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What Are Nail Extensions Made Of?

It was a status symbol when people grew long nails in those days. It got indicated that they were not involved in doing regular household chores and had others; you got them assisted.

Historians also state that these long nails got guarded with protections made of gold, studded with precious stones, tortoise shells, and wood. Some cultures, even today, believe that having long nails indicates their social stature.

There are various kinds of nail extensions and they are made of different materials. For example, acrylic nail extension is made of monomer liquid with a mixture of polymer powder, whereas gel extension is made of gel; on the other hand, fiberglass is made of hard synthetic material.

Nail Extensions

Artificial nails that get fixed to your original ones are known as nail extensions. In the nail art industry, nail extensions play a significant role in the beautification process.

There are two ways you can extend your nails.

The first method is known as “tip,” where the extension gets fixed to the top of your original nail. While in the “form” method, the artificial nails get fixed on the entire length of your nail! In the tip method, the joint gets covered with gel, acrylic, or polish.

Why Do You Need Nail Extension?

In case you are unable to grow your nails properly and wish to do nail-art, you will require these extensions. The reasons could be as under:

  1. The nails are brittle and hence crack or break when they grow a little.

  2. You could have the bad habit of biting your nails, and hence it is difficult to grow nails.

  3. Even if your nails grow, their tips are not fashionable enough for you to nail-art on them.

  4. You are not comfortable with long nails but wish to do nail art for a particular event or occasion.

Types Of Nail Extensions

Acrylic Nail Extensions

These types of extensions get made from monomer liquid with a mixture of polymer powder. This paste gets glued to the entire nail or the tip, hardens, and such nails lasts for 3 to 4 weeks.


  1. Such nails are useful for people whose nails are brittle and cannot grow well.

  2. It is also useful for people who have the habit of chewing their nails off.

  3. These nails last for a longer duration compared to nails from other materials.

  4. Salons and spas have been using this type of nails for long, and hence experts are available to fix them for you and do nail-art on them.


  1. Since acrylic nails are attachments, they look fake if not fixed by experts.

  2. These enhancements get attached to the nail with glue, which might damage the original growth below.

  3. Since the acrylic mixture is fixed to the nail and hardened, the chemical fumes may not go well with those who are allergic to them.

  4. They need to be refilled every month, and hence additional costs.

Gel Nail Extensions

A thick coating of gel gets applied on top of your nail to create this gel overlay or gel extensions. UV or LED lamp gets used to harden this coating, over which you can make nail art application.


  1. Such extensions are safe for your nail since they do not get glued to its surface.

  2. Gel coating protects your nails from breaking or chipping.

  3. This extension is lightweight and does not create any dis-comfort.

  4. They appear more flushed and natural compared to acrylic extensions.

  5. The flexible coating blends with the nail surface and does not peel or chip easily.

  6. These extensions are environment friendly.


  1. Removing gel extension is time-consuming since it is not easy.

  2. Since it requires a UV lamp to get cured, you need to have this at home to venture with such an application.

  3. This type of extension is expensive but lasts only for about 14 days.

Fiberglass Nail Extension

This type of extension is less popular than acrylic and gel extensions. Fiberglass extensions are also known as silk wrap or extensions. This transparent hard synthetic material gets cut as per your nail shape and size. We fix them to your nail using glue or resin and curate with an activator.


  1. This type of extension is useful for those who are allergic to chemicals present in gel and acrylic.

  2. They look much more natural compared to other extensions.

  3. These extensions are easy to remove.

  4. They do not exude any odor.


  1. This type of extensions is the most costly.

  2. If you are habitual nail-biter, have uneven nail surface, or have cracked nails, this type of extensions is not suitable.

  3. You have to maintain such nails every 14 days.

  4. These are not very sturdy since they are prone to chipping.

Is There Anything Called Permanent Nail Extensions?

Though there are many claims of permanent nail extensions, these options must get avoided for the following reasons:

  1. Your trapped nail underneath this so-called permanent extension and the nail bed will get damaged since they will not be able to breathe.

