Artificial nails, also known as fake nails, false nails, fashion nails, acrylic nails, nail extensions or nail enhancements, are extensions placed over fingernails as fashion accessories. Some artificial nail designs attempt to mimic the appearance of real fingernails as closely as possible, while others may deliberately stray in favor of an artistic look.
Artificial nails are an extension, not a replacement, of natural nails. There are two main approaches to creating artificial nails—tips and forms:
tips are lightweight "nail"-shaped plastic plates glued on the end of the natural nail;
forms are shaped sheets with a sticky edge that is effectively wrapped around the entirety of the nail
Atop these, either acrylic, hard gel, or any combination of both may be applied. Tips are available in many different designs, ranging from solid colors like gel or regular nail polish to graphic designs such as animal prints and metallic colors. Artificial nails can be shaped, cut, and filed into a variety of shapes, including square, squared oval/"squoval", rounded, almond, ballerina/coffin, and stiletto.
Acrylic nails are made out of acrylic glass (PMMA). When it is mixed with a liquid monomer (usually ethyl methacrylate mixed with some inhibitor) it forms a malleable bead. This mixture begins to cure immediately, continuing until completely solid in minutes. Acrylic nails can last up to 21 days but can last longer with touch-ups.  To give acrylic nails color, gel polish, nail polish, and dip powders can be applied.
Gel nails can be utilized in order to create artificial nail extensions, but can also be used like nail polish. They are hardened using ultraviolet light. They last longer than regular nail polish and do not chip. They have a high-gloss finish and last for two to three weeks.
Gel nails are strong, although not as strong as acrylic or fiberglass nails, and tend to be more expensive.
Acetone does not dissolve some types of gel nails, so they have to be removed at a salon by buffing. Repeated buffing can lead to thinning of the nail plate.
A new gel nail extension was created circa 2017 that is commonly referred to as Gel-X. It is a soft gel nail tip that is precut in differing styles and lengths which covers the whole nail bed up to the end of the nail. Gel-X are plied by first applying a PH bonder (dehydrator) followed by an acid-free gel primer. Finally, it is glued on using a gel adhesive that is cured using a blue UV/LED light. The removal process of gel-X nails is dissolving in acetone for 20 minutes.
Nail wraps are formed by cutting pieces of fiberglass, linen, silk fabric, or another material to fit on the surface of the nail (or a tip attached prior), to be sealed onto the nail plate with a layer of resin or glue. They do not damage the nail and also provide strength to the nail but are not used to lengthen it. It can also be used to fix broken nails. The treatment is however more expensive. Nail wraps can last anywhere from 5-14 days. Add ons can impact the duration of the nail wraps. To take nail wraps off correctly, soak the wrap in acetone just enough to deteriorate the adhesive.
Nail tips are made of a strong bendable material called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Nail tips are attached to the natural nail to extend its length and provides room for more nail designs. They can come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, but the most popular ones are usually clear or white. They only last for 7–10 days.
With the dip powder method, a clear liquid is brushed onto a nail and the nail is then placed into pigmented powder. Dip nails tend to last about a month, 2-3 weeks longer than gel and acrylic nails.  It can be worn on natural nails, nails with tips on, or can create artificial nails. Dip powder nails do not require any UV/LED light to be cured, instead they are cured using an activator. The quickest way to remove dip powder is to drill, clip off, or buff out layers of the powder so, when they are soaking in acetone, they slide right off.