Fiberglass is a material you're probably used to hearing about when referring to construction, maybe pools, but not nails. Gel, regular lacquer, dip powder, and acrylic are much more common, but fiberglass nails are another type of manicure you can explore, and they've been around for decades.
If you've never heard of fiberglass nails before, you're not alone — most salons don't offer them. "They were popular in the '80s and disappeared in the 2000s and are just resurfacing again in the past year or so," celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec, founder of Julie K Nail Artelier in New York City, told POPSUGAR. The reason for the revival? Social media (isn't it always?).
What Are Fiberglass Nails?
So, what are fiberglass nails, you ask? Kandalec explained there are two ways they can be done. "By using loose fiberglass fibers or precut fiberglass material," she said. The material is then arranged on the nail and sealed with either a resin adhesive, which is flexible and "better for a patch on a natural nail," or gel, which acts like an extension for more length and strength. "The nail hardens, then is buffed or filed, and can be polished, too," said Kandalec.
Fiberglass Nails vs. Acrylic Nails
Acrylic manicures and fiberglass manicures are very different. Acrylic nails are made from a mixture of a polymer, like powder, and a monomer, like a liquid, that hardens. "Acrylic enhancements also are very strong and can easily last two to three weeks before needing maintenance," said Kandalec. Fiberglass nails, on the other hand, are made from the fiberglass material mentioned above. "A fiberglass enhancement made with resin is thinner, but also not nearly as strong and generally will not last as long as an acrylic enhancement."
The Benefits of Fiberglass Nails
Considering fiberglass nails are not nearly as strong as acrylic nails and don't last as long, you might be wondering what the benefits are. "Fiberglass nails made with resin are an excellent way to repair a torn corner of a nail or add a little bit of strength to the tip of a nail," said Kandalec. They're also much thinner and more flexible than acrylic nails, but this can also help them look more natural. It all depends on the look you're going for. The main challenge with this specialty manicure is finding a professional that can do it because not many salons offer it nowadays.
Keep reading to see examples of fiberglass nails from Instagram.