Types of Fake Nails: Acrylic, Gel, Wraps & Other Artificial Nails

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Social media is rife with the aesthetic that fake nails bring to every season or every major look.

But did you know that there are different types of fake nails available for you to try out? What kind of fake nails are there today?

different designs of acrylic fake nails

Since many different types of artificial nail extensions are available in the market, it would be hard to choose the best fake nails for you—depending on your style, budget, and preference.

Nowadays, the most common fake nail types are acrylic nails, gel nails, dip powder nails, and nail wraps.

Do you want to know more about them?

If so, continue reading our Fake Nail 101 Guide.

We are here to help you learn about these well-loved artificial nail extensions and finally help you decide which one you should try!

What Are Fake Nails?

Fake nails — also known as artificial nails — are types of nail extensions that enhance your nails’ overall look and aesthetic.

There are a variety of available fake nail styles, designs, and looks. You can go minimalist, festive, chic, seasonal, sultry, spooky, kawaii — literally whatever you want with fake nails.

Whether you want to celebrate individuality, art, or a season or add an oomph to your outfits, we highly recommend getting fake nails.

However, it’s important to know beforehand that fake nails have to be maintained to keep them on and to keep them looking fresh.

Nail technicians recommend in-fills for artificial nails every 2 to 3 weeks.

Nevertheless, while fake nail upkeep can be a hassle, they’re still here to stay because of their durability and customizability, making them way better than your typical manicure.

Different Types of Fake Nails

Ready for good-looking nails for weeks? Here are the types of fake nails available today that you can choose from:

Acrylic Nails

One of the most popular fake nail types is acrylic nails, which can be applied as a whole nail overlay or a nail tip extension.

Acrylic nails are a combination of a powder polymer and liquid monomer, which creates a paste that is applied to your natural nail.

After applying it and letting it set, the acrylic nails will harden within a few minutes and can then be shaped depending on your preferred shape and length.

Generally, acrylic nails are the most affordable, durable, and thickest of all artificial nail types. Since they don’t chip easily, acrylic nails are ideal for active women.

Still, you need to get it touched up after 2 to 3 weeks as your nails grow over time.

If interested, purchase these Full Cover Acrylic Nail Tips and try designing them yourself!

KISS Salon Acrylic Natural Nails

KISS Salon Acrylic Natural Nails consists of 28 salon-perfect acrylic nails to last you long. 

Primary Benefits: Durable; chip-free; flexible fit


  • Consists of 28 nails in 14 sizes
  • Long-lasting wear
  • Trendy finishes, shapes, and colors

Get a flawless ready-to-wear manicure in no time!


  • Affordable
  • Helps stop chewing habits
  • Long-lasting
  • Perfect with poorly structured nails or non-existent nails
  • Suitable for weak and brittle nails


  • Uses a lot of harsh chemicals
  • Produces toxic odor and harsh fumes
  • Can damage your natural nails
  • Can look fake
  • Needs to be refilled every month

Do you know how to put on acrylic nails? If not, follow the steps in this video:

Gel Nails

If you are looking for a nail manicure type that looks natural while protecting your actual nails, you should get gel nails. 

Gel nails are made out of gel acrylic, which is hardened with the help of ultraviolet (UV) curing light or an LED nail lamp.

This nail alternative is performed through a 3-step procedure: base coat brushing, nail polish application, and applying top coat on your natural nails.

After every coating, your nails will be put under a UV curing light for about two minutes to dry and cure.

If you are one of those who work with their hands or are active, this nail extension type is not for you because it is not as durable or strong as regular acrylics.

One of the best things about gel nails is that you don’t need to have them nail-filled as frequently as acrylic nails. 

Also, this fake nail variation has a high-gloss finish and usually lasts longer than regular nail polish.

Purchase some of the top gel nail polish on Amazon’s Choice here:

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Set- 6 Colors Nude Gel Polish
Editor’s Choice
  • Long-lasting
  • Made of high-quality formulas
  • Chip-resistant
Beetles Milky Way Glitter Gel Nail Polish Set 6 Colors Collection
Premium Pick
  • Toxin-free
  • High-gloss shine
  • Vibrant Pigments
BORN PRETTY Fall Winter Gel Nail Polish Kit Cozy Campfire Autumn Gel Polish Set
Budget Pick
  • Matte finish type
  • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Smooth formula


  • Flexible and feels natural
  • Quicker to apply
  • Gentler and safer on nails
  • Set more quickly
  • Widely available in colors and patterns


  • More expensive
  • Needs to be replaced more frequently
  • Not that durable
  • Not that long-lasting

Here’s a great tutorial on how to apply gel nails for beginners:

Dip Powder Nails

Dip powder is a nail styling method that involves dipping the nail into colored powder, which is then sealed on top using a clear sealant.

The salon nail technicians now use a brush to apply the dip powder onto the nail for hygienic purposes.

This type of fake nails is a hybrid of acrylic and gel nail polish extensions as it provides the durability of the acrylics and the flexibility of gel nails.

With this, you can remain chip-free for up to 4 weeks!

So if you want to save time and get a long-lasting and low-maintenance nail look, dip powder nails will be right up your alley.

Check out one of the best-selling DIP powder nail kits on Amazon that you should get and try for yourself!

Modelones 32 Pcs Dip Powder Nail Kit Starter

Modelones all-in-one dip powder is 11 Toxin-Free, vegan, low-smell, and cruelty-free which makes it safer for your nail beds to protect against breaks and chips.