  2. If you do not do in-fills regularly, you might harbor infections, which will be detrimental to your health.

  3. This technique is a gel extension with air-brushing with UV curing at exorbitant costs!

Which Nail Extension Fares Better?

This is a very subjective matter since all the extension options have their pros and cons. You must choose which works best for you in terms of your safety, nail-art outcome, and costs.

What Are The Primary Differences Between Acrylic And Gel Extensions?

Both these extensions get widely used, and let us look at their difference under certain conditions:


Acrylic nails are more robust, while the gel extensions are pliable and soft.

Hardening Process

The glue used to fix the acrylic extension to your nails hardens with the exposure to air and natural elements. In the case of a gel nail, you need UV lamps to cure it.

Fixing And Removing

It is easy to fix and remove acrylic nail extensions. In the case of gel extension, you require special tools to attach them to your nails, though it is not difficult to remove them.


Acrylic nails can break or chip if undue pressure gets exerted on them. However, in the case of gel nails, they can withstand normal pressure, since they are susceptible and malleable. They also do not smudge easily.


Minimum or no maintenance gets required for acrylic nails, though gel extensions require routine follow-ups.


If the acrylic nails don’t get fixed correctly, they may lead to the nail bed infection. In the case of gel extensions, they help in the upkeep of the nail below and, hence, much safer.


Acrylic nail extension kits are available easily for your use and are relatively cheap compared to gel nails if you visit your salon or spa.

Professional Assistance

If you do not have gel UV tools, you will require professional help if you plan to get a gel extension on your nails. You can fix acrylic nails on your own.


Acrylic nails last for around four weeks, while gel extensions will serve you for about a fortnight.

Final Appearance

The gel nail extensions look more natural compared to the acrylic ones.

What Should You Do Before Your Next Nail Extension?

Keep the following in mind, before you decide on your nail extension:

  1. You should know very clearly the type of nail extension you plan to fix on your nails.

  2. Go to the right type of salon and spa, where hygiene gets adhered to.

  3. You must decide about the right type of extension, depending upon your nail condition.

  4. Do not do any pre-extension activities on your nail, since the manicurist is in a better position to do the needful.

  5. Do not be in a hurry for such sessions since this application takes time.

What Does Nail Extension Kit Contain?


If you wish to fix nail extension on your own, the following items must be present in your kit:

Artificial Tip

There are various types of plastic nail tips available, and it is preferable to choose the transparent or white ones since you have the entire canvas for your nail-art.

Nail Glue

Professional nail glue is available so that the extensions can get attached to your nail surface uniformly, and does not come off quickly.

Manicure Kit

You must have the entire set of manicure kit handy, containing the following:

  1. Cotton swabs

  2. Cuticle pushers

  3. Nail file or buffer

  4. Polish remover

  5. Cuticle remover

  6. Nippers

  7. Almond oil for nails

  8. Hand sanitizer

  9. Basecoat

  10. Nail polish

  11. Clear topcoat

Nail Tip Cutter

Nail cutter is a valuable tool to shape and size your artificial nails. Though scissors can also do the job, cutters do a professional task.

How Do I Maintain My Artificial Nails?

You must take care of your nail extensions since time and resources have got invested in them. Here are a few tips:

  1. Remember to wear your gloves when you plan to work with any type of chemicals.

  2. Refrain from biting or sizing your nails, since this may damage your extensions.

  3. Contact your manicurist, in case you find the extensions to lifting off the nails.

  4. Visit your salon for any in-fills or touch-ups.

  5. Moisturize your hand daily, so that the skin around the nail is soft and supple.

  6. Apply almond oil on your cuticles, so they remain nourished.

  7. Do not use your nail extension as tools, since they might get damaged.

  8. Do not work near flame or high temperature, since the plastic nails will melt.

  9. Apply a base coat on your extension, before you apply polish or do any type of nail-art.

  10. You must avoid all types of acetone based removers on your extension nails.

  11. If you get bored with the nail-art on the extension, remove them, and create a different design.

How Do You Remove Nail Extensions At Home?

