Note: Almond Nails is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

Is PolyGel Better Than Acrylic? [Here Is What You Must Know]

Have you always tried acrylic, but recently heard about PolyGels? These new nail options are taking the scene by storm, and it can be tempting to throw off ol’ reliable for something new and trendy. The question, though, is whether or not they’re actually worth it. Is PolyGel better than acrylics, or should you just stick with what works? Here is what you need to know.

So, is polygel better than acrylic? Polygel are lighter and more durable than acrylic nails and they look more natural. However, they are more difficult to apply and do not tend to last as long (3-4 weeks for polygel compared to 6-8 weeks for acrylics).

Whether or not polygel or acrylics are right for you, is a complicated one. 

And it’s based on a number of things, including lifestyle and taste. But there are definite drawbacks and positives for both. 

Before making a decision, you therefore need to take everything into consideration. That way, you can be sure you’ve chosen correctly for you.

Are you a nail maven, who knows the ins and outs of every nail option on the market? 

Or are you someone who’s finally decided to take inspiration from your Instagram feed and jump into the colorful world of nail styles? 

Somewhere in the middle, maybe?

Be sure to keep on reading to find out exactly what one is best, for you!

Differences Between Polygel And Acrylic

PolyGel is a sort of hybrid between acrylics and gels. They’re lighter than both, and more durable than gels. Getting them on can be tricky, though, making them harder to apply than acrylics.

PolyGel is trendy for a reason. 

It’s lighter and more durable than traditional acrylics, and more durable than the gels that were so recently in style. 

They also tend to look more natural. This is because they’re extensions of your natural nails, similar to gels. 

The problem is that they can be insanely difficult to apply correctly. 

They aren’t self-leveling, like acrylics, and have to be brushed on, like gels. So, one wrong move and your entire look could be down the drain. 

They go on faster, but this is certainly a salon job, unless you’re already very experienced.

Acrylics are a better option for the DIY-er. 

This is the trusty friend of many women looking for better nails without a lot of fuss. 

The cheaper options include drugstore kits that you get right off the shelf. 

While bulkier, they are the longest-lasting option on the market. 

Acrylics are easier to apply, since they’re self-leveling and are applied over the natural nail, rather than as an extension to it. 

This brings up one rather unique downside, though: the bad smell. 

Acrylics are notorious for smelling absolutely awful, long after the application process is over. 

For sweet-smelling nails, you’ll want PolyGel.

Which is truly best depends on what you’re aiming for.

If you’re looking to keep up with trends, and don’t mind the extra care needed, then PolyGel is a great choice. 

Want something to make your nails look pretty with little fuss and muss? Then consider acrylics.

Does PolyGel Last Longer Than Acrylic?

PolyGel does not last as long as acrylics. While most acrylics can last up to eight weeks, with a touch-up, PolyGel only lasts three to four weeks.

If you’re wanting an option that lasts the longest, then PolyGel probably isn’t the choice for you. 

While polygel does last longer than a gel manicure, it just doesn’t have the staying power to outlast acrylics. 

PolyGel nails normally last three to four weeks, handily beating gels in an endurance race.

But acrylics handily beat them both with a maximum time of eight weeks, or two whole months! 

In the nail world, the older option is still the most reliable. 

The higher-quality your application, the longer you can expect them to last. 

This is why it is usually recommended you head to the salon.

Unfortunately, many home manicures don’t last very long at all, and its usually down to incorrect products, techniques and poor application.

So, at the very least, you should learn how to apply acrylics properly.

For those looking for something lighter than acrylics, though, PolyGel is likely to be the most long-lasting option available. 

You can make them last a full month, which is up to two weeks longer than gel. 

Touch-ups are an option here, as well, but they only let you glimpse at the acrylics’ record.

Of course, it’s also a month shorter than acrylics, but there are trade-offs.

Nails don’t just come off because of time, though. 

Durability is a factor in how long you can go between salon visits. In that respect, you’ll want PolyGel. 

