Regular polish, gel nails or gel polish—which one to choose?

4 min to read

Do you know the difference between regular polish, gel nails and gel polish? The Manucurist Team has the low-down on how they are different and the pros and cons of each. Follow the guide and choose the one that's right for you.

Regular polish? It's a breeze!

It all starts with this polish. The first time is simple curiosity: you borrow it from your mother to play with and put a different colour on each finger for fun. Once you've got the hang of it, you start matching it to your outfits and the seasons, bearing in mind current trends and your personal preferences. It's so quick and easy: a well-applied brushstroke or two, let it dry and you're good to go!

Because of the solvents it contains, regular polish is very easy to apply and guarantees a uniform result. Once applied, the solvents—which are volatile molecules—evaporate. The polish dries and forms a beautifully shiny, solid coat. But this thin coat cannot withstand everyday wear and tear for long (3 to 7 days, depending on the brand). Water is its worst enemy, which is its greatest weakness...

Removing it is also easy: you just need to use a nail polish remover containing similar solvents to the ones in the polish to reliquefy the formula. In Manucurist's Green formulas, the solvents used—butyl acetate and ethyl acetate—are bio-sourced. This means they come from the biomass and not from petrochemicals like most regular polishes. Because Mancurist's philosophy is to offer clean & green vegan products that are good for you and the planet.

Although regular polish is easy, it is also fragile and only lasts a few days. So, what is the secret to a great manicure that lasts and can withstand daily wear and tear?

Gel nails and gel polish for a manicure that lasts

Whether you're on the beach, at home or in the office, you have two options to choose from if you want to keep your manicure looking tip top: gel nails and gel polish. But what's the difference between them? All will be revealed 😉

Gel nails are flawless, but at what price?

Having a gel nail manicure is like having resin false nails applied directly onto your nails or onto tips, which are then attached. They are usually applied in a salon: first, the gel is applied to the nail before being shaped as required and then cured/hardened under a lamp. Next, the colour is applied: either regular or gel nail polish can be used. The whole process takes between 1¼ and 1½ hours. The advantage of this method is that it can be used to extend your nails to any length, so it's ideal for irregular or bitten-down nails. It's also very popular with nail art and French manicure fans, who enjoy unleashing their creativity. The results speak for themselves: perfect nails that stay that way for 2 to 3 weeks... but are they really worth it (cost aside)?

Although you gain length you also gain thickness, giving your nails a shell-like look that's anything but natural. Another disadvantage to consider is that your nails are hidden under the gel, so they are no longer exposed to the UV light they need to harden. As a result, your own nails are soft when you remove the gel nails and they need 3 to 6 months to regain their natural hardness. As far as removal is concerned, you cannot remove your gel nails at home. You'll have to go back to the salon, where your nail technician will file off the gel, leaving only a fine film that will protect your nails while they regenerate. You need to think about all this before going down the gel nail route...

Gel nail polish has everything going for it!

Do you want a manicure that lasts and is quick and easy to apply and remove without damaging your nails? Then gel nail polish is the one for you! But be careful—not any old gel polish will do!

Gel nail polish is traditionally formulated using monomers that turn into polymers under UV light (creating a thick, solid coat that can last for up to 3 weeks). The catch is that these monomers are sensitising molecules that can be absorbed by your body. In 2019, Manucurist reinvented the formula for gel nail polish, removing the monomers and other substances that are harmful to health. The result was Green Flash, the first clean gel polish without endocrine disruptors or allergens & up to 84% bio-sourced..

Like regular polish, Green Flash is applied directly onto the nail. Application is quick and easy (about 20 to 40 minutes for a simple look) and can either be done in a salon or at home using Manucurist's Green Flash kit and LED lamp. After the 3-step application process (1 layer of base coat, 2 coats of colour and 1 layer of top coat, each cured for a few minutes under the LED/UV lamp), you'll have the manicure you always dreamed of, along with perfectly natural looking nails. And the icing on the cake? No need to file the colour off your nails to remove your gel polish! With Green Flash, the coats are thin enough and the formula natural enough for it to be removed by applying gentle, acetone-free nail polish remover for one minute, removing the base coat and the coats of colour without damaging your nails.

Now the world of nail polish holds no more secrets from you and you can choose the polish that suits you best fully armed with the facts. The only problem you'll have is choosing the colour!
You'll find more articles on our clean & green products along with lots of handy tips in the Go Green section of the website.