Primary Benefits: Easy Application; Infinite Design Possibilities; Salon Quality 


  • Consists of 20x different dip powder colors
  • Long-lasting
  • No need to use LED/UV nail lamp
  • Safe for nail beds


  • Easily done at home
  • Durable
  • Endless color options
  • Last up to four weeks
  • No need to cure with UV lights


  • Sometimes triggers allergies
  • Looks bulkier compared to nail polish
  • Non-hygienic in other salons
  • Removal can be damaging to natural nails

For beginners, here is a step-by-step video on how to apply dip powder nails properly at home. 

Nail Wraps

Nail wraps—also known as polish strips or nail stickers—are designed stickers formed by cutting pieces of materials like silk fabric, linen, or fiberglass to fit on your nail bed. Then, these wraps will be sealed onto your nails with a layer of glue or resin.

These nail stickers can easily be applied at home and be on the go.

Getting this nail manicure is perfect if you want instant nail art without spending too much time and money visiting your nearest salon.

However, nail wraps won’t be as long-lasting and durable compared to other nail products and fake nails.

Nonetheless, nail wraps are good, especially if you are looking for a budget-friendly and easy DIY option to enhance your nails for any occasion.

Here’s one of the hottest nail strip products on Amazon that you might want to check out:

Maitys’ Gradient Marble Color Street Nail Decal Strips

Maitys’ Gradient Marble Color Street Nail Decal Strips are self-adhesive nail polish stickers that can stick directly to your nail surface. 

Primary Benefits: Easy-to-stick; beginner-friendly; convenient


  • Gradient marble styles
  • 12 sheets full nail stickers containing 14 pcs.
  • Perfect for DIY manicures

These decal strips are perfect as your go-to nail designs for any occasion!


  • Effortless nail design
  • No more mess
  • Zero dry time


  • Limited creativity
  • Dries out very quickly
  • Intensive nail preparation
  • Possibly damages nails

You can learn how to use nail wraps here: 

Polygel Nails

If you want a combination of gel and acrylic nail benefits, you should ask your nail technician for a complete set of polygel nails.

Polygel nails are a hybrid nail-enhancement formula that offers you the best gels and acrylic nail features, such as customizability, flexibility, and durability.

Like gel and acrylics, you can use polygel nails to fill in, sculpt, overlay, or even extend your natural nails. Moreover, it is cured under a UV light after application.

Fortunately, this type of fake nail is easy to apply. Even if polygel nails share the same benefits as gels and acrylics, they are a lot lighter than them.

The longevity of these fake nails depends on how well they are applied. Typically, polygel nails can last up to three weeks when properly applied by a certified nail technician.

However, did you know that you can DIY polygel nails in the comfort of your home?

If you prefer doing it yourself, here’s the top-selling high-quality polygel nail kit you can check out on Amazon:

Modelones Poly Nail Gel Kit

This all-in-one poly nail gel kit is beginner-friendly, super easy to use, and can be applied in five easy steps. 

Primary Benefits: Easy to apply and remove; beginner-friendly; long-lasting tips


  • Salon-quality extensions
  • Natural formula
  • Perfect for any skin tone

After applying this polygel nail kit, expect salon-like nails at a lower price!



  • Can be easily filed off with a buffer and nail file
  • Cure fast under a LED light
  • Flexible and strong
  • Very light and comfortable to wear


  • Can cause heat spikes when applied incorrectly
  • Significantly more expensive than other fake nails

Here’s a detailed video tutorial on how to apply polygel nail kits:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Fake Nails High Maintenance?

Fake nails require a lot of maintenance. In fact, most fake nail types need users to return to the nail salon every 2-3 weeks to have their nails filled.

If you want to have them stay longer, choose a professional nail technician to get the nail procedure right the first time. That way, you can have your nails properly done, minimizing the risk of nail damage.

Also, with the right maintenance and care, you can wait for at least four weeks before you can get them retouched or removed.

closeup view of manicurist and client's hands pointing a color on a fake nail palette

Do Fake Nails Damage Your Natural Nails?

Since fake nails can be high-maintenance, you’ll need frequent touch-ups to maintain how it looks on your nails. But, know that this can damage your actual nails—eventually making them parched, thin, and brittle.

To prevent that from happening, always listen to your nail tech and follow the nail set schedule to maintain your fake nails and avoid damaging your actual nails.

Also, as much as possible, it would be best to let your nails breathe and have them free from fake nails for some time.

Which Fake Nails Last Longest?

Out of all fake nails, dip powder nails are one of the most long-lasting options because they are comprised of dip powder polymers, which are stronger than those found in gel polish.

Unlike acrylic nails, dip nails usually last up to five weeks—if properly cared for.

infographic about different types of fake nails

Conclusion: Which Fake Nail Should I Get?

Nowadays, various types of fake nails are accessible in the beauty industry. Each of them has pros and cons that you need to weigh.

But, remember, choosing the best artificial nails for yourself is a matter of personal preference.

Regardless of which fake nail type you pick, all you have to do is to maintain them properly to make them look great and avoid damaging your real nails.

You may also like these:


  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

  • Jasmine Moore

    Jasmine Moore, a licensed nail technician with 3 years of expertise, offers specialized services in Acrylic, Gel X, and Dip Powder applications. Trained by Lena Fam and a graduate of NexGen Nails and Beauty School, Jasmine's accolades include nominations for "Best New Nail Tech" (2021) and "Best Nail Artist" (2023). As the founder of Jazzy Belle Beauty she stays updated on the latest nail trends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *