12 Long-Lasting Gel Nail Polishes Esha Saxena Hyderabd040-395603080 November 20, 2019

I love a good gel manicure, especially one that I can achieve right at home. Did you know that there are actually a few different types of gel nail polish? I tried and tested a dozen, and most of them don’t need an LED/UV lamp to set (like at the salons). These gave me super-polished, long-lasting, and glossy nails that I couldn’t stop admiring! Let’s take a look at some of the best gel nail polishes out there.

Products Check Price
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Collection Check Price
Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish Check Price
OPI Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer Check Price
CND Shellac Power Polish Check Price
Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish Check Price
Gelish Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish Check Price
Wet N’ Wild 1 Step WonderGel Nail Color Check Price
China Glaze Gelaze Nail Polish Check Price
Chanel Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat Check Price
Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish Check Price

Contents

Top 12 Gel Nail Polishes That You Should Try

1. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Long lasting
  • True to color
  • Chip-resistant
  • Easy to remove

Cons

  • Strong smell

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Review

These nail polishes by Sally Hansen are my absolute favorite, and the best part is you don’t need a UV light for the formula to dry. The brush is convenient to hold and use. It does not chip for a good two weeks, and its shine lasts long. These come in over 100 gorgeous shades that also include some popular neutrals and metallics that you won’t find in other brands. They’re priced reasonably and are value for money. I highly recommend trying these for a quick, at-home gel mani-pedi!

Rating: 5/5

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2. Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

Pros

  • Applies smoothly and evenly
  • Long lasting
  • Dries quickly
  • Easy to use
  • Gentle on your nails

Cons

  • Needs a top coat

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish Review

Essie is one brand that has never failed to impress me. It comes in a fun wonky-shaped bottle, and the stem of its applicator is also twisted to ensure that no excess product is picked up and dropped on your nails. Two coats of this polish leave you with a gorgeous shine and applying the Gel Couture Top Coat only makes the look last longer and feel like you just stepped out of the salon. Another factor I’d like to mention is its pigmented formula that is so opaque – I can’t get enough of it. These come in 54 shades including the top coat – you must grab these when you can!

Rating: 5/5

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3. OPI Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Long lasting
  • Dries fast
  • Great applicator brush
  • Pigmented color

Cons

  • Tends to chip easily without a top coat

OPI Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer Review

Infinite Shine is OPI’s gel-hybrid formula that has a super creamy and opaque finish to die for! I used this range’s primer and top coat, and I must say, I was very happy with the result. It also gave me about 12 days of wear-time, which is great. This is easy to apply, the applicator brush is incredible, and two coats give you a fully opaque finish. Also, you have a large selection of colors to choose from – pastels, metallics, nudes – you name it!

Rating: 4.9/5

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4. CND Shellac Polish

Pros

  • Pigmented color
  • Long lasting
  • Extremely glossy finish
  • Chip-resistant

Cons

  • Needs UV or LED light to cure (dry)

CND Shellac Power Polish Review

If you want a super professional finish at home and you happen to own an LED light (you can buy these from Sephora), the CND Shellac Power Polish is a wonderful option. It lasts for over two weeks without chipping or losing its shine – which was oh-so-impressive! You also need to use the top coat from the same brand to get it right, and it will last really well. Also, this is a brand that a lot of salons use, and if you want to avoid the hassle of hitting the parlor each time, this is some great stuff that you need to try!

Rating: 4.9/5

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5. Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish

Pros

  • Applies smoothly and evenly
  • Delivers a plumping gel effect
  • Extremely glossy finish
  • Does not require a UV lamp
  • Can be removed easily

Nails Inc Gel Effect Nail Polish Review

This is one of the most popular gel nail polish brands in the market, and it indeed creates a gloss like you’ve never experienced before – without the need of curing the polish with a UV lamp. I loved the pigmentation of the color, which applied smoothly without streaking or dragging. The brush is wide and covers the nail bed, giving you full opacity in only two swipes. It does not chip, and the polish lasts for over ten days. I am also thrilled with the wide variety of colors that this brand offers. Must-try!

