Can i use gel nail polish on natural nails

14.08.2019
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Gel Nails, Gel Polish, Nail Supply, UV Gel

At Gel-Nails, were committed to bringing superior products to salons across the globe, with wholesale nail supplies, bulk gel polish, UV gel technology, and all the nail tools and accessories you need to help separate your business from the competition.

Since 2005, weve dedicated ourselves to making the most effective and innovative products available in the nail supply market more accessible for professional salons, regardless of where theyre located. No matter what country your salon is in, well safely and securely ship you everything you need, from gel polish to UV lamps, and so much more.Send us a message and well get back to you as soon a


can i use gel nail polish on natural nails
Gel Polish Frequently Asked Questions

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 kirstylee@whatthegelnails.com or message me on facebook.

Gel Polish Frequently Asked Questions

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. Its 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 wont 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?

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 its not worth it, anyway. Just get a UV lamp or an LED lamp. They arent that expensive. ?? See this post for lamp recommendations.

Whats 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 dont know the exact times because Ive 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 dont know much about it because I dont 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 doesnt 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?

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, its something I can live with.

Can I remove gel polish without acetone?

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 doesnt cure inside the bottle.

My dark colors arent curing or the color is getting on my top coat brush. Whats happening?

  • Try curing longer. Sometimes dark colors need 60 seconds in an LED lamp. Im not sure about UV, but I would assume its the same. Also, the inhibition layer from the dark color could be getting onto the top coat brush. This wont 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. Its actually best the day after shaking (I have no idea why), but its 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 dont 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, Im 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.

Subscribe Now for more gel polish tips and tricks from What The Gel Nails.

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Why I Dont Wear Gel Nail Polish Anymore

I have super thin nails that break easily. Starting when I was in college and a lifeguard/swim instructor at my local YMCA, I wore two thin coats of hard gel for 20 years.

I stopped for two years in 2008. I was too busy being a mother of four active and exhausting children.

As many of you know, this was a huge mistake. I gave up the last bit of me time.

In 2010 discovered the online world of nails and nail art. I took up my love of nail polish again.


My Research

I spent a lot of time learning about nail care. Doug Schoons book, Nail Structure and Product Chemistry became my nail bible. It was the only piece of truth I could get my hands on.

Most of the nail care advice thrown around the internet is false, misleading, and some is actually damaging.

Dougs book taught me that oil is very important to keeping nails strong yet flexible.

My-book-nail-structure-300

Since Im allergic to almond oil, which seems to be in just about every cuticle oil, I created my own and began oiling my nails several times a day. They soaked up the oil like a sponge. It took three days for them to stop.

After four months, my nails were longer than they had ever been in my life.

When my husband lost his job of 13 years, I thought that some other girls on the planet might be interested in this oil, so SimplySimply Pure hydrating oil was born. Cory and I clung together to build our companyBliss Kiss.

Hard Gel vs. Soak-Off-Gel

During my daily, all-consuming studies of nail care, I learned about the new revolutionary product called soak-off-gels (SOG).

This new technology was a gel that dissolved in acetone. Hard gels are highly resistant to acetone.

Hard gels must be filed down to 50% of their thickness for maintenance fills, or filed off completely for removal.

Its very difficult to file off the hard gel without touching the nail plate. The removal process can significantly thin the natural nail.

The new soak-off-gels were significantly less acetone resistant so they had the gloss and toughness of hard gel with easier solvency in acetone for removal.

This new technology was so popular that it seemed like every polish company was jumping on the bandwagon and creating their own version.

Since my nails were really long from my regular use of Simply Pure hydrating oil, I wanted to keep them that way. I decided to check out these new gels.

Image of Gel nail polish under red polish

My Technique

My 20 years of experience taught me that polish bonds really well to gel. I thought SOG would be a great option without a permanent commitment.

Rather than doing the normal application process; one coat of basecoat gel, two coats of color gel, and one coat of topcoat gel, I chose to just apply just the base coat and topcoat as an overlay, and apply traditional polish over my gel.

Based on my experience with hard gel, and since I wasnt changing a color, I decided to file the SOG to 50% thickness and then apply 2 new layers of clear gel.

This prevented me soaking in acetone every two weeks. I never completely removed the gel. I felt this was a perfect solution for me.

And it was . . . for about six months.

At the same time, I was photographing my nail art with a high-quality camera and I didnt like seeing the gel growth line under my polish.

Also, since my gel was fairly thin, with each manicure change the gel would start to partially dissolve around my cuticle lines. I was reapplying the gel every week or two.

This was taking an additional hour out of my week above and beyond doing a normal manicure with nail art.

In January 2013, I decided to do my Lets Get Naked Challenge with all of my customers.

This was my first time removing the gel following the manufacturers directions of using an orange wood stick to scrape the softened gel.

Most of the gel came off, but some of it didnt. I continued to scrape at the hard bits, which created white spots in my nails. You can see this in the photo below.

