What make gel nail polish different than regular nail polish?

When it comes to achieving a beautiful and lasting manicure, the choice between gel nail polish and regular nail polish is a common dilemma. Both options offer unique characteristics and benefits, catering to different preferences and needs. In this article, we'll explore the distinctive differences that set gel nails polish apart from regular nail polish.

Understanding Gel Nail Polish and Regular Nail Polish

  • Gel Nail Polish: Gel nail polish is a specialized nail lacquer that requires curing under a UV or LED lamp to achieve a long-lasting and durable finish.

  • Regular Nail Polish: Regular nail polish, also known as traditional nail polish, is a lacquer that air-dries to create a colored coating on the nails.

Distinctive Differences

1. Curing Process:

  • Gel Nail Polish: Gel nail polish requires a curing process under a UV or LED lamp. The lamp emits specific wavelengths of light that initiate a chemical reaction in the gel polish, transforming it from a liquid to a solid state.

  • Regular Nail Polish: Regular nail polish air-dries and hardens over time when exposed to the air. It does not require any specialized curing equipment.

2. Durability and Longevity:

  • Gel Nail Polish: Gel nails offer superior durability and longevity compared to regular nail polish. Gel polish can last up to two to three weeks or even longer without chipping, fading, or losing its shine.

  • Regular Nail Polish: Regular nail polish has a shorter lifespan and may chip or fade within a few days, especially if not applied with a base and top coat.

3. Application Time:

  • Gel Nail Polish: The application of gel nail polish is relatively quick, but the curing process takes additional time. Each layer of gel polish needs to be cured under the UV or LED lamp, adding to the overall time.

  • Regular Nail Polish: Applying regular nail polish is faster as it air-dries. However, it may require multiple coats and more frequent touch-ups.

4. Removal Process:

  • Gel Nail Polish: Gel nail polish removal involves soaking the nails in acetone to break down the gel, followed by gentle scraping or wiping to remove the softened gel.

  • Regular Nail Polish: Regular nail polish can be easily removed using acetone-based nail polish removers without the need for soaking.

5. Appearance and Finish:

  • Gel Nail Polish: Gel nails offer a glossy, smooth finish that remains unchanged throughout the wear period. The finish is often preferred for its professional and polished look.

  • Regular Nail Polish: The finish of regular nail polish varies from glossy to matte based on the type of polish used. It provides a wide array of colors and finishes to choose from.


Both gel nail polish and regular nail polish have their own set of advantages and characteristics. Gel nails polish stands out for its durability, longevity, and glossy finish, achieved through a specialized curing process. On the other hand, regular nail polish offers a quick application and a vast range of colors and finishes. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preferences, desired durability, and the time one is willing to invest in the application and removal processes. Whether you opt for the enduring charm of gel nails or the vibrant variety of regular nail polish, both options allow you to flaunt your style and express your creativity.

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