Gel Nail Polish

What are Gel Nails?

Celebrated for its natural appearance and ability to be long lasting, gel manicures have grown to become an increasingly popular alternative to acrylic nails. Gel nails can be done both in salons or at home, given that you have the proper equipment for its application. In this article, we will be discussing about the applications of gel nails, its pros and cons, as well as how it differs to acrylic nails.

What are gel nails?

Gel nails are a type of artificial nails that are commonly done in salons; they are glossy and tend to give more of a natural look compared to acrylic nails. Gel nails involve the application of gel polishes, which is cured or hardened onto the nail using a UV light. There are two types of gel nails- soft and hard. Unlike hard gels which are often used to create nail extensions, the soft counterpart dries too soft to form an extension itself. As a result, soft gels are most commonly used as a polish for pigment. When applied to the nail by an experienced professional, soft gels are able to last for at a couple of weeks without chipping or cracking.

How are gel nails applied?

In contrast to acrylic nails which use a mixture of a monomer liquid and a polymer powder, the application of gel nails involve the use of gel polishー these gels come in bottles and are available in a variety of different colours. Before the gel polish is applied to the nail, a layer of primer is first applied and allowed to dry. The use of a primer helps to clean the nail and more importantly, acts to increases adhesion for the artificial gel nail. The gel polish is then applied to the nail and “cured” under a UV light for up to two minutes so that it may harden and dry. This process is then repeated 2-3 times until the desired gel nail appearance/color is achieved. After the layers of color gel have been applied, the nail is then coated with a top gel and cured under a UV light for 2-3 minutes.

Beware of nail salons that use “gel powders”; there is no such thing as a “gel powder” as gel is always used for the application of gel nails.

How do gel nails compare to acrylic nails?

While both gel and acrylic nails are forms of artificial nail enhancements, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Acrylic nails have been around for much longer, since the 1970s while gel nails are a more recent addition to the nail industry. Generally speaking, gel nails tend to to more flexible and have a more glossy and natural appearance compared to acrylic nails. In contrast, acrylic nails tend to look less natural, especially if applied incorrectly or in a rush.

Here is a quick comparison table of the two:

Acrylic Nails Gel Nails
Appearance Typically less natural More natural, glossy
Application Liquid monomer and polymer powder Gel polish
Durability Tend to last longer than gel nails Lasts up to 14 days
Cost Less than gel nails Slightly more expensive
Removal Soak in acetone for 15 minutes Soak in acetone for 15 minutes
Effect on nail Chemicals involved can damage underlying nail Typically less damaging than acrylic nails
Curing Does not require UV light Requires UV light
Odor Acrylic liquid has unpleasant odor Odorless

What are the pros and cons of gel nails?

Gel nails are quickly rising in popularity- which is no surprise considering how pretty they look and how durable they are. But could this trendy nail enhancement have any cons? For your inquisitive curiosity, we have summarized the pros and cons of gel nails into the following table:

Pros Cons
  • More natural and glossy look
  • Can last up to 2-3 weeks without chipping, cracking or peeling
  • Gel mixtures are odorless and are considered safer and more eco-friendly
  • Fast curing time with UV light (eg. immediate drying afterwards)
  • Curing requires a UV light
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Tend to be less durable than acrylic nails
  • It can be harder to fix a broken gel nail (Often cannot be repaired and must be replaced)

To summarize…

Gel nails is without a doubt, one of the most popular methods of enhancing one’s natural nails. Despite being slightly more expensive than acrylic nails, gel nails have a more natural appearance, are more resistant to chipping and peeling and are generally less damaging to the underlying nail bedー all of which makes it a better option in the long run.

Looking to learn more about gel nails? Take a look at these links:

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