They’re more durable, and more flexible, so you don’t have to worry about them just popping off, like acrylics do sometimes. 

Even if they do, they’re unlikely to cause the damage to your nail bed that acrylics might.

Who Is Polygel Best For?

PolyGels are great for the fashionista who doesn’t mind changing her life a little for the sake of her nails. Those that are already experts in nail art may greatly enjoy the beauty and durability of PolyGel. If you have no real experience, then maybe it isn’t for you.

Are you someone who has a stockpile of nail-care products? 

Do you keep your nail enamel in a trunk, and have everything you need to handle acrylics, gels, and everything else? 

Then there’s good news: you’ll probably flip for PolyGel! 

You’re just the level of knowledgeable and practiced to really get a kick out of them, and can even do them yourself, with enough practice.

Make no mistake, you’ll be thinking about your nails a lot if you decide on this option. 

Already think about them all the time? Great! 

You’ll find that they fit into your lifestyle well. 

Unless you’re someone that works with their hands a lot, you’ll likely know how to deal with their upkeep and make them last as long as possible.

Not quite so knowledgeable? You can still get them done at a salon. If you have the desire and patience to care for them, then they’ll be worth the hassle. 

That’s the most important part of the entire equation: how much you want them. Not just because they’re new, but because they sound like something that you would enjoy.

The biggest takeaway: if you’ve already looked over the procedures, all the downsides, and the care you’ll need to take, while still wanting them, go for it. Any misgivings? Maybe choose something else for now.

Who Is Acrylic Best For?

Acrylic is the best option for beginners or those who don’t want to spend too much time thinking about their nails. They’re also the choice for long-lasting nails.

If you’re none of what’s mentioned above in the PolyGel section, then you’ll likely want to try acrylic. 

It’s a much safer option, and has been on the market much longer. 

You can learn to do so through my downloadable guide, or visit a salon. 

Almost every salon will offer them. Best of all, acrylics tend to accept more mistakes than PolyGel does.

Beginners in the nail world shouldn’t jump directly into the deep end with PolyGel. 

Acrylics are a good way to dip your toe in without finding yourself floundering. 

They also allow you to build up skills that may allow you to properly care for or apply PolyGel down the road.

If you want nails you can forget about for up to two months before it’s time to redo them, then you’re going to need acrylics. 

They’re the longest-lasting option of the two.

Can You Mix PolyGel And Acrylic?

It’s not a very good idea to mix polygel in with acrylic. There isn’t any information to suggest or prove it cannot be done, but it is a tricky combo to get right. While you might be able to mix PolyGel and acrylics, it’s better to play it safe.

Technically, it might be possible to mix PolyGel and acrylics. But, with such a temperamental thing as PolyGel, you really don’t want to take the chance unless you’re desperate to try it. 

This is a particularly bad idea for newbies, who might not know what to do should something go wrong.

One of the problems is that both require different methods of drying.

While acrylics require simple air exposure to dry, PolyGel can take as little as thirty seconds under a UV. 

If you only have a PolyGel setup, you might not even have a UV lamp to begin with, since they can also dry under LEDs! 

And you absolutely cannot use LEDs on acrylics. 

Better to choose one and go with it!

Salons or DIY – Which Is Better?

For PolyGel, you should head to a salon. It’s possible to do it yourself, but difficult. Acrylics can be done at home or a salon. Beginners for either might find a salon to be the better choice, at least the first time.

Sometimes, you just want to do something yourself. If you’re looking at doing your nails at home, then one choice stands out clearly: acrylic. 

It’s the easier option and can be done by beginners so long as they follow the right approach.

This is where you need my guide. You’ll learn exactly what you need, and all of the advanced tips and tricks to create a durable, long-lasting, and comfortable mani.  

Want something special, and don’t mind a trip to the salon? Or maybe a few regular trips to the salon? Then you’ll like PolyGel.

It’s truly wonderful, much more natural than acrylics. The flexibility is lovely, but the application process normally isn’t. 

Unless you’re a professional, the salon is the best place to turn to for PolyGel.