Rebecca Deczynski Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
This story originally appeared on Shape.com.
You want long, pretty nails, but you just can't seem to grow yours out—or you do, but then they inevitably break. Reaching and maintaining your goal length can be a real challenge, but luckily, there is a simple solution: Gel nail extensions.
You can think of gel extensions as a cross between your typical gel manicure and acrylics: They're clear plastic plates in the shape of your choice that are applied to the natural nail to give the illusion of added length. They're cured with a UV or LED lamp, and some can last for up to three weeks. You can get gel nail extensions at a salon, but it's also possible to do them yourself at home—and when you go the DIY route, you can save serious money. Case in point: Beetles' Nail Tips and Glue Gel Kit (Shop it! $20, amazon.com) costs less than the average manicure, and Amazon reviewers say it's a "perfect dupe" for the much more expensive, popular Aprés Nail Gel-X Nail Extension Kit (Shop it! $114, apresnail.com).
The Beetles kit contains 500 coffin-shaped nail extensions, nail adhesive, and a portable nail lamp to cure them—all the basics you need to do your own extensions at home. More expensive kits, such as the version from Aprés Nail contain additional tools, e.g. a nail file, dehydrator, and a top coat, but reviewers say that the price of Beetles' kit makes it hard to beat.
"The lamp alone is worth double if not triple!! And the gel adhesive it comes with is top-notch," wrote one five-star reviewer. "It's only been two days, but I work in retail merchandising and on a register. I literally had a flap of a 20-pound box rip from my hands and didn't break a nail!"
TikTok user @michellekhxn, who is known for her DIY nail extension videos, demonstrated how to use the Beetles set in a video that got more than 800,000 views, and said that the UV/LED lamp is easy to use. Another Amazon reviewer added: "The tips in this kit feel nice and strong. The curve is modern and looks like a salon shape. They're much better than others I've bought on Amazon….The glue gel adheres fast, with no heat spikes at all. My nails feel secure."
Shop it! Beetles Nail Tips and Glue Gel Kit, $20 (orig. $31), amazon.com
Customers say that this affordable nail extension dupe has just as much staying power as more expensive alternatives, too. One person even said that their nail extensions stayed on for three weeks, despite frequently typing on a computer and washing dishes.
If you've been considering nail extensions, Beetles Nail Tips and Glue Gel Kit is a great way to test them out without making a huge investment in at-home nail care. Normally $31, the gel nail extensions kit is currently marked down to just $20—so act fast.