Rating: 4.8/5

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6. Gelish Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish

Pros

  • Provides excellent coverage
  • Long lasting
  • Highly pigmented
  • Glossy finish
  • Good shade range

Cons

  • Pricey

Gelish Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish Review

I’m a big fan of Gelish, and I’ll tell you why! This is a brand several salon professionals prefer to use and going to the salon each time can get a little expensive, so I bought this nail polish so that I could just do it myself. It does work out a lot cheaper, and it’s pretty easy to use. Each shade is supersaturated and so gorgeous. You do need a UV lamp to cure this, or you can find an alternative method. This is one of the best gel-grade nail polishes if you’re looking for a professional finish!

Rating: 4.8/5

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7. Wet N’ Wild 1 Step WonderGel Nail Color

Pros

  • Extremely saturated
  • Long lasting
  • Shiny and glossy finish
  • Easy to remove
  • Cruelty-free and free of formaldehyde, toluene, and phthalates

Cons

  • Requires a top coat

Wet N’ Wild 1 Step WonderGel Nail Color Review

Looking for a super affordable, budget-friendly gel nail polish? The Wet N’ Wild WonderGel Nail color is your answer. I really enjoyed using these polishes for so many reasons – they come in stunning colors that are highly pigmented, they’re easily accessible, and they go on so smoothly. You can just let your nails air dry, and you get great results. Top it up with the WonderGel top coat, and you will have long-lasting, shiny nails for a good two weeks. This baby is my superhero of nail polishes!

Rating: 4.7/5

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8. China Glaze Gelaze Polish

Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Chip-resistant
  • True to color
  • Smooth and even application
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The shine does not last very long, so a top coat is a must

China Glaze Gelaze Reviews

This comes in several finishes – cremes, glitters, and shimmers – so you have a wide range of shades to choose from. The formula comes in 49 different colors to be precise. The application was smooth and easy, and you don’t necessarily need to apply a base coat. It takes two coats of color for a fully opaque finish. If you’re on the hunt for some easy to use, durable color with several shade options – I highly recommend trying these!

Rating: 4.7/5

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9. Chanel Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat

Pros

  • Extends nail polish wear for up to seven days
  • Ultra-glossy look
  • Does not require a UV lamp
  • Bonds to nail color providing strength and unprecedented wear

Cons

  • Pricey

Chanel Le Gel Coat Longwear Top Coat Review

I love me some Chanel, and so I decided to invest in a premium quality gel top coat. This top coat by Chanel is everything you would want from an ideal top coat. It’s a thick, glossy kind of top coat. The packaging is great, and I love its wide brush, which makes application smooth and easy. The final result is stunning – your nails look supple, even, and so shiny! I give this a big thumbs up.

Rating: 4.6/5

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10. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish

Pros

  • Smooth and even application
  • Easy to use
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Seven-free formulation

Cons

  • Not very durable

Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro Nail Polish Review

Want the gloss of a gel mani without stepping into the salon? Then, you ought to check these polishes out. I love the shine and the glossy effect these give my nails, but I was a little disappointed that the polish chipped rather easily. This can be avoided by applying a high-quality top coat over your color. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to gel manicures and one that is easy to remove – you could definitely give this a shot.

Rating: 4.6/5

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11. Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel

Pros

  • Smooth and even application
  • Glossy finish
  • Long lasting
  • True to color

Cons

  • Dries out quickly

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel Review

This is one of my favorite budget-friendly gel nail polishes that’s so easy to work with. I also adore the wide variety of shades this range has to offer. The packaging is great, and the brush is easy to hold, and it picks up the right amount of product to cover your nail bed. It leaves you with a beautiful, professional finish and does not chip for a whole good week. Also, you don’t need to soak this off to dry, it just air dries rather quickly. Make sure you apply a top coat to finish.

Rating: 4.5/5

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12. Red Carpet Manicure LED Nail Gel Polish

Pros

  • Available in an array of shades
  • Professional, glossy finish
  • Does not chip or peel
  • Long lasting

Cons

  • Needs to be cured in an LED light

Red Carpet Manicure LED Nail Gel Polish Review

This nail polish by Red Carpet is a professional gel polish that’s used in a lot of salons. It comes in 152 different shades and is very user-friendly. The brand also has beginner kits that come with everything you need to start off. The formula is great, and it lasts for about ten days on me, which is a decent time. Although it’s a little pricey, it’s definitely worth every penny.

Rating: 4.5/5

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*Subject to Availability

Quick Tips To Do Gel Manicure Perfectly

I’ve narrowed it down to a bunch of the best gel nail polish brands to make it easier for you to choose. Here are a few handy tips that may be useful to you.

