Nail polish, Acrylic, Gel explained

What is the difference between non-toxic nail polish, regular nail polish, gel, shellac and acrylic?

Acrylics

the most artificial of them all and more of a ‘nail enhancement’ than a polish. It is a substance that is balled up, placed on the nail then worked out to form a ‘nail shape’. You can identify acrylics by the way the nail looks raised. To remove you need an electric file which can grind back your natural nail, resulting in extensive damage.

 

Shellac

is actually a brand name! Shellac is actually Gel polish.

 

Gel

Oh Gels. I WISH I could make a non-toxic gel (It needs certain ‘toxic’ ingredients to make it last like it does). They’re the most similar to a normal polish but with extra wear (if you apply them right). They apply like a normal polish but are usually cured under a UV lamp and your nails need to be SOAKED in acetone to remove it. Don’t pick at it because it gets so deeply embedded in your nail (think the top few micro layers) that you will pull your nail off with it.

 

Regular nail polish

These are your classic polishes like your Revlon’s and OPI’s. They’re usually long standing brands but the problem is their formulas (and ethics) are stuck in the dark ages. They contain many of the ingredients that modern users are trying to avoid whilst not giving any longer wear than non-toxic ones. Another thing to note is they and are often not cruelty free or vegan as they are more of the ‘mass market’ brand and sell wholesale to countries like China.

 

Non-toxic polish

Yay! The best of the bunch. Not only are these not damaging to your nail bed but they come without the harsh ingredients that we’re ALL trying to avoid. They’re often produced by smaller companies (like us!) so you have greater capacity to ask questions and develop the trust needed to use these brands.

Helena Nail Polish

If you’re using acrylics or gels but you want to try going for a natural nail it will take approx. 3-6 months for your nail bed to grow out and look natural. I have seen many people with damage that lasts long beyond the 6 month mark! Your nails should recover eventually but it does take a long time so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

 

And remember: the stronger the polish, the more unnatural the ingredients and the more intense they have to be.

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