Alternative to Acrylic Nails

7 Alternative to Acrylic Nails

Are you tired of the constant maintenance and potential damage that comes with acrylic nails? Well, I can relate.

I’ve always loved the idea of having beautiful, long-lasting nails, so I’ve been on the lookout for alternative options. Thankfully, there’s a whole world of alternatives to acrylic nails waiting to be discovered. 

In this blog post, I’ll dive into some exciting and practical alternatives that not only offer stunning results but also prioritize nail health. 

Get ready to say goodbye to acrylics and hello to a world of exciting nail possibilities.

Alternative to Acrylic Nails

If you’re seeking an alternative to acrylic nails, consider exploring these options: nail stickers (wraps), gel nail polish, dip powder, or gel nail extensions. Whether you’re looking to try something new or simply seeking a change, these alternatives offer a variety of benefits and options to suit your needs.

Factors to Consider when Choosing an Alternative 

When searching for fake nails that don’t damage real nails, there’re several important factors to consider. Let’s explore them in detail:

Lifestyle: Consider your lifestyle and daily activities. If you have an active lifestyle or love bowling, you may need a more durable alternative that can withstand wear and tear.

Also, consider wearing nail protectors for bowling any time you engage in this sport.

Time: Evaluate the time you’re willing to invest in nail maintenance. Some alternatives, like gel nails or dip powder nails, require regular visits to the salon for application and removal. Others, such as nail stickers, can be easily applied at home.

Budget: Different alternatives have varying costs associated with them. Consider your budget and factor in the cost of initial application, maintenance, and potential salon visits. Determine what you’re willing to spend to achieve the desired nail look.

Maintenance: Think about the level of maintenance you’re comfortable with. Some alternatives may require more upkeep. Others may offer longer-lasting results with minimal maintenance.

Reasons Why People Opt for Non-acrylic Nails

There’re several reasons why you should opt for non-acrylic nails. Here are some of the main factors that contribute to this preference:

Nail health

One of the primary reasons to opt for non-acrylic nails is to prioritize the health of your natural nails.

Acrylic nails can cause damage and weaken the nail bed, leading to thin, brittle, and prone-to-breaking nails. 

Allergies and sensitivities

Many people develop allergies or sensitivities to the chemicals and substances used in acrylic nails. These reactions can lead to skin irritations, redness, swelling, and discomfort and may later on make their real nails lift.

But don’t worry. Here’s what to do when acrylic nail breaks real nail.

Ease of application and removal 

Non-acrylic nail options provide a simpler and more user-friendly application and removal process. For instance, nail stickers or wraps are easy to apply, requiring no special skills or equipment. 

Gel nails can be cured with LED or UV lamps and easily soak off when it’s time for a change. This convenience appeals to individuals who prefer a hassle-free nail care routine.

Versatility and Design Options

Non-acrylic alternatives offer a wide range of design possibilities. Nail stickers come in various patterns and styles, allowing you to experiment with different looks. 

Gel nails provide flexible colors, nail art, and embellishments. The versatility of non-acrylic options makes it easier if you want to express your creativity. 

It’s also cool to try on different occasions and moods.

Durability and Longevity

Many non-acrylic alternatives offer durability and longevity. These options can last for several weeks without chipping or losing their shine. 

This durability is beneficial if you have an active lifestyle or prefer low-maintenance nail care.


You need to consider what age is good for fake nails. Younger individuals have different nail care needs and preferences compared to older individuals.

For teenagers or younger children, opt for safer and more age-appropriate alternatives, such as nail stickers or press-on nails.

For adults, age can also influence the choice of alternatives. Older individuals may prefer more natural-looking options like gel nails or shellac.

Additionally, older nails might be more brittle and thinner, so choosing less damaging alternatives is important to maintain nail health.

Alternative to acrylic nails

Best Acrylic Nail Alternatives

Let’s unlock a world of nail artistry and discover the thrilling alternatives to acrylic nails that will make your fingertips mesmerizing.

1. Gel Nails

Gel nails are a type of artificial nails that are created using a gel-like substance that hardens when exposed to a UV or LED lamp

To apply gel nail polish, prepare the nails by shaping, buffing, and gently roughening the surface. Then apply a base coat of gel and cure under a UV or LED lamp. 

Add multiple layers of colored gel polish or builder gel, while curing each layer under the lamp. Finally, apply and cure the topcoat to provide a glossy and durable finish.

Gel nails offer several benefits. They provide a natural-looking appearance with a glossy finish. 

The gel formula is flexible, making them less prone to cracking or chipping compared to acrylic nails. 

Gel nails are also thinner and lighter, providing a more comfortable feel. Find out how thick acrylic nails are supposed to be.

They can last for several weeks without chipping or losing shine, offering long-lasting wear.