  • Some of the professional gel nail polishes like Shellac need a UV or LED lamp to cure (dry) the polish. However, you can still use it without a UV light, but the final result will be slightly different – expect the finish to be lower in quality.
  • The alternative method to a UV light is using an ice bath to freeze and dry the gel polish. Again, the effect won’t be as great.
  • Some gel nail polishes come in kits with a tiny UV light to cure the polish. So, if you want an actual salon-like finish, you can opt for these kits instead.
  • Applying thinner coats is always better so it settles into a way more pleasing finish.
  • You don’t need to worry about UV lights with home gel nail polishes as their formula is already gel-like. However, it’s best to apply a base coat, the color of your choice, and then a gel-based top coat to give your nails the appearance of a salon-like finish.

That was my roundup of the 12 best gel nail polishes that you absolutely need to try for a chip-free, long-lasting, shiny finish. Do you have a go-to brand or color? Share what you love in the comments section below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What’s the difference between regular nail polish and gel nail polish?

A regular nail varnish generally consists of three coats: a base coat, the polish, and a top coat. The main difference between a regular and a gel polish is that the former air-dry without a lamp. Professional gel polishes require a UV/LED light to cure (in simple words, dry). Gel nail polishes last longer and resist chipping. There’s also a difference in the finish and the shine or gloss of the final look. However, several brands have introduced gel finish nail polishes that can just be air-dried.

Is gel nail polish bad for you?

The major downside of gel manicure is its crucial UV-curing step. The light frequencies from the UV light can cause DNA damage to the skin, resulting in premature aging and possibly cancer. However, you can minimize the risks by keeping the duration and frequency of light exposure to the minimal. Also, using an LED lamp is a much safer option.

Is it safe to use gel nail polish during pregnancy?

It’s best to use gel nail polish sparingly during your pregnancy. This is mainly due to the chemicals and fumes that can make one nauseous, especially during pregnancy.

What are some of the best gel nail polishes that don’t require curing with a UV light?

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Collection, Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish, and OPI Infinite Shine 2 Lacquer are user-friendly and some of the best options for an easy at-home gel mani-pedi.

Which is the best professional gel nail polish that is used in salons?

CND Shellac Power Polish is a very popular choice even among nail professionals and salons. It is cured using an LED lamp or a UV light and is extremely durable.

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Esha Saxena

Esha Saxena is a writer, journalist, and a full-time wallflower. She holds a Master’s degree in Media and Mass Communication and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art. Combining her love for writing with her passion for makeup, she brings to you reviews, techniques, and her ever-growing knowledge on this form of art. In her spare time, she loves reading, listening to obscure indie bands, and writing poetry – all of this while being a crazy dog lady.

We all love a good manicure. As the saying goes—look good, feel good. In recent years, gel-based polishes have gained popularity, offering a longer-lasting, shinier coat that can go without chipping for up to three weeks.

Unfortunately, gel manicures are so durable that they’re nearly impossible to take off at home. Instead, the lovely lacquer must be filed off at the salon, after being soaked for an extended period, often causing discomfort and a feeling of stripped, weaker nails.

Most of us don’t have the time or patience to sit in a chair for an hour-plus for a gel manicure, making the trip to the salon a bit of a struggle. To make it even less appealing, recent studies have shown that the UVA rays you’re exposed to during the curing or drying process create a low risk of skin cancer. While some salons offer LED lights as a safer alternative, it acts the same as UVA rays and mimics the same risk as tanning beds, though less extreme.

Doing your nails from home is a huge time-saver, and many nail polish brands now offer gel polishes that are cheaper and safer than the salon. Here are a few polish options that offer the same durability as a gel manicure without the risk of UV lights—because why take the chance? Oh yeah, and they’re a whole lot cheaper than the $30 you’d spend in the massage chair. Most of them are even drugstore brands that can be picked up right around the corner.

Trips to the nail salon can be pricey, but who doesn’t want immaculate, glossy nails at all times? Luckily, it’s possible to recreate the salon-look for a fraction of the price. When it comes to your at-home manicure We’ve already tested the best quick-dry nail products to help your nail polish dry faster, and now we’ve put the best gel-effect polishes to the test. Many beauty brands have introduced gels which you can apply at home, like regular polish. You don’t need to use an LED or UV lamp and these come in a wide range of shades. A well-formulated one will leave nails looking neat and tidy for longer, giving you salon-worthy results for less. We put nine gel-effect polishes to the test, with the help of our panel of over 100 women.