It is always advisable to get the nail extensions removed by experts, who had fixed your nails. However, if you have set acrylic extensions, then you can follow these steps:

  1. Take some acetone in a glass bowl, so that the nail get dipped into them.

  2. Apply petroleum jelly on your finger and cuticle around the nail, so they don’t get hydrated when dipped in the acetone for long.

  3. Clip the artificial nails up to the tip of your original nails.

  4. Dip your nails in the polish remover for up to 30 minutes.

  5. Use a cloth dipped in the acetone to slowly remove the layers from the nail surface.

  6. Do not pry or force any removal, since it will damage the nail surface and its bed.

  7. You must provide enough time for this process, and don’t be in a hurry.

  8. After removing the artificial nails and the glue, use a cutter to cut the nails’ tip. Buff or file them to remove all residue from the extension.

  9. You must wash your hand with warm water and apply moisturizer to hydrate them.

Why Do Nail Extensions Pop-Off?

There are several reasons why your acrylic or plastic nails pop off. Keep the following in mind, to avoid this issue:

  1. You must choose your nail extensions with caution since if the curve of the original nail is not in sync with the artificial, they tend to pop off, even if they get glued together.

  2. This problem occurs when air bubbles get trapped while applying the glue to your nail surface, or while fixing the extension.

  3. You must be careful while applying the UV gel or the glue layer so that the coating is not too thick, but optimum. The adhesive must be flexible and not rigid on your fingers.

  4. While fixing the extension, ensure they get uniformly set on the nail surface.

  5. Avoid using lotions and liquids containing lanolin or mineral oil, which weakens acrylic nails.

Do Nail Extensions Damage Your Original Nails?

Acrylic extensions damage your natural nails since they are unable to breathe while glued under. If your nails are cracked and brittle, only then you should venture to fix acrylic extensions.

Otherwise, choose UV gel extensions, which helps you conserve your nails.

Visit your salon, if you find the extension to ease from its mooring so that they get refixed well. If you neglect this, you might retain moisture underneath the artificial canopy and harbor bacteria and infection.

Why Is Nail Extension Trendy?

Nail-art application has been in trend over centuries. With the advent of the internet, through various social media, and access to your smartphone, you have many fashion ideas. Those with brittle or damaged nails, nail extension, is the only way to beautify your nails.

What Is Polygel Nails?

This is a marriage between acrylic and gel extensions. Such nail enhancement requires UV lamp curing, and its odor is quite reduced and quite light. They can get removed through buffing and wiping with acetone, and come in exciting shades.

After Extension Removal, What Type Of After-care Helps?

It is always advisable to get extensions removed by professionals. Here are some after-care tips to get adhered to:

  1. After removal, clean your nail surface and the nail bed to ensure they look healthy.

  2. Visit your nail spa regularly to maintain your nails before you venture with the next round of nail-art.

How Do You Remove Acrylic Nails With Aluminum Foils?

Follow these steps to remove acrylic nails with the help of aluminum foils:

  1. Cut the acrylic extensions as short as possible, close to your nails below.

  2. File away the topcoat, polish, and any other nail art coatings on the extension.

  3. You must spread petroleum jelly on the skin around the nails.

  4. Soak cotton pads with acetone and wrap around the nails, one by one.

  5. Tear off aluminum foils and wrap around this cotton soaked acetone and let it remain for 30-40 minutes.

  6. Remove the aluminum foil along with the acrylic nails, which has now loosened.

Can You Remove Extensions Without Acetone?

There are many ways you can remove nail extensions without acetone. They are:

  1. Dental Floss

  2. Warm Water

  3. Non-acetone nail polish remover


Nail extensions are either acrylic made from monomer liquid and polymer powder, while the gel nails get made from gel, which requires curing with UV lamps. Fiberglass or silk wrap extension gets made from silk, fabric, and glass fiber. All these nail extensions have their pros and cons, and you decide based on your requirement.

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