Gel nails originally referred to as nail extensions made using a hard gel product hardened by curing under an ultraviolet light (UV) or light emitting diode (LED). However, recent use of the phrase includes many nail services involving the use of gel products, including the very popular gel polish manicure.


There are two types of gel, hard gel and soft gel.


Hard gel gets its name because, once cured, is tough enough to be made into a nail extension. Nail extensions are artificial nails created by using a nail product to extend the nail past the edge of the natural nail.Soft gel refers to the gel products that are too soft to create a nail extension. This includes gel polishes and thicker gels meant for gel overlay services. Gel polishes are used for the increasingly popular gel polish manicures. These manicures, when done by caring, experienced, and trained professionals, are gentle to the natural nail and the polish stays intact on the nail for at least a couple of weeks with high shine and no cracking, peeling or chipping.


The product used to create nail extensions using gel or Gel nails is gel, not to be confused with acrylic nails which are created using liquid monomer and polymer powder. All gel services are performed using some form of gel which usually come in pots of gel or bottles of gel polish. Gel also comes in a variety of colors. All forms of gel require curing, or hardening, under a UV or LED light.


UV curing refers to the chemical process that occurs when photoinitiators within the gel itself are exposed to the UV or LED. The chain reaction creates heat while oligomers combine to form long chains during the polymerizationprocess. These long, bonded chains make the gel hard and cause photoinitiators within the gel product to begin the curing process. Usually, once the nail extension has been created, there is a residual tacky layer that is removed by wiping with a cotton pad soaked in high concentrate alcohol at the end of the process.

Gel nails vs Acrylic nails


Acrylic nails are a more common form of artificial nails and may also be referred to as "liquid and powder nails". They have been around for decades whereas gel nail products are still a very recent addition to the nail industry. The most popular acrylic nail service is the pink and white which refers to the use of pink colored acrylic and a white acrylic powder to create a long-lasting French manicure look. Just as with gel nails, acrylic nail extensions can be created using forms to create sculpted nails or tips. Forms are special stickers that are placed at the end of each finger, under the finger nail, and secured in place so that wet acrylic can be sculpted into a nail extension at the fingernail's edge. Thus, each nail extension is sculpted and why this procedure is referred to as "sculpts" or "sculpted nails." Tips are simply mass-produced plastic nail tips that are adhered to the fingernail's edge using nail resin. Each tip is clipped and filed into shape before applying the wet acrylic and the nail extension is made.

    Pros of gel nails


  • Gel nails can allow those allergic to acrylic or nail resin to enjoy an extension service;

  • Many gel nail clients report that gel nails feel more natural and less rigid than acrylic nail extensions;

  • Soft gel nails (gel polish) are easily removed with acetone when soaked for about 8–15 minutes and do little to no damage to the natural nail;

  • Gel polish manicures can last up to 3 weeks with no chipping, peeling or crackingLeaves a glossier finish;

  • Gel nails do not produce any odor;

  • The curing time is very fast when using an L.E.D. light;

  • Gel polish nails mean nails are dry immediately upon completion of the service so no worry about smudging or ruining one's manicure;

  • Holds shine and does not fade like regular nail polish.


    Cons of gel nails


  • They are less durable than acrylic. (Gel nail extensions may not work for those who are tough on their nails, such as those who type a lot, work with their hands, etc.);

  • Hard gel nails are usually only removed by filing and cannot be soaked off with acetone. However, some newer gel products strong enough to create extensions claim they can be soaked off, such as CND's Brisa Lite.[2];

  • You need a UV light or LED light for the curing process;

  • They can be too complicated for people to perform on themselves; [citation needed]

  • The nails can increase risk for infection if not done in a professional salon; [citation needed]

  • They are more expensive than traditional manicures.