If you’re all about leveling up your nail game, whether it be with solid shades or intricate nail designs, you’re probably familiar with gel nails, acrylic nails and perhaps even dip powder nails. But if you’re not familiar with Polygel nails, let us introduce you to this modern nail polish formula. From what it is to how it compares to gel nails and acrylics, we’re sharing what to know about Polygel nails so you can decide if it’s a fit for your next manicure.
What Is Polygel?
Polygel is a hybrid nail polish formula originally created for nail technicians (although there are now at-home kits on the market). It offers the best qualities of acrylics and gel nails. Essentially, it’s a nail enhancement made with acrylic powder and clear gel that can be used to give you the perfect set. It’s a malleable gel formula that can be molded to your desired shape.
The all-in-one formula requires no ratios, mixing, or monomers, and is supposed to give nail technicians the ultimate power when it comes to shaping and overlaying your ideal nails. Polygel is particularly user-friendly because it doesn’t set until it is cured—meaning your technician can take their time creating the seamless nail look you’re after.
It comes in a bunch of different colors and finishes—just like your traditional nail polish. The gel is applied using an acrylic brush and can be placed over your natural nails the same way it’s added to tips or nail extensions. Once brushed on and shaped, it's cured just like gel polish with a UV or LED light.
How Are Polygel Nails Applied?
Here’s a glimpse at what to expect if you book an appointment for a Polygel manicure (or attempt one yourself).
1. Nail Prep
Similar to gels, your nail technician will prep your natural nails by making sure they are free of polish as well as filed and buffed so that there’s no shine to them.
2. Apply The Polygel
Next, your nail tech will apply the polygel formula to your nails using a small, precise brush. This will be placed in the center of your nail, starting with a small bead or ball, like they would with acrylic.
3. Smooth The Formula
Using a brush moistened with a special solution made specifically for Polygel, your nail technician will smooth the product out so that it covers your entire nail, shaping it as desired.
4. Cure The Nails
After the Polygel is in place, your nail technician will have you place your nails under an LED or UV lamp for about 30 seconds. Depending on the style you’re hoping to achieve, your nail tech can repeat the previous two steps to apply another color to your nail, such as a white tip.
5. File And Shape
Polygel is much softer than other options, so your nail technician doesn’t have to use an e-file to shape it. A hand file will get the job done, smoothing out any bumps or uneven areas, as well as helping to further define the shape.
6. Apply Your Finish
Whether you want shiny or matte nails, your nail tech will apply a top coat to seal in the Polygel and add your preferred finish.
7. Cure The Nails Again
Once more, your nails will go under a nail lamp to cure and you’ll be good to go.
How Long Do Polygel Nails Last?
Like dip powder nails, Polygel has become popular for quite a few reasons, but one standout in particular is how long it lasts. With the proper care and application, a Polygel manicure can last up to three weeks.
Polygel vs. Acrylics Vs. Gel Nails
Since Polygel nails don’t harden until they’re cured under an LED or UV light, they are superior to acrylics in that your nail technician won’t be pressed for time. Polygel nails are also supposed to be stronger than a gel manicure. Overall, the formula is meant to combine the things we know and love about gels and acrylics and get rid of the aspects we don’t, resulting in an option that’s strong and lightweight.
Does Polygel Ruin Your Nails?
Another reason why we love Polygel nails is that it doesn’t ruin or damage your nails. With the proper application and removal, there’s no need to worry about harming your natural nails. To remove them, your nail tech will file the Polygel from your nails to remove the bulk of it. Any remaining formula and product will then be soaked off with acetone, leaving your nails ready for your next manicure. If you’re planning on removing the polygel at home, be sure to file it off gently 一 filing off any nail formula too aggressively can cause damage to your nails.
Edited by: Alyssa Kaplan, Photo Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
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