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Gel Brands

This blog is really about getting you the clients up to speed on gels and gel polishes, understanding the difference between the 2 and what is out there on technicians treatment list....

So first things first, to discuss the difference between gels and gel polish.

Gels are a hard wearing gel that is applied using a brush out of a pot. The nail is usually buffed before hand to get the adhesion. The gel is cured under a UV or LED light box. Usually, once the gel has been applied 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 service. Gels usually last about 3-4weeks and are buffed off. Gels can only be removed by filing them off, and this is a real con to them. You can extend the nail with a hard gel and this is why some people prefer them over the gel polishes.

There is also a soak off gel which is less time consuming to remove and kinder to the nail, as the nail is wrapped in acetone and the gel dissolves with it, so NO filing :). A soak off gel is applied again out of a pot with a brush and buffed before applying. It is just as strong as a hard gel and the nail can be extended with it aswell.

Now to move on to gel polish. Gel polish is effectivly gel in bottle, it is applied like a normal nail polish in a bottle but is still cured under the UV light. The difference is that it will only last a few weeks but is removed like a soak off gel. You cannot extend the nail with gel polish. Gel polish is popular at the moment due to the ease it is to put on, they are kinder to the natural nail than any other gel and colours can be changed more regularly.

I have seen alot recently 'technicians' promoting 'gel nails' when in fact they are using gel polish. As you already know from above they are different and have a different end use. This can be very confusing to the customers and confusing for us nail techs actually using the correct terminology to what you the customer are wanting.

Also a current affair in the nail business is there has been press on the TV recently about fake Shellac's being used on the market and it is becoming more and more in the public eye. These fake gel polishes may be advertised cheap and seem a good deal at the time, but infact the ingredients to make them are more harm than good and are causing your natural nails damage.

For me a technician that tries to select the best products to use, it is very frustrating to see gel nails being advetised really cheaply. To you it may seem a good deal, but you really must ask yourself, what product are they using and why is it so cheap? These fake gels/Shellac's are cheap nasty product and apart from being bad on your nails they contain ingredients that risk you having a chemical effect to them and they are very hard to remove!

Below are some of the gel polish and gel brands that you may see on the market, so you can form your own opinions, pick your technicians wisely and understand the difference in the brands...........

CND Shellac -


Gel or gel polish? - This is a power polish in a bottle , it has the same wear as gel polish but the formula to create it is closer to nail polish. Therefore sme saying it is kinder to the natural nail.

Prep/ application - There is no buffing of the natural nail after thorough preperation of cuticle work and cleansing a base coat, 2 colour coats and a top coat are applied, all set under a UV light.

Removal - CND Shellac is removed really quickly with CND remover, soaking for 8 minutes and lasts up to 14days.

Other comments - . The CND Shellac colour range is every increasing, so watch out for new ranges added throughout the year. CND Shellac is really thin and much thinner than some of the others listed below. There are plenty of fake Shellac's out there so please ensure the bottle says CND on it. It is a proffesional product only and is only supplied by one supplier in the UK, so when you see this on Amazon please note these are fake!!!!

Harmony Gelish -


Gel or gel polish? - Gel Polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - Applied like polish and set under a UV light. The natural nail must be buffed before application with cuticle work and a bonder applied.

Removal - Top coat should be buffed slightly as the topcoat has more resistance to acetone and then wrapped up for 15minutes.

Other comments - .There is a plentiful amount of colour to choose from and lasts upto 3 weeks. Only down side to this gel polish is you must remove the shine from the natural nail before applying (if a technician goes too far it could damage your natural nail). The consistency of Gelish is much thicker compared to Shellac and this is a true gel in a bottle.

OPI Gelcolour -


Gel or gel polish? - Gelcolour is a gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - NO buffing is required and after preperation of cuticle work and cleansing, a base coat, 2 colour coats and top coat are applied.

Removal - Removal is really quick at 15minutes

Other comments - . OPI is a well known brand throughout the beauty industry and is a trusted make. OPI Gelcolour dries under LED light which takes 30seconds per layer. It formular is purely gel in a bottle.

