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

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

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You’ve probably heard about fake nails. But, did you know that there are different types of artificial nails that you can try out?

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 nail extensions put on top of your fingernails to enhance the shape, length, and overall aesthetics of your fingernails.

Some of these nail extensions try to mimic the actual appearance of your natural nails, while some may be seen in a more glam, artistic, and fun look!

If you prefer having long, perfectly-shaped, trendy nails, you should try getting fake nails.

But, know that fake nails must be regularly maintained, unlike other nail design types. In fact, expert nail technicians recommend these artificial nails be maintained every after 2-3 weeks.

Though these nails can be high-maintenance, their versatility in design, size, color, shape, and durability is one of the main reasons they are superior compared to other manicure types.

Different Types of Fake Nails

Now that we know what fake nails are, let’s proceed to the variety of fake nails that you should try:

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 2-3 weeks as your nails grow over time.


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


  • It uses a lot of harsh chemicals
  • Produces toxic odor and harsh fumes
  • Can damage beneath your natural nail
  • Can look fake
  • It 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 compared to regular nail polish.

Overall, gel nails are safer and more durable than acrylic nails—and they look just as good! 

Here are some top gel polish options:

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

Here are a few more of our favorite gel polish brands.


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


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

Dip Powder Nails

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

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

This nail manicure is a hybrid of acrylic and gel nail polish extensions as it provides the durability of the acrylics and 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.

Related: Dip Nail Systems: 10 Best Nail Dipping Powder Brands

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


  • It can easily be done at home
  • Durable
  • Endless color options
  • Last up to four weeks
  • No need to cure with UV lights


  • Dip powders sometimes trigger allergy
  • It 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.

You can learn how to use nail wraps here:


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


  • Creativity is limited
  • It dries out very quickly
  • Intensive nail preparation
  • Possibly damages nails

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.

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.

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