Depending on who you ask- nail extensions are either thought of as gaudy, in vogue, or a way to pamper yourself now and then. I think of them as a blank canvas for self-expression. With just the right amount of knowledge, you can turn your nails into a masterpiece!
Endorsed by various celebrities from Kylie Jenner to Ariana Grande, fake nails are the new normal! I’ve put together a comprehensive resource where you can find A to Z about nail extensions.
Nail Extensions: A Thing of Past Rather Than a Recent Discovery
Did you know, the ancient Chinese considered long nails to be a symbol of status?
Long nails conveyed that the wearer is so affluent that they can afford to have ridiculously long nails since they have no laborious chores or tasks to do!
The Chinese were so obsessed with maintaining long nails that they even had nail guards (made from materials ranging from wood to tortoiseshell to gold and precious stones) to protect and beautify the long nails. Dowager Empress Cixi has been documented wearing nails as long as SIX inches!
This belief was also prevalent in other communities, the Egyptian civilization for example. Even to this day, in some cultures, long nails are indicators of an individual’s high social standing.
Just another fun fact: The Chinese were also the first to introduce nail polish, which was primarily made from egg whites and beeswax amongst other things. As a matter of fact, according to historians, the aristocrats of the Zhou dynasty of 600 BC painted their nails with silver and gold dust.
What’s All the Hype About Nail Extensions?
No matter what social media platform you use, your feed must be swarming with visual media containing nail art and nail extensions. Naturally, you must be curious about this new viral trend around nail extensions before and after transformations that has everyone drooling!
So, let me help you out.
Nail extensions involve the addition of an artificial tip to the tip of your nail to increase the length. The appendix is then strengthened by covering it in gel, acrylic, or fibreglass. On the other hand, the artificial nail may also be affixed over your natural nails; therefore, bypassing the usage of the nail tips. The former approach is called “Tips,” while the latter is called “Forms.”
At present, even though a lot of people crave to have long nails, some of us are not fortunate enough to have healthy and beautiful nails. I, for one, am prone to nail-biting out of anxiety. Other reasons for not being able to grow out your nails could be breakage at a certain length, brittle or splittable nails, or a nail-biting habit. For us, nail extensions act as the perfect shortcut to achieve our dream nails.
Nail extensions on bitten nails, short nails, or broken nails is the best way to conceal nail imperfections and to get beautiful, long nails. Also, even if you do have perfect, strong nails, why would you want to wait for the entire duration to grow them out? Imagine – you could be blessed with long nails in just an hour!
What are the Various Types of Nail Extensions?
The nail extension techniques are categorized based on the material and how they are attached to your nails. Read on to know more about them.
What are Acrylic Nail Extensions?
Acrylic nail extensions are the most common type of nail extension that almost everyone knows about! The acrylic nail is made out of a monomer liquid mixed with a polymer powder to form a paste that is glued onto your natural nail and tip. This paste hardens over time and can last a good 3 to 4 weeks.
- Acrylic extensions are suitable for women with brittle and weak nails.
- Acrylics are good for women, who have a habit of chewing their nails as they are very hard to chew off.
- Acrylic nails have been around longer than their counterparts, so, most nail technicians at salons and spas have a lot of experience about how to apply and remove these nails.
- You don’t have to worry about side effects as such.
- They last longer than gel nails.
- They can damage your natural nail underneath, if not removed properly.
- As Acrylic nails are artificial enhancements, they present a fake look. You need a very talented technician who can apply your acrylics as close to natural ones.
- Application of acrylic nails involves the use of strong chemicals and the formation of fumes. Some women may have an allergy to such substances.
- You need refilling every month which means extra expenditure.
Acrylic Nail Extensions Price:
At a salon, acrylic nail extension starts at about INR 2099 for the full set and some INR 1499 for refills. On the other hand, acrylic nail extension kits are available for as low as INR 325.
Gel Nail Extensions?
Gel nail extensions, also called gel overlays, involve the application of a layer of thick transparent gel on your natural nail or nail extensions. These require the usage of LED or UV light exposure to set effectively.
- Since they are extremely lightweight, they cause the least amount of discomfort
- Unlike other nail treatments, gel nail extensions do not have any odor
- They do not cause any damage to your natural nails, in fact, they protect your natural nails and help them grow
- Gel nail extensions appear more natural
- Due to its flexibility, gel nails not only sit easy but are also resistant to chipping
- Environmentally safe
- Can be a bit expensive
- Since gel nail extensions require UV light for setting, you can’t just simply get a gel nail extensions kit to try getting gel nail extensions at home
- They last only about 14 days, which makes them less durable
- Removing gel nails can be very tricky and time-consuming
Gel Nail Extensions Price:
Gel nail extensions cost around INR 2999 for the full set at a nail salon and an additional sum of INR 1499 for refills. You may come across some polygel nail extensions kit that is available for about INR 4000.