Jessica Geleration -


Gel or gel polish? - Gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - Light buffing is needed to the natural nail, cuticle work and cleansing should be done. A nail primer is added to the nail before the base coat is applied.The nails are put under a LED light which only takes 30 secs to cure each layer.

Removal - To remove, the nails are soaked and wrapped up for 10minutes. Having experience removing this myself, Geleration is a really hard removed and didn't come off with acetone, I had to buff this off.

Other comments - Jessica is a well known brand within the industry but I was not impressed with the removal of it.

Bluesky -


Gel or gel polish? - Gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - Push back the cuticles , remove ridges in the nail by buffing, cleanse the nail before applying base coat, 2 colour coat and top coat.

Removal - Wrapped up with acetone. This product has been known to be tricky to remove and can take awhile, but this is all personal experiences

Other comments - Bluesky Shellac or Bluesky Gelish are not the real deal. So if you see Bluesky on the bottle then this is not the real CND Shellac or Harmony Gelish. Bluesky is not a proffesional product and the consistency is rather gloopy.

ASP Signature Gel Polish -


Gel or gel polish? - Gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application -All cuticle work should be done, buffing of the natural nail and then applying a bonder.

Removal - Remove the shine from the gel and wrap up for 15minutes in ASP remover.

Other comments -This gel polish can also be buffed off (please be aware if the technician chooses this technique) Having tried to remove this product from one of my clients, it doesn't remove well and had to be buffed off in the end.

IBD Just gel polish -


Gel or gel polish? - A gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - The shine must be taken off the natural nail before application.

Removal - Nails should be buffed slightly, wrapped up for 15minutes

Other comments -

Gellux -


Gel or gel polish? - A gel polish in a bottle

Prep/ application - This is best with the nail plate buffed before application, cuticle work should be done and a bonder added before starting with a base coat.

Removal - Wrapped up for 15minutes in acetone. (when researching this some people have had trouble removing this product

Other comments -

Bio Sculpture -


Gel or gel polish? - A soak off gel

Prep / application - Cuticle work will be done and the nail buffed lightly.

Removal - Using Bio Sculpture remover, it is soaked for 10minutes and should peel up.

Other comments - Bio Sculpture is a recongised brand within the nail industry. They have a wide variety of colours, which is ever expanding. Aswell as being a natural overlay to the nail you can sculpt the tip and extend it. Bio sculpture will last 3 - weeks.

Probably to some people the best gel on the market, applied much thicker than Shellac and most of the other gel polishes but will last a little longer.

Brisa Lite -


Gel or gel polish? - A soak off gel

Prep / application - Cuticle work will be done, NO buffing of the nail a base coat will be added and then the gel. To add colour and better protection Shellac can be added on top.

Removal - Using the CND remover, this is soaked for 15minutes.

Other comments - Brisa lite works exactly the same as Bio sculpture, can be added as a natural overlay for strength or as a builder to extend the end. Brisa Lite is compatible with CND Shellac and are used together.

OPI Axxium -


Gel or gel polish? - A soak off gel

Prep / application - All cuticle will be done and the shine removed from the natural nail and a bonder agent will be applied before the gel is applied.

Removal - Removal takes about 20-25mins.

Other Comments - Axxium is a honey gel texture

Calgel -


Gel or gel polish? - A soak off gel

Prep / application - Cuticle work, cleansed and the nail shine removed. The gel is applied with a brush out of a pot.

Removal - Buffing the gel lightly to remove the seal and then wrap and soak for 15minutes

Other Comments - Lasts up to 3 weeks, can leave a step once grown out as this is quite a thick gel.


balance gel.jpg

Gel or gel polish? - A hard gel

Prep / application - All cuticle will be done and the shine removed from the natural nail and a bonder agent will be applied before the gel is applied.

Removal - This gel can only be removed by buffing off. Watch out that the technician doesn't file the natural nail.

Other Comments -

There are many more gel brands on the market, but these are ones that will be most often seen.

In my opinion CND Shellac is the best on the market. It is kind to the natural nail, no buffing is needed, is very thin to apply and the removal is the quickest out there.

So before I end just to repeat, always ask what product your technicians are using, research and ensure this is what you what. You always get what you pay for!!!!


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