Alternatives to Acrylic & Gel Nails

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Beautiful nails make a fashion statement and impart a well-groomed appearance to their bearer. In an attempt to always have a perfect-10 set of nails, many people wear acrylic or gel nail overlays. Some consider the bi-weekly required retouches an inconvenience and may not prefer the heavy, thick look of some of these enhancements. If you prefer a thinner-looking nail or wish to avoid the maintenance associated with acrylic and gel nails, consider one of several alternatives.


A nail technician applies silk wraps by cutting a specially made silk and adhering it to the nail plate.The silk, when coated with resin, protects the nails from the chemicals and wear and tear, giving them added strength. Though mostly used on natural nails, a technician may place silk over a set of fingernail extensions to make them more durable. Because of the fragile nature of silk wraps, many nail professionals don’t recommend them for people with busy lifestyles.


Fiberglass, a similar product to silk, overlays the natural or artificial nail to add length or strength. Fiberglass usually appears more transparent than silk wraps, but still protects weak, short or damaged nails. One a technician places a fiberglass fabric strip over the nails, she then layers them with a resin and sprays them with activator to accelerate the drying process. After filing the surface of the nail, the technician may apply nail enamel of any color to the finished nail.

UV Nail Enamel

Some people choose to wear acrylic and gel nails because colored nail enamel tends to bond to them, giving a freshly polished look that last for two weeks or more. If you like this feature, but prefer to wear natural nails, consider an application of semi-permanent nail enamel, also know as ultraviolet nail enamel or the 14-day manicure. Nail polish manufacturers have formulated the enamel to dry in minutes when exposed to an ultraviolet (UV) light source. The enamel will not chip or peel. A nail technician removes the enamel after about two weeks by soaking it with a special solvent.

Press-On Nails

For a temporary glamorous look, consider a set of glue-on extensions. To save time, or if you tend to have a shaky hand, consider applying a set of nails with enamel pre-applied. This is nice because you don’t have to worry about the maintenance that goes into extensions, and you can simply remove them. Though you may attach them to your nails securely using a fast-drying nail glue, consider using an adhesive similar to double-sided tape. You can purchase precut and shaped strips specifically for nail application. Two advantages to taping the nails are you can easily remove them with risking damage to the natural nail plate, and you may save the nails intact for use on another occasion.