I Guess I Have My Answer

Last Friday the BF's niece was in the salon — she comes in and dusts polish bottles for me every other week. She is the BF's step-niece-in-law, which is a really convoluted way of pointing out that her father is married to the BF's sister. Which means she's one of those kids who spends one week with her mom and one week with her dad. Which means that our side of the family only sees her every other weekend.
Which is why I only get to contract out the polish dusting every other week.
Savannah will graduate eighth grade in another month and a half and I've been painting her nails for about as long as I've known her, and since she's been "working" for me, she's been enjoying gel manicures. She would dearly love a set of extensions.
So, last Friday while Savannah was dusting polishes, she was also watching me test drive my new Masterworks (by Amy Becker) gel and was amazed to learn that gels can be used to make fake nails! So I tried to explain that I understand why the public gets confused about what gel is, and that there are different types of gel that can be used for different types of services — and that I was using building gels to sculpt extensions.
Well! As you all can imagine, this is now my niece's new obsession. Since she has been told not to get acrylics, she now insists that we can do gel nails instead.
OK, OK...I know a lot of you are totally opposed to doing nails on anyone this young anyway — but that's not my issue. I think high school is an acceptable age for nails, and since it's pretty common for girls to get their first set at 12 years old around here, I have come to peace with that too. That's not the issue here.
The issue is that I initially was under the impression that Savannah wasn't allowed to have nail extensions — that it wouldn't matter what they were made with. But after some discussion, no, it turns out that it's specifically acrylic that is taboo.
Her mom doesn't want her to have acrylics because she had a bad set that totally destroyed her nails. A very typical instance of the product getting the blame for the technician's incompetence. So it's entirely likely that Savannah's mom would go for a set of gels. (Her dad and stepmom, btw, are fine with her getting nails — but then, they know me well.)
I don't want to put gel extensions on a 13-year-old. Why is that?
I just can't help but feel that acrylic would be better for her. I can soak acrylic off! If they turn out to be too much for her to maintain, if she has lots of lifting (mind you, her gel polish does not last a full two weeks), if it turns out that she's not ready for enhancements, I can soak off acrylic.
I have to file off the gel. Somehow I just can't shake the feeling that the acrylic would be the better option in this case. 
It's not about what is or isn't better or worse, and I'm not saying filing off can't be done carefully. Even ignoring the fact that there are soakable builder gels available, it's more a matter of discovering that, deep inside, apparently I do think — all things being equal — that acrylic presents fewer risks of damage.
Hmmmm... I would not have guessed as much.

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