Last updated: September 26, 2020

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Everyone love’s to paint their nails to perfection. The issue is finding the time amid our busy daily routines to really give our nails the attention they deserve. Luckily, gel nail polish has become one of our greatest allies, as it can help to maintain color for an extended period.

Gel nail polish, also known as semi-permanent nail polish, has an acrylic base that makes color last much longer than usual. With this type of nail polish, you can maintain a perfect manicure for about three weeks. Keep reading if you’d like to know more about this amazing kind of nail polish!

Key facts

  • Gel nail polish is made out of acrylic, a material that’s guaranteed to last longer. This kind of nail polish lasts for an average of three weeks, although the exact duration will depend on your lifestyle and the natural growth of your nails. Nonetheless, this is definitely the most durable polish you can find.
  • Gel polish can be hard on nails, so it’s especially important to take care of your nails and keep them healthy. In order to get the best results with a gel nail polish, it is critical to use both a base coatand a top coat, which helps the polish keep for a longer period.
  • One potential issue with gel nail polish use is removal. If you use products specifically design for removal, you can easily avoid damaging your nails. It is also important to take into account nail type, polish quality, composition and drying lamp compatibility.

The best gel nail polish on the US market

The increasing demand for gel nail polish means there’s an increasing number of brands to choose from. Below you’ll find a list of the five best gel nail polish products and all the important details necessary to make an informed purchase.

Beetles Neon Gel Nail Polish Set

This beloved gel polish set from Beetles comes with six elegant shades including the most popular and fashionable colors for every season like hot pink and neon orange. If neon isn’t your thing, choose from a wide variety of color assortments from the same brand.

Beetles nail polish has a minimal odor and consists of nine toxin-free ingredients to keep your nails healthy. With proper application, this affordable gel polish should last you for at least three weeks. Be sure to cure it under an LED/UV light for 90-120 seconds for best results and shine.

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Set

This well-packaged, 18-piece set from Modelones makes a great gift for any nail-polish lover. It comes with 16 mini gel shades (6ml each) as well as a base and no-wipe top coat (10ml each). The shades include pure color, glitter color and color changing gels, so that you can try a range of styles.

The Modelones set is ideal for professional use in a salon or polishing right at home. The gel polish is primarily made from natural resin, keeping it nontoxic and healthy, and it’s easy to apply with a very smooth finish. Use two coats to get the desired color and it should last at least two weeks if you apply it properly.

Perfect Summer Gel Polish

Don’t miss out on these great summer colors from Perfect Summer. The package includes six neon colors (8ml each) that will last two weeks or more when applied correctly. These gels are no-harm, nontoxic and have no harsh smell.

Be sure to cure your nails under a UV/LED lamp and use Perfect Summer’s base and top coats for best results. This product is suitable for natural nails, UV gel nails, acrylic nails, false nails and nail tips.

Sexy Mix Nude Pink Gel Kit

If you like pink, this kit from Sexy Mix is for you! It comes with a series of pink shades ranging from light to deep, so you can try out different pinks every time you do your nails. Each bottle contains 7ml of polish made from natural resin.

This gel polish is low smell and nontoxic. You’ll need to apply three layers to get the full color and be sure to also apply the base and top coat before curing under a UV/LED nail lamp.

Modelones Soak Off 6-Piece Color Collection

This six-piece set from Modelones comes with a unique batch of fun colors with mirror-shine finish. Choose from options like rainbow glitter, diamond glitter and 3D cat eye. All are made from natural resin, and are nontoxic and odorless.

If applied properly with UV/LED nail lamp, these gels should last you two weeks or more. Be sure to follow instructions for special colors including cat eye and phantom chameleon. Have lots of fun with this exciting set.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about gel nail polish

The recent rise in the popularity of gel nail polish has been met with some skepticism from nail polish users. This is understandable, since a nail polish that lasts for three weeks without chipping or polishing does seem too good to be true. Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this type of polish to do away with all your doubts.

Woman with multi-colored nails

Quality is key when buying gel nail polish.
(Source: Marina Kirezhencova: 47346228/

What is gel nail polish and what are its benefits?

Gel nail polish is made from acrylic, which is a plastic compound designed to prolong the lacquer duration on nails. Furthermore, drying with UV or LED rays helps the polish to instantly adhere to the nail. By using a gel nail polish, you can achieve a manicure with a professional look.

Still, as with many great products, gel nail polish has some advantages and some disadvantages. Although the pros far outweigh the cons, you may still have doubts, which is totally understandable. Take a look at our table of pros and cons and judge for yourself.

  • Long duration
  • Comfortable
  •   Professional appearance
  • Ideal if you don”t have much time
  • Price
  • More challenging to care for your nails
  • Difficult to remove

The primary obstacles people see with gel polish are cost, maintenance and removal. But with regards to the price, the increasing demand for this kind of nail polish means there’s been an emergence of brands suitable for all budgets. And with regards to maintenance and removal, you really just need to find the right brands and it won’t be an issue!

Does gel nail polish harm the nail?

No, although there are some qualifications. As long as you use quality products, gel polish won’t damage the nail. It’s also very important to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for nail application. And, of course, you should also follow the recommended steps for care and maintenance for both the polish and your nails as well.

If you carefully follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any issues and your nails won’t be negatively impacted by gel nail polish. Even though you might expect that the results from a good and bad quality nail polish are similar, over time you’ll see that using a high quality gel nail polish makes a huge difference.

