The Good, Bad and Ugly of Gel Versus SNS Nails

Long gone are the days where classic lacquer was the only option for a salon manicure. Now, you can walk into any salon and be faced with not only a huge variety of colours but also many different types of manicures. Acrylics, silk wraps, gel manicures, SNS… the list goes on and on. 

For those who want something similar to good-old-fashioned nail polish but longer-lasting, the most popular options have quickly become gel and SNS. But how do you know which one to get? What’s the difference, and is one better than the other? To find out everything you need to know about gel and SNS manicures, keep reading.

The Down-Low on Gel Manicures

A gel manicure is a shiny, chip-free manicure which uses UV light to set the special polish in place. With a rubbery texture, this polish adheres to nails and stays on for up to two weeks. Unlike regular nail polish, gel polish peels rather than flakes off. After each coat of polish, the special paint is set by resting the hands under a UV light for 30 seconds to one minute.

The Down-Low on SNS

SNS stands for “Signature Nail Systems”, and has recently risen to popularity over the past few years. Unlike your typical lacquer or gel polish, SNS is applied as a powder in multiple coats that hardens onto the nail. Where Gel nails rely on a UV lamp to set the polish in place, SNS eliminates the need for unnecessary exposure, causing people to think of it as a healthier alternative.

So Which One Is Better?

When considering gel versus SNS manicures, it all comes down to personal preference, however, there are some key factors to keep in mind. As previously mentioned, the UV exposure required for gel manicures might be something you want to avoid — in which case, SNS would be the way to go. 

As far as money is concerned, gel is typically cheaper; if your primary objective is to spend less, then you might choose gel over SNS. Where an SNS manicure rings in around $65, a gel manicure usually hovers around $50. To avoid damage to the nails, it’s best to also have both types of manicures removed professionally. For an SNS manicure, this will probably cost you about $25, whereas gel removal is closer to $20. 

While gel might be cheaper at the outset, SNS typically lasts much longer. Where a gel manicure usually has a lifespan of about two weeks, SNS manicures can last four or more, especially if you make an extra effort to take care of your nails along the way. If you love to have your nails manicured at all times, SNS might be worth it, as you’ll spend slightly more but for twice the staying power.