Polygel vs Acrylic: What the Difference & Which is Better

Polygel is one of the most recent new alternatives to acrylic. They are also commonly called hybrid gel, this is because they are made of components from both acrylic and UV-cured gel.

Now, Polygel in my opinion is one of the best new nail products. Not only are they very easy to apply but they are also lightweight giving them a very natural feel and they are also long-lasting.

So in this article, we are going to compare both poly gel with acrylic and explain the differences to help you decide which is best for you.

What’s the Difference Between Polygel & Acrylic

The main difference between polygel and acrylic – is that polygel is a thick gel-like paste that needs a UV-Led Lamp to cure and harden. Whilst Acrylic nails are made by mixing a powder monomer with liquid polymer.

Both polygel and acrylic can be used to make nail extensions or overlay nails.

Feel &
Polygel is lighter, feels more natural & has a nice glossy sheenAcrylic tends to be more rigid & bulkier
Safety & HealthPolygel is less risky to your natural nailsAcrylic poses a high risk to your natural nails
Durability& LifespanCan last 3-4 weeks.Can last longer than Polygel.
Acrylic can go 6-8 weeks.
ApplicationEasier to DIY at HomeRequires some amount of
skill to use
Ease of removalEasier to removeRequire more work to take off
Drying methodNeeds a UV Led lamp to
cure & Harden
Quickly air dries

Differences Between Polygel & Acrylic

Who should Get Polygel Nails over Acrylic

I highly recommend anyone that wants nail extensions or overlays to try polygel out at least once. It has a lot of advantages over acrylic of which were going into more detail so keep on reading.

Now the only issue that can hinder you from trying polygel is if you are trying to avoid UV lamps but other than I that I highly recommend it.

I also share an easy hack that you can do to protect your skin from the harsh UV light from nail lamps so keep on reading.

Which Looks & Feel Better Acrylic or Polygel

Polygel nails are lighter and more flexible so they feel more natural when compared to acrylic which is bulkier and heavier.

Acrylic is also very rigid and harder so any trauma to the acrylic nails is passed on to your natural nails. Whilst gel is flexible and you wouldn’t feel any direct hits so much.

Polygel nails also tend to have a nice glossy sheen to them when compared to acrylic. But acrylic can also have the same glow once an excellent top coat is used.

How long does Polygel last Compared to Acrylic

Acrylic nails will last much longer than polygel. Polygel will last for 3-4 weeks, while acrylic can last anywhere between 6-8 weeks.

But acrylic nails will need a fill every 3 weeks or so to cover the growth gap at the back of your nails.

Now to get the full 4 weeks or more of wear from your polygel, you can click here to read my tips on How to make Polygel Nails Last Longer.

Which is Safer for Your Nails – Polygel or Acrylic

Both polygel and acrylic come with some amount of risks to your natural nails. But Polygel nails tend to be safer for your natural nails when compared to acrylic.

You see most of the potential damage done to your natural nails by most nail products usually happened during the application or removal process.

Now acrylic nails are harder to remove and some nail techs will even use very harsh chemicals during applications. This increases the chances of damaging your natural nails with acrylic.

Whilst polygel has a more straightforward application process and is easier to remove which makes it safer for your natural nails.

Another great thing that I love about Polygel is that it has almost no odor at all, especially when compared to acrylic which has a very strong scent.

Polygel Safety Issues

Now the main safety and health issue with Polygel nails is that they require a UV-led lamp to cure. So if you are trying to avoid too much exposure to strong UV lights, then I recommend either:

  1. Not use Polygel or
  2. Apply sunscreen on your hands and finger or wear a manicure glove to protect your skin.

You can click here to learn more about manicure gloves and my recommendations.

Which is More Affordable – Polygel or Acrylic

In a salon, Polygel will be more expensive than acrylic. The price for both will vary greatly depending on the design that you want, your location, and the type of salon.

An acrylic manicure can cost anywhere between $35-95 whilst poly gel can be between $55-$120.

Also, polygel isn’t so common in nail salons, acrylic is way more readily available in nail salons.

But hopefully, with time Polygel will become more popular. Now if you plan to DIY at home polygel it tends to be more affordable and is much easier than trying to DIY with acrylic.

Which is Easier to Apply: Polygel or Acrylic

Polygel nails are easier to apply compared to acrylic. This is because:

  1. Polygel comes premade meaning you can use them just out of the tube. Unlike acrylic where you need to mix and get the right liquid-to-powder ratio.
  2. Polygel’s paste-like consistency allows them to be applied using Plastic dual forms. – which is quick and easy to use
  3. Dual forms also allow you to easily shape a good apex without needing much practice or training
  4. Polygel won’t harden unless you cure them so you can take your time. – and not have to rush like when working with acrylic.

You can check out the video below on how to apply polygel using dual forms.

Or you can click here to read the 4 different ways you can use polygel which also includes video guides.

Video of How to Apply Polygel with Dual Forms

Recommended Polygel Kit

The limegirl Polygel Kit is one of the best polygel kits for beginners. It has everything you will need to apply poly gel. 

Which is more Durable Polygel or Acrylic

Acrylic is by far more durable when compared to polygel, acrylic won’t chip, break or come off so easily. They are probably the strongest nail product on the market.

Polygel is also very tough but just not as strong as acrylic.

Acrylic is perfect for those who do a lot of work with their hands such as gardening and cleaning – since they can withstand the roughing up.

Which is Easier to Remove

Polygel is easier to remove than acrylic. Acrylic nails are just so tough that they require lots of filing and soaking before they can come off.

Polygel will need some work to come off too but taking them off is easier than removing acrylic nails.

You can check out my 3 Quick & Easy Ways How to Remove Polygel Nails at Home

Which is Better Polygel or Acrylic

Polygel has a lot of advantages being that it feels more natural and is easier to apply and remove, so I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a lighter and safer alternative to acrylic.

Now acrylic’s main advantage is that it is very durable and long-lasting and is best suited for individuals who do a lot of work with their hands and don’t want to go to the salon too often.

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