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Difference between Acliryc / Gel / Gel Polish (Shellac)

Many salon advertising that they do gel nails, but are actually doing an acrylic nail with a gel overlay are using dishonest business practices.

What is Gel Polish?

Gel Polish is a colored nail polish in a gel form that cures in a UV or LED lamp.

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. Here’s a list of popular high quality Gel Polishes that can be found at professional salons:

  • OPI – GelColor By OPI

  • Akzentz – Luxio

  • IBD – Just Gel Polish

  • Hand & Nail Harmony – Gelish

Gel Polish comes in a bottle that resembles a regular polish bottle or, in the case of OPI Soak Off Gel, in a pot. OPI also has a newer formulated Gel Laquer that is in a bottle. Both are soak off gel polishs. Gel Polish is applied over the natural nail and is NOT an artificial nail enhancement. Gel Polish is soaked off with the manufacturers remover or acetone before each service. 

It is generally not “filled”.

What are Gel Nails?

Gel nails are an artificial nail enhancement that can be applied over the natural nail, a nail tip or used to sculpt extensions. Artificial Gel Nail Enhancements require regular maintenance fills. Gels are called gels because the product is in a gel form. 

The Gel sleeve are that there are “hard” gels and “soft” gels. All “hard” gels are UV Gel Artificial Nail Enhancements but not all UV Gel Artificial Nail Enhancements are “hard” gels.

 

Another twist, all Gel Polish products are “soft” gels, but not all “soft” gels are Gel Polish. The terms “hard” and “soft” are not a reference to strength or durability.

 

The terms are simple. “Hard” ( non-porous) gels do not soak off in acetone and “soft” ( porous ) gels do soak off in acetone.

 

So you see how all Gel Polishes are “soft” gels? They soak off in acetone.

An Acrylic Nail With a Gel Overlay is NOT a Gel Nail.

Many salon advertising that they do gel nails, but are actually doing an acrylic nail with a gel overlay are using dishonest business practices.

 

Every layer of gel product that the manicurist applies to the nail must be of a gel consistency and must be cured in the UV lamp, LED lamp or, in the case of a no light gel, activator must be sprayed or brushed on over each layer of gel, or it is NOT a gel nail.

There are gel top coats that are formulated to be used over acrylic nails to give them that high gloss gel shine. This is a perfectly legitimate nail service as long as it is marketed as an acrylic nail with gel top coat service not marketed as gel nails. “Hard” and “soft” gel color can be applied over acrylic nails as well, but should be marketed as such.

Salons who lie to clients about what services they are receiving really burn me up. Salons do usually charge more for acrylic nails with gel color or gel top coat, that is acceptable, even expected, false advertising is not.

The easiest way to determine if you are getting real gel nails is if the gel is in a jar or tube, the gel is odorless and you put your hand in a UV or LED lamp between every coat of gel, not just at the end with the last coat. If the manicurist dips an artist brush in a liquid and then into a powder, the product has a strong odor and air dries (no lamp used between layers) it is an acrylic nail.

 

One more thing to muddy the water. There is a UV cured acrylic by Star Nail Products. An artist brush is dipped in a liquid, then dipped in a powder and cured in a UV lamp. It is also odorless. It is still an acrylic nail product, not a gel.

In Summation;

Liquid + powder = acrylic
Gel consistency in a jar, bottle or tube + a UV or LED lamp = gel.

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Acrylics vs Gels! What’s The Difference?

"So here are the “pros”and “cons” of acrylics and gels."

by  nailsatpanache's Blog

https://nailsatpanache.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/acrylics-vs-gels-whats-the-difference/