nail Extension Gel Kit for a great starting experience in doing your own fake nails. 

Primary Benefits: Offers easy application and removal; safe on natural nails; contains everything you need for gel nails

Features:

  • Toxin-free
  • Has little to no odor
  • Lasts up to 21 days

This kit is your ultimate lifesaver if you want stunning gel nails but have no time to rush to your local salon!

Premade Gel Extensions

Premade gel extensions are applied directly to the natural nail. They’re quite similar to the press-on nails, only that they are made of gel instead of acrylic or plastic.

A manicurist places a clear nail extension form to the finger

Here’s a video that details the application of premade gel extensions:

Pros

  • More flexible and durable
  • Require less filing and buffing
  • Odorless and require less exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Can be easily removed
  • Quick and easy to apply
  • Come in a variety of colors and designs

Cons

  • Can be more expensive
  • May not be as strong
  • Require UV light to cure
  • May not last as long

Top Products for Premade Gel Extensions

1.

Beetles Etch-X Soft Gel Nail Tips

The Beetles Gel Nail Tips are the perfect solution for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to achieve salon-quality nails without the drawbacks of acrylics.

Primary benefits: Saves time and effort in the manicure process; provides a natural and polished look; reduces the need for frequent touch-ups

Features:

  • Inner matte texture for a stronger grip and better fit
  • Pre-shaped design for easy application
  • Multiple size options

With 504 pieces in total, this set will give you plenty of mani sessions at home!

2.

BT Artbox X-Coat Tips Gel Nail Tips

These revolutionary gel nail tips are made from a soft, flexible material that puts no pressure on your nail beds!

Primary Benefits: Shortens the time needed to get salon-worthy nails; provides stronger adhesion; safe for your nails

Features: 

  • Seamless fit at the cuticle line with a gentle flex
  • Flexible and sturdy material that gets back into shape after bending without cracking
  • Patented building technology that fills gaps perfectly

With their innovative material and perfect fit, they offer a comfortable nail enhancement that is suitable for all nail types. So why wait? Try them out today and experience the difference for yourself!

Gel Polish

Gel polish is also one of the safe alternatives to acrylic nails.

It resembles regular nail polish but with a thicker, glossier formula. This brush-on soft gel is perfect for easy, pretty nails without the hassle of acrylics.

A woman enjoying an alternative nail treatment at a nail salon while one hand is on uv lamp

Just apply a few coats, cure under a UV lamp for a minute or two, and you’re done. Remember that it won’t make your nails longer; you’ll need natural growth for that.

Check out how gel nail polish can be applied to your nails by watching the short video below:

Pros

  • May last for two to three weeks
  • Doesn’t fade
  • More affordable
  • Looks more natural
  • Easier to apply
  • Easier to remove
  • Withstands everyday wear and tear with minimal chipping
  • Doesn’t damage or cause pressure on the nail bed

Cons 

  • Time-consuming curing process
  • Requires the use of LED or UV light
  • Cannot be extended into a specific length or shape

Top Products for Gel Polish

1.

Rosalind Gel Polish Set

Start your nail gel collection by purchasing this gel polish set!

Primary Benefits: Won’t irritate the nail bed; safe on natural nails; offers easy gel nail application

Features:

  • Emits no odor
  • Environment-friendly
  • Available in glossy and matte

Sport a different gel polish color every few weeks with this collection!

2.

Beetles Gel Polish Nail Set

Don the trendiest colors with this gel polish nail set! It comes with 20 shades in glittery, glossy, and matte finishes and a base coat. 

Primary Benefits: Provides flawless coverage for all nail shapes; promises easy application; guarantees long-lasting gel nails

Features:

  • Alcohol-free
  • Highly-pigmented polishes
  • Plenty of colors to choose from

With its wide selection of colors, you can don different gel polish hues in one session!

Press-On Nails

Press-on nails, also called glue-on nails or ready-made acrylic nails, are another alternative to acrylic nails at home. 

Woman with press-on nails on blue background

They come in various pre-designed shapes and colors, taking just about 10 minutes to apply. Aside from being low-maintenance, these nails don’t require a long-term commitment and are gentle on your natural nails.

Here’s a quick video showing how to apply press-on nails:

Pros

  • Faster application
  • Cheaper cost
  • Leaves no damage to nails
  • May last from 10 to 14 days
  • Needs little to no maintenance
  • Comes in premade designs, lengths, and shapes

Cons

  • Shorter lifespan
  • Typically not as resilient
  • May fall off with frequent contact with water

Top Products for Press-On Nails

1.

Beetles Press-On Nails

This nail kit comes with 30 pieces of press-on nails, a 10-milliliter bottle of fast-drying nail glue, a double-sided nail file, and a manicure stick — it’s a complete kit!

Primary Benefits: Ready to wear; requires no drying time; gives you natural-looking nails

Features:

  • Available in various designs
  • Durable
  • Comes with extra nails for a custom fit

Get instant, pretty fingernails with the Beetles Press-On Nails!

2.

Artquee Press-On Nails

Want ombré or matte long nails? This set would be the kit fit for your needs. 