What is gel-effect nail polish?

Gels are a recent addition to the nail industry and are typically used in salons. There are two types of gel. Salons use hard gel to create an artificial nail extension (this is like acrylics). Once cured by an LED or UV lamp, it stays tough. Soft gel refers to gel polishes and gel-overlay services which give nails a long-lasting and shiny finish that doesn’t chip, crack, or fade as quickly as regular polish. Most brands that offer gel-effect nail polish also include gel-effect top coats, which can deliver a more intense shine.

Is gel-effect polish bad for the nails?

Hard gel extensions or gel-overlays often require professional nail polish removal (or a lot of acetone) which can be damaging to the nail. However gel-effect polishes that you can purchase in shops are gentle enough to be removed in the same way as a regular polish, with a polish remover. A nail strengthener can help to protect nails, so as long as you take care of them, you should be good to go.

Some gel-effect nail polishes contain chemicals you might want to avoid
When looking for nail polish, it’s important to note that there are a few ingredients to look out for: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. While there are studies that suggest these ingredients are harmful, EU regulations state that formaldehyde is safe in low levels, but both toluene and dibutyl phthalate are prohibited. None of the products we tested contain any of these ingredients and most formulas on the market shouldn’t include these. But if you have an old polish at home that you can’t bear to throw out, make sure you check the packaging.

What is the difference between vegan and cruelty-free?

You’ll see the terms ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘vegan’ used often when shopping around, but they don’t mean the same thing. Cruelty-free means that no animal testing occurred in the development of the product, whereas vegan tells consumers that the products don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients of byproducts. There are accreditations you can look out for, such as from the Leaping Bunny programme, its logo is an internationally recognised symbol for products not tested on animals.

How the GHI tests gel-effect nail polish

We tested nine (soft) gel-effect nail polishes? with a panel of 189 women, who were eager to help us determine how effective they were. They assessed the consistency of the polish, how quickly it dried, the finish, packaging and ease of use. For our lab test, we used a special device called the DigiEye. This allowed us to measure the colour of nails directly after applying the polish, and again a week later. Using this data, we were able to see how much the polish chipped or faded after the test period.

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Best Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light Reviews 2019

Gel nail polishes offer trendy looks on the nails that are long lasting and keep up with the daily wear all day long. But applying gel nail colors is not as easier as other kinds of color paint as most of the gel nail colors need to be cured under the UV lights or LED lights in order to get their perfect shiny surface dried out for lasting results. In case if you don’t have enough time to get your nails cured but still need the glossy, glass-like shine on your nails, then you must be looking for the best gel nail polish without UV light needed.

It is better to choose one of the gel nail colors that do not need to be cured under the light and will dry out within seconds after application. Luckily there are some of the best brands offering such colors and we have picked them exclusively for our valued readers so that they can avoid getting into a mess:

Top 10 Best Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light

Here are the best options in the gel nail polish category that you can try out in case if you don’t have enough time for curing your nail color under the UV/LED light.

1. Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish

The perfect nude color for the daily wear for anyone who needs neat, shiny gel nails for days. This gel nail polish comes with a smooth consistency that stays on the nail without creating chipping or cracking problems and would not lose its shine for days to come.

It is easy to apply and gives a smooth, glossy finish within seconds as there is no need to use UV or LED light for curing the gel nail polish on your nails. It is strong on nails but extremely easy to take off when required. You can enjoy two weeks of shiny, rich color on your nails without getting into any issues.

2. Sally Hansen – Miracle Gel Nail Color Pinks

This is another UV free nail polish which is extremely easy to apply, give perfect gel nail finish in seconds and make sure you don’t need to take more than a few seconds to get ready for your active day.

The chip-free hard and strong coat on the nails make sure to protect your nails and keep the shine for days. The deep and shiny color provide extra beauty on the nails. The gel offers insta-dri strength as the miracle gel nail polish range assure strength, easy application and lasting color on the nails in an effortless manner that users can enjoy.

In addition to that, it is easy to remove with the help of acetone so no worries if you have them on your nails.

3. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Sunset Splash Metallics

Sally Hansen Knows how ladies need to treat their nails. Along with light pinks and nude colors, there is always a need of vibrant, shiny metallic gel colors to compliment the party wear. This is a set of perfect metallic that a girl would ever need for treating nails for a night party or a daily wear as well.

There is no need to use a UV lamp as the gel nail polish completely gets ready within seconds and give extra shine and metallic touch to let you start your day in no time or get ready for the all-time fun party. The deep and radiant shades and smooth, shiny, glassy finish assure maximum protection and shine.

4. Adesse New York Organic Infused Gel Effect Nail Polish

Adesse offers a truly cruelty-free formula that comes in attractive, shiny and smooth colors for the best texture on the nails. The deep and rich pigmentation assure to give your nails the perfect effect and protection against damages and the nail polish stay on the nails without chipping and cracking rather maintain a good smooth texture for days.

The application is also easy and makes sure you don’t have to deal with thickened blots and lines whereas leaving the nail smooth and shiny.

There is no need to get the nail polish dried under a UV or LED lamp, rather it dries out in the air quickly without losing its gel effect on the nails.

The long-wearing nail polish is free from harmful ingredients and is cruelty-free which has been manufactured in the US.

5. Sally Hansen – Miracle Gel Nail Polish Nudes

This is another perfect, shiny nude color from the Sally Hansen miracle gel nail polish range. With the easy, smooth and quick application, the nail polishes promises to stay on the nails without getting chipped or developing cracks and stays on nails with richer color and shiny gloss for 1-2 weeks.

There is no need to use any kind of UV or LED curing lamp, rather the nail polish gets ready in seconds after application to let you have more time to be with your friends rather than struggling with your nail colors.

6. Eternal Color Gel Nail Enamel Raven Red & Gel Top Coat

This is a pack of two that consist of the gel nail polish and the top coat for perfect finishing on the nails. The rich and shiny attractive nail gel shades make sure you can wear it when you need to give a striking look in your outfit. The smooth application and lasting color make the nail polish one of the best gel nail color.

The application process is easy and you only need to apply one coat on your nails and finish it with a top coat after drying, no need to put your need under the UV or led lights.

The upper coat is capable of resists scratches and cracks or chipping issues. Though it is easy to take off when needed with regular nail polish remover.

7. Essie Gel Couture Beauty Marked Nail Polish

Essie gel couture nail polish range is another perfect range for those who are always looking for easy application and glossy shine without any need of having a UV or LED lamp for curing the gel nail polishes.

The gel nail polish applies smoothly and assures easy application, smudge-free shine and strong bond with the nails leaving the nails strong and shiny with rich color on them that last for up to two weeks without getting damaged. The nail polish offers perfect results with the top coat which can be obtained separately.

8. Sally Hansen Onyx-pected Miracle Gel Nail Polish

Without any UV or LED light, the Sally Hansen promises perfect shine, color and gloss on the nails with the help of the Miracle gel nail polish range. This Onyx pected gel nail polish provides chip-free, strong and shiny nails that make sure to offer the Insta-Dri feature for quick drying action and the strong and lasting diamond strength for keeping your nails away from any sort of damages.

The deep color, extra-shine, bold gloss, and strength makes your nails look perfect with any kind of outfit you need to wear.

9. Sally Hansen B-Girl Miracle Gel Nail Polish No UV Needed

This is an extremely effortless gel nail polish offered in the Sally Hansen miracle gel nail polish range. The cute, trendy color assure any girl would love to wear it on the nails whereas the effortless application and removal makes it even more lovable for every girl.

The two-step gel nail polish application makes it easier to apply with no UV/LED lamp needed. You can simply apply the gel nail polish and dry out and finish it with the top coat. Within seconds you will be ready to carry on your routine task and the nails would not get damaged in any way.

The smooth, shiny and rich color finish on the nails keeps the nail protected whereas its soak free removal allows better maintenance of the manicures without damaging the nails.

10. Essie Gel Couture Sew Me, Rose Pink Nail Polish

Light pink, dark pink or any shade of pink, you may love all pinks because of their soft trendy rich color and shine provided by the gel nail polish system. This rose pink nail polish provided by the Essie gel couture assure glass-like shine and rich color giving your nails the best touch for perfect protection against damages and make sure to provide a lasting gloss for 1-2 weeks.

