​Intro to Real UV Gel Nails

What are Gel Nails?

This is a question that stumps or confuses most people.  The confusion stems from a lack of communication in the salon.  The fact that “Gel Nails” tend to have a different definition at every different salon you go to makes life for the average nail salon patron kind of a pain in the butt, right?

Well, it’s my goal to change that. 

During my time in nail school, my biggest "What in the heck?!" moment came the day we started learning about gel. I was so excited to get some real clarification from a certified instructor.  When my teacher showed us what real gel was my chin hit the floor.  

First, she showed us gel polish. I was very intrigued...

GEL POLISH is the color coat the dries in the light box...ok, cool. So Shellac and Gelish are gel polishes. Got it. 

Then she showed us the gel that is used to build out an extension on the nail and it was not a powder.


Mind. Blown.

I was so confused!  Most of my adult life I had been going into salons and asking for gel nails because once I had been told that gel is more shiny and better for your nails.  Every time I sat down in the manicure chair, the person doing my nails would pull out an unmarked tub of powder and a small dish of strong smelling liquid and set about doing my nails.  Once the polish was applied, a clear top coat was brushed on and I was told to put my hand in a UV light.

Well, what I had been getting was actually acrylic with a GEL POLISH top coat.

Real Gel is the consistency of molasses and is applied very differently from acrylic. There are no harsh odors, no mixing liquid and powder and the gel has to be cured in a UV light with every layer.

After I graduated from nail school and got my nail technician license I was dying to try out traditional hard gel.

I was so blown away by the natural look and feel of  hard gel that I decided I needed to spread the awesomeness that is Real Gel Nails to the public.

My favorite part about working with gel is that there are absolutely NO HARSH ODORS associated with it. The products are virtually odorless so gel is a great option for people who love the look and strength of acrylics but hate the smell.

Another huge plus of using traditional hard gel is that there is no need to aggressively file down the natural nail to make the enhancement adhere so there is no damage to the natural nail. As a matter of fact, there is no need to file down the natural nail to get any quality nail enhancement product to adhere.  If heavy filing is the norm at your current nail salon now is  a good time to check out Gel Yeah! and give real gel nails a try.

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Most Common Types of Gel Used in Salons 

Gel Polish

This is the stuff that most folks call "Gel Nails"

Gel Polish is actually a mash up (of sorts) of Gel and Nail Polish. I comes in a bottle and is applied just like regular nail polish, however, it needs a UV lamp to cure or dry.  It is removed by soaking in acetone. 

Soak Off Builder Gel

This product is used to build structure and add strength and durability to the natural nail, it is removed by soaking in acetone.  It can be built out beyond the edge of the natural nail but is quite flexible and can be prone to breakage if it doesn't have a natural nail to sit on and is therefore not the best choice for building artificial length.

Hard Builder Gel

Hard builder gel has the strength of acrylic, a bit of the flexibility of soak off builder gel and the weightless feeling of gel polish.  It is strong enough to build out long extensions but much lighter and more natural looking than acrylic.  Although it looks similar to soak off builder gel, this product needs to be filed off and will not dissolve in acetone.