Primary Benefits: Provides 120 press-on nails; fits all nail sizes; comfortable wearability

Features:

  • Does not chip or fade
  • Made from ABS resin material 
  • Available in various designs and colors

The Artquee Press-On Nails will give you the stylish manicure you need without spending hours in the nail salon.

Dip Powder Nails

Dip powder nails, or Signature Nails System (SNS), are the hybrid between your typical gel nail polish and acrylics. These nails are perfect alternatives to gel and acrylic nails if you’re torn between the two. 

Woman dip her finger nail in the colorful powder with nail polish and other beauty products on a pink background.

Its application involves applying a bonder, dipping in powder, activating, shaping, and topping with a top coat for enhanced durability.

What makes them better than acrylics is that they don’t use acrylic monomers, which can produce various levels of toxicity if inhaled.

On a different note, here’s a short video showing how dip powder nails are done:

Pros

  • Fast-drying 
  • Costs less
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Involves fewer processes
  • Offers up to four weeks of chip-free nails
  • Does not require UV curing

Cons 

  • Can be difficult to remove
  • Doesn’t add any length or shape
  • Can be quite heavy for your nail beds

Top Products for Dip Powder Nails

1.

AzureBeauty Dip Powder Nail Kit

Achieve salon-quality powder nails using these toxin-free, odor-free, and skin-safe products. 

Primary Benefits: Offers odorless dip powder solutions; provides instant thick coating after two dips; safe for the skin and natural nails

Features:

  • Budget-friendly 
  • Free of toxic ingredients
  • Available in multiple shades

There is no need to individually shop your acrylic nail powder products because the AzureBeauty Dip Powder Nail Kit has it all!

2.

Morovan Nail Dipping Powder Set

Have the complete powder set with Morovan! You have 18 nail colors, a base and top coat, an activator, a brush, and all other essentials. 

Primary Benefits: Doesn’t damage nails; gives you long-lasting dip powder nails; provides protection from water damage

Features:

  • Non-toxic and odor-free
  • Available in different colors and glitters
  • Smudge-proof, chip-proof, and waterproof

Achieve stunning nail art using this high-quality dipping powder set!

Nail Wraps

If you are allergic to other acrylic nail alternatives, your alternatives include nail wraps, which are also commonly called nail strips. These are, by far, the safest and least harmful fake nails.

A hand holding different nail strips designs on a white background

Apart from being nail-friendly, applying them on your nail bed will take less time than acrylic nail procedures.

They come pre-designed, require no nail glue, and are available in various sizes. These are also easy to apply and remove, making it convenient to change the look of your nails. 

See how easy it is to apply nail wraps to your fingernails through the video below!

Pros

  • Easy application
  • No-damage removal
  • Effectively conceals nail issues
  • Typically lasts between seven to 10 days
  • Available in various designs and colors
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Does not add length
  • Not as long-lasting
  • Not always available in nail salons

Top Products for Nail Wraps

1.

Beaolata Nail Wraps

These 100% real nail polish strips are made to have salon quality and come in various designs you’ll love.

Primary Benefits: Provides salon-quality manicure; guarantees easy application; doesn’t damage the natural nail

Features:

  • Lasts up to 14 days
  • Comes with 20 nail polish strips
  • Doesn’t contain toxic or harmful ingredients

Beaolata Nail Wraps give you salon-quality nails without breaking the bank.

2.

Dashing Diva Gloss Nail Strips

This kit features a glossy set of gel-like and non-wrinkling nail wraps to achieve a perfect manicure.

Primary Benefits: Gives you nail wraps that don’t wrinkle; easy to apply and easy to remove; requires zero dry time

Features:

  • Lasts for up to 14 days
  • Looks exactly like gel nails
  • Comes in four stunning designs

With these nail strips, you can have pretty nails in just minutes!

Fiberglass Nails

Fiberglass nails are excellent alternatives to gel nails and acrylic nails as they are less likely to cause irritation or allergies. 

A woman applying fiberglass nails to a client fiberflass nails

They use thin layers of fiberglass for natural-looking length and reinforcement, cause less damage to your real nails, and promote natural nail growth.

Want to watch the intricacy of fiberglass nail application? Watch this short video:

Pros

  • Odorless 
  • Buildable in length
  • Less damaging to your nails
  • Thin and comfortable to wear
  • More hypoallergenic
  • Offers a natural feel

Cons 

  • Not as durable
  • Only lasts for about two weeks
  • Not widely offered by nail salons
  • Requires healthy nail beds

Top Products for Fiberglass Nails

1.

Blulu DIY Fiberglass Nails

Get up to 200 fiberglass nail pieces from this kit! These durable and flexible extensions are a solid alternative to acrylics. 

Primary Benefits: Enables easy application; does not easily break; requires no glue

Features:

  • Made from silk
  • Has a length of up to six centimeters
  • Light and flexible material

Have beautiful nails in different lengths with the Blulu DIY Fiberglass Nails.

2.

Lurrose False Nail Extension Fiber

This fiberglass nail extension is easy to apply to your nails as it adheres well to the base gel. 

