Gel vs SNS Nails: Which One is the Best Choice for Your Nails?

Whether you are heading into the salon or getting a manicure at home, there are so many manicures to choose from. While regular polish remains the most popular choice for at-home manicures, it can be frustrating once it starts chipping off about a day or two after you’ve painted your nails.

In that case, if you are looking for a manicure that lasts a long time, Gel and SNS nails are two great manicure options that give you, polished, and beautiful nails for weeks at a time. However, the question of which one of them is better depends on what exactly you’re looking for.

What Are SNS Nails?

SNS Nails
SNS Nails by nailsbypatrice

SNS nails are a type of manicure not as popular as gel nails but are adored by many. It’s named after a brand of dip powder called Signature Nail Systems. SNS nails are also known as dip nails or dip powder nails and they are essentially a manicure in powder form.

SNS is the leading brand providing the products, similar to how OPI is for regular nail polishes. The powder usually provides your nails with a healthy alternative as SNS uses organically processed chemicals and not UV lamps to finish the style. This nail typically stays in for up to three weeks.

The best part about SNS nails is that it provides durability and length to the nails while maintaining a more natural-looking finish. Additional benefits include no need for regular salon visits for repainting or infill, and the pigmented powder provides more color intensity.

What Are Gel Nails?

Gel nails
Gel Nails by nailz_by_tayy

Gel nails are a type of nail service that uses UV light to set or cure the nail coat. In that case, the polish dries usually in less than 30 seconds and lasts longer than your regular nail polish, usually around 2-3 weeks or a full month, depending on your lifestyle.

Gel nails make use of a gel-based polish that goes under a UV lamp to lock onto your nail bed, creating a hard and durable polish that doesn’t take off easily. Consistent gel manicures can cause your nails to suffer and thin out which is why it is recommended to take regular breaks from gel manicures to preserve the health of your nails.

Note: If you’re an office worker or you use your hands a lot, then gel nails are a great option for you.

You might want to check out: Gel Manicure: Everything You Need to Know

SNS Nails vs Gel

Both types of manicures are going to give you beautiful nails, they also don’t take much time to complete either. The main difference between both manicures is the application process. SNS nails use adhesive, dipping colored powder and the accelerator process, whereas gel polish uses UV light to stick polish to the nails.

Gel polish dries faster and doesn’t have a strong smell. It hardens without damaging the nail bed. Gel nails usually last up to three weeks, while SNS can last up to a month without being exposed to the UV light that the gel manicures use.

With SNS nails, the pigmented powder reacts with the primer and top coat, which is why it’s hard to predict the actual color result on the nails.

SNS Nails vs Gel: Pros and Cons

Below are the pros and cons of SNS and Gel nails

1. No Setting With UV Lights

SNS nails do not require UV light to cure the dipping colored powder. If you’re afraid of getting exposed to UV light, use SNS to avoid potential damage to the skin around the nails.

2. SNS Nails Last Up To A Month

When done properly, SNS nails last a long time. The nails remain chip-free for up to a month.

3. Easy-to-do At Home

When it comes to SNS nails, there are a lot of complete DIY home nail kits available on the market.

4. More Color Choices

There are endless color choices for SNS nails. Depending on what color you choose, it would be easy finding the powder shade suited for the nails.

5. Gel Nails Are Long-lasting & Very Durable

Gel Polishes can last for 2-3 weeks once applied and cared for correctly. 

6. Gel Nails Offers Faster Application

Gel Nails use a UV-Led Lamp to cure and harden rather than air-drying like regular nail polishes. The nails also cure within 30-60 seconds.


1. Allergic Reactions

Usually, the bonder used for SNS nails is mostly a monomer, which is a common allergen and can cause irritation to the skin around the nails.

2. The Removal Process May Damage Nails

Pulling off the SNS can be painful and damaging to the nails. It can remove the layers of the natural nail in the process, which can cause the nails to become weak and prone to breakage.

3. Gel Nails Are Harder To Remove

Removing gel nails takes longer as most salons would soak your nails in pure acetone which is the fastest method

4. The Removal Process Can Be Harsh On Your Natural Nails

Removing gel nails is more likely to damage your natural nails. This is because they are more tedious and difficult to remove and thus mistakes are more possible.

Duration Comparison

SNS nails can last from three weeks up to a month. The durability depends on how much you care for them. To keep the nails chip-free for as long as possible, try reapplying a top coat.

If there is an obvious regrowth of the nail bed, then the powder manicures can be refilled. While gel nails can last 2 to 3 weeks without peeling, chipping, or lifting.

Cost Comparison

Depending on where you plan to get your nails done, and how you’d prefer the design, SNS nails can cost anywhere between $35 – $75. While Gel nails cost around $25-$55.

Final Note

A lot of manicure lovers prefer SNS nails simply because of how they look and feel. The nails are light, thin, and real looking, and because the color is in the nail itself when it chips off, it becomes unnoticeable.

Ultimately, to know which manicure is best for you, you have to consider which features of your nails are most important to you: the feel of natural nails or fake nails?

You also need to consider if you want your manicure to last as long as possible, or if would you rather pay less money every time you go to a salon, but have it last a short time.

You might want to check out: SNS Nails Vs Acrylics: Which is Best for You?