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A quick guide to nail extensions and the best home kits to buy

They say great nails don’t happen by chance, they happen by appointment. And if you’ve been meaning to book an appointment but are apprehensive because of lack of knowledge about getting your nails done, this guide will be your ally. From what they are and how they’re done to the general know-how of nail extensions, this guide jackets it all to ensure that every day is a happy nail day for you.

What are nail extensions?

Nail extensions refer to the artificial lengthening of nails that are then painted with a beautiful nail art design. It is one of the best ways to dress up your nails and have them look pretty for all kinds of occasions. And for someone whose nails don’t grow much or they tend to bite their nails, nail extensions can be the saviour.

Getting nail extensions done
Image Credit: Giorgio Trovato/Unsplash

Types of nail extensions

There are two ways to get your nail extensions done; one method is to use acrylic nails. In this process, an artificial nail tip is glued onto the natural nail and then filled and completed with a mix of liquid monomer and powder polymer to mould and hold the nail.

The other and most preferable method is using gel extensions, which can be done in two ways. The first includes using a premade gel mix and applying it directly onto the natural nail, which is then cured under UV light or LED light. The other includes applying a pre-made gel tip on the nails using a gel (like press-on nails).

Out of the two types, gel nail extensions are the most popular since they don’t do much damage to the nails as acrylic tips. Additionally, they are also admired for their flexibility, lightweight and natural-looking manicure effect. It is also easier to remove gel nail extensions as compared to acrylic ones.

Types of nail shapes

Gone are the times when nail shapes only meant round, oval or square. The nail shapes in recent times range from these classics to more glamorous ones like stiletto, coffin or almond. Let’s take a look at some of the different and most popular shapes that you can choose for yourself.


Round shape
Image Credit: Kristina Paukshtite/Pexels

The easiest shape to maintain, round-shaped nails are perfect for people with short nails (even nail biters). Following the natural curve of your fingertips, this classic shape is very low maintenance.


Oval nail shape
Image Credit: Allison Christine/Unsplash

Elegantly elongating the appearance of short fingers is the oval shape that has a feminine edge to it. The shape adds length to your fingers, giving them a slimmer look. File around the sides of your nail to achieve this egg-like shape perfectly.


Square shape
Image Credit: Sharon Mccutcheon/Unsplash

A popular nail shape that’s admired for how stylish it looks, square-shaped nails are perfect for anybody who has tapering fingers as well as long and narrow nail beds. They are filed straight-flat at the tips and have sharp edges.


Squoval nail shape
Image Credit: Patricia Hellinger/Unsplash

Love the angular contouring of a square shape but hate those sharp edges? Well then, a chic squoval shape is the answer to your dilemma. A square shape but with rounded and softened edges, this nail shape is easier to manage and looks as classy as a square one.

Coffin or ballerina

Coffin or ballerina nail shape
Image Credit: Anete Lusina/Pexels

A nail shape that’s all about unconventional glam, the coffin or ballerina shape is tapered with a flat squared-off tip. It gets its name for its apparent resemblance to a coffin or a ballerina’s slipper. It is perfect for you if you want to go bold and love your nails long but would still want them to feel comfortable.


Almond shape
Image Credit: Roman Titov/Pexels

Taking the glamour of an oval shape a notch higher is the almond shape that’s marked with a narrow, rounded tip. Mirroring the shape of an almond, the nails are filed along the sides and tapered to end in a round, soft peak in the centre.


Stiletto nail shape
Image Credit: Soezi

The stiletto nail shape might not be the most practical, but they sure make a head-turning moment. With a sharp pointed tip, the drama of this shape is unmatched but also demands high upkeep.

How much do nail extensions cost?

The cost of gel nail extensions can start anywhere between SGD 50 and SGD 60 and go up depending upon the nail salon, the professionals’ experience and the design of your nail art. The more detailed the design is, the costlier it would be.

How long do nail extensions last?

Nail extensions generally last for three to four weeks. By that time, your nails naturally grow out, and you would start noticing a gap between your nail bed and gel nails. You can then choose to either have them refilled or removed.

Getting gel nail extensions done
Image Credit: Jesse Donoghoe/Unsplash

Are there any side effects?

Nail extensions are usually safe unless they are applied or removed incorrectly. That is when they can actually harm your natural nails and nail bed. Hence, you must find a seasoned professional with good reviews to get your nails done and have them removed professionally. Once you’ve got your extensions, follow all the care instructions by your manicurist. And don’t forget to take breaks between getting nail extensions to let your nails rest and grow.

Here are some nail extension kits that you can try at home

(Hero and featured image credit: Gilaxia/Getty Images)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: Which is better – nail extensions or acrylic nails?

Answer: While both gel and acrylic nails can be used to create nail extensions, gel is considered to be a safer choice. This depends on factors like the polymerisation process, ease of application and removal, the nail’s density and flexibility. The process of using hard gel is relatively quicker, making the removal process easier as well. It also does not have any strong odours that come with acrylic nails and is more flexible. Additionally, acrylics are more damaging to the health of your natural nails.

Question: Are nail extensions waterproof?

Answer: Water can be damaging to your nail extensions when they are exposed to it for long durations. Hence, try to not expose your nails to water for too long, especially for the first 24 to 48 hours, as the bonding process takes time.

Question: Do nail extensions fall off?

Answer: No, nail extensions do not fall off. They last for two to five weeks, depending on your care. However, you may start noticing a gap between them and your nail bed in some time, which you’d have to get filled in at the salon.

Question: Do nail extensions hurt?

Answer: Some people may feel a tightening sensation after getting nail extensions done, especially if they’re acrylic nails. This happens because of the acrylic drying up and forming a firm seal over the nails, leading to your nails feeling sore and sensitive immediately post-application.

Question: Do nail extensions degrade nail quality?

Answer: Getting nail extensions too frequently without breaks between sessions would degrade their health over time and lead to brittle nails. However, thoughtful and attentive care of your nails can also work wonders. To top it off, gel nail extensions are way better than acrylic ones. Hence, getting your nails done with gel would reduce the chances of damage and nail degradation by multifold.

A quick guide to nail extensions and the best home kits to buy

With an academic background in Public Relations, Divya has a flair for writing about topics spanning genres like lifestyle, beauty, fashion, travel, FnB, tech and entertainment. She fancies everything that's a wholesome blend of contemporary finery and timelessness. Quirky earrings and tees are her weakness. When not creating content, you will find her devouring food, snuggling in with a book and a cup-a-chai, admiring skies or revisiting Hogwarts.


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