Getting the Complete Look: The Beauty of a Full Set of Nails

a woman's hands with white nail polish on them
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In the dazzling world of nail fashion, many terms might confuse you when you first step into a salon. One such term is a “full set of nails”. So, what is a full set of nails? To put it simply, it’s a nail treatment that involves applying an artificial coating, usually gel or acrylic, over your natural nails to enhance their appearance and durability. But there’s a lot more to it. This article will delve further into the concept of a full set of nails, discussing different types, the process, and when to opt for it.

Defining a Full Set of Nails

A full set of nails, also known as an artificial nail set, is a nail service that involves applying an artificial coating over your natural nails. This coating can be made from various materials, such as acrylic, gel nail extensions, or silk. The purpose of this artificial coating is to extend the length of your natural nail, enhance its shape, and add strength.

It’s noteworthy that the term “full set” is used because the service is typically performed on all ten nails. This differentiates it from other services, such as a fill-in, where only the growth area of the nails is treated.

Full Set of Nails vs. Manicure

A common question that arises is: How is a full set of nails different from a manicure? The primary difference lies in the focus of the service. A manicure primarily involves taking care of your natural nails—trimming, shaping, and polishing them. The application of regular polish or gel nail polish is common in manicures.

On the other hand, a full set of nails goes a step further. It involves applying an artificial coating over your natural nails to create a new, enhanced set of nail art. This is why it’s often called an artificial set.

What Does a Full Set of Nails Include?

The process of getting a full set of nails may vary from one nail salon to another, but the basic steps include:

  • Cuticle Care: This involves adding oil to the cuticles, pushing them back, and revealing a larger nail plate
  • Finger Care: The nail technician examines the skin around your nails, trims off any dead skin, and ensures your fingers look and feel healthy
  • Nail Care: Your nails are cut or filed shorter, and the nail plate is buffed to prepare it for the artificial coating
  • Extensions: Some full-set packages include the addition of tips to extend the length of your nails
  • Application: The artificial coating, either gel or acrylic, is applied over your nails
  • Final Touches: A moisturizing cream is applied to your hands, and some salons may also offer a brief hand massage

Different Types of Full Set Nails

There are several types of full set nails you can choose from, depending on your preference, lifestyle, and the health of your natural nails. Here are the three most common types:

  1. Full Set of Gel Nails: This involves the application of gel extension as the main product. The process includes a base coat, gel nail polish color coat, and top coat. Each layer needs to be cured under a UV nail light, making the process somewhat time-consuming
  2. Full Set of Acrylic Nails: This involves applying a new layer of acrylic over your prepped nails. You can also request extensions with acrylic. The application of acrylic is faster than gel manicure as it doesn’t require curing
  3. Silk or Linen Wrap: This involves applying small pieces of silk or linen fabric to your nails to strengthen them and help keep the polish on

When Not to Opt for a Full Set of Nails

While a full set of nail enhancement can be a great way to enhance your nails’ appearance and durability, it’s not suitable for everyone or every situation. Here are a few instances when you might want to reconsider getting a full set of nails:

  • If you have health-related issues: If you have a chronic illness, are pregnant, or have an upcoming surgery, consult your doctor before getting a full set of nails. Some materials used in artificial nails can potentially be harmful
  • If you’re trying to repair damaged nails: If your nails are discolored, have ridges, white marks, or splits, a full set of nails could potentially hide these issues, leading to further damage. Instead, consider a strengthening treatment to restore your nails’ health
  • If you have dry cuticles: Dry cuticles can indicate dehydration of the nails. In such a case, a moisturizing hand treatment might be more beneficial
  • If you prefer traditional nail polish: If you’re happy with just a simple polish on your natural nails, a manicure might be a better option for you


A full set of nails can be a fantastic way to treat yourself and give your real nail a professional, polished, beauty look. However, understanding what a full set of nails entails can help you make an informed decision and ensure you’re delighted with the results. Whether you’re a fan of gel, acrylic, or silk wraps, there’s a full set of nail extension for everyone. So why wait? Step into the nail salon and get ready to flaish your fabulous creative nail design!

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