It is always better to look for easy to apply, hassle-free nail polishes. Though it seems hard to find a quality gel nail polish system that allows smooth and shiny finish without using the curing light, it is possible to find some with a little help and knowledge as provided by us. You can now pick the color or your choice from the above-mentioned UV free gel nail polish system offering easy, quick application and lasting results that most people would need to get the perfect look on their beloved nails.

With this kind of nail polish system you just have to take care of the right color and correct application ration, rest assured you will get the strong, glass-like finishing within seconds. No matter if these are not cured by the UV lamps, they still stay strong and bonded properly with the nails for lasting color and smooth shine on the nails.

So now, you can enjoy the best gel nail polish application on the nails without getting into much hassle for curing them properly and making use of the UV lamps which is not a part of these gel nail polishes mentioned above.

This Gel Nail Polish Kit Is Only $19 and Doesn’t Require a UV Light

essie/Instagram

After hours upon hours of testing at-home gel mani kits (read: impatiently waiting for our nails to dry), we’ve finally found the best gel nail polish without a UV light. The best part about it? The entire system yields a result that’s comparable to in-salon treatments, and it costs less than $20.

It comes by the way of Essie, the brand behind Queen Elizabeth’s favorite nail polish and the most shared nail polish shade on Pinterest. It’s called the Gel Couture Nail Polish and Top Coat Kit, and while it was originally launched back in 2016, it’s still our favorite at-home gel mani system to date.

RELATED: Don’t Do This While Removing a Gel Manicure At Home

The two-part method doesn’t require a lamp or any other special tools. All you need is the special Essie gel polish, which is available in over 100 shades, and the gel top coat. You can buy them together as a set or each on their own.

And if you know how to paint your nails, you can give yourself a gel mani. It’s that simple. On clean, filed nails, paint two coats of whatever Gel Couture Color you bought. Two coats should completely cover your nails in even layers of pigment — no splotchy or see-through spots. Then, apply one coat of the top coat, which is responsible for locking the lacquer in place on your nail bed and giving it shine.

Image zoom Courtesy $19 Essie SHOP IT Opens a new window

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Gel Pedicures

The one major downside is that it takes longer to dry than your traditional gel manicure that utilizes a UV light, but it does dry faster than standard polish. We recommend giving yourself a solid 20 minutes of drying time to ensure you don’t smudge the polish. Once it’s on your nails, the brand claims it can give you up to 14 days of wear, and this is really all dependent on how hard you are on your nails — i.e. if you wash the dishes without gloves, going to the beach, playing sports.

Without nixing those activities, we experienced impressive wear, free of chips and smudges, for around a week. Compared to other at-home treatments, this is a pretty solid result.

Expanding your gel polish collection is relatively budget friendly, too. Each individual gel polish costs $12, so buying the kit upfront is definitely the way to go.

As for what color to start with? We’re digging Fairy Tailor, a sheer pink that’s almost identical to the brand’s cult-classic Ballet Slippers shade.

If you have any questions about gel polish, this is the place to be. Hopefully this post addresses any questions you have. If your question is still not answered after reading this post, then please email me at [email protected] or message me on facebook.

I plan to update this post as I get asked more questions, so be sure to check back whenever you have a question. Bookmark this page so you can get to it easily. 🙂

What is a gel manicure?

  • A gel polish manicure uses soak off gel that looks and acts like nail polish, but technically it is gel. You must do a base coat, 2-3 coats of the color, then finish with a top coat. Each layer of polish must be cured in a UV or LED lamp. “Cured” basically just means dried. After the top coat has cured in the lamp a tacky (or inhibition layer) must be wiped off using rubbing alcohol. It’s all a bit scientific, but the main thing is this, a gel polish manicure gives you shiny, chip free wear for 2 weeks. Plus, when the top coat has finished curing, it is complete dry! You do have to wipe off the inhibition layer, but after that your gel manicure is dry and won’t dent or smudge.

How do you do gel nail polish at home?

  • I have answered this question in depth in this post. Its a step by step tutorial with photos.

How do you take off gel nail polish?

  • This question is answered in depth in this post. It’s a step by step tutorial with photos. You can also check out my Gel Removal Tips and Tricks post and my Nail Mates For Gel Polish Removal post.

Can gel polish cure without a UV or LED lamp?

