Tag Archives: gelpolish

Summer nails! 🌈

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What are Gels?

What is the difference between gel and shellac? This has to be the most common question I am asked in the salon; and rightfully so. There are many different types of gel products and the technology advances quickly. So how can you tell the difference?

UV/LED Gel is a type of nail enhancement product that hardens when exposed to a UV or LED light source. As a client, you will generally see two types of gel services on a salon menu; gel manicure and gel full set.

  • Gel polish replaces traditional lacquer resulting in your two week gel manicure. There are many different brands of gel polish, such as Gelish, OPI GelColor and CND Shellac. Because CND Shellac was the first gel polish released, gel manicures are often referred to as Shellac manicures, regardless of the brand being used.
  • Building gel allows the nail technician to build an arch, curve and length to the fingernail. This type of gel is used for a full set and the result would be similar to that of an acrylic full set.
  • Pigmented gel is a building gel that includes color pigment. This type of gel can be used for a french manicure without needing polish or for endless nail art possibilities.

I’ve only listed a few types of gels here. There are many more, but these are the most common. It’s always good to consult with your technician when deciding which type of gel is best for your nails. There are many options available!

Shellac Removal

It is so important when using Shellac that the product is removed properly!

First and foremost, you should never peel gel polish off of your nails. It may not seem like any damage was done, but you do take layers of your nail plate with the polish each time. This will eventually lead to your nails becoming weak and thin. And the worst part, your shellac won’t stay on anymore! Proper removal ensures that your nails stay healthy.

Next, you need to make sure you have the right products.

  • hand file (for brands other than CND)
  • pure acetone (non-acetone remover won’t do)
  • foil remover wraps (foil and cotton balls can be substituted here)
  • plastic-backed lint free pad

Now you’re ready to start the removal process. If you are wearing a gel polish by a brand other than CND, you will need to file the shiny top layer of polish off before beginning these steps.

  • Soak the cotton in acetone (I like Offly Fast by CND; its macadamia oil conditions the skin rather than dry it out).
  • Wrap finger in foil placing the cotton over the nail. You’ll want to squeeze the foil snug around your fingers.
  • Leave the foil on for 8 minutes.
  • Applying slight pressure, use a twisting motion to pull the foil and product from the nail. If any product remains you can re-wrap the nail for a few more minutes and repeat.
  • If necessary, rub the nail with a plastic-backed, lint-free pad saturated with acetone to remove any residue.
  • Massage some solar oil into the nail and surrounding skin and you’re done!