SNS vs Acrylic: What Is The Difference?

The first step to adding glamour and pizzazz to your nails is to determine the type of fake nails that will give you the results you’re looking for. Unfortunately, choosing the right one isn’t an easy task with all the options out there.

Two of the trending artificial nails that most women have trouble choosing are SNS and acrylic. You might be in the same boat and wondering what makes them different and which one to choose.

If you are looking for answers to these questions, you’re in the right place. This article will tell you everything you need to know about acrylic vs. SNS.

We’ll discuss their similarities and differences so you can easily choose between the two and achieve the look you desire.

SNS vs Acrylic: Comparison Chart

If you’re in a hurry, here is a quick comparison of SNS nails vs. acrylic. You’ll get to know more about each difference throughout this article.

FeatureSNS NailsAcrylic Nails
MaterialA dipping system that uses a combination of gel and powderA mixture of liquid and powder
OdorLess odor than acrylics due to the lack of monomerCan have a strong odor due to the use of liquid monomer
ApplicationDipping nails into the powder, which creates a hard finishApplied using a brush, creating a hard and durable finish
Drying TimeUsually dries quickly, eliminating the need for UV lightsTypically requires UV light to dry, which can take longer
DurabilityDurable and strong, lasting up to 3-4 weeksCan be prone to chipping and lifting, lasting up to 2-3 weeks
RemovalCan be soaked off with acetone or removed using a drillCan be removed by soaking in acetone or using a drill
HealthierA healthier option due to the lack of chemicals and fumesContains chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled or ingested
Natural LookOffers a more natural look, similar to a gel manicureCan look artificial and less natural compared to SNS nails
CostMore expensive than traditional acrylic nails. A full set costs approximately $55Less expensive than SNS nails. Basic set costs about $35
MaintenanceRequires maintenance to keep the nails looking freshRequires maintenance to fill in the growth of the natural nail

What are SNS Nails?

SNS stands for “Signature Nail Systems.” This brand name refers to a type of nail enhancement technique created by the company. The signature nail system combines dipping powder with other ingredients, such as monomers, polymers, pigments, and glitters, to create a unique look and feel.

Getting SNS nails involves applying a base coat, dipping the nails into a powder made of colored acrylic and resin, and then repeating this process several times until the desired level of thickness is achieved. After the powder has been applied, a sealant and topcoat are added to protect the nails and add shine.

SNS uses a simple artificial nail application process to create length, strength, and a more durable overlay on natural nails.

They are also excellent substitutes for gel and traditional acrylic nails, which require the application of harsh chemicals, harmful UV light, and an intricate process during application and removal.

Pros of SNS Nails

  • 1 month manicure: SNS nails last up to 4 weeks without chipping or peeling, making it a great choice if you want to maintain a perfect-looking manicure for an extended period of time.
  • Easy to apply: The process is much faster than traditional acrylics because no drying time is needed. It takes just minutes for the product to dry after being dipped in the powder.
  • No curing under LED lamps: The dip powder and base coat creates your desired look without the drying and curing time under a UV or LED lamp.
  • Safe and healthy: Because SNS nails use a powder base instead of an acrylic one, there is no need for harsh chemicals like acetone or formaldehyde.
  • Incredibly versatile: Available in a variety of different colors and textures so you can find something that suits your style perfectly.
  • Offer a vast selection of pigments: There is a wide range of options from deep, rich shades to pastel colors. Also, the powders are so finely milled -they can easily be mixed to create new and unique shades.
  • This technique creates the most natural-looking finish while adding strength and support to your natural nails. However, they also appear slightly thicker than gel.

Cons of SNS Nails

  • Expensive: SNS nails can range in price from fairly affordable to rather pricey, depending on the salon, type of manicure, and service provider. However, they are still more expensive than traditional manicures due to the time it takes for nail technicians to apply each dip powder layer properly.
  • Difficult to remove: Removing SNS nails or dipping powder manicures can be difficult and time-consuming. Acetone is the traditional method for removing SNS nails, but it leaves your nails, cuticles, and the skin around your nails red, dry, and flaky.
  • Damaged or weakened natural nails if not removed correctly: The glue used to adhere to the powder is difficult to remove. Most nail techs rely on filing and buffing. But if done excessively, it can damage your nail bed.
  • Difficult to pick nail color: It takes some trial and error to figure out the dip powder color you should use: some colors change significantly when they dry.
  • Less flexible and thicker: You may need to adjust your expectations and allow some time to get used to the thicker and less flexible feeling of SNS nails.
  • Cross-contamination of nail fungus and bacteria: Can occur if the nail technicians don’t follow proper hygiene and sanitation practices. This is especially common when dip powder touching an infected nail is placed back in the container and then used on another customer’s nails.

What are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic nails can be a great option when you want to add length and thickness to your nails or for those with weak or brittle nails that need extra support.

With acrylics, a combination of liquid and powdered substances is used to form a paste-like material which is then applied over the natural nail. After the paste is applied and molded into the desired shape and length, it hardens quickly, providing added strength and durability.

These artificial nail extensions can come in various colors, shapes, and styles; they also require minimal maintenance after being applied since they last much longer than regular manicures or pedicures.

They’re a popular choice among women looking for an easy way to update their look with glamourous long nails without damaging their natural nail beds.

Pros of Acrylic Nails

  • Long-lasting: Acrylic nails are hard, sturdy, and resistant to damage. They can last for several weeks without chipping or breaking.
  • Versatile: Come in various shapes and sizes, offering enough room for the technician to work on designs and nail art that suits you best. You can also cover the entire nail or extend the nail tips. This easily allows you to have a stiletto, a French manicure dip nail, or anything else you desire.
  • Cost-effective: The most cost-effective way to get that desired look and glam. They are easily accessible in physical and online beauty shops at very friendly prices.

