The Scoop on Fake Nails: Top 7 Types for Every Occasion

If you’re like me, then you love fake nails!

They can be a fun way to add some pizzazz to your usual style, and they can last for weeks or even months if you take care of them properly.

But (and take this from a more-than-a-decade-old beauty wizz), pick the correct type of nails, or you could end up with damaged nails (ouch!)…

So, which type of fake nail is right for you? Keep reading to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • A World of Choices: Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a salon devotee, there’s a type of fake nail perfect for you!
  • Consider Your Nail Health: While embracing the allure of fake nails, don’t forget to consider the health of your natural nails. Options like press-on and gel nails tend to be gentler, but no matter your choice, proper application and removal are vital to keeping your nails in top shape.
  • Personalization at Its Best: The beauty of fake nails lies in their ability to be customized. There’s a style and type that perfectly matches your aesthetic.

7 Different Types of Artificial Nails

If you’re unsure what to get, talk to your nail manicurist about your needs and let them decide for you.

Here are the artificial nail types you’ll keep bragging about!

1. Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are an excellent fit for people who love nail art and flaunting their glossy manicures. They combine a powder polymer and a liquid monomer forming a paste. (2) 

set of Acrylic Nails

 The paste is molded into getting the shape that you desire. Then it hardens in your nails, giving you length and thickness. 

Acrylics are an excellent idea for faux nails since they are stronger than other artificial fingernails and come in many designs. Not to mention all the acrylic nail designs that you can flaunt and add to your overall look.

Do acrylic nails go under your skin? Yes, they do. Acrylics are fake nails that go under your cuticle and bond with strong glue. 

Since they are more durable, you can get them if you wish to extend your manicure for a few weeks, as they last anything from 6 to 8 weeks.

Here’s a detailed video of how the process goes.

Since the bottom of your natural fingernail will show, you can get a touchup and help the manicure last longer.

However, you must remember that acrylics may be the worst of all artificial fingernails weakening your nail health, especially during removal.

Hannah Lee, a professional manicurist, says, “It’s recommended to take a break from getting acrylics around every three to six months to help rejuvenate your nails.”

ALSO READ: Disadvantages of Fibreglass Nails

2. Full Cover Nails

Full coverage nails are artificial fingernails glued onto your natural nail beds. These nails are available in various sizes, nail shapes, and patterns.

set of Full Cover Nails

They usually last for two weeks on the clients’ hands, after which they will need to book an appointment with their manicurist and soak the glue off.

They don’t require fills or anything. It is a one-time thing that takes less than 15 minutes to apply. These false nails are preferable for clients taking a break from acrylic nails.

Millie Donovan, the owner of Mbeauty, says, (3) “Quick Tips have meant that my clients getting extensions quicker.”

“Another key thing I love about Quick Tips is that it is best to reapply a new set every time,” she adds. “This has also allowed clients who want to grow their nails to have quick tips for just one appointment and then change the treatment to gels.”

So, as a transition, you can wear these for a certain period and go back to getting gel nails or acrylic nails, as you wish.

Not sure how to apply full cover gel tips? This video may help.

3. Gel Nails

The most sought out artificial fingernails by most users are gel nails aka gel manicures.

This service uses a gel-based polish exposed to UV light to cure it and lock it onto your natural fingernails. Gel polish is way more long-lasting than regular polishes, making it a go-to choice for most users.

set of Gel Nails

It doesn’t matter how long or short your nails are to get them. Even those with shorter nails can get short gel nail designs that are super easy to maintain.

Duguay-Gordon, a professional manicurist at Green Tangerine Salon and Spa, (4) says, “Gel manicures can last up to two weeks with proper nail prep and at-home care, such as cuticle oil and hand lotion.” 

Gel nails are best removed at a salon by a nail technician to ensure the best for your nail beds. If not removed properly, it could be pretty damaging to your cuticles.

However, if you’re savvy on DIY, you could remove it yourself at home with tin foil, acetone, cotton, and a nail file. Just make sure you’re not scraping at your nails aggressively.

Here’s how a gel application on natural nail looks like.


