Oh yes, I’ve personally tried them all. After 5 years of multiples nail salons visited, I feel confident on providing you today with a guide to the most popular long lasting nail procedures you will find at your local salons. Keep reading for a straight-forward description, what to expect at the salon and my own review on each of the procedures. Don’t forget to check out my “nails” board on Pinterest and follow me to share daily inspiration together 🙂

I will not be sharing prices as they vary by country and by salon too but in Toronto, all of the procedures I’ll talk about are similarly priced, with no more than $5 difference.


Also called soak-off gel nails because of the removal process (soaking your nails in acetone for some minutes instead of using the little nail drill). Shellac was my introduction to long lasting nails procedures. I first bought the SensatioNail kit for making them at home (again, we are talking of more than 5 years ago when I still had time to paint my nails at home and fixing the mistakes when I was done).

I soon realized that I just have no nail-painting skills and recurred to the nail salons for Shellac.

Of all the procedures in this post, Shellac is the less damaging to your nails, the most shiny one also BUT the one that lasts less. Shellac nails (well done) will last a bit more than 2 weeks.

It’s a great procedure if your priority is the health of your nails. Important! It will still make your nails thinner along time and a LED lamp is used to apply the nail polish.

My fresh Shellac Nails


Acrylics is the most used nail procedure around the world and it can be find in really affordable prices and packages in some salons. It lasts around a month and a half (you will of course see the growth) but literally, if you don’t take them out they will stay in your nails as long as they wish.

Been said that, the removal process MUST be done in the nail salon and they do use the nail drill (nails worst enemy). Because of it, this procedure even though is the most practical, it’s also the most damaging for your nails.

You can expect the manicurist to use a strong smell liquid and a powder together. This creates a gel that is applied to your nails. LED lamp is not used for acrylic nails. NOTE: The strong smell lasts about 2 days in your nails!

I wore acrylics for about 2 years before giving them a rest and my nails got really thin and permanent ridges. I do not recommend this procedure at all as I think the convenience is not worth damaging the health of my nails nor yours.

Bio Gel

I was introduced to this procedure by my first manicurist in Canada. Now, my mom says it’s offered in Panama too (and this makes me believe in many other countries as well).

My manicurist presented this procedure as a healthier alternative to Acrylics. You can expect your manicurist to apply a gel on your nails and then put your hand under a UV lamp many many times.

Now, you know how much of a freak I am about UV rays and my skin so even though the Bio Gel nails “healthier”, the lamp part still freaks me out.

I must say, the Bio Gel nails look way more natural and feel more natural than acrylics and because they tend to bend a bit more with your natural nails is that people say they are healthier.

If you freak out about the uV lamp like me, I recommend applying a lot of sunscreen 30 minutes before starting your manicure.

This is the procedure I am using now and my nails last about a month.

My fresh Bio Gel nails

Dip Nails

This procedure was THE TREND right before quarantine. I had so much hope in it because salons were promoting it as the healthier of them all. The way is applied is also really cool and visually satisfying, that’s what made it trendy but there’s a reason most salons don’t offer it anymore… it’s not the most hygienic procedure out there. I’ll explain.

Dip nails are similar to acrylic. They use a powder and some nail polish, this forms a gel that hardens in a few seconds. The problem is that dip powder has the color in the powder and your finger is dipped in a jar. The same jar others dip their fingers.

The worst for me is that it was promised to last more than a month but after 3 weeks my nails were chipping! And, they also use the UV lamp at the end to dry out the layers.

I would just recommend this procedure if the salon you go takes better measures like taking out the powder before they apply them to your nail.

For me, it wasn’t worth the risk.

My fresh dip nail nails

I hope this little guide helps you in case you are a newbie in the nails department. The best for your nail will always be to live polish-free or use regular polish a few times a week. For some of us, having our nails put together is a necessity. Nails are a big part of your look and you should aim to care for them, any way you can 🙂

If you are looking for natural ways to take care of your nails, check out the post below for a product that has changed my life (my nails’ life):

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