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There’s just something about having your nails done that makes you instantly feel as though you have your life together. Whether you prefer long or short nails, there’s nothing like getting a manicure—or giving yourself one. While you may be familiar with traditional nail polish, acrylics, gels, and even the trendier options like dip nails, there’s one nail option that you may have yet to become acquainted with: PolyGel nails. Want to know what all the buzz is about? Read on as we answer all your questions about PolyGel manicures.
You’re probably wondering—what is Poly Gel? This hybrid formula was created for nail technicians, offering the best of both worlds by creating something with the best qualities of acrylics and the top attributes of gel nails. Essentially, it’s a nail enhancement that can be used to give you the perfect set!
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.
PolyGel itself has a gel-like consistency and comes in a bunch of different colors and finishes—just like regular nail polish. The gel is applied using an acrylic brush and can be applied over your real nails, tips, or nail forms. Once brushed on and shaped, the PolyGel is cured just like gel polish with a UV or LED light.
Curious about the whole process? Here’s a glimpse at what to expect if you book an appointment for a PolyGel manicure (or attempt one yourself).
Step #1. Nail prep. Similar to gels, your nail technician will prep your natural nails by making sure they are free of polish and filed and buffed so that there is no shine to the nails.
Step #2. Apply the PolyGel. Next, your nail technician 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.
Step #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. The gel can be formed to create any nail shape, whether you’re fond of almond nails or coffin shapes.
Step #4. Cure the nail. 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.
Step #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 define the shape you want even further.
Step #6. Apply your finish. Whether you want a shiny or matte finish, your nail technician will apply a top coat to seal in the PolyGel and add your preferred finish.
Step #7. Cure the nail. Once more, your nails will go under a nail lamp to cure. Unlike gel nail polish, PolyGel shouldn’t leave behind a tacky layer on your nails, so after curing, you’re good to go.
Step #8: Cuticle oil or lotion. Is a manicure ever really complete until you’ve moisturized your hands and cuticles? We think not. Your nail tech will likely apply cuticle oil at the base of each nail and give you a quick hand massage with lotion. To complete a DIY manicure, try the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey All Over Balm - Face, Neck, Chest and Hands.
Like dip powder nails, PolyGel has been circulating our social media feeds for quite a few reasons, but one stands out in particular: how long it lasts! With the proper care and application, a PolyGel manicure can last up to three weeks or about 21 days.
Is PolyGel better than acrylics? In some ways, yes! Since PolyGel nails don’t harden until they’re cured under an LED or UV light (more on that later), they are superior to acrylics in that your nail technician won’t be pressed for time. What about gels? Well, PolyGel nails are 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.
Another reason PolyGel needs to be on your radar? 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. What does the removal process look like? Your nail technician 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.
Next: 19 Nail Art Designs to Try in 2020
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