  • No, not really. I guess theoretically you could cure your gel polish using UV rays from the sun, but dry times would be extremely inconsistent depending on how bright it is, what brand you are using, the chemistry of your nails, etc. I have never attempted to dry gel polish using the sun and I would not recommend it. It probably takes long enough that it’s not worth it, anyway. Just get a UV lamp or an LED lamp. They aren’t that expensive. 🙂 See this post for lamp recommendations.

What’s the difference between a UV lamp and an LED lamp?

  • An LED lamp can cure gel polish (base coat, colors, and top coat) in 30-60 seconds. The light bulbs last the lifetime of the lamp and never have to be replaced. A UV lamp cures gel polish in 2-3 minutes. I don’t know the exact times because I’ve only ever used an LED lamp. It usually says on the gel polish bottle how long to cure in LED and how long to cure in UV. Light bulbs in UV lamps do have to be replaced periodically. I don’t know much about it because I don’t have a UV lamp, but if your lamp seems to not be curing as well, try replacing the bulb. I have heard that gel polish tends to cure “harder” when using a UV lamp.

Does gel polish ruin your nails?

  • Gel polish itself doesn’t ruin your nails, but improper removal can definitely ruin your nails. Be sure to read my post about How to Remove Gel Polish at Home as well as Gel Removal Tips and Tricks. If you do it right, gel polish should keep your nails nice. The acetone used for removal does really dry out your nails though and this can make them weak. Never fear, there are lots of remedies to this problem. See the next question and answer.

My nails/cuticles are dry and/or weak. How can I correct this?

  • This can be from too much buffing. Try only buffing the new growth for each manicure rather than the entire nail. It’s more likely that the dryness is from the acetone used for removal. Check out 5 Ideas for the Best Cuticle Treatment, The Best Cuticle Oil You Can Make At Home, and Gel Removal Tips and Tricks. My sugar scrub and hand care routine will probably be helpful too.

Is there an easier way to remove gel polish than foil method?

  • I think Nail Mates for removal are way easier, but it still takes 15 minutes of soaking no matter what method you use. See my Gel Removal Tips and Tricks for more ideas. Yes, gel polish removal can be a pain, but considering I get 2 weeks of perfect, shiny wear, it’s something I can live with.

Can I remove gel polish without acetone?

  • Yes, but it can do a lot of damage to your natural nails. See my post Remove Gel Polish Without Acetone for more details.

Can I use regular nail polish with gel polish?

  • No and yes. No, you cannot cure regular nail polish in a lamp and use it just like gel polish. Gel polish has a completely different formula. That being said, there are a few ways you can use regular nail polish with gel polish. Usually these methods do not last as long as a regular gel polish manicure, but they do last longer than just a plain regular nail polish manicure. First method, Sandwich: Use regular nail polish in between a gel polish base and top coat. The key is to let the regular nail polish dry completely before using the top coat. 24 hours is usually recommended. Second method, Regular Nail Polish over Gel: Do a regular gel polish manicure, but skip the color or just do a sheer color like 2 coats of IBD Cashmere Blush. After removing the tacky layer, paint regular nail polish over the gel polish. Third method, Turn it Into Gel: Use Gelibility to turn regular nail polish into gel. Michelle from Manic Talons has a great review and tutorial for it, so be sure to check it out!

Why are gel polish bottles opaque?

  • As you probably know by now, gel polish needs UV light to cure. A UV or LED lamp speeds up this process and makes it happen in a specified amount of time, but sunlight and even light from light bulbs have UV rays. These rays can eventually cure gel polish, which is why gel polish bottles are opaque. It protects the gel polish from any UV rays so that it doesn’t cure inside the bottle.

My dark colors aren’t curing or the color is getting on my top coat brush. What’s happening?

  • Try curing longer. Sometimes dark colors need 60 seconds in an LED lamp. I’m not sure about UV, but I would assume it’s the same. Also, the inhibition layer from the dark color could be getting onto the top coat brush. This won’t affect your manicure, just be sure to clean the brush before putting it back in the top coat bottle.

My gel polish is thick and goopy. How do I fix it?

  • I first suggest the Robart paint shaker. My bottle of IBD Whipped Cream was like this and the Robart fixed it up right away. I shake it for 20-30 seconds. It’s actually best the day after shaking (I have no idea why), but it’s also great right after. You can also try gel polish thinner. Do not use acetone because it will destroy your gel polish.

My gel polish is separating. How do I fix it?

