What is PolyGel?
PolyGel is the newest nail-enhancement product that gives nail enthusiasts a great product to do their nails without having a lot of nail skills in nail filing, shaping, or experience in using a nail brush.
PolyGel is a result of combining acrylic powder and nail gel. This new mixture is strong but flexible and does not solidify until it is exposed under a UV light source. This beneficial feature gives an operator more time to work on a nail to create a perfect shape.
Who made PolyGel nails first?
PolyGel was first introduced in 2017 by Danny Hail who invented the new gel polish and Gelish brand.
In just a few short years, the product is so well-received by consumers that even big department stores are carrying it and other manufacturers start making their own brands too.
What are PolyGel nails?
PolyGel nails is a set of artificially enhanced nails made by using PolyGel product.
What is PolyGel made of?
PolyGel is the combination of acrylic powder (polymer) and a UV nail hard gel, hence the name.
PolyGel is supposedly stronger than either of its component because it combines the strength of hard gel and acrylics into one product.
This combination ratio formula or what kind of acrylic powder or hard gel in this PolyGel is of course proprietary. One thing that is noticeably missing is the acrylic liquid (monomer) so PolyGel will not have a strong odor of acrylic nails that can stink up the room when it is used.
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Advantages of PolyGel
Since the acrylic powder is mixed in a hard gel, the new PolyGel nail possesses acrylic strength and the light-weight of a gel. A user with a new set of PolyGel nails can tell that it is much lighter than a set of acrylic nails.
Aside from the enhanced strength, this special blend PolyGel is also more flexible than regular acrylics. The nails that are enhanced with PolyGel will look thinner, lighter and its flexibility give the wearer a more satisfying feeling.
This flexibility of PolyGel makes it less prone to chipping, another plus to make it a nail enhancement product for longer wear.
Another advantage of PolyGel is it comes premixed so there will be no guessing of how much of one to add to the other in creating a PolyGel nail. No special skill of knowing the right liquid to powder ratio is needed. So it is very user’s friendly.
Last but not least, PolyGel will not set or cure until it hits a UV light source. This feature gives a PolyGel operator a lot of time to create a perfect shape on the nail.
What do you need for PolyGel nails?
Since PolyGel is a combination of acrylics and gel products, you will need things from both.
- A PolyGel acrylic nail brush: similar to a brush used in doing acrylic nails but the bristles of a PolyGel nail brush are shorter. This makes the brush stiffer so forming the thick PolyGel will be easier.
- Gel base and top coat: PolyGel nails are gel-based. Therefore, gel base and top coat are also a requirement.
- PolyGel colors: use these if you do not want to put colors on your PolyGel nails later.
- Nail prep solutions: nail dehydrator and pH balanced solution to prepare nail surface before PolyGel application.
- An emery board or nail file: since there will not be a lot of filing, an electric nail drill is not needed.
- A nail buffer.
- A small spatula helps to transfer PolyGel from its container onto the nail surface easier.
- Nail brush cleaning solution: PolyGel creates its own nail brush cleaning solution called slip solution. this solution is needed to clean the PolyGel off a nail brush.
- A UV-LED nail lamp.
What is a PolyGel slip solution?
PolyGel slip solution is made of alcohol. This slip solution tends to be used up first because it is often used in excess.
PolyGel’s slip solution has a pleasant aroma because the manufacturer added some special ingredients to make it smell good, not like the strong odor of acrylic liquid.
What can I use instead of a slip solution?
What can you use as a slip solution for PolyGel nails after you used it up? You can use 70% rubbing alcohol as an alternative for slip solution. This rubbing alcohol will clean your PolyGel brush and prevent the PolyGel from sticking to it just like the slip solution of the PolyGel brand.
So you can consider the rubbing alcohol bottle you have at home as your PolyGel solution DIY.
Using rubbing alcohol is also economical if you are just learning how to do poplygel nails or practicing. When you are proficient at applying PolyGel on the nails, you can use the slip solution for your actual PolyGel application.
How to apply PolyGel nail tips and tricks
The best PolyGel nail tips and tricks I can give you are to follow closely how to apply PolyGel nails and do not skip any steps. Next is your PolyGel nail step-by-step guide.