Gel application on natural nails without extensions 💅🏼 #gelnails #nails #nailart #luxembourg #gelapplication

♬ Originalton – Alexandras.nails

4. Nail Wraps

Nail wraps are thin products made from either silk, paper, linen, mesh, or fiberglass. They are applied to your regular nails, gel nails, or even acrylic nails. 

set of Nail Wraps

When applied, you reinforce the strength of your nails while adding some patterns, if needed. No wonder silk wrap nails are all the hype with clients looking for a natural nail overlay.

Fiberglass nails don’t look bulky or unnatural and are good for your natural nails as they promote nail growth by creating a protective layer over your cuticles.

They do not dehydrate your natural nail and are non-porous, meaning nothing damages your nail bed.

These artificial nails are a perfect fit for users who have been indulging in gel nails or acrylic nails for too long and now have unhealthy and brittle nails.

By getting a silk wrap, they can start to grow out their natural nails and give them some much-needed strength with the added protection of the wrap.

Vicki Peters, master nail technician, says, “If a client needs some help growing out her natural nails, wraps are a perfect service.”

Watch WinterRose84 apply these beautifully patterned nail wraps on her nails.

5. Powder Dip Nails

Powder dip nails, aka SNS nails, are getting their spot under the limelight for their benefits and durability.

The process consists of dipping your actual nails or false nails into a colored powder and using a seal on top to lock it in place. Sometimes the dip powder is brushed onto the nail.

Syreeta Aaron, LeChat Nails Educator, says, “Dip powder nails are a hybrid between gel nail polish and acrylic extensions. It gives you the flexibility of gel nails and the durability of acrylic nails.”

Depending on the opacity of your choice, nails can be dipped in the powder two to three times. You will require a coat of base between each set.

The color does not need to be cured with UV lights which are quite harmful in the long run. And since it’s so easy to do, you can get it done at home.

These nails last about a month and remain looking fresh and chip-free for that period. I’ve done it at home and had new manicures for almost two weeks, so that’s pretty awesome.

Here is a short tutorial video on how to get powder dip nails at home.

6. Press-On Nails

If you (like me!) cherish convenience and variety, here’s one to add to your laundry list: press-on nails.

But how do you apply them? Dead easy…

Take nail expert Eun Kyung Park, who not only boasts a vast press-on collection for her swift nail art changes but also caters to the whims of her celebrity clientele [5].

“Push your cuticles back,” she stresses. Before putting on the nails you’ve selected, especially if you want your press-ons to last for a while. (And don’t forget to check for oils!)

Press-on nails offer an array of designs, lengths, and shapes, making them perfect for a quick makeover.

Clearly, the beauty lies in their simplicity. So have fun! Soon, you can apply them at home within minutes, with no drying time or salon visit needed.

Plus – thanks to minimal filing and zero harsh chemicals – they’re a gentle, more soothing blessing for your natural nails.

7. Polygel Nails

The new kid on the block, Polygel Nails, combines the best of acrylic and gel nails in any nail salon.

“Polygel is a nail enhancement,” writes experts at, “that has the durability of acrylic (poly gel nails are actually harder!) and the flexibility of a gel manicure. [6]”

Double prizes!

This all-in-one formula is applied as a gel, then shaped and cured like traditional gel nails.

Done correctly, polygel offers flexibility and durability without being as tough on your nails as acrylics, making it a great middle-ground option.

At home, it’s easy! Candice Idehen, a nail maestro and CEO at Bed of Nails NYC, spills the beans on this innovative product, emphasizing its ease of use for the DIY enthusiast.

Once you’ve got your Polygel kit, the process begins with nail prep—buffing and cleaning are paramount for that impeccable adhesion. A base coat follows, swiftly cured under the glow of a lamp.

Skeptical of your inner beauty diva? Then a salon is your best bet…

Expert nail technicians like Rica Romain, who navigates between New York, California, and Virginia, bring a wealth of experience, ensuring your Polygel nails are nothing short of perfect [6].

Clearly, they’re truly becoming the new scoop in the world of nails. It’s truly unique!

Let’s discover the truth about acrylic vs gel nails – which is better?

First, what are fake nails? Let’s find out!

What Are Fake Nails?

Fake nails are an addition to your nails that last 2-3 weeks and require no additional care. 

Celebrity make-up artist Amy Hide says,(1) “Ensure you can view the team members’ qualifications and communicate with you to advise the right nails for you depending on your desired look and outcome.”