Primary Benefits: Easy to install; long-lasting; highly durable

Features:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Lasts up to 15 days
  • Made from high-quality fiber 

This nail extension fiber from Lurrose grants you natural-looking talons that can be altered to any length and shape you want.

Silk Wraps

Silk wraps are another alternative to acrylic nails. True to their name, you’d wrap your nails in silk fabric to add length to short nails. 

Apart from that, silk wraps help strengthen talons that are chipped, split, or damaged. 

By applying the silk fabric over the broken nail, the nail will be able to grow as if it was not damaged at all. 

Hand with long artificial manicured nails with ombre gradient design in pink and white colors

If this sounds like a perfect manicure for you, here’s a quick video tutorial showing how silk wraps are done:

Pros

  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Has a lightweight feel
  • Conceals various nail problems
  • Can accommodate various nail designs

Cons 

  • It may only last up to one to two weeks
  • It may not provide as much length as acrylic nails
  • It is easily damaged when exposed to water

Top Products for Silk Wraps 

1.

Supernail Swiss Silk Wrap

This Swiss silk wrap comes in a pre-shaped self-adhesive tab that allows easy application.

Primary Benefits: Protects natural nails; keeps split nails from getting worse; offers an easy-to-use, self-adhesive silk wrap

Features:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Has an adhesive backside
  • Comes in a pre-shaped form

Supernail Swiss Silk Wrap is also the go-to product for professional use!

2.

Sheba Nails Silk Nail Wrap

These self-adhesive silk nail wraps are all cut to seamlessly fit the nail, making the application process smooth and easy. 

Primary Benefits: Gives great support to natural nails; allows nails to grow healthily; easy to use

Features:

  • Self-adhesive 
  • Offers 70 pre-cut finger tabs
  • Uses high-quality materials

This option is the non-fraying silk nail wrap you need, whether you want to fix a chipped or broken talon or add length.

What Are the Drawbacks of Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails are constantly rising in popularity as a beauty trend. 

With these fake nails available, you no longer have to wait for your natural nails to grow to achieve longer, well-shaped talons. 

However, although acrylic nails are fab and convenient, these fake manicures entail several drawbacks.

Here are the common pitfalls associated with acrylic nails:

Damage to the Nail Bed

Acrylics are made from a mix of liquid monomer and powdered polymer, but they require filing or grinding the nail bed for proper adhesion, which thins and weakens natural nails over time. 

Frequent acrylic applications can lead to worn-down nails and onycholysis, where the nail separates from the nail bed due to trapped moisture.

Exposure to Harmful Chemicals 

Acrylic nails involve exposure to chemicals like acrylic resin, formaldehyde, and acetone, which, while generally safe, can lead to undesirable changes in nails over time, including potential nail loss. 

Improper use of acetone during removal can also dry the nail plate and irritate the cuticle. Plus, inhaling high amounts of acetone in an unventilated room can result in symptoms like confusion, nausea, and headaches.

Unnatural Appearance

Acrylic nails may look less natural depending on how they are applied.

Since the resin dries quickly on the nail, not immediately setting and smoothening it would lead to a bulky nail appearance. 

The skill level of the nail tech and the quality of the materials used play a big role in the final look of your nails.

A woman holding a cup of coffee with brown nails styled with an alternative to acrylic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Alternative to Acrylic Nails?

The best alternative to acrylic nails is gel nail extensions if you want them to be durable like acrylics but less damaging to your original nails.

Gel-polished nails are also an option if you want your nails to be more natural-looking than acrylics. Plus, these are generally less harmful to your nail’s health. 

However, if you are more after manicures that are easy to apply, dip powders, press-on nails, and nail wraps are the three alternatives to acrylic nails. 

Meanwhile, a fiberglass manicure should be your go-to fake nail extension if you’re allergic to gel and acrylic nails. It’s hypoallergenic and natural-looking.

What Fake Nails Cause the Least Damage?

Press-on nails and nail wraps are two alternatives to acrylic nails that cause the least damage to your natural nails. 

They are premade and directly applied to your nails without subjecting them to various chemicals or UV exposures. 

These shouldn’t also cause harm to your nail bed during removal as long as you’re careful and gentle in lifting them. 

Which Fake Nails Last Longer Than Acrylic Nails?

Generally, dip powder nails last longer than acrylic nails. 

Dip nails can stay on your nails chip-free for up to four weeks. 

Meanwhile, acrylics would only last two to three weeks before needing a touch-up at the local salon.   

A woman's hands with pink nails and lilies.

Save Your Nails From Damage!

There are fake nails that are safer than acrylic nails! Consider these options if you are having issues with acrylic nails. 

Whether it be gel nail extensions, gel polish nails, press-on nails, dip powder, nail wraps, or fiberglass nails, all these are considered much safer and less toxic than acrylics. 

To be fair, acrylic nails are generally safe despite containing various chemicals. 

However, poor application, improper removal, and overexposure to chemicals are the main factors that can pose a great risk to your nail’s health. 

If you want to avoid having nail issues caused by acrylics without giving up the idea of donning ravishing, flawless nails, feel free to get back to this guide and assess which alternatives to acrylic nails would best suit you!

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