Gel nail polish has changed the nail industry for both salons and nail enthusiasts. One of the main reasons why gel nail polish is so popular is because of its chip-free and long-lasting properties, which help nails look fresh and clean for up to three weeks. As a result, many brands have developed their own technology and formula as well as a range of stunning colors.
Many customers claim they do not have the time to sit for an hour or two for a manicure. Because a gel manicure can last up to two weeks, many customers believe it is the perfect time-saving solution. This is especially true for when a customer has a number of events back to back, such as a wedding, interview or a vacation.
However, it’s important to remember that the life span of a gel manicure greatly depends on a person’s body chemistry as well as the quality of the manicure.
How Does Gel Polish Work?
There is a difference between a gel manicure and an acrylic manicure. Acrylic nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent, which hardens over the original nail and can be shaped as desired. Additionally, acrylic nails are also typically only involve clear or natural tones.
On the other hand, gel nail polish contains a chemical, butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), which is then hardened or “baked” on with ultraviolet light after the polish is applied. Gels also come in an endless number of vibrant shades and colors.
What are the Best Gel Polish Brands?
So which gel polish brands are the best? We have put together a comprehensive list of the top 10 best brands that have been reviewed by customers, salons, and nail professionals. So before you go for your next manicure, check out these top 10 must-have gel polish brands.
1. OPI Gelcolor – It shouldn’t come as a shock to see OPI on this list. OPI is known as a high-end and high-quality nail polish brand with an extensive range of colors and with funky nail polish names. However, most nail tech professionals and customers agree that the quality is well worth the price tag.
Customers can find OPI in almost every salon, department or beauty supply stores or even online. Although OPI’s collection of gel colors isn’t as extensive as their traditional collection, OPI made sure to include customers’ favorites.
OPI’s gel products require a UV or LED lamp for hardening, or curing and only takes 30 seconds to dry.
2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Sally Hansen is another popular brand name in the nail tech industry. Sally Hansen’s gel nail polish product line is the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel system. What makes this system different than OPI or other brands is that it does not require a base coat or an LED lamp to harden. After applying the base coat, it can take up to 5 minutes to dry before applying the Miracle Gel top coat.
Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel line is affordable and comes in over 70 different stunning and fashionable shades. It is also easy for customers to apply and also remove without purchasing additional chemicals, exposing skin to an LED lamp or even stepping foot into a salon.
3. NSI Gel Polish System – The NSI Gel Polish System offers a wide range of products. From an extensive gel polish collection to top and base (gloss or matte) coats to starter kits, nail tech professionals and customers have trusted the NSI brand for years.
The NSI Gel Polish system requires a UV/LED lamp for curing, and polish can last up to two weeks without chipping or damage.
4. Harmony Gelish – Harmony Gelish was one of the first brands to come out with a gel polish due to their excellent and professional quality. Although Harmony Gelish is typically available to purchase by salons and nail technicians only, consumers can purchase it online. However, customers should be forewarned that the starter kits come with the salon price tag! Harmony Gelish typically lasts up to 14 days chip free.
5. CND Shellac – CND Shellac is another well-known, high-quality gel polish brand. Similar to Harmony Gelish, CND Shellac is typically only available for purchase for licensed nail professionals.
The CND Shellac gel system includes a base coat, a prime color, a top coat and an LED lamp for curing. CND Shellac typically lasts up to 14 days and the removal process only takes approximately 5 minutes.
CND Shellac polishes come in over 100 different colors and shades, providing both salon professionals and customers with endless options for beautiful nails.
6. IBD Just Gel – International Beauty Design (IBD) has been a long-standing leader in the nail tech and nail care industry for decades. In addition to being a well-known brand and a quality product, another benefit of IBD Just Gel is that it is compatible with other gel systems, making it easy for nail tech professionals to use various top coats and base coats interchangeably with IBD.
The curing process is done quickly with a UV or LED lamp, and the removal process only takes up to 10 minutes.
IBD Just Gel comes in a wide range of colors, and also launches new colors each season giving salons and customers alike something to look forward to for their next mani or pedi!
7. Bio Sculpture Gel – One of the biggest concerns regarding using a gel nail polish is that nails can become weak and brittle over time. However, Bio Sculpture Gel came up with a solution: a formula that promotes the strength and health of nails. The odorless gels are used without a base coat, primers or bonders, and minimal buffing, all of which helps nails to grow stronger.
Bio Sculpture Gel products come in flexible, medium, and strong finishes, over 180 colors, and can be removed safely with soaking. The removal process generally takes 10 to 20 minutes and can be done in a salon or at home.
8. Bio Seaweed – Similar to Bio Sculpture Gel, Bio Seaweed Gel is another gel nail product option that promotes nail health and strength. Bio Seaweed Gel does not contain any of the potentially hazardous chemicals, such as Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, BHA or Solvents, which are typically seen in some other brands.
The Bio Seaweed Gel system comes with a base coat, top coat, color and strengthener all in a single bottle. A UV or LED lamp is required curing, and the removal process involves soaking and only takes up to 5 minutes without dehydrating, damaging or weakening the nails.
9. Red Carpet Manicure – Although Red Carpet isn’t a large brand, it does make the list for its affordability. Red Carpet is more of an at-home gel manicure kit, perfect for nail enthusiasts or Do-It-Yourself-ers. Red Carpet also offers over 150 different colors and shades.
For starters to professionals, complete kits for all skill levels and purposes can be purchased directly from Amazon.
10. Essie Gel – No gel nail polish brands list would be complete without Essie. Essie Gel Couture involves an easy two-step gel process, ensuring that perfect damage and chip-free manicure for up to 14 days.
One of the reasons why this is such a great at-home gel system is because it does not require an LED or UV lamp for curing. Additionally, the unique polish brush swirl design ensures perfect color coverage.
Regardless of whether you are a professional manicurist, a salon professional or a nail enthusiast, you are bound to find a high-quality product that is not only promotes that beautiful, long-lasting, and healthy manicure, but that is also affordable and available in the color(s) of your choice.
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