First off, you have to prepare the nail surfaces. Prepping nails surface for PolyGel is the same way you would when you apply gel polish. If you do not know this already, here is the quick rundown on nail prepping:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap
- Trim and shape nails as you would like
- Gently remove all loose cuticles off the nail surface
- Clean all nails with alcohol to remove dust and any oily substances
- Lightly buff the nail surface with a fine buffer
- Apply dehydrator and pH balance on nails, and let dry
Now the nails are ready for PolyGel.
There are two ways you can do with PolyGel: overlay on short nails or extension.
How to do PolyGel as an overlay on short nails
It is a 5 step application.
- Gently squeeze PolyGel out of the tube. Remember that you only need a pea-sized amount.
- Cut or slice it off with a thin spatula and press and spread it down to cover as much area of the nail surface as you can using the same spatula. Do not try to make it perfect yet because you will be using the nail brush next.
- Using a nail brush after you make it damp with slip solution or rubbing alcohol, shape the PolyGel product into place and thin out PolyGel along the cuticle line. Keep doing this until you have a desired PolyGel overlay on the nail.
- Cure the PolyGel nail under a UV light source for 30 seconds.
- Clean up any PolyGel excess using a nail file, clean up with alcohol, apply gel top coat, and cure.
Repeat on other nails.
You are now done.
How to do PolyGel as a nail extension:
To extend your nails you would need to use either:
- A traditional nail form to sculpture the length and shape onto the nail or
- A new nail form gadget called dual form.
As with traditional nail form, you have to do two steps on a nail. First, you need to sculpture the nail tips and then you would apply PolyGel on the whole nail. With a dual form, these two steps are combined into one.
So using a dual form will reduce the applying PolyGel in half.
Using a dual form is simple for a beginner, however, some prior practice still is needed before applying on the actual nails to prevent unsatisfying results.
Can you do PolyGel with nail tips?
The traditional nail tips can be used in PolyGel nail applications to extend the overall length.
In acrylic nail application, if you want to add length to your nails, you would glue the nail tips to the nails’ free edges. Since this nail tip attaches to the nail by a thin blue line, care should be taken when your are pressing PolyGel down on it. If you happen to break a nail tip loose. you will have to clean up all the gel before you can reattach a nail tip.
If you want to do your PolyGel with nail tips, here is how you would do it so the nail tips will not break away:
- Do all these necessary steps: glue a nail tip to the free edge of your nail, properly prep the seam, apply dehydrator/pH balance solution, apply gel base coat and cure for 30 seconds.
- Take a tiny bead of PolyGel and gently press it across and cover the seam. Use your PolyGel brush to feather the edges with minimal slip solution and cure for 30 seconds.
After curing, this thin PolyGel will strengthen and keep the nail tip in place so it can withstand the press-down force as you try to form the next PolyGel bead to cover the whole nail.
And that is how you do PolyGel with PolyGel with nail tips.
So, it is much easier and simpler to use a dual form to extend your nails for PolyGel.
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What are PolyGel clips?
PolyGel clips are a good accessory to do PolyGel nails. These PolyGel clips will keep the dual forms on your nails for as long as you like without you having to squeeze them with your other fingers for 30 seconds on each nail.
How to do PolyGel fill-in?
After two to three weeks, your nails grow approximately 1/8 of an inch. There will be a gap between your cuticles and the old PolyGel.
New PolyGel can be used to fill in the gap and make the PolyGel nails look fresh again without having to remove the old PolyGel completely.
Wash hands and nails with water and soap.
Remove any nonPolyGel color you have on.
Next, you prepare the new nail growth area the same way you would when you do it the first time. It consists of:
- Clean excess cuticles on the new growth area.
- Roughen up the new growth surface with a clean buffer or a fine nail file, and remove all dust.
- Apply dehydrator / pH balanced solution on the new growth area only. Let dry.
- Apply gel base coat and cure for 30 seconds.
- Apply an even smaller than a half pea-sized amount of PolyGel onto the new growth area and pat down the best you can.
- Using a PolyGel brush that is already damp with the slip solution, smooth out the new PolyGel so it will be thin along the cuticle line and blend well with the old PolyGel.
- Cure for 30 seconds.
- Apply the final touch to make it look perfect.
How to remove PolyGel nails
Since PolyGel does have polymer (acrylics) in its name, you will have to soak it off your nails the same way you remove acrylics on your nails.
First, you need to thin down the thickness of PolyGel on your nails. You can do this manually with an emery board or nail file, but it will be faster if you know how to use a nail drill well.
