Most people think the difference between gel and hybrid gel (such as shellac) is simply in the name, but in fact there is much more to it than that. Traditional True Gels are pure, thin UV gels which are pigmented to produce different colour finishes, while Hybrid Gels are a mix between UV gel and nail polish.

Hybrid Gel:

As nail techs, we consider hybrid gels to be something that's more like nail polish, as it dries a little bit in the air instead of fully curing only inside of a lamp. When you apply the gel hybrid systems, there's an evaporation component, just like nail polish, so when you're brushing it on, you're losing 30, 40, 50, 60% solvent. And as you're losing it, it's starting to thicken up. So it's not running into your cuticle or sidewalls and it's not all over your skin. It's a little bit easier to control. It's more familiar to control if you are used to using nail polish. With hybrid gel that there is no need for primers or dehydrators in order for the gel to adhere to the natural nail. Hybrid gel mixes two types of nail coating: gel (for durability and nail protection) and traditional nail polish (for colour and shine). Usually the hybrid products are not meant to last longer than a week or two weeks because they have that nail polish component.

True Gel:

Gel nails are made by a three-step process, which consists of brushing a base coat, gel polish, and top coat over your natural nails. With each coat, the nail is placed under a UV light for somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes to cure. Once cured, the layer of gel polish hardens and won’t smudge like a regular nail polish. The final result is nails that sport a glossy and freshly manicured look. True Gel is made with—you guessed it—liquid gel. True Gel polishes are made with a mix of acrylic monomers and oligomers that harden under UV light to create a hard, glossy coat, so it does not smudge! When you're working with true gels, you're able to get the four to five week refill time. You're able to create overlays. You're not having to soak off all the time and you don't have that potential for creating damage to the nail every time you're removing re -prepping, etc. There are two types of gel: soft and hard. Soft gel (aka gel polish) is porous, which is why you can soak if off in the salon. Hard gel, on the other hand, is sculpting gel. With hard gel, you can extend the nail and create cool shapes you otherwise couldn’t, like long coffin, ballerina, or stiletto nails. Hard gel is not porous, so you have to file it off when it’s time to be removed. While both types of gel can be used separately, you can also layer them over each other.


Hybrid Gel nails can be removed by a manicurist within five to fifteen minutes—without scraping, thanks to a special acetone-based remover made specifically for hybrid polishes. True Gel nails aren't known for stress-free removal. Peeling off a gel manicure can do serious damage to the surface of your nails—so it's more common to have gel nails removed at the salon via a good, long acetone soak and buffing/filing. Pure gels can be soaked off or they can be filed off.

How to identify Hybrid Gel:

There are ways we could identify if it is a hybrid without even knowing anything about the ingredients. So if you don't know anything about the ingredients, but if you want to open up a bottle and smell it, if it has solvent in there, there is the chance that it is a hybrid system. This is like a bonding system. If you open up this product and smell it, almost smells like nail Polish remover, then it's got a lot of solvent. It's got that kind of bitter chemically nail polish smell. You can also put a little drop on a pallet and put the palette in your drawer. There's no UV light inside of a dark drawer, but there is air. So if that little dot of product gets thicker over time, without you actually exposing it to any UV light, that's also a really great indicator. If you enjoyed reading this blog, you can view our latest blogs HERE. *Crystal Clawz Gel Polishes are True Gel polishes.* Crystal Clawz offers the best quality, affordable gel and gel polish products available in the market. Perfect self-leveling, high pigmentation for fewer coats (saving time and cost) that sits fast until it's time to remove and start again. No lifting, no peeling, no chipping and no wearing. You and your clients will love these products.