Gel Nails: Types and How to Choose the Right One for You

If you are looking for a long-lasting and beautiful manicure, you might be considering gel nails. There are several types of gel nail products available on the market, including hard gels, soft gels, rubber base gel, and gel polish. Each type has its unique characteristics and benefits, making it suitable for specific nail care needs. In this article, we will explore the different types of gel nails and how to choose the right one for you.

Hard Gels

If you want to extend the length of your nails or keep long natural nails, hard gel is the ideal choice. Hard gel has a tightly woven structure that provides strength and durability, making it difficult for acetone to penetrate through. This is the reason why hard gels cannot be soaked off with acetone and must be buffed off.

A new application usually lasts about 3-4 weeks before it needs to be filled or removed. Hard gel is typically used as the base of a nail enhancement, and soft gels, gel polishes, and regular nail polishes can be used on top to add color, nail art designs, or a glossy finish.

Hard gels usually have structure and holds their form; has very little or no movement at all if you tilt the container.

    Crystal Clawz offers 3 Hard Gel ranges, each available in clear and various colour tints.  All of these are ideal for sculpting, overlays, extensions and are easily filled.  Builder gel, Velocity Speed Gel to be used with slip solution and Liqui-flow.

    Soft Gels

    If you have weaker nails that are short to mid-length, soft gel is perfect for adding strength. Soft gels have an elongated molecular structure and higher molecular weight, making them easier to soak off with acetone. 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 used on their own or as a base for gel polish.

    These gels come in clear, glitters, and every color imaginable.  They have some structure but will move when the pot is tilted.

      Crystal Clawz range of soft gels include French Rubber Base (detailed below) and our range of gel polishes.  Gel polish requires both a base and top coat for proper application and both types of soft gel can be soaked off with Acetone.

      Rubber Base Gel

      Rubber base bottle and hand with Rubber Base on nails

      Rubber Base Gel is an exciting new soak-off soft gel that is more liquid than traditional hard gels and is applied with exceptional ease.

      It is however, as strong as builder gel but has a little more flexibility and therefore a little harder to break. Rubber Gel is ideal for Natural Nail Overlay, Tip Overlay, In-filling on all systems, including Builder Gel.

      It comes in a variety of cover colors, clear, and white and it is easy to apply with a brush, making it a favorite among professional nail technicians.

      Rubber base can be used on its own or topped with gel polish and other enhancements.

      Gel Polish

      If you are looking for a long-lasting polish that lasts up to 2 weeks, gel polish is 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 comes in a large variety of colors.  It is an easy brush on application and does not have any structure; excess will drip off the brush.

      Crystal Clawz Gel Polish is self-levelling and comes in 300 + shades.

        How to Choose the Right Gel Nail for You

        When choosing the right gel nail for you, there are several factors to consider, including the length and strength of your nails, the desired finish, and the time you want to invest in maintenance. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

        • If you have long natural nails, hard gel might be the ideal choice for you.
        • If you have weak nails that need strengthening, soft gel might be a better option.
        • If you want a more flexible gel that can be easily removed, gel polish might be the best choice.
        • If you want a balance between strength and flexibility, rubber base gel might be the right option for you.
        • Consider the desired finish, such as glossy, matte, or glitter, and choose a gel that can provide the desired effect.
        • Consider the time you want to invest in maintenance. Hard gels require less maintenance than soft gels and gel polish.

        Ultimately, the right gel nail for you depends on your personal preferences and needs. It's important to experiment with different types of gels to find the one that suits you best.

        Tips for Maintaining Gel Nails

        After choosing the right gel nail for you, it's important to properly maintain it to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips for maintaining your gel nails:

        • Apply cuticle oil regularly to keep your nails and cuticles hydrated.
        • Avoid using your nails as tools to prevent chipping and cracking.
        • Wear gloves when doing household chores to protect your nails from harsh chemicals and detergents.
        • Avoid exposing your nails to excessive heat, such as hot water, saunas, and tanning beds.
        • Avoid picking or peeling off your gel nails, as this can damage your natural nails.
        • Visit a professional nail technician for regular maintenance and removal to ensure your nails stay healthy and strong.

        By following these tips, you can keep your gel nails looking great and avoid damage to your natural nails.


        Gel nails are a popular choice for those who want a long-lasting, durable, and shiny manicure. There are several types of gel nails, including hard gel, soft gel, rubber base gel, and gel polish, each with its own unique features and benefits. When choosing the right gel nail for you, it's important to consider factors such as the length and strength of your nails, the desired finish, and the time you want to invest in maintenance. By properly maintaining your gel nails and avoiding damaging habits, you can enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting manicure.

        If you are a professional nail technician or salon owner, incorporating a variety of gel nails into your services can help you attract and retain clients by providing them with high-quality and versatile options for their manicures. By using high-quality, environmentally friendly, and safe products that align with your values and those of your clients, you can enhance your reputation and grow your business.

        A full explainer video of Crystal Clawz Gel Products can be found at this link:

        If you have any questions or comments about gel nails or any other nail care topics, feel free to leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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