When fingernails just can’t seem to grow long enough or to look good, artificial nails may be the answer.
Popularly known as fashion nails or nail extensions, artificial nails act as fashion accessories for natural fingernails.
They may either look as near as possible to natural nails, or they may be totally different. They can be made from a variety of materials – acrylic, UV gel, fiberglass and silk.
Acrylic nails are the most common, most durable and the strongest of all artificial nail types.
They can be made to look thin and natural, but if not applied correctly, they can become thick and look fake. UV gel nails are a more expensive type, but they require less maintenance than acrylics.
However, they are less durable and can only be removed by filing or leaving them to grow out with the natural nail.
Fiberglass, silk or linen wraps are the types of nails for women who may have allergies to the chemicals of acrylic or UV gel nails. The material is cut to fit the natural nail and sealed using a resin or glue. Strength, length and flexibility are thus added to the natural nail; however, wraps are not as invincible to active wear and tear as acrylic nails.
Women use artificial nails for varied reasons; more often than not they just want to cover up their short, damaged, or altogether bad-looking nails. Some women may also want beautiful nails without having to work at maintaining them; they either don’t have the time or the inclination to go regularly to a nail salon.
Others want to kick themselves of the habit of nail-biting. Still others just want to protect their nails from breakage or splits. Artificial nails will not damage the natural nails if applied or removed correctly by a manicurist or nail expert.
Contrary to popular belief, artificial nails need regular trips to the manicurist for touch-ups to prevent the artificial nail from separating from the natural nail and its bed, or to fill in gaps while the natural nail is growing out.
Artificial nails also carry some health risks, both to the wearer and the manicurist applying or removing them. Residues from acrylic resins have been found to cause redness and swelling, pain, and even severe allergic reactions.
Water can also get trapped under an artificial nail when it lifts from the natural nail, which can cause fungus to form and the nail to turn green. The glue and solvents used with artificial nails are also toxic, and may cause severe medical reactions if swallowed accidentally or if inhaled.
It takes time, treasure and patience to have beautiful nails. However, it can be worth it in the end.