To maintain gel nails, follow proper nail care practices. Avoid using your nails as tools to prevent unnecessary stress or damage. 

Regularly moisturize your cuticles and nails to keep them hydrated. If any lifting or chipping occurs, it’s advisable to visit a professional nail technician for repairs. 

Gel nail is removed by soaking in acetone. The technician may apply acetone-soaked cotton pads to the nails and wrap them in foil to facilitate the removal process.

Here are the most common gel nail polishes:


OPI is a well-established brand known for its extensive color selection and long-lasting formulas. They offer a variety of finishes, including creams, shimmers, metallics, glitters, and more. 

OPI polishes are known for their smooth application, pigmentation, and chip-resistant wear. The brand also offers base coats, top coats, and specialized treatments for nail care.


Essie is recognized for its trendy and fashion-forward nail polish shades. 

They offer a diverse range of colors, from classic neutrals to vibrant hues, and regularly release new collections inspired by runway trends. 

Essie polishes are known for their smooth and streak-free application, along with their durability and shine. They also provide base coats, top coats, and nail care products.

China glaze

China Glaze is known for its extensive color range, unique finishes, and affordable pricing.

They offer a wide variety of shades, from bold and vibrant to soft pastels and glitter-packed polishes. 

China Glaze formulas are often praised for their smooth application and long-lasting wear. The brand also offers base coats, top coats, and specialty nail treatments.

Pros and cons of gel nails


  • Natural appearance
  • Durability
  • Quick drying time
  • Flexible


  • UV/LED lamp requirement
  • Professional application
  • Removal process
  • Costly

2. Press On Nails

Press-on nails are a convenient and temporary alternative to traditional nail enhancements. To apply press-on nails clean and buff the natural nails. 

Select the appropriate size press-on nail, and use adhesive tabs or glue to securely attach them. 

The benefits of press-on nails include instant manicures without drying time, a wide variety of design options, and affordability. 

Maintenance is minimal, requiring care to avoid excessive water exposure and pressure on the nails. 

Removal is easy, either by gently peeling off nails with adhesive tabs or soaking and gently lifting them with an acetone-based remover. 

While press-on nails may not offer the same durability as other enhancements, they are perfect for special occasions or those seeking temporary style changes with ease.

Here’s a brief overview of the press on nail brands: 

Glamnetic Press On Nails

Glamnetic nails are praised for their quality adhesive and long-lasting wear. 

They are easy to apply and remove, making them a popular choice among those seeking hassle-free nail enhancement.

KISS Gel Fantasy

KISS Gel Fantasy press-on nails are known for their gel-like appearance and durability. They provide a salon-quality finish with a wide selection of designs, colors, and lengths. 

KISS Gel Fantasy nails are easy to apply and last long. They are designed to fit most nail shapes and sizes, offering a customizable fit.

MelodySusie Press On Nails 

MelodySusie offers a range of press-on nails that are affordable and of good quality. They provide a variety of designs, shapes, and lengths to cater to different preferences. 

They can be reused and are easy to remove without causing damage to the natural nails.

Pros and cons of press-on nails


  • Easy to apply
  • Reusable
  • Convenient
  • Variety of designs
  • Easy to take off
  • Doesn’t use too many chemicals


  • Temporary wear
  • Durability
  • Limited nail shape
  • Adhesive sensitivity
Press on nails

3. Nail Stickers

Nail stickers, also known as nail wraps or decals, are a quick and effortless way to achieve stunning nail designs without painting. 

Their application is simple. After cleaning and shaping the nails, select the sticker, press it onto the nail surface, and trim any excess. 

Some nail stickers require heat activation to adhere to the nail. Nail stickers offer an array of intricate and professional-looking designs. 

These include patterns, prints, and intricate nail art that may be challenging to achieve freehand. 

Nail stickers are a time-saving solution, eliminating the need for nail polish application, drying time, or complicated nail art techniques. 

Maintenance is minimal and involves avoiding excessive water exposure, and harsh chemicals, and applying a clear topcoat for added durability. 

Removal is easy, allowing for a quick change of designs by peeling off the stickers or soaking the nails in warm soapy water.

The best nail stickers are:

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Couture Nail Stickers

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Couture Nail Stickers offer a wide range of designs and patterns. These stickers are easy to apply and provide a salon-quality look. 

They are made with real nail polish, which gives them a glossy and long-lasting finish. 

WOKOTO Solid Color Full Nail Wraps

WOKOTO Solid Color Full Nail Wraps are simple and have solid color options. They come in a variety of vibrant and classic shades, allowing for a chic and polished look. 

The wraps are easy to apply and adhere smoothly to the nails. 

