Gel Nail Polish Vs. Classic Nail Polish: Which Is Better?

Posted by Jon Tomas on

Gel Nail Polish Vs. Classic Nail Polish: Which Is Better?

More than 100 million people in the U.S. use nail polish. However, nail polish options have come a long way since they first started. You can choose from regular or gel nails, in addition to fake nails and other, newer options. What's the best choice for your nails?

All About Regular Nail Polish

If you get a manicure that uses traditional nail polish, it goes something like this. The technician will remove any old polish from your hands, shape and prime your nails, give you a little hand massage, then apply the base coat, polish, and top coat.

Of course, you don't need to go to a salon for a manicure. Many people love traditional nail polish because it can easily be applied at home, without any extra equipment. Regular nail polish is easy to apply and remove, so you can change the color as often as you'd like.

However, traditional nail polish has one major drawback: it's easy to chip and damage. It can take a long time to dry, but even if it dries without issue, it doesn't tend to stay on the nails for very long.

This can result in frequent touch-ups and reapplications, which can get frustrating. But luckily, this is where gel nail polish comes in.

All About Gel Nail Polish

Gel manicures cost more in the salon than regular manicures do - and you almost always need to get them done in a salon.

Gel manicures also take much longer to finish. The process to apply the polish is much the same as the traditional manicure. Your nails will get shaped and clean, your hands will be taken care of, and the base coat is applied before the color.

Then, the application process changes. After the gel base coat has been added, your nails will be placed under a UV light to "cure" the polish. Each new coat gets set in the UV light after application, right down to the top coat.

Why go through this long process? Many people love the gel nails because they last much longer than standard manicures. Gel polish doesn't chip, so you can keep it on for weeks at a time. You'll only need to get it changed or removed when your nails grow out too far.

If you're trying to grow your natural nails out, gel is also a good choice. The gel adds a layer of protection that helps keep your nails from breaking.

However, one drawback of gel polish is that it's very hard to get off. You might even find yourself going back to the salon for gel polish removal. The polish has to be soaked off. And, if you get gel manicures often, you'll want to use sunscreen to protect your hands from the potential UV light damage.

That said, gel manicures are great if you use your hands a lot and want your nails to last.

What to Know Before Getting a Gel Manicure

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the things you need to know to make the right choice about gel manicures. There's a lot of misinformation out there - let us clear things up for you.

1. Gel Nails Are Natural Nails

Some people may have heard that gel nails are another type of fake nail. However, gel manicures aren't the same as acrylics.

Acrylics are placed on top of the natural nail to make it look longer. Gel polish goes on top of the nails you already have. It changes the color but it can't add length.

2. Your Nails Don't Need Air

Gel polish seals over your nails for weeks at a time. Some people might avoid using it because they think that their nails need to "breathe." However, your nails don't actually need air at all.

It's true that gel polish cuts off the air supply to your nails. Of course, so does regular polish - it just doesn't last as long. But your nails aren't a living part of your body, the way that skin is. It's perfectly safe to cut them off from air.

3. Gel Polish Does Weaken Nail Beds

Gel polish makes your nail beds weaker, although it won't harm your actual nails.

Your nails themselves aren't sensitive to air or lack thereof, but your nail beds and cuticles are. Although the gel polish shouldn't be on these parts of your nails anyway, the removal process can expose your nail beds to damage. You should typically avoid taking off gel polish at home - a professional will know how to do it without causing damage.

4. You Should Watch the Removal Process

Not all manicurists are as careful as they should be. When you get your gel polish removed, you should watch the manicurist to make sure they do it right. They should soak the polish so that it's easy to remove - hard scraping and chipping it away will damage your nails.

5. You Can Remove Gel At Home

Although the salon is ideal, it is possible to remove gel polish at home if you really want to. But you'll need to approach is the right way to avoid damage.

Soak cotton balls in pure acetone polish remover, and attach a cotton ball to each nail by wrapping it in foil. Keep the acetone on the nails for 15 minutes or more to soften the gel. Then, gently slide it off each nail using a cuticle pusher.

Ready to Try Gel Nail Polish?

If you're into getting manicures, chances are you've tried regular polish before. And if long-lasting manicures sound good to you, it's time to give gel nail polish a try.

Although it's more costly and time-consuming, gel polish offers a beautiful manicure that lasts a long time. And if you get it done right, there are almost no drawbacks.

Ready to try the manicure of your dreams? Contact us to book an appointment.


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