  • I also suggest using the Robart paint shaker. Just strap your gel polish in and turn it on for 20-30 seconds. It should mix it all up nicely and be ready to apply immediately.

Can I use IBD with Gelish or CND Shellac with Cuccio, etc., etc. with any gel polish brand?

  • Pretty much any brand of gel polish can be used with another brand of gel polish. For instance, I use Gelish foundation (base coat) with IBD color with Gelish Top it Off (top coat) and it works great! Just make sure the gel polish will cure in your lamp. Today, most gel polish brands will cure in LED or UV lamps, but not all of them do. CND Shellac is supposed to only cure in a UV lamp, but some people can get it to cure in an LED lamp. Some brands have older colors that are only UV curable. As long as the gel polish cures in the lamp you have, you should be able to use it.

What is a flash cure?

  • A flash cure is just a fast cure. Just put your hand in the your lamp for 5-10 seconds, then take it out again. Flash curing helps with wrinkling and shrinking.

What if the gel polish on my brush dries because I accidentally took it outside or near my lamp while it was on?

  • Just soak the brush in acetone for about 15 minutes, then use your fingernail to scrape off all of the extra dried gel polish. Your brush will be a little wonky, but it will still work. And no, I don’t know about this one from experience. That would be so silly of me to think I could do a gel polish manicure outside by just using an extension cord. I mean obviously it would have occurred to me that the sun has UV rays. Ha ha ha ha ha ha, I’m not that silly… (Okay, yes, I did this with my IBD Funny Bone. Oops!)

What is a swatch?

  • A swatch is a picture of nails with a specific color of gel polish (or nail polish) painted on them. Many times, the bottle of gel polish is being held in the picture. See my Swatch Gallery for all the gel polish colors I have swatched.

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(Visited 310,570 times, 9,133 visits today)October 21, 2015 – 14:54 BST hellomagazine.com Hurrah! You no longer need a lamp for gel effect nails…

For chip-free colour and shine that lasts, you can’t beat a gel manicure. But if you want to avoid an expensive trip to the salon and the hassle of a UV lamp, then you need to know about the new gel generation.
Long-lasting nail varnishes, they offer the benefits of a gel but are lamp-free, perfect for the ultimate low maintenance at home manicure. These are our pick of the best gel nail polishes for a quick and easy nail transformation…

OPI Infinite Shine Lacquer in ‘Stick to Your Burgundies’, £13.95, at opiuk.com
Cheat fresh salon nails with OPI’s 3-step system. Simply prime your nails with the Primer Base Coat, £13.95 and slick on two coats of your favourite shade of Infinite Shine. With so many gorgeous shades to choose from it’s hard to pick, but we’re coveting this rich burgundy nail varnish for the autumn months. Complete your manicure with OPI’s Gloss Top Coat, £13.95, for a high shine finish that lasts up to 10 days.

Nails inc Gel Effect Nail Polish in ‘Hyde Park Court’, £15.00, at nailsinc.com
For a super shiny gel-like finish without a UV lamp, we love these Nails inc polishes. Their innovative formula helps to boost keratin production for strong, healthy nails and they’re easy to remove too (no soaking required.) Use with a base and top coat for long-lasting results and try this khaki shade for a chic military manicure.

Essence The Gel Nail Polish in ’16 Fame Fatal’, £1.60, at wilko.com
Get gel effect nails for under £2 with this budget beauty buy from Essence. At such a bargain price, you can splash out on several shades from their ultra colourful range. Team with their The Gel Nail Polish Base Coat and accompanying top coat (£2.50 each) to make your mani last up to 60% longer. This classic red is our pick for bright shiny nails that won’t break the bank.

butter LONDON Patent-Gel Top & Tails Set, £29, at butterlondon.co.uk
This innovative duo can be used alongside all existing butter LONDON nail lacquers to create a sleek, shiny finish and safeguard your nail polish against chips. The set includes a base and top coat free from harsh chemicals for a high-end manicure you can recreate again and again.

Mac Factor Gel Shine Lacquer Nail Polish in ‘Gleaming Teal’, £7.99, at boots.com
A one-coat wonder, this Max Factor polish is the ultimate in hassle-free nail colour. Its thick gel effect formula combines with high shine shades for a manicure that’ll get you through the working week. We love their ‘Gleaming Teal’ shade for a chic on trend nail look.

Gel polish without light

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