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What Are Solar Nails? Good & BAD of Solar Nails

What Are Solar Nails?

Even without knowing you, I’m quite certain you’ve heard the phrase Solar Nails before… You may not know exactly what it means but they are certainly trending these days. Surprisingly, Solar nails are not as new as they simply got into our consciousness in recent years due to some fantastic advantages over traditional fake and acrylic nails.

In short, Solar Nails are basically an acrylic overlay that is applied directly to your natural nails for extra protection. The main difference between solar nails and regular manicures is that the color pigments used with solar nails are UV cured, meaning that this type of manicure lasts longer than most conventional manicures. This also means no chipping or fading away like other manicures, so you can enjoy your own personal style with minimal upkeep.

Now that was really in short… before going at it, there are more advantages for Solar nails but also a couple of disadvantages worth noting. And not to mention, how can one talk about nail designs without pouring dozens of nails (Solar nails in this case) for inspiration???

With that in mind, let’s dive in, starting with a heads on battle – Solar nails vs acrylic vs gel

Solar Nails VS Acrylic Nails –

MANY confuse acrylic and solar nails and it is quite understandable. But solar nails and acrylic nails are not the same things – not all “fake nails” are alike. Acrylic nails are made from a mixture of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer, which are mixed together to create a soft, pliable dough that is then shaped and molded onto the natural nail. Acrylic nails are known for their strength and durability, but they can sometimes look thick and artificial.

Solar nails, on the other hand, are made from a mixture of acrylic and a photoinitiator, which is a chemical that cures (hardens) the acrylic when it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Solar nails are also thicker and stronger than natural nails, and they are often used to create longer more natural-looking nails. However, they can yellow over time if they are not properly cared for.

Overall, solar nails and acrylic nails are both types of artificial nail enhancements, but they are made from different materials and have different properties.

Solar Nails Acrylic Nails
Refilling 4-6 weeks 2-3 weeks
Application Gel form Acrylic powder
Cost $30-$50 $20-$50
Quality Better Poor
Convenience More Less
Colors Limited Endless
Shapes Free design Endless

Solar Nails VS Gel Nails –

Solar nails and gel nails are similar in that they are both artificial nail enhancements that are applied to the natural nails. However, they are not exactly the same thing.

Gel nails have a slightly different texture and feel than both solar and acrylic nails, as well as a slightly different appearance. They are also much more flexible than traditional acrylic nails and are very resistant to chipping and cracking. However, gel nails do not last as long as solar nails, so regular refills may be required.

Solar nails are thicker and stronger than natural nails, and they are often used to create longer more natural-looking nails.

Being more flexible, gel nails tend to be more natural-looking. They also do not change there color over time as some acrylic nails can (phenomenon called browning acrylic nails). However, they are not as strong as acrylic nails and may not be suitable for those who work with their hands.

Overall, solar nails and gel nails are both popular options for artificial nail enhancements, but they have some differences in the materials used and the properties of the finished product.

Solar Nails Gel Nails
Refilling 4-6 weeks 3-4 weeks
Setting Air-dry UV/LED lamp
Cost $30-$50 $20-$65
Quality Stronger Natural
Convenience More Less
Colors Limited Endless
Shapes Free design Natural

5 Advantages of Solar Nails –

  1. Longevity – One major advantage of solar nails is that they last longer than traditional manicures – up to four weeks! This means less time spent at the salon and more time enjoying your own style with minimal maintenance.
  2. Strength and Durability – Solar nails also provide additional strength and protection for your natural nails underneath, making them ideal for those who have weak or damaged nail beds. And because they are cured using UV light, the color pigments used in Solar nails stay vibrant and won’t chip or fade away.
  3. Versatility – Solar nails come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. This means you can create different looks for different occasions or even just everyday wear! Plus the curing process used allows for more intricate designs than other manicure options.
  4. Affordability – Solar nails are also usually cheaper than other types of nail art such as gel nails due to the minimal materials needed for the application. Most salons offer discounted rates if you purchase multiple sessions at once so check around before committing to one service. Also, while they do cost more than acrylic nails, when you factor in the longer duration, the numbers make more sense.
  5. Easy to Remove – As a bonus, solar nails are also easy to remove when you want to switch up your look. Simply soak your hands in warm water for about 10 minutes and then use an acetone-based nail polish remover to get the job done.