Unknowingly, I had created the same damage that is happening in hundreds of thousands of salons around the worldall because nail professionals are following the manufacturers instructions!Remove-Gel-Nails-White-Spots-in-Nails

No Scraping Allowed

Doug wrote an articlewhich I published hereshowing his research about the damage that can occur when using any tool to scrape off the gel.

With Dougs illuminating electron microscope pictures, the conclusion is simpleyou should never use a tool to remove gel after it has softened with acetone.

I have read the instructions from many manufacturersincluding CND Shellac, OPI Gel, Essies Gel, and Harmonys Gelish.

All of them recommend scraping the gel off with an orange wood stick or a metal tool after it has softened.

I asked Doug about this discrepancy, since he always tells people to follow the manufacturers directions, but his research indicates that some of those recommendations are damaging. His response was that the manufacturers need to read his research. I totally agree.

Under The MicroscopeRemove-Gel-Nails-Scrape-with-wood-tool_790

Doug has taken electron microscopes showing the damage that even a simple orange wood stick can do.

When small white spots appear on the nail plate after removal of the UV nail color coatings (another name for gel), a likely reason is improper removal. Fortunately, the vast majority of this type of nail damage is completely avoidable.

How does the nail damage occur? Soaking the natural nail for even a few minutes in acetone or water will temporarily soften the surface making it temporarily more susceptible to damage from any implements that pry, push or force the remaining residual UV coating (gel) from the nail plate. Instead, a good rule to follow is, use the utmost care for 60 minutes after immersing natural nails in any liquid for more than 60 seconds. ~Doug Schoon

Aging Gel Is Not a Good Thing

The longer you wear a soak off gel, the harder the product becomes.

This means that gel that you have been wearing for two weeks is easier to remove than gel that you have been wearing for three or four weeks.

Just How Long Does It Take?

Doug Schoon teaches that the manufacturers recommended acetone soaking time is the minimumnot the maximum.

So if they suggest 10 minutes, and then instruct you to wipe off the gel with firm finger pressure only.

If the gel isnt completely dissolved then you should rewrap your nail and let it soak longer. This means that it can actually take 20, 30, or even 40 minutes to dissolve the gel properly! The gel must completely wipe off with firm finger pressure.

The Education Gap

We have a big problem being created in the professional salon industry.

The Bad News? About 80% of nail professionals are not learning proper application and removal techniques.

The Good News? 20% are fully educated and doing it right!

Heres the big problem . . .

Nail professionals who are untrained with the gel technology are mixing and matching UV curing lamps with different brands of gels. According to Doug this is a huge mistake.

If youre using a CND Shellac gel then you should be using the lamp created by CND.

If youre using Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony, then you should be using the Gelish curing lamp.

The products and curing lamps are formulated to work togetherthere is no such thing as a universal curing lamp.

Why I Dont Wear Gel Nail Polish Anymorewww.NailCareHQ.com nail-strengthener-Ana tests Pure Nail Oil nail strengthener and cuticle oil.

Continuing on from that mini lesson . . . I then cut my nails short, and started applying oil for three days following my own instructions for the 3 Day Hydration Technique. After that, I continued with normal polish manicures.

At the same time, I also deduced that water absorption from the underside of the nail plate will soak through and break a polish or gel bond. (Im sure Doug could have told me that in 2010.but hes a busy guy.)

I started wrapping base coat and top coat to the underside of my tips. I always use two coats of ridge filling base coat, two coats of color, and one layer of top coat.

As my nails were growing out, I realized that I was essentially creating 8 coats of polish wrapped around my tips.

For me, the nail polish was giving me the same amount of temporary strength as the gel. And Pure Nail Oil was keeping my nails strong and flexible so they didnt snap when I banged them into something.

I also discovered that since I was completely sealing off my nails from water absorption, my manicures lasted 7 to 10 days before they even started chipping. This was the exact same effect I was getting previously with a gel overlay. The Fab 5 Polish Wrap Technique had been created.

In Conclusion

Like Doug, I think soak-off-gels are an amazing product that can revolutionize the salon industry, but only if theyre removed properly.

Theyre a great solution for so many busy people who just want a beautiful, chip free manicure for two weeks.

Soak-Off-Gels are not a good solution for people who like to change their manicures every few days.

If I were going to a salon to get a gel manicure, I would go in two hours before my appointment so there was plenty of time to completely dissolve the gel. You want it slide off with firm finger pressure (no tools!) against the cotton.

Id then go to the closest coffee shop, grab something warm and delicious, read a magazine, and wait for an hour before the new gel is applied.

A conscientious nail professional will work with your wishes. And if she doesnt, send her to this article.

I love that I can change my manicures without the added time commitment of gel. Thats my choice.

Hopefully Ive given you enough information so you can make the best choice for you.

If you liked this article . . . please share!

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