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Solar Nails vs. Gel Nails: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 4, 2023
Solar nails are a type of acrylic nails, known for their durability and natural look, while gel nails are nail enhancements cured under a UV lamp, offering a glossy finish.

Key Differences

Solar nails are a type of acrylic enhancement, known for being a more durable and refillable version of traditional acrylics. In contrast, gel nails are a distinct category of nail enhancement that are applied as a gel and then cured under UV light to harden.
Solar nails are applied directly to the natural nail and don’t require extensions or additional nail tips. Gel nails, on the other hand, can be used over natural nails or with extensions and are known for their glossy, high-shine finish.
In terms of maintenance, solar nails are typically filled every three weeks, known for their longevity and less frequent need for replacements. Gel nails, while also long-lasting, may require more frequent maintenance depending on the growth of the natural nail.
Solar nails are recognized for their natural-looking appearance and are less prone to yellowing compared to traditional acrylics. Gel nails offer a wide variety of colors and styles, including the popular gel polish manicures.
When removing, solar nails require a similar process to acrylic nails, involving soaking and filing. Gel nails often need to be soaked in acetone and gently removed to avoid damage to the natural nail.

Comparison Chart


Type of acrylic nail enhancement
Nail enhancement cured under UV light


Applied directly to natural nails
Can be used on natural nails or with extensions


Refilled every three weeks, durable
May require more frequent maintenance


Natural look, less prone to yellowing
Glossy, high-shine finish

Removal Process

Similar to acrylics, involves soaking/filing
Soaked in acetone, requires gentle removal

Solar Nails and Gel Nails Definitions

Solar Nails

Solar nails provide a natural-looking manicure without extensions.
Solar nails give the look of long, natural nails.

Gel Nails

Gel nails offer a wide variety of colors and styles.
There were so many color options for her gel nail manicure.

Solar Nails

Solar nails are a high-quality type of acrylic nail enhancement.
She chose solar nails for their natural appearance and durability.

Gel Nails

Gel nails require careful removal to avoid damaging the natural nail.
She soaked her gel nails in acetone to remove them safely.

Solar Nails

Solar nails are known for their longevity and resistance to chipping.
Her solar nails lasted several weeks without any chips or cracks.

Gel Nails

Gel nails provide a glossy, high-shine manicure.
The gel nails had a perfect glossy finish that lasted for weeks.

Solar Nails

Solar nails are refillable, reducing the need for complete replacements.
She got her solar nails refilled instead of a full new set.

Gel Nails

Gel nails can be applied over natural nails or extensions.
She got gel nails over her natural nails for extra length.

Solar Nails

Solar nails are less prone to discoloration compared to traditional acrylics.
I prefer solar nails because they don’t yellow over time.

Gel Nails

Gel nails are nail enhancements that harden under UV light.
She cured her gel nails under a UV lamp for a durable finish.


Do solar nails damage natural nails?

Like all acrylics, solar nails can cause some damage if not applied and removed properly.

How long do solar nails last?

Solar nails can last up to three weeks or more before needing a refill.

How long do gel nails last?

Gel nails typically last two to three weeks.

Are solar nails more expensive than regular acrylics?

Yes, solar nails are often slightly more expensive due to their quality.

Can solar nails be done at home?

It's possible, but professional application is recommended for best results.

Can gel nails be filled?

Yes, gel nails can be filled, but often they are completely redone.

Are gel nails glossy?

Yes, gel nails are known for their glossy, shiny finish.

What are solar nails made of?

Solar nails are made of a high-quality acrylic material.

Can solar nails be painted over?

Yes, you can apply nail polish over solar nails.

Do gel nails require UV light?

Yes, curing under UV or LED light is necessary for gel nails.

Are gel nails safer than acrylics?

Gel nails are considered to be slightly safer due to less chemical exposure during application.

How do you remove gel nails?

Gel nails are soaked in acetone and gently scraped off.

Is a UV lamp always required for gel nails?

Yes, a UV or LED lamp is necessary to cure gel nails.

Do gel nails come in different colors?

Yes, there is a wide range of colors available for gel nails.

What are gel nails made of?

Gel nails are made of a gel-based polymer that hardens under UV light.

Are solar nails a good option for weak nails?

Yes, they can provide strength and protection to weak natural nails.

How are solar nails removed?

They are soaked off with acetone and gently filed away.

Can I use regular polish over gel nails?

Yes, but it's better to use gel-specific polish to maintain the finish.

Can solar and gel nails be combined?

Yes, some people combine both for added strength and finish.

Do solar nails look natural?

Yes, solar nails are designed to mimic the look of natural nails.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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