6 Disadvantages of Solar Nails –

  1. Time-Consuming – Solar nails can take quite a bit of time to apply, especially if you’re getting intricate designs or working with multiple colors. Depending on the complexity of your design, it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours to complete.
  2. Health Risks – Over-exposure to UV light during the curing process could be harmful to your skin and eyes. Always make sure you’re wearing protective eyewear when having Solar nails done and that the salon is using quality products.
  3. Damage Potential – As with any type of artificial nail enhancement, there is always a risk of damaging your natural nails underneath if applied incorrectly or kept on for too long. Be sure to check in with your technician regularly to make sure everything is still in good shape.
  4. Expense – While Solar nails may be cheaper than other types of nail art, they can add up if you’re getting them done regularly. Talk to your technician about the different pricing options and find one that works best for your budget.
  5. Allergies – Some people may be allergic to the products used during a solar nail application, so make sure you let your technician know before starting if you have any known allergies or sensitivities. Allergic reactions can range from mild itching and redness to more severe swelling and discomfort, so it’s important to stay vigilant when trying something new!
  6. Limited Colors – To me, this is the biggest one… While we did put their versatility as one of the pros, especially compared to gels, the versatility only comes into play when it comes to shapes and sizes. Solar nails are mainly pinks, white and clear. Which also means you can have a French manicure design.

How to Do Solar Nails?

Probably one of the best way to understand what Solar nails are, and how they end up looking, is by watching a video of how they are being done.  With that in mind, here is the video I picked for you…

How Do You Remove Solar Nails?

A lot was said about Solar nail removal being one of the advantages. This is especially true compared to gel nails but also compared to acrylics. While I would still recommend doing it at your next salon visit by a professional, here are the steps to get it done:

1. Soak your hands in warm water for 10-15 minutes to help soften the nails and make them easier to remove.

2. Then, use a nail file or clipper to slowly take off layers of the Solar nails until most of it is removed.

3. After that, soak your hands again in a mix of warm water and acetone-based nail polish remover for another 10 minutes.

4. Finally, use a cuticle pusher or an orange wood stick to push any remaining Solar nails off your natural nails.

5. Rinse hands with soap and water and apply cuticle oil before finishing up with hand moisturizer.

Side note – we wrote a detailed step-by-step guide on how to take off acrylic nails with hot water… That will not fly with Solar nails…

Are Solar Nails Healthy?

All three types of artificial nails can have drawbacks to the health of your natural nails. It’s important to keep in mind that the healthiest option for your nails is to go without artificial nails and to keep your natural nails healthy.

Before you read the below, please keep in mind I’m not a chemist nor a doctor or anything like that. The below information is based on my online research. Keep in mind, especially if you are in a health risk group, pregnant, etc. – natural nails are the healthiest safest way to go.

That being said, here is a brief overview of the pros and cons of each type of artificial nail health-wise:

Solar nails: Solar nails are made from a mixture of acrylic and powder. They are known for their durability and long-lasting shine. However, they can be damaging to the natural nail as they require the use of chemicals both during application and removal.

Acrylic nails: Acrylic nails are made from a mixture of a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. They are a popular choice for artificial nails because they are relatively inexpensive and can be applied quickly. However, acrylic nails can be damaging to natural nails as they require the use of harsh chemicals to apply and remove them. Plus, acrylic nails can cause your natural nails to become brittle and dry.

Gel nails: Gel nails are a type of artificial nail that is cured under a UV or LED light. As such, they are considered to be more “eco-friendly”. However, like acrylic nails, they can be damaging to natural nails as they require the use of chemicals to remove them. Additionally, improper application or removal of gel nails can cause the natural nails to become weak and brittle.

In general, it’s important to be mindful of the health of your natural nails when choosing to wear artificial nails. If you do decide to wear artificial nails, it’s important to follow proper application and removal instructions and to take breaks from wearing artificial nails to allow your natural nails to rest and recover.

Last important thing to state before I conclude…

Are Solar Nails Worth It?

As with everything else in life… it is a matter of personal preference. We’ve covered in great detail the pros and cons of Solar compared to gel, and acrylics. In the end, it all comes down to your lifestyle and what type of nail you prefer.

In essence – if you are looking for a minimalist, great natural-looking manicure that is still durable and long-lasting then Solar nails may be right for you. On the other hand, if you want something super glossy with lots of colors to choose from, gel or acrylics are probably a better option.

To Conclude – My Thought About Solar Nails –

Looking at our options, assuming going natural is not on the table, Solar nails provide an alternative option to gel nails and acrylics. When compared to acrylics, I find it to be the better product, the better option (cost permits). However, I would not compare them to gels because to me the two are not alike.

So which one I’d go for next time at the salon – depending on my mood that day. Would you agree?

FAQ: Solar Nails Most Asked Questions​

How long do solar nails last?

The longer you can soak your hands, the better. Soaking them for 15-30 minutes will be ideal if you want to make sure that the acrylic nails are properly loosened and softened.

Is solar nails better than acrylic?

When measuring pure quality, most would attest that solar nails are better than acrylic nails. However, I urge you to read the full comparison above.

Are solar nails better than gel?

Solar nails last longer, more durable and easier to repair if needed than gel nails. Appearance wise, gel nails often look more natural.

Please refer to the full comparison table above.

Do solar nails glow in the dark?

While this question rises every once in a while due to the name "Solar", unfortunately, solar nails don't glow in the dark.

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