Cons of Acrylic Nails

  • Damage to nail beds: During acrylic nail application, the technician files and buffs the nail bed to remove the natural shine and make the fakies adhere better. This weakens the nail beds, making them susceptible to damage, breakage, and prone to infections. 
  • Carcinogenic chemicals: Acrylic nails are made from a combination of monomer liquid and polymer powder. These chemicals can be dangerous to your health, especially if the monomer contains illegal components, such as MMA (methyl methacrylate) and HEMA (hydroxyethyl methacrylate).
  • The two chemicals are widely known carcinogens and can cause skin irritation, nail discoloration, and even cancer when used for too long. This makes it riskier for people with allergies and sensitive skin to use acrylic nails.
  • Requires a professional to apply, refill, and remove: Doing acrylic nails might be complex for DIYers since it requires special tools and techniques. You might also damage your nails or end up with uneven nails if you attempt to refill or remove them by yourself. We recommend visiting a nail technician for a comprehensive acrylic nail service since it is much safer and long-lasting.

What’s the Difference Between SNS vs. Acrylic Nails?

Is SNS More Expensive than Acrylic?

The cost of nail treatments can vary depending on several factors, such as the location of the salon, the skill and experience of the nail technician, and the complexity of the design.

However, SNS nails are almost always more expensive than acrylics. They are a newer and trendier technique, so they may be more in demand and therefore priced higher.

Moreover, the application process of SNS requires more training and specialized products and significantly takes longer than acrylics, which further adds to the high costs.

While a full set of SNS nails cost anywhere from $40 to $80, a full set of acrylic nails can range from $30 to $60. Keep in mind that these prices reflect the average.

Remember, some salons may charge more for certain colors or designs, requiring more time and skill. For example, if you choose a complex design or a custom color that needs to be mixed specifically for you, the salon may charge more than their standard pricing.

Other salons may offer different pricing levels based on the design’s complexity, with more intricate designs costing more than simpler ones.

Which Lasts Longer – SNS vs. Acrylics

One of the best things about SNS nails is that it’s incredibly long-lasting. After dipping the nails into a powder and resin formula, a hard, durable layer is created on top of your natural nails.

Because the dipping process used in SNS nails creates a strong bond between the natural nail and the resin formula, there are low chances of lifting and chipping. Moreover, they are generally thicker than traditional acrylic nail enhancements, providing added durability and strength.

While acrylic nails typically need refilling every two to three weeks, SNS nails can last for over a month without needing a refill. They are more flexible than acrylics, allowing them to bend and move with the natural nail without cracking or breaking.

Which is Easy to Apply

SNS nails are typically applied by dipping the nail into a colored powder infused with a special adhesive. The powder adheres to the nail and hardens with the help of a sealant, creating a durable and glossy finish. The dipping process is repeated several times to achieve the desired thickness and color.

On the other hand, acrylic nails are applied using a mixture of liquid and powder that is shaped and sculpted onto the natural nail or a nail tip. The mixture hardens as it dries, creating a strong and durable nail enhancement.

The application process for SNS nails can be relatively quick and straightforward. Acrylics can be more time-consuming and complex because they must be shaped and sculpted to create the desired nail shape and length.

Nonetheless, both nails should be done by a trained and experienced professional to minimize the risk of damage to your natural nails.

Which is Safe and Healthy

Both SNS and acrylic nails can be dangerous if applied incorrectly. This is important and why you must visit a reputable nail salon to get them done.

Since acrylic nails are created using a combination of liquid monomer and powdered polymer, the reaction can cause a burning and itching sensation, which can be painful to some people. Moreover, the filing of natural nails before the application can thin and weaken the nails over time, causing them to become brittle and prone to breakage.

Other common issues with acrylic nails, especially if done incorrectly, include lifting, fungus infection, allergic reactions, and nail bed separation, which can be painful and take a long time to heal.

SNS nails don’t necessarily require harsh chemicals during painting, but the powder can wear away quickly if not applied properly, leading to peeling, lifting, and nail bed separation.

Which is Easy to Remove

Both these nails can be removed by the use of acetone. However, SNS are considered easy to remove and less damaging to your natural nails. All you need is acetone-free nail polish remover or cuticle oil.

They work best when given enough time to soak in before filing off the excess product. This process can take about 10 to 15 minutes per nail, which may be more time-consuming than removing acrylics.

Acrylics are fairly difficult to remove because they require special tools for removal, such as an electric drill or electric file. While this is the fastest way to get rid of them, these tools can be expensive and require special training to use safely.

If you don’t have access to professional equipment, remove the acrylics with acetone-free nail polish remover. However, this method may take longer than an electric drill or file.

Which is Easy to Maintain

SNS and acrylic nails provide long-lasting manicures that require minimal maintenance after application.

Acrylic nails require regular fills to keep them looking their best, but they are relatively easy to clean and care for. SNS nails can be more difficult to clean and require specialized care to keep them looking good.

Overall, acrylics are a better choice if you want a low-maintenance nail design. However, if you prioritize durability and long-lasting wear, SNS nails are your best bet.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what works best for your lifestyle and needs.

SNS vs Acrylic – Which One should you Choose?

SNS is a relatively new product on the market, and many people are unfamiliar with it. Acrylics have been around for much longer and are more widely used. However, SNS has some advantages over acrylics nails.

If you want to add extra strength and length to your nails while maintaining a lightweight feel, then SNS is for you. Go for acrylics if you want beautiful nails in different lengths, shapes, and designs.

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