What are Fiberglass Nail Extensions?
Fiberglass nail extension is also known as silk extensions or silk nail wraps. This nail extension approach does not enjoy the same level of popularity as acrylic and gel nail extensions do.
Fiberglass is a synthetic material that is stronger than silk. Either of the material is cut to fit the nail bed or the tip and sealed using a resin or glue. The adhesive material sets when an activator is sprayed on it.
- Ideal for those who suffer from allergies to chemical products used in acrylic or gel nail extensions
- Gives off a very natural appearance
- Easy to remove
- They are odorless
- Needs regular maintenance after every 14 days
- Not very sturdy and prone to chipping
- The most expensive option for getting nail extensions
- Not suited for: people with damaged or irregular shaped nails and nail-biters
Fiberglass Nail Extensions Price:
Getting fiberglass nail extensions from a professional may cost you at least INR 3499 for a full set and about INR 1999 for maintenance. Online stores may not be brimming with fiberglass nail extension kits to buy, but you can still find something for approximately INR 999.
Is Permanent Nail Extension a Thing?
So far, I have heard references to permanent nail extension, but in my experience no nail extension is permanent. And thank God for that because it would otherwise be a disaster for your natural nail! Your natural nails will be unable to breathe and will grow brittle over time. And don’t get me started about the condition of your nail beds! Furthermore, if you do not follow up for infills, you could be at risk of contracting infections.
Some manicurist may offer a long-lasting nail technique under the eye-grabbing advertisement of permanent nail extensions. In such a scenario, they are offering you gel nail extensions. The manicurist will employ a technique called airbrushing to lay the gel and use UV rays to cure it.
Permanent nail extension prices may vary according to your requirements, the salon rates, and the consultation offered by the nail technician. Getting permanent nail extension may cost you about INR 3599 for a start.
Do remember that the definition of “permanent” here is simply long lasting followed by touch-ups and maintenance.
The Ultimate Face-Off: Gel Nail Extensions vs Acrylic Nail Extensions
Now that you know the various types of nail extensions, you may be wondering which one is better. Being the two most popular methods to get nail extensions, I am restricting my comparison to Gel versus Acrylic nail extensions.
What Fares Better?
Quite honestly, the answer to this question is pretty subjective. As an individual, quality or feature that I may want, which acts as the decisive factor, could be trivial for someone else. So no ‘one nail technique suits all.’
So, to break it down, I have created a comparison table from which you can make the perfect pick for yourself.
|Hardening Process||Harden on exposure to air||Harden on exposure to UV light|
|Toughness||Are harder||Are softer, more pliable|
|Susceptibility to Damage||Can chip on experiencing some amount of pressure||Can withstand a larger amount of stress due to its flexibility; Resistant to chipping and smudging|
|Ease of Application/Removal||Fairly easy to apply and remove||Needs special equipment for application and are somewhat easy to remove|
|Maintenance||Requires negligible amount of maintenance||Regular follow ups are necessary|
Acrylic nail extensions kit are easily available at affordable rates
|Are costlier than acrylics:
Nail extensions gel kit is much more expensive and relatively difficult to find
|Safety||May damage or breed infection in natural nail bed if not applied correctly||Gel nail tip extensions are actually good for the nails as they act as reinforcing layers that enhance nail strength|
|Durability||Last for about 3-4 weeks||Last nearly 2 weeks|
|Professional Assistance||Does not require any professional assistance||Unless you own a UV gel nail extensions kit, professional assistance is required|
|Final Appearance||May look slightly artificial||Have a more naturalistic look|
Things to Consider Before Fixing Your Next Nail Appointment
All this discussion revolving around nail extensions must have gotten you excited enough to dial up your nail salon. But before you reach out for your phone, here are a few things that you need to consider:
- Don’t go pinching for pennies while deciding on a salon. An established salon will offer a well-trained staff with years of experience under their belt. Plus, you can be sure that they follow hygienic practices.
- You may be tempted to prep your nails before your appointment, but I would advise you to let the manicurist do it instead. Different nail extensions may need natural nails of varying shape or style. So leave it to the professionals.
- Be ready to dedicate a good 1-2 hours for your nail job. Remember, a hurried manicure is a bad manicure – so be patient.
- Back to back nail appointments are a big NO-NO. After every treatment, you need to allow your nails some time to heal.
- Now that you know that there is more than just one type of nail extension, you should have a clear idea as to what you want. Discuss your vision with the consultant and they will guide you accordingly.
- You should feel confident enough to dedicate a good amount of care for the upkeep of your natural nails.
- Any nail treatment is discouraged for pregnant women. This is because of the chemicals involved in achieving those gorgeous talons.
DIY Nail Extensions Kit
If you want to try nail extensions at home, you will need to put together a nail extension kit. For a basic manicure, here’s a list of the assortment of items that you will need:
Artificial Nail Tips
Tips are mostly made of plastic. There are several types and styles of nail tips available at online and offline stores. You could get your hands on some white and clear nail tips. On the other hand, you can make your pick from nail tips decked up with glitter, designs, and colors.
Personally, I prefer the white tips for the perfect French Manicure as they are timeless and never go out of style.
Some acrylic nail extensions professional kit may come with nail extensions containing press-on glue. However, it does help to keep nail glue handy. It not only acts as a great adhesive but can also add durability and strength to your nail job.
Assembling a manicure kit at home is easy, you will just need a few nail care and basic accessories. Here’s a list of some essential tools that you can keep:
- Nail polish remover
- Cotton pads or swabs
- Nail buffer and nail file
- Cuticle pushers
- Cuticle/Callus Remover
- Hand moisturizer
- Almond oil (for nails)
- Nail polish
- Clear top coat or Lacquer
Fine nosed, sharp scissors will also do the trick here. But I would recommend getting a dedicated nail tip cutter for the job. Nail tip cutters allow you to cut the nail to the desired length and shape. With one swift motion, you can cleanly cut off the fake nail tips as per the required size. Some nail tip cutters even come with catchers that will grab any stray clippings or nail bits.
Aftercare and Maintenance Tips
Considering that you invest a good amount of time and money into your nails, it is essential to take care of it too. Furthermore, not taking good care of the nails could damage your natural nails.
I am sharing with you a few pointers that that will help with aftercare and maintenance of nail extensions:
- Refrain from biting, peeling, or picking at your nails for it may alter your nail structure or mess up your nail extensions.
- Wear rubber gloves to protect your nails if and when you work with harsh chemicals such as detergents.
- Make it a daily routine to moisturize your hands and to nourish your cuticles with cuticle oil
- Avoid using your nail extensions as tools
- Make it a point to follow up at your nail salon to infills, touch up, and clip your natural nails.
- Immediately follow up with your nail technician if the nail extension appears damaged or is lifting.
- Dry your hands thoroughly and moisturize your hands and cuticles as regularly as possible.
- Practice caution while around a naked flame or high heat as it may cause the melting of the nail extension.
- Apply a layer of a basecoat before applying nail polish over gel nail extensions to prevent staining
- Do not use acetone-based nail polish removers as it may dissolve the nail extensions.
- Remember: You can always have fun with your nails. Even if you have gotten a specific nail art from the salon, you can try out something new on the same tips before it turns boring. Simply remove the nail art using nail polish remover (without acetone) and get creative on your blank canvas!
Simple Steps to Remove Nail Extensions at Home
Ideally, nail extensions must be removed by the nail technician who has applied them. However, in the case of acrylic nail extensions, the process of removing the nail extension is as easy as applying it. You can remove the nail at home provided that you dedicate sufficient time and patience to carry it out perfectly.
The process of removing nail extensions is called soaking and can be done as follows:
- Step 1: Find a large glass bowl in which you can comfortably dip your hands and fill it with acetone-based nail polish remover.
- Step 2: If your nail extensions are long, clip them down to the tips of your finger.
- Step 3: Apply a generous layer of petroleum jelly over your fingers and cuticles to minimize the dehydrating effect of acetone on the skin.
- Step 4: Dip your hands in the bowl and let it stay in the nail polish remover for 15 to 30 minutes or until all the layers present on the nail completely come off. To assist in the removal of layers, you can also use a cloth dipped in acetone.
- Step 5: Once all the layers are out, remove your hands from the liquid and dry them off. Moisturize your fingers, cuticles, and hands that had been soaked. If required, clip your nails and file them. Gently buff your natural nails to remove any residue.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At no point during the nail extension removal should you try to pull off the nail or residual products. Allow everything to get dissolved and peel off on its own. Attempting to expedite the process by manual removal may cause great damage to your natural nails and nail beds.
Who doesn’t love beautifully manicured hands?
Personally, I feel that nails are an extension of your body and deserve an equal amount of care. I often think of them as an accessory to glam up a look or to turn up the dramatic flair. Plus, nail extensions helped me quit my nail-biting habit, so that’s another win!
If you’re pretty confident about your DIY skills, then I would suggest that you invest in a nail extensions kit set. The nail extension kit price in India could range from anything between Rs. 180 to Rs. 15,200 depending on the brand, number of items, and type. Eventually, with regular use, the kit will pay for itself. On the other hand, for those just starting, I would strongly recommend getting your nails done by the professionals.
With proper care and maintenance, you can have stunning nails to die for!
You are thinking of a friend or colleague who can use this wealth of information to know more about nail extensions? Share this with them!