Pros and cons of nail stickers


  • Non-damaging
  • Time-saving
  • Variety of designs
  • Easy to apply
  • Temporary and reusable
  • Has amazing art


  • Not durable
  • Limited customization
  • May damage nails if not put correctly

4. Gel Nail Extensions (healthiest nail extensions)

Gel nail extensions are the least damaging nail extensions. To apply, prepare the natural nails, apply a gel builder or extension gel, and cure each layer under a UV or LED lamp. 

The benefits of gel nail extensions are numerous. They offer a strong and flexible extension. Luckily, this extension resembles natural nails, providing a durable and natural-looking result. 

Compared to other extension methods, such as acrylics, gel extensions are less damaging to natural nails. They offer a wide range of customization options, allowing for different shapes, lengths, and finishes. 

With their glossy and long-lasting appearance, gel extensions maintain their shine for weeks. To make them last longer, avoid excessive stress or using nails as tools. 

Moisturize the cuticles and nails, schedule regular infills or fills, and protect the nails from water and chemicals. 

When it comes to removal, let a professional remove them to prevent damage to your own nails. 

My favorite brands are:

Modelones Sale Modelones Poly Extension Gel Nail Kit

Modelones offers a comprehensive poly extension gel nail kit that includes everything you need for creating beautiful and durable nail extensions. 

Their kits contain poly gel, nail forms or tips, a base coat, a top coat, a slip solution or nail cleanser, and other necessary tools for application. 

Modelones provide high-quality products that are beginner-friendly.

Kastiny Poly Extension Gel Nail Kit

Kastiny is another reputable brand that offers poly extension gel nail kits. Their kits include poly gel, nail forms or tips, a base coat, a top coat, a brush, and other essential accessories. 

Kastiny provides reliable and affordable options for creating salon-quality nail extensions at home.

Their poly extension gel formulas are user-friendly, providing easy application and excellent durability.

Pros and cons of gel nails extensions


  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Feels and looks natural


  • Costly
  • Requires UV or LED lamp
  • Requires professional application
Gel nails extensions

5. Dip Powder

I like dip powder nails because of their durability and long-lasting wear and because they are better than gel manicure. To apply, begin with a base coat, dip the nails into colored powder, apply an activator, and seal with a top coat. 

Dip powder nails are strong, have a chip-resistant finish, are vibrant, and have opaque colors. They also have an extended wear period of up to two to three weeks. 

If you want them to last longer, avoid excessive stress or water exposure. 

Also, moisturize the nails, and seek professional repairs for any lifting or chipping. To remove, soak the nails in acetone and scrape off the softened powder. 

Here are my brands of choice:

Lavender Violets Sale

Lavender Violets offer dip powder nail kits that include a range of colors, base coats, activators, and top coats. 

Their kits come with tools such as brushes, files, and nail buffers. Lavender Violets provide affordable and beginner-friendly options.

Beetles Dip Powder Nail Kit

Beetles is a well-known brand in the nail industry, and their dip powder nail kits are highly regarded. Their kits contain a selection of dip powder colors, base coats, activators, and top coats. 

Beetles has high-quality formulas that provide vibrant colors, smooth application, and durable results. Their dip powders are also odorless and resistant to chipping.

Morovan Dip Powder Nail Kit

Morovan offers dip powder nail kits offer nail brush for acrylic nails, files, and cuticle pushers. 

Morovan has easy-to-use dip powders that provide excellent adhesion, long-lasting wear, and a professional finish.

Pros and cons of dip powder


  • Easy to apply
  • Odorless
  • Durable
  • Doesn’t require a UV lamp
  • Doesn’t use harsh chemicals
  • Vibrant colors
  • Extended wear


  • Tough to remove
  • Costly 
  • Heavier than gel polishes and regular nail polishes

6. Kiss Press-On Nails

Kiss Press-On Nails are artificial nails that provide an instant manicured look without visiting salons. They come in pre-designed sets with a variety of nail sizes and shapes to fit different natural nail sizes. 

Kiss Press-On Nails have adhesive tabs or glue that secure their natural nails. To apply them, clean and shape the natural nails, apply adhesive tabs or glue to the nails, and press them onto the nails. 

Their benefits include quick application and a variety of designs to choose from. Maintenance involves avoiding excessive water exposure and taking care during activities to prevent lifting. 

To remove them, simply peel off the nails or soak them in acetone or warm soapy water. 

Pros and cons of kiss press-on nails


  • Convenient
  • Easy to apply
  • Temporary and reusable
  • Variety of designs


  • Not durable
  • Fit and sizing
  • Some individuals may be sensitive to the adhesive

7. Fibreglass Nails (best artificial nails for thin nails)

Fiberglass nails are a type of artificial nail extension that uses a combination of thin fiberglass fabric and resin to create a strong and natural-looking enhancement. 

During application, the fabric is cut to match the shape of the natural nails and adhered using a resin or adhesive gel. It’s then cured under a UV light or LED lamp. 