Do leave a thin layer of PolyGel on so you will not accidentally file down your nails and make them thinner.
The last step is removing the remaining PolyGel nails by either soaking or wrapping them in acetone.
Clean your nails up with new acetone and wash with soap and water.
What is the best PolyGel nail kit?
To me, the best PolyGel nail kit has to be the one from the first company that made it: Gelish PolyGel.
Gelish had put in time and money into original research to invent this new product. Therefore, they know their product is the best on the market because they possess all the technical know-how and manufacturing.
If you want a brand-name PolyGel product, Gelish PolyGel is the one.
Also, the name PolyGel was conceived and trademarked by the company that owns Gelish. So no other brand can take its place as the best PolyGel nail kit.
What is the best PolyGel nail kit for beginners?
After PolyGel nails hit the market and were welcomed by nail enthusiasts, other companies follow.
Below is the list of companies that make similar products to PolyGel. They price their products lower than that of a brand name one.
However, these PolyGel nail kits are great in quality and a good choice for beginners, especially for young customers or people who want to try PolyGel out without having to spend a lot of money on it.
I found these brands on amazon that I think are the best PolyGel nail kits for beginners or for people who are price-conscious.
To make it easier to compare, I put all the relevant information in the following table.
|Base Coat||8 ml||8 ml||8 ml||8 ml|
|Top Coat||8 ml||8 ml||8 ml||8 ml|
|# Of Colors||7×1,05oz||6×0.53oz||6×0.53oz||6×0.53oz|
Cheapest PolyGel nail kit
This is the brand that gives you the biggest bang for your buck. You can use this to do your PolyGel nails or use it as a practice kit. At this price, it is a steal to have your hand on this type of product. And it should be your first affordable PolyGel nail kit to learn, practice, and master your PolyGel nail skills before you can try on other more expensive brands.
Aifaifa all-in-one nail extension gel starter kit starts from $15.99. Check out the latest price on Amazon.
This Aifafa nail extension gel kit includes:
- 20g clear nail extension gel
- 20g milky white nail extension gel
- 20g natural pink nail extension gel
- 20g coral nail extension gel
- 20g dark red nail extension gel
- Gel base and topcoat
- 120pcs dual forms in 10 different sizes
- 1 Dual-head nail brush
How do you practice with PolyGel?
The last question you might have is how do you practice with the least of money and with the least amount of time before you a good at doing PolyGel nails? There are two thing you would needs:
- The least expensive PolyGel nail kit to practice with.
- Three bags of nail tips, #1, #4, and #6 sizes (or similar). Each bag contains 50 tips so you have a lot to practice with.
You really should start practicing by putting PolyGel on these tips first instead of on your nails. This saves you a lot of time trying to remove PolyGel off your nails later. Remember, PolyGel is part of acrylics, you have to soak it off with acetone.
In the beginning, try on the smallest nail tip, and put as much as you would need to cover your little finger nail size.
Start your practice by:
Dispense a small amount of PolyGel onto a spatula. Now put the PolyGel tube down and hold the spatula using your dominant hand.
Using the other hand, pick up one nail tip and holding it between thumb and index finger so that the end of the nail tip pointing towards you.
Place the PolyGel bead on top of the nail tip and press it down flat using the spatula.
Put down the spatula and pick up the PolyGel nail brush.
Dampen your nail brush with slip solution.
Using a nail brush to smooth the PolyGel on the nail tip (not on the whole tip. Imagine you are doing your nail so size it accordingly) so that it will be thin around the cuticle line and smooth on top of the nail with the least amount of slip solution.
Too much slip solution on the brush will make its way to the nail and it prevents PolyGel from sticking to it.
Do it on different nail tip sizes, at least 10 times.
What you will gain from this exercise is:
- Know how much PolyGel to use on different nail sizes.
- Get comfortable using a stiff PolyGel nail brush and know how to smooth out PolyGel on the form.
- How much to press down on the dual form without forcing the PolyGel to ooze out on the side.
PolyGel nails wrap up:
After you finish reading this article to the end, I hope you know more than you need to on this PolyGel nail topic than before, from the meaning of the name, its history, what it is and how to do it at home and some knowledge of which brand to buy.
You should feel good that you now know what a lot about PolyGel nails are and you can decide whether they are for you to try.
If they are, then happy PolyGelling.
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