What are Gel Nails? Dating back to the mid 1980s, Hard Gels, also known as Traditional Gels, were first introduced to the beauty industry. As time progressed, Soft Gels and Gel Polishes were developed as weakened formulas of Hard Gels. All three types of gels are pre-mixed monomers which require a UV or LED light to polymerize or harden. Here are the main differences between them: Hard (Traditional) Gel If you’re looking to extend the length of your nails or want to keep long, natural nails, Hard or Traditional Gel would be the ideal choice. On the molecular level, Hard Gel has a tightly woven structure with a low weight, which provides strength and durability, and prevents acetone from penetrating through. This is the reason why Hard Gels cannot be soaked off with acetone. A new application usually lasts about 3-4 weeks before it needs to be filled (lifting removed and a new layer is applied) or removed. Hard Gel can only be removed by filing it off. Hard Gel is typically used as the base of a nail enhancement. For colour, nail art designs or a glossy finish, Soft Gels, Gel Polishes and even regular nail polishes can be used on top. What To Look For Stored in opaque pots Usually clear, pink/nude or white ‘Scooped’ out with a brush for application Has structure and holds its form; has very little or no movement at all if you tilt the container Soft Gel Soft Gel, often called Soak-Off Gel, is perfect for adding strength to weaker nails that are short to mid-length. It can be soaked off with acetone for removal due to its elongated molecular structure and higher molecular weight. A new application can last from 2-4 weeks, and wear on the free-edges is normal within that time frame. Soft Gels can be on its own or as a base for gel polish. What To Look For Stored in opaque pots Comes in clear, glitters and every colour imaginable ‘Scooped’ out with a brush for application Has some structure but when the pot is tilted, the gel will move Rubber Base Gel Rubber Base Gel is an exciting new soak-off hard Gel that is more liquid than traditional Gels and is applied with exceptional ease. It is as strong as Builder Gel, but has a little more flexibility and therefore a little harder to break. Our Rubber Gel is ideal for Natural Nail Overlay, Tip Overlay, In-filling on all systems, including Builder Gel What To Look For Stored in opaque bottles with a brush attached to the cap Comes in a variety of cover colours, Clear and white Brush on application Gel Polish If you’re looking for a long lasting polish that lasts up to 2 weeks, Gel Polish would be the best option for you. Gel Polish is the most weakened form of the Traditional Hard Gel and can be soaked off easily with acetone. It doesn’t provide strength to the nail and is considered the most flexible type of gel. It can be applied on natural nails, soft gels, hard gels and even acrylic nails. Similar to Soft Gels, the free-edges will experience wear over time. Gel Polish is often known as Shellac, which is incorrect terminology. Although Shellac is Gel Polish, it’s actually the name of the line of Gel Polishes produced by the brand CND. Many nail product companies also produce Gel Polishes. What To Look For Stored in opaque bottles with a brush attached to the cap Comes in a large variety of colours and glitters Brushed on for application Doesn’t have any structure; excess will drip off the brush.