First, acrylic nails do not need to go under a light of any type to cure. They do so by means of a chemical reaction, and will harden in less than 3-4 minutes on their own.
An Ultraviolet Lamp that is designed specifically for curing gels is a small electronic unit which is generally only large enough to place one hand underneath, and most often will have a timer built into it. They have a mirror-like surface on the bottom of the unit so that the UV lights can cure your nails evenly due to the reflection of the light throughout the lamps interior. These lamps emit a bright blue-ish looking light. A UV lamp is small enough to fit neatly on, or very near the nail table so that the tech can continue to work on your other hand as one is curing under the lamp. The standard cure time is two minutes for each individual layer of gel that is applied, though that time can vary by manufacturer. A few take three minutes, but very few.
Now, if you are talking about these tables with a purple looking light that is always on where you go and put both hands under to dry your polish for like 10 minutes or so, this is not a UV lamp, and will not cure gels of any type. They are nothing more than light bulbs which put off heat which helps to speed the drying process.
UV lamps for nail gels can be used for drying nail polish also, but I have found that the polish will often bubble a bit, and that is a problem. The very best way to dry the polish is by letting it air dry completely without the aid of heat, or use of drying sprays, or anything else with the exception of quick-dry drops which techs often use. Any other method tends to dull the shine as the polish, and topcoat dries. Patience is a virtue in this case, and it really pays off to just wait it out. I know that is not feasible for many women because of the time involved in doing so - upwards of a half hour or so. In those cases, other methods of drying the nails are used as I described above.
I prefer to use quick-dry drops on my clients who wear polish simply because most people don't have the time enough to wait. Plus, I need to get them out the door so that the next client can come in and have me, and my complete attention all to herself without having stragglers hanging around and possibly disturbing us for whatever reason.
In short, if you are moved to another part of the room, and your hands placed under a table with a purplish light coming from ti which ios large enough to accomodate two or more people at the same time, this is NOT a UV lamp and it will not cure UV gels.
I hope that helps!
thanks for the info! i don't know what quick dry drops are though!
cant afford to get mine done in a salon, i tried to do acrylics myself on a couple of occasions and it just never worked, even though i did everythin according to instructions. the nails just never dried, even when i left them half an hour. gave up on that. just thought the lamp would help for nail varnish.
i work with natural nails and have wondered if possible the idea of painting with normal nail polish and using a gel clear top coat, if there is one, and putting the nails under a UV lamp. could this work somehow?