Gel Nails vs Solar Nails: Which is the Best Option for You?

People have always been looking for ways to enhance their beauty and getting their nails colored is one of them. Healthy and clean nails are appealing to the sight.

Nowadays, people use these artificial enhancements and treatments for their nails through different means. Some are made to look like they are natural nails.

These treatments include solar and gel nails. This article will explain gel and solar nails to help the reader make a definite choice when browsing through nail options.

All About Gel Nails

Red gel nails
Gel nails by

Gel nails give off such a shiny look. They are made from polymer resins and have to be cured under a UV light to get hard.

Usually, there are three coats to be applied; the base coat, the polish color, and a top coat. The base coat is applied first in one or two layers, then the color, before the top coat which is then cured under the UV light.

Gel nails are free of chemicals so they are safer to use compared to acrylics, but they do not last as long. They are more expensive than solar nails.

Pros of Gel Nails

  1. The finished look is more polished and shinier than other types of manicures.
  1. They do not take a long time to get cured under UV light. Two to three minutes are enough to cure gel polish.
  1. They do not have chemicals so they would not cause an allergic reaction or pose a hazard to a person’s health or the environment.

Cons of Gel Nails

  1. They do not last as long as one might want them to. They are not very hard-wearing, so any little pressure might cause them to snap.
  1. The process of removal can be very damaging. You either file them off (which can cause thinning of your nails) or soak them in acetone (which dehydrates the skin and nails).

All About Solar Nails

Solar nails
Solar nails by

Solar nails are a kind of upgrade of acrylic nails. They are a manicure line manufactured by CND to provide stronger, healthier, and more beautiful nails.

It is a mixture of liquid and powder to form a ball that is applied to the natural nail. It immediately begins to harden upon exposure to the air.

The tip is first covered with the white mixture before the rest of the nail is covered with pink. This manicure has enough gloss to not need any nail polish.

Pros of Solar Nails

  1. Solar nails last for so long that you’ll have to want to take them off before you remove them with proper maintenance, they can last for six weeks.
  1. They can easily be done and maintained at home with no need for a trip to the salon.

Cons of Solar Nails

  1. They contain chemicals that are harmful to people with certain conditions like pregnant women and asthma patients.
  1. Improper application and maintenance can create areas for bacterial and fungal Infections and make them look less natural.

Summary: Differences Between Gel Nails and Solar Nails

1. Components

Solar nails are a type of acrylic nails made up of polymethyl methacrylate while polymer resins are the chemical components used in the production of gel nails.

2. Drying

Although solar nails are a type of acrylic, they do not need to be put under a UV light to dry. They will dry and harden upon exposure to the air.

Gel, on the other hand, has to be cured under a light to harden, making it less safe than a solar manicure.

3. Appearance

Both solar and gel nails are made to reflect the natural nails, but gel manicure is more looking than solar nails.

4. Durability

With proper application, maintenance and care, solar nails can last anywhere from three to six weeks which is longer than most manicures can boast of.

Gel nails last for three weeks at most without the option of refilling.

5. Toxicity

Solar nails contain chemicals that emit strong fumes that are dangerous and can cause allergic reactions and disturb the health of people in general.

Gel nails do not emit such fumes because they are chemical-free, making them also eco-friendly.

6. Removal Process

The removal process for solar nails is easy. They just need to be soaked in acetone for a few minutes and they will fall right off.

Removing gel nails can be such a tough task that is why but is advised that you let a professional do it for you.

7. Cost

The price of getting a gel manicure is on the higher side. It can cost you about $35 for a simple set and as much as $100 if you want something fancy and exclusive.

Solar nails are far cheaper than gel, coming in at about $25 to $35. 


Solar nails and gel nails both have their positive and negative talking points. If the pros outweigh the cons for you, go ahead and design your nails as you desire.

FAQs on Gel Nails Vs Solar Nails

Are solar nails better than gel?

It depends on what factor you’re putting into consideration. In terms of natural nail health, gel nails are more flexible and do not produce chemical fumes. 

But, in terms of strength and durability, solar nails are the better option.

Are gel nails damaging to natural nails?

Although gel nails are beautiful and long-lasting, they can be tough on natural nails. They can cause brittleness, cracking, and peeling.

Repeated usage can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin on the hands due to exposure to UV light.