Lady painting a woman's nails

Types of Manicures: Pros and Cons of Each

We all love the feeling of having a fresh manicure; it’s like an instant confidence boost. The problem is, there are so many different types of manicures that it can be difficult to choose which option is best. You can keep it classic with traditional nail polish, upgrade to a gel mani, go long with acrylics, or opt for something both stunning and durable like a dip powder. All of these techniques will result in shiny new nails, but which to pick? 

Today, we will cover everything you need to know about the most popular types of manicures—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Nail Polish

The first type of manicure up for review is a traditional nail polish manicure. No matter your level of experience with manicures, you are probably familiar with basic nail polish. This type of manicure starts with nail filing, buffing, and cuticle trimming. The polish is painted on each of your nails, and then you wait for it to dry while you try not to touch anything to prevent smudging. 

Pros: This type of manicure is very affordable. You can buy nail polish at any beauty shop or drug store for a quick at-home manicure. If you prefer getting your nails done at a salon, then this is always the cheapest option. If you make it through the drying time without any mishaps, this type of manicure will look beautiful, shiny and give you that fresh nail boost. 

Cons: Smudging. Because you must wait for this type of manicure to dry for 20-30 minutes, it is easy to smudge or crease a nail. We have all struggled to get into our cars and buckle up after a fresh mani, only to accidentally smudge a nail and end up running back into the salon for a quick fix. This is the main downside of classic polish. 

Another downside to regular polish is that even after completely drying, it isn’t very durable. In general, you're lucky if this type of manicure lasts a whole week. 

Overall: Classic nail polish is affordable but not very durable and therefore doesn’t last long.  


Gel manicures have become very popular in the last few years. They last longer than traditional polish and are dry immediately. Gel manicures work by using a special polish that looks and applies like a regular polish but is placed under a UV lamp between each coat. The UV lamp cures the manicure making it instantly harden. This durable manicure can be applied to natural nails or synthetic nails. 

Pros: This sturdy manicure is completely dry as soon as it’s done. Unlike traditional nail polish, gel dries instantly with the help of the UV lamp. You can use your fingers as soon as you are finished without worrying about smudges. 

Another great thing about gel manicures is how long they last. A typical gel manicure will last two to three weeks without chipping or peeling. This manicure is also very durable, making it a great option if you work with your hands. With a gel manicure, you can have beautiful nails and still use your hands without worrying about messing up your mani. 

Cons: Gel manicures aren’t ideal for at-home manicures. To apply a gel manicure at home, you need the proper set of gel polishes as well as a manicure UV light. This makes it an expensive option to try at home.

Another drawback of gel manicures is that UV lights are a lot like tanning beds. The UV lights used to dry the polish could be harmful to your hand’s skin, although more research is still needed on the effects. Exposing yourself to too much UV might increase the risk of skin cancer and lead to age spots down the line. 

Overall: Gel manicures are only slightly more expensive than a regular manicure and will leave your nails looking great for up to two weeks. They are great for people who work with their hands but aren’t the best option for doing your nails at home. 


Acrylics have been around for many years and are almost everyone's go-to option for the illusion of longer nails. Ever wished you could have beautiful almond-shaped nails, but your nails never get long enough? Then acrylics may be a good option for you. This type of manicure is done with a combination of liquid and powder acrylics. Acrylic can be applied over natural nails or, more commonly, over fake tips. 

Pros: This type of manicure is an excellent option if you want long, dramatic nails. These nails can be done in every color and can be decorated to fit your style and make a statement. Another great thing about acrylics is that they are very strong and will rarely chip or break. If you are prone to biting your nails but wish you had longer nails, acrylics can be a great way to get the long nail look. 

One of the major draws of acrylic nails is that they can last for up to four weeks. This long-lasting manicure will make you happy for a whole month!

Cons: Acrylic nails must be done in a salon. If you want to rock acrylics, then you must have the time to spend getting your nails done and touched up by a professional nail tech. Four weeks after the initial application, you will need to go back to the salon to have your nail’s growth area filled with more acrylic. This can be time-consuming and expensive. If you are looking for an easy at-home option, this is not for you. 

Another con of acrylic manicures is the harsh application and removal processes. This process can cause significant damage to your natural nail beds over time. If you want to commit to acrylics, you may need to take breaks from time to time to preserve your nail beds’ health. 

The final con of acrylics is that they are not suitable for athletes or someone who works with their hands. If you play sports, these long beauties are a definite no—unless you want a seriously painful broken nail. 

Overall: Acrylics are great if you want to choose your nails’ length and shape without majorly growing out your natural nails. Acrylics are also a great way to express yourself with a variety of designs, shapes, lengths, and styles. These nails must be done in a salon and are not suitable for athletes or people who work with their hands. 

Dip Powder

Dip powder manicures are relatively new, and they’re super versatile. They can be applied to natural nails or fake nails and can be done in a salon or at home. This unique technique is easy to apply and can last for three to six weeks. 

With a dip powder manicure, the nail is painted with a special base coat and dipped into a colorful acrylic powder. The excess powder is brushed off, and the second layer of color is applied. Once the final layer is applied, a liquid activator is painted on to instantly harden the manicure. Finally, the color is sealed in with a top coat layer, leaving you with a super durable manicure in just a few simple steps. 

Pros: This technique is extremely versatile. It works on fake nails, natural nails, short nails, and long nails. You can get it done at a salon or try an at-home dip kit—basically, your options are endless. One of the great things about dip powder manicures is that they are super easy to apply and remove at home. They are hands down the best at-home option for long-lasting, salon-quality manicures. 

Another pro of powder dip manicures is that they are affordable. By ditching the salon and switching to dip manicures, you can save countless hours and thousands of dollars. Several great starter kits are available from Nailboo with everything you need to give yourself a stellar at-home mani.

Cons: One of the main cons of powder dip nails is that they can be difficult to remove. If removed improperly, they can cause damage to your nail bed. However, if you follow proper removal instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems.

If you are getting a dip manicure at a salon, make sure they are sprinkling the powder over your nail, not dipping. It is not sanitary for multiple people to use the same powder as this can spread bacteria. Avoid this problem altogether by sticking to at-home dip kits. 

Overall: Powder dip nails are a great way to get salon-quality manicures at home. They are very durable and come in a ton of great colors. You’ve simply got to try it!



Wrap Up

There are tons of great manicure techniques out there, and the best one for your lifestyle is up to you. Whether you go for classic polish or something a bit more sturdy like dip powder from Nailboo, you deserve to have endless good nail days. So get painting, dipping, or head to your salon for some quality self-care. 



Acrylic, Gel or Dip Nails: Understanding the Pros + Cons for Your Health | Cleveland Clinic

Powder Dip vs. Gel Manicures: Which Is Better For Your Nails? | HuffPost

The pros and cons of the long-lasting manicure | Best Health Magazine

The Pros and Cons of Acrylic, Gel and PolyGel Nail Care | Oxbridge Academy

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