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The Basics Unveiled: Polish vs Gel for Nail Techs

The Basics Unveiled: Polish vs Gel for Nail Techs

Nail polish, also known as regular polish or traditional polish, has been the go-to choice for many nail technicians for decades. However, in the last decade or so gel nail polish has gained popularity and taken the nail technician industry by storm. With so many options available, it can be difficult for a nail technician to decide which product is best for their clients. In this piece, we will explore the differences between polish and gel so you can make an informed decision and give your clients the best service. 

What is nail polish?

Nail polish is a lacquer that can be applied to natural or artificial nails to add colour and shine. It comes in a liquid form and contains various pigments and solvents to create different shades and finishes. Nail polish generally requires a little time to dry (or cure) and may need multiple coats for full coverage. Nail polish (or nail lacquer) cures without the need for an LED or UV lamp. 

What is gel nail polish?

Gel nail polish, on the other hand, is a type of nail polish that contains a special polymer that hardens when exposed to UV light or LED light. This process is known as curing and results in a shiny and durable finish. Gel polish is usually applied in thin layers - the UV or LED lamp is essential to the curing process, gel polish won’t work without that element of the process. 

Longevity Battle: Gel Nail Polish vs Regular Nail Polish for Nail Techs

One of the main advantages of gel nail polish is its longevity, it quite simply lasts much longer. So if your clients want a manicure that lasts longer, gel polish is the way to go. While regular nail polish may chip or peel off within a few days, gel polish can last up to two weeks without any major wear and tear. This makes it the preferred option for clients who want long-lasting manicures and let's be honest, though many clients love a manicure they would prefer a manicure that lasts.  

Shine Factor: Gel Nails vs Regular Polish for Nail Techs

When it comes to shine, gel nail polish definitely takes the lead. The curing process creates a hard, glossy finish that lasts for weeks, not days.  In comparison, regular polish may lose its shine after a few days and require a top coat for maintenance. So gel polish lasts longer and it's shinier - what’s not love?


Cost and Maintenance: Gel vs Regular Nail Polish from a Nail Tech's View

While gel nail polish may seem like the better option in terms of longevity and shine, it does come with a higher cost. The initial investment for a UV or LED lamp can be quite expensive, and gel polish is usually more expensive than regular polish. Additionally, gel nails require more time and effort to remove than regular polish, which can add to the overall maintenance cost (from the client’s perspective). 

Health Considerations: Gel vs Regular Polish for Nail Techs

As nail techs, it is important to consider the health implications of the products we use on our clients' nails. Some people may experience skin irritation if gel polish comes into contact with it, so it is important to use proper protective gear and follow safety protocols when using. It’s also why Glitterbels have invested so heavily in our Hema Free gel polishes. Similarly, however, contact with skin should be avoided when using nail polish, regardless of whether it’s Hema Free or a regular product. 

The final verdict on gel vs regular nail polish 

Both nail polish and gel nail polish have their own pros and cons, and the right choice ultimately depends on your client's preferences and needs. Regular polish is a classic and more affordable option, while gel polish offers longer wear time and a high-shine finish. Regular nail polish is also perfect for home use whereas gel polish should only be applied by the expert - the nail technician! As a responsible nail tech, always ensure to educate your clients about the differences between the two types of polish and help them make an informed decision based on their personal preferences and budget.