Types of Fake Nails

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If you’re tired of having to go to the salon every week to get your nails painted with polish, you might want to try other alternatives. Surely you have heard about fake nails but have you ever tried them? Maybe you had but didn’t know they were considered fake nails. There’s a huge variety in fake nails, from styles almost indistinguisable from real nails to Out Of This World Crazy Nails.

In this article, we’ll look at the options for fake nails and nail extensions. We’ll look at the various types of fake nails out there, and discuss the pros and cons of these different techniques.

What Are Fake Nails?

For most people, fake nails are the plastics shaped liked nails and are glued on the natural nail. The fake nails don’t replace your natural nails but they just go over them for aesthetic reasons. They can be used to add length to the nail or simply cover the whole nail.

However, there are also fake nails that don’t look like nails at all before they are applied. They can be classified as acrylics, gels, and wraps. These can be formed and shaped to mimic nails during the manicure (or pedicure) procedure. With these types of fake nails, the clients can choose to keep their nail’s length, have a bit of extension or significantly extend their nails.

Types Of Fake Nails

types of fake nails

Fake Nail Tips

Fake nail tips are the ones that are attached to the nails, towards the free edge by using nail glue. The nail with the attached tip can then be painted over with regular nail polish. For some, they combine the use of fake nail tips with other fake nail products in order to achieve a more sturdy and better looking long nails.

Coffin-Shaped Nails

The nail tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes like these Coffin-shaped Long Nails. If the sizes don’t match the nails exactly, they can be filled down to perfectly fit the nail. Also, the shape can be altered by using a nail file or a nail cutter.

Full Cover Nails

Instead of just using the tips, some prefer to use fake nails that cover their whole natural nail. Some know this as “press-on nails” that you simply pop on your nails and they’re done. Some already have an adhesive attached at the back of each fake nail while others still needed to use nail glue. You may be tempted to use Krazy Glue, but it’s best not to.

Everytime I Slay Nail Pack

They come in a variety of shapes, colors, and designs. You may even get a set that features different colors or designs for each nail to act as accents. Just take a look at this “Everytime I Slay” Kiss Masterpiece Nail Pack that combines holographic nails with metallic pink nails and matte pink nails.

Acrylic Nails

To create acrylic nails, a liquid is mixed with a powdered monomer. This is then transferred to the nail and formed on top of it. The acrylic mixture hardens as it is exposed to air and dries up to a hardcover for the nail.

The acrylic can be used to simply protect the natural nail and give it some color and design. However, it can also be used to lengthen the nail significantly. That can be done by going over the attached nail tip or by using a sticker form that supports the acrylic as it dries.

The nail can be lengthened and shaped according to preference. They are typically strong, but take care if they are broken, and your nail is throbbing.

Acrylic nails are well-loved nowadays because they offer a lot of possibilities when it comes to nail design. Aside from the length and shape of the nail, many use acrylics to create sculptures and designs to further beautify the nails.

Salons aren’t the only ones who can work with acrylic nails! These can also be done at home as long as you have a complete kit. The Cecelia Acrylic Nail Art Kit is a great example of a complete kit. It has everything you need to create longer and better-looking nails. The kit will surely last for a long time because acrylics are very durable and you don’t need to change them weekly.

Acrylics are also easier to remove because of their porous nature. You can remove them by simply soaking them in acetone. Acrylics are also easy to get. Kits such as the ones found above are common and affordable.

However, a drawback to using them is the scent that is released when the liquid and powder are combined.

Also, you need to work carefully to prevent the nails from becoming too thick.  And lastly, the nails need to be refiled as they grow longer.

See our article on DIY Acrylic Nails for more information.

Gel Nails

Gel nails are similar to acrylics. They can also be formed depending on the length and shape desired. However, unlike acrylics that you have to mix, the gel already comes in a toothpaste consistency. This product is called a builder gel.  All you have to do is to shape it and create the shape that you want. These can also be used with nail tips or a sticker base to support the extended nail.

Gellen Gel Nails

Aside from builder gels, there are also gel polishes such as the Gellen Gel Nail Polish Set that’s available today. There are different colors to choose from and you apply them just like as you would with regular nail polishes.

Just make sure that you set the gel builder or gel polishes under UV light so that it hardens successfully. Without the UV exposure, the gel builder and gel polishes won’t cure and harden. Tabletop UV nail lamps  and the LED Nail Lamps Reviewed here can be purchased. Just make sure to carefully choose one because low powered ones might not work or take too much time to cure the gel.

The use of UV lamps to dry the gel makes it a very quick step. The gel hardens within minutes. However, some don’t go for it because of the possible side effects of UV light exposure and the associated skin cancer risks.

It’s no surprise that many prefer gel compared to acrylic because of its durability. This style is not as porous as acrylics and can’t be easily removed by using acetone. The best way to remove it is to file it off.

Many salons and home nail entheusiasts have an electric nail file  (see nail drills reviewed here) that makes the process a whole lot easier and quicker. The nail techs can identify your natural nail to prevent it from being filed down. If you’re a home user, be careful.

Nail Wraps

Another type of fake nails is nail wraps. There are different nail wraps available but the most common of all are the silk wraps. These, just like the SuperNail Swiss Silk Wrap, are lightweight and flexible. They will look and feel like just your natural nails. They can add strength to the nail and may be used to reinforce damaged, cracked or split nails.

There are also nail wraps that are made of fiberglass like the ASP Fiberglass Nail Wrap. The nail wraps will typically last for about 2-3 weeks. After that, you’ll need to reapply the wraps

Powder Dip Nails

Aikker Dip Powder Nails

This type of fake nails is getting popular once again, but it is actually not a new technology. Powder dip nail kits like the Aikker Dipping Powder Kit come with everything you need to achieve powder dip nails.

What’s great about this method is that there is no need to cure the nails under a UV lamp. The kit contains the base coat, activator, topcoat, and the colored powders. It dries instantly as the solution is absorbed by the powder on the nail.

Just make sure you take time before using the next solution because it can cause a burning or stinging sensation on the nails. For that reason, it is best to take your time when using these fake nails. Also, multiple dips into the powders build up to a very thick fake nail, which can look unnatural and feel weird too.

And another note is that removal of dip powder nails can be a bit complex, so be careful.


There are different kinds of fake nails but they are not only limited to extending the length of your nail. Some of them can just follow the natural nail length and just make them look better. Selecting which fake nails is best is a personal choice. It will depend on the preference and circumstances the person is in.

Nevertheless, no matter which fake nails are chosen, it is important to maintain them. Some fake nails need to be refiled, while others need to be replaced. Following the set schedule can help the nails not only look great and prevent damage.

Written by Kayla Young

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