But sometimes, it’s not as easy as checking a review or having a testimonial from a who-knows-who pal. Instead, trust your gut instinct…

Your fake nail options can have a natural appearance, or you can showcase over-the-top artificial fingernails. It depends on you.

Also, check out my top choice of nail polish subscription for regular manicures. Alright, let’s get started with the types of artificial nails then. 

Here’s an example of what fake nails are.

@caromay_ph #nails #fakenails #shopping ♬ 原声 – Caromay

What’s all the buzz of nails under your skin? Let’s find out…

What are the nails that go under your skin?

Typically, when we talk about nails going under the skin, we’re referring to ingrown nails.

This uncomfortable condition, rather than being related to the artificial nails we often celebrate, occurs mostly with natural nails.

More specifically, ingrown nails dig into the skin, usually at the sides of the nail, leading to discomfort and sometimes infection.

Yes, prevention is paramount. Besides, regular, careful trimming and avoiding cutting nails too short or rounding the corners excessively can help.

If you’re embracing nail art and extensions, ensure a seamless finish at the nail bed, and avoid overly tight-fitting shoes.

It’s easier than it sounds (I promise!)… The best part? These can keep your natural nails in top shape, sidestepping the pitfalls of ingrowns.

Are you worried that some nail types are, in fact, healthier? Here’s what you need to know…

What type of fake nails are the healthiest?

If in doubt, opt for gel nails…

These stunners can be applied and removed with minimal damage to the natural nail bed, making them a preferred choice for many.

Unlike acrylics, which often require a harsh chemical process and can leave natural nails brittle, gel nails offer a more forgiving application and removal process.

Together with their less invasive application method, gel nails maintain the integrity of the natural nail, ensuring that beneath the voguish fantasy of your chosen nail art, your nails remain strong and healthy.

If you prioritize hunting for nail health without compromising style, go for gel nails ASAP!

Scroll for another Buzzfeed of common questions…


What type of fake nails are healthiest?

Gel nails are the number one choice of fake nails that don t damage your natural nails. It uses way less harsh chemicals than other fake nails do and causes the least amount of nail damage while removing. 

Can you use eyelash glue for fake nails?

You can use eyelash glue if you wish to use press-on nails, but they are not entirely reliable like nail glue and do not do an excellent job. 

What is the difference between poly gel and gel nails?

Gel nails are much like typical polishes applied to your natural or artificial nails. Instead of air-drying, the polish is cured with UV exposure. Polygel nails are fake nails applied on top of your natural nails.

Does nail glue ruin your nails?

Nail glue can take its toll on healthy nails due to the harsh chemicals making them weak and brittle. It is best not to overdo glue nails and let your normal nails breathe from time to time. 


Fake nails can be a fun way to change your look, but it’s important to choose the right type.

We hope this guide has helped you figure out which type of fake nails is best for you and given you some ideas on how to style them. Have fun with your new look!

What are the Different Types of Fake Nails

Which one of these types of fake nails did you like? Please share with us down in the comments below!


  • 1. Pearson-jones B. Manicurist reveals the common mistakes people make doing their nails [Internet]. Mail Online. 2021 [cited 2022 May 25]. Available from:
  • 2. Segal L. The Beginner’s Guide to Acrylic Nails [Internet]. Harper’s BAZAAR. 2020. Available from:
  • 3. Staff S. How full coverage nail tips have grown my business [Internet]. Scratch Magazine. 2020 [cited 2022 May 25]. Available from:
  • 4. Kim Y, Denton E. Everything You Need to Know About Get Manicures [Internet]. Seventeen. 2020. Available from:
  • 5. Nast C. Everything you need to know about applying press-on nails [Internet]. Vogue India. 2020 [cited 2024 Feb 20]. Available from: 6. Nast C. Polygel Nails Combine the Strength of Acrylics and the Flexibility of Gels [Internet]. Allure. 2023 [cited 2024 Feb 20]. Available from:
About Martina Todorovska

Martina is a graduated Doctor of Dental Medicine with a huge obsession for anything beauty-related. Her freelance writing started out as a creative outlet and turned out to be a full-time job. If you have any beauty questions, the chances are Martina has the answers. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES . Follow her on LINKEDIN , INSTAGRAM. Learn more about her HERE.