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Difference Between Gel Overlay Vs Gel Polish

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Gel overlay and gel polish are two of the most popular methods of applying acrylic nails. Both products have their own unique benefits, which is why it’s important to know the difference between the two.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between gel overlay vs gel polish, so that you can decide which product is right for you!

Difference Between Gel Overlay Vs Gel Polish

Difference Between Gel Overlay Vs Gel Polish

What are Nail Overlays?

A nail overlay is a product that is applied over your natural nails in order to give them strength and length. There are many different types of overlays, but the most popular types are either acrylic or Gel.

What is an acrylic overlay?

An acrylic overlay is when acrylic powder and a liquid monomer is applied to your nails. The mixture is then hardened under a UV light, and gives your nails strength and length.

What is Gel Overlay?

Gel overlay is a type of gel that is applied over the entire nail (not just the free edge) to strengthen and protect it.  It is made up of a gel base and top coat, which are both cured under a UV light.

Unlike artificial nails (like acrylic), Gel overlay can be used to strengthen natural nails. Its also a great way to add extra protection against chipping and splitting. It is not used to add length to the nail.

Benefits to Gel Overlay?

– Strengthens brittle nails

– Prevents chipping and splitting

– Adds extra protection against nail damage

 

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Types of Gel Overlay?

There are two types of gel overlay: hard gel and soft gel.

Hard gel

Hard gel is a type of artificial nail that is made from a mixture of acrylics and monomers. It is then cured under a UV light to create a hard, durable nail. Hard gel is ideal for those who are looking for a long-lasting, durable artificial nail.

Soft gel

Soft Gel on the other hand, is made from a mixture of acrylics, monomers, and gel. It is then cured under a UV light to create a softer, more flexible nail. Soft gel is ideal for those who are looking for a natural-looking artificial nail.

 

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There are a few different types of gel:

Within the realm of hard and soft gel, there are a couple of additional types:

Builder gel overlay: A builder gel is a type of hard gel that is used to create a stronger nail extension. It is often used as an overlay on top of natural nails, in order to add strength and durability. Builder gels can be either UV lamp or LED cured.

Shop the builder gel here

Sculpting gel overlay: Sculpting gel is a type of hard gel that is used to create artificial nails. It can be used as an overlay on top of natural nails, or to create nail extensions. Sculpting gel is UV cured.

Color gel overlay: Color gel is a type of soft gel that can be used to create artificial nails. It is available in a wide range of colors, and can be either UV or LED cured.

Gel Overlay Application Process

The gel overlay application process is relatively simple:

1) File and shape the nails to your desired style

2) Prepare the nail bed by pushing back the cuticles

3) Apply a base coat of gel (optional)

4) Apply the desired color of gel polish (or sculpting/builder gel – see above)

5) Cure time 30 seconds to 60 seconds, under a UV light

6) Apply a top coat of gel (optional)

7) Cure under a UV light for 30 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on the type of gel

8) Apply cuticle oil

Done! Your nails will now be protected and strong!

 

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How long do Gel Overlays Last?

The life of a gel overlay will depend on how well you take care of them.

With proper care, they can last anywhere from two to four weeks.

However, if you are hard on your nails or do a lot of manual labor, they may only last one week or less.

 

Gel Overlay Removal Process

Gel overlay can be removed using a gel removal solution, or by filing it off.  Removal solutions are available over the counter at most beauty supply stores.

To remove gel overlay using a gel removal solution, you will first need to soak your nails in the solution for a few minutes. A simple way to achieve this is to a soak cotton ball in the solution, apply to the nails then wrap your fingers in tin foil.

Afterwards, use a cuticle pusher or nail file to gently scrape the gel off of your nails.

If you choose to file off your gel overlay, you will need to use a coarse nail file. Start by filing the top layer of gel off of your nails, and then work your way down until all of the gel is removed. Be sure to file in one direction, and avoid sawing back and forth, as this can damage your nails.

After the gel overlay is removed, you will need to use a nail buffer to buff your nails and remove any residual gel. Finally, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any traces of gel removal solution.

 

What is Gel Polish?

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Gel polish is a type polish that is thicker than regular nail polish. Gel is applied right onto the natural nail. It consists of a base coat, color coat, and top coat, which are all cured under an LED or UV light.

Gel polish is available in a wide range of colors, and can be used to create both natural-looking and nail art. A gel polish manicure offers a lot of options for your nail designs!

What are the benefits of gel polish?

  • Long lasting
  • Looks natural
  • Gel polish is much thinner than gel overlay, which makes it more comfortable to wear

Gel Polish Application Process

The gel polish application process is relatively simple:

1) File and shape the nails to your desired style

2) Prepare the nail bed by pushing back the cuticles

3) Apply a base coat of gel (optional)

4) Apply one or two coats of color gel polish, depending on the desired level of coverage

5) Cure under an LED light for 30 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on the type of gel polish

6) Apply a top coat of gel (optional)

7) Cure under an LED light for 30 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on the type of gel polish

Done! Your nails will now be colorful and strong!

 

How Long Does Gel Polish Last?

The length of time gel polish will last will depend on how well you take care of your nails.

Typically gel lasts on average 2 weeks. However this can vary with proper care.

 

Gel Polish Removal Process

Acetone is the easiest way to remove gel polish from your nails at home. Do not pick the polish off your nails, trust me I know how tempting this can be. This can easily lead to nail damage that can take a while to heal.

Harsh Chemicals?

Some people are hesitant to use acetone because they believe that it is harsh on the nails. However, when used correctly, acetone will not damage your nails. In fact, if you do not remove your gel polish using acetone, you may end up damaging your nails by trying to pick the polish off.

 

So, what’s the difference between gel overlay vs gel polish?

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The main difference between gel overlay and gel polish is that gel overlay is made up of a gel base and top coat, while gel polish is made up of a base coat, color coat, and top coat. Gel overlay is also cured under a UV light, while gel polish can be cured under an LED or UV light.

Both are used to help strengthen the nails. Gel polish however is a lot lighter on the nails versus gel overlay.

Both products have their own unique benefits:

-Gel overlay can be used to strengthen natural nails, as well as add extra protection against chipping and splitting.

-Gel polish is available in a wide range of colors, and can be used to create both natural-looking and French manicures.

 

What’s Right For You?

So, which product is right for you? Both products can be helpful to your nail health. If you are looking for a product that can add strength and durability to your nails, then gel overlay is the right choice for you. Gel overlays can help grow long nails since they won’t be splitting.

If you are looking for a product that is available in a wide range of colors, and can be used to create both natural-looking and French manicures, then gel polish is the right choice for you!

 

Do it at home!

You don’t necessarily need to go into the nail salon to get gel overlays or gel polish. You can easily get stronger nails right in the comfort of your home. All you need is some acetone, a nail buffer, and a LED or UV light!

Here are our favourite at home products you can use to achieve the perfect manicure.

Gel Polish Nail Kit

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Click to shop the kit here

If you are new to artificial nails, we recommend starting with gel polish, as it is easier to remove than gel overlay. You will get similar results to gel overlay and it’s a great starting point.

As always, if you’re still unsure, consult expert advice! Your nail technician will be more than happy to answer your questions so you get the perfect nails!

 

Looking for cute nail designs?

Are you looking for some cute nail designs you can try out this season? We have the inspiration for you! Check out some of our most recent articles.

Pastel Nails Perfect For Spring!

Vacation Nail Ideas For The Perfect Mani!

Cute Easter Nails Perfect For Your Festive Mani!

We hope you learned the difference between gel overlay vs gel polish!  Want more lifestyle content?  Check out our sister blog The Pink Brunette!