Fiberglass nails provide a comfortable and seamless extension that is resistant to cracking or breaking. 

To maintain it well, avoid excessive stress or exposure to water. Moisturize the nails, and schedule regular maintenance appointments. 

I recommend professional removal to minimize the risk of damage to the natural nails.

Read also: Can you cut fake nails?

Pros and cons of fibreglass nails


  • Natural appearance
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible


  • Require professional application
  • Limited design options
  • Requires professional removal
  • Sensitivity to allergic reactions
Fibreglass nails

Which Is Safer, Gel Nails Or Acrylic?

When deciding between gel nails and acrylic nails, think about different things that might affect safety. Think about your own situation too.

Both gel nails and acrylic nails can be safe when applied and maintained properly.

Gel nails tend to have a milder chemical composition, emit fewer odors, and offer easier removal. They are also gentler on the nails and skin.

Acrylic nails involve the use of liquid monomers that emit strong odors and require filing or drilling for removal.

If done right, acrylic nails can be safe. You need to use the right techniques and make sure that the area is well-ventilated. An experienced nail technician can help you do this safely.

Also, prioritize hygiene, choose reputable products, and be aware of any personal sensitivities or allergies.

The best choice between gel and acrylic nails is up to you, but it also depends on how healthy your nails are and what your professional recommends.

Interesting read: Can you put acrylic on half a nail?

Difference Between Gel Extensions & Acrylic Nails

When it comes to achieving long and durable artificial nails, hard gel nails extensions vs acrylic nails emerge as two popular options.

Let’s explore the key differences between these two methods.

Gel extensions are made of a gel-like substance that is cured under a UV or LED lamp. Acrylic nails are created by combining a liquid monomer with a powdered polymer.

Gel extensions are applied by brushing the gel onto the natural nail. Acrylic nails are applied by dipping a brush into the liquid monomer, then into the polymer powder. 

Acrylic nails emit stronger odors and fumes during the application process due to the chemicals involved. Gel extensions have a milder scent, making them a more favorable option.

Gel extensions tend to be more flexible and have a natural look and feel compared to acrylic nails. 

They are less prone to cracking or lifting, making them a preferred choice for individuals with weaker or more flexible natural nails.

Acrylic nails, on the other hand, are generally stronger and more durable but may be less flexible.

Gel extension removal is done by soaking the nails in acetone. Acrylic nails are removed by either soaking in acetone or filing, depending on the technique used during application.

Interesting read: How long should I soak my nails in acetone?


How to do nails at home without acrylic

Doing nails at home without acrylic can be accomplished with some basic nail care tools and techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide to doing your nails at home:
Remove any existing nail polish using nail polish remover. 
Buff the nails
Apply a base coat
Apply nail polish
Apply a top coat
Clean up any mistakes
Maintain your nails

What are the least damaging artificial nails?

The least damaging artificial nails are gel nails and dip powder manicures. They don’t require strong chemicals to adhere to your natural nails and won’t cause any damage.

How long do acrylic nails last without fill-ins?

You need to fill your acrylic nails after every 2 to 3 weeks. This time frame ensures that the acrylic does not lift from the natural nail, reducing the risk of damage and potential fungal infections.
Read also: How long should you leave acrylic nails on?

If I’m allergic to acrylic nails, what can I use instead?

If you’re allergic to acrylic nails, there’re several alternatives you can consider. Here are a few options: gel nail polish, dip powder nails, regular nail polish, press-on nails, and nail stickers.

Are acrylics bad for your nails?

No, acrylic nails are not bad for your nails. When applied and maintained properly, acrylic nails do not damage the natural nails. However, improper application, removal, or neglect of acrylic nails can lead to potential damage.

How to get long nails without acrylics

You can use a combination of healthy habits and effective practices to get long nails without relying on acrylics. You can also create nail extensions to make your nails look longer. 

What can you use instead of nail glue for acrylics? 

There’re a few options you can consider as an alternative to nail glue. They are:
Adhesive tabs
DIY nail glue
Nail wraps

Does vinegar remove acrylic nails?

Yes. Vinegar soaks off acrylic nails to some extent. Acrylic nails are best removed by a professional at a salon using proper techniques to avoid damage to the natural nails. Using vinegar may take longer and may not dissolve the acrylic, leading to damage and weakening of the natural nails.


When it comes to nails, having a good alternative to acrylics is important. Whether you don’t want to put in the investment or want something less unpredictable, the alternatives are worth trying out.

If you’ve been considering an alternative to acrylic nails but are unsure what option is right for you, speak with your local nail technician before making a decision.

There are numerous options that can help you achieve your desired look without as much hassle or upkeep.

With this fresh knowledge about the latest trends and information on alternative acrylic nails, this is the time to take action. 

Don’t wait any longer. Explore some of these excellent alternatives to traditional acrylic nails today.


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