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What Are Toenail Extensions?

By Kathleen Howard
Updated May 21, 2024
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Toenail extensions are artificial extensions used to enhance the appearance of the toenails. There are two main types of toenail extensions: acrylic and gel overlays. Like acrylic fingernail extensions, acrylic tips can be used to strengthen and lengthen the nails. A special ultraviolet (UV) gel can also be applied to the toenails to create the look of smooth, long-lasting polish. Toenail extensions can be used by people who want to hide certain imperfections, need a chip-resistant pedicure, or want to create unique toenail art.

To create toenail extensions that increase the length of the toenails, a technician will usually apply acrylic tips to the nails. An acrylic gel will then be placed over the entire nail to adhere the tip to the nail bed. As with acrylic fingernail extensions, these toenail extensions will need to be filled in every few weeks to make up for new toenail growth. At-home acrylic toenail extension kits can also be purchased from some convenience stores and beauty supply stores.

Toenail extensions can also be created with UV gels. These extensions do not normally lengthen the toenails. Instead, they are used to make the toenails smoother, stronger and slightly thicker. One benefit of choosing gel overlays is that these extensions usually look very similar to regular nail polish. To cover new nail growth, gel overlays will also need to be filled in or reapplied every few weeks.

There are several reasons why people might decide to get extensions on their toenails. Many people choose to get these extensions in order to enhance the appearance of their natural toenails. If a person’s toenails are brittle, lumpy or abnormally shaped, toenail extensions can create a more attractive appearance. While extensions cannot be applied to infected toenails, they can be used to cover damage caused by injury or infection. People with very short toenails can also use these extensions to create longer, sleeker nails.

Another benefit of these extensions is that they last much longer than regular nail polish. Most toenail polishes only last a few days before they begin chipping away from the nail. When applied correctly, neither acrylic nor gel extensions will chip or crack easily. Most extensions last for several weeks or until they are intentionally removed. People who want a long-lasting pedicure might want to consider these extensions.

Toenail extensions can also be used by individuals who want to create intricate toenail art. Many times, three-dimensional toenail art is adhered to the toenails with UV gel. Extensions also give technicians a greater area on which to create their designs. While extensions are not necessary for creating nail art, they do give designs more staying power.

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Discussion Comments

By SarahGen — On Mar 27, 2014

@donasmrs-- Since toenails grow more slowly than regular nails, toenail extensions do last longer for most people. Moreover, gel extensions last longer than acrylic extensions.

Some people learn how to do gel extensions themselves and buy the machine for home use. This is not an option for most of us and I do think that it can be dangerous if the gel is used incorrectly. My spa has a good deal for gel nails, so I have them take care of both my nails and toenails.

By SteamLouis — On Mar 27, 2014

@donasmrs-- I have gotten acrylic toenail extensions before and I would not mind getting them again. I understand that it's not a good option for everyone's budget however.

I got acrylic toenail extensions before my daughter's wedding. My toenails are very short and my little toenails on both feet are naturally crooked. So they look very unattractive. So I decided to get the extensions so that I can wear open toed shoes at my daughter's wedding without worrying about what my toes look like. The extensions turned out great and they looked beautiful. They actually lasted me for quite a while so I wore sandals almost every day that summer.

By donasmrs — On Mar 26, 2014

I've never thought of getting toenail extensions. Nail extensions are expensive and need to be fixed about every two weeks. I don't mind paying for regular nail extensions because my hands are always visible. But I wouldn't pay to maintain toenail extensions, especially when they are barely seen. I don't think it's worth it.

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