“Fake” or artificial nails, no matter which kind you choose, all share a common base. “All of the ingredients used to make any type of artificial nail — whether they be glued, cured by UV, or mixed with a liquid and powder — are based on the acrylic family,” Doug Schoon, a chemist, co-chair of Nail Manufacturer’s Council, and the president of Schoon Scientific and Regulatory Consulting, told Self.
The popular nails that have been assigned the name “acrylic” are made by fusing together a liquid and a powder to create a gel-like substance. “Gel” manicures are really much the same, but they come in a ready-to-use gel form and are cured, or hardened, by placing the nails under UV light for at least a few minutes. While the “dip powder” may seem revolutionary, especially at first, it’s really not all that different from the other types. The technique gets its name because, after applying the bonding agent, the nails are then dipped into a colored powder of your choice and finished off with a sealing top coat.