Thresa SulistioFounder and Owner, Esther’s Nail Center
“Get yourself a nice and handy cuticle oil, because you often need to keep the nails moisturized as using gel polish can be dehydrating.”

How are gel nail polish and traditional polish different?

The main difference between these polishes is that gel nail polish can last as long as three weeks. The gel texture make it more resistant and flexible, preventing peeling or damage over time.

You should also be aware that there are what are known as “long-lasting polishes.” To do away with all doubts, it’s best to compare the three types of polish and know each one’s most important features.

Permanent Traditional Long-lasting
Duration 3 weeks 5-7 days 7-10 days
Composition Acrylic Lacquer Lacquer
Drying UV Lamp or LED Air Air
Finish +++ + ++ 
Layers Base coat+ nail polish + top coat Nail polish Nail polish + top coat

Should nails have time to rest between one permanent manicure and the next?

The answer to this question varies depending on the quality of the products you use. When using high-quality polish, it shouldn’t be necessary to let your nails rest between one color and the next. The answer also depends on how you remove the polish, since this process can damage nails.

These concerns are normal. Having polish on nails for an extended period blocks them from sunlight. The nails also can’t breathe normally. However, there are products that supplement vitamins and nutrients so that you don’t need to let your nails rest.

Why don’t all gel nail polishes last the same amount of time?

The answer to this question is simply because the duration of gel nail polish varies depending on how quickly your nails naturally grow. If your nails grow relatively slowly, the polish will last longer, and vice versa. So even though the average duration of gel polish is three weeks, your experience may be longer or shorter.

Gel nail polish is actually designed to stay attached to nails longer. But what happens is that when the nail grows, the base also moves and polish can become detached from the sides. The nail growth can also be seen in the upper part, attached to the cuticle.

Manicure and pedicure image

Special products will nourish your nails with vitamins and nutrients so that you don’t need to take a break between manicures.
(Source: Dmytro Titov: 39880763/

How should I remove gel polish?

Be aware that gel nail polish can take a bit longer to remove than traditional polish. Usually, it takes about 15 minutes. To remove the polish, you’ll need a nail polish remover that’s suitable for the brand of polish you used. Not every polish remover will successfully remove all types nail polish. Here are two methods to remove gel polish:

  • You can pour acetone into a bowl and dip your nails in.Bit by bit, you’ll see how the polish comes off until it falls completely.
  • You can also put nail polish remover on pieces of cotton wool which are then placed on each nail.As you wait, you can cover the nail with aluminum foil or buy specific cap clips designed for the task.

What type of care does a permanent manicure need?

Because gel nail polish can be a bit more aggressive with your nails, you should be sure to follow proper care advice. One common practice for healthy nails is to apply a restorative nutritive serum that promotes nail growth and nourishes the cuticle. You can do this prior to painting them.

After you’ve applied nail polish, we recommended that you use a moisturizer to keep your hands and nails hydrated and looking great. You can also treat your nails with keratin, which is an essential protein for nail care. Additionally, there are products meant to strengthen nails and prevent damage.

What should I know before using gel polish at home?

The first important thing to know if you’re planning to do a manicure at home is the tools you’ll need. A permanent manicure kit is essential, including a base coat, a polish and a top coat. Additionally, you’ll need a file, a cuticle remover, a cuticle softener oil and a LED or UV lamp for drying.

When you have all the proper tools, you can get to work. Bear in mind that it’s critical you’ve removed all the previous polish before starting a new coat. You’ll also need to have a nail polish remover.

Don’t forget that the first step to beautiful polish is having healthy and strong nails.

Shopping criteria

We’ve gone through the most important questions and concerns about gel nail polish, so now let’s look at what you should keep in mind when purchasing your own. Below, we’ve put together a list of the main purchasing criteria so you can buy with confidence.

Fingernail type

Everyone’s nails are different, and it’s important that you know yours before choosing whether or not to use gel nail polish, and which brand to select. Firstly, if you have weak, peeling or brittle nails, try to restore them before you think about using gel nail polish, since that could damage them even more.

Once you have healthy nails, there won’t be a problem. But there may be a problem if you have oily nails. Oily nails often have a bad result with nail polish, since they prevent proper adherence. If your nails are oily, it’s best to get products that eliminate grease and use them before the polish.

Image of blue painted nails

Gel nail polish will give your nails the look of a professional manicure.
(Source: Marina Kirezhencova: 26585462/


Quality is another crucial purchasing criteria. This isn’t the case just for gel nail polish but for any product that you use on your skin. Nails are an especially sensitive area and require special care. So the higher quality the product, the better.

As we mentioned earlier, gel polish, when misused, can cause harm to your nails. For this reason, quality is particularly important. Try to pick well-known brands that have good expert valuations or are commonly used by professionals.


The composition of most gel nail polishes is similar and all contain plastic ingredients like acrylic. Still, it’s important to check the ingredients of the polishes for other reasons. For example, you may want to look for “Cruelty-Free” polishes, which have not been tested on animals.

Another thing to look out for is polishes that don’t have ingredients harmful to our nails and skin. One of these is hydroquinone monomethyl ether (MeHQ), which must have less than 200 ppm (parts per million). Look closely at the labels to check on this.

This video provides a step-by-step guide for applying gel nail polish:


We can also talk about features or format. The fact of the matter is that this is another factor you need to consider. There are polishes that come in different formats, like brush or pen. You should choose whatever is most comfortable for you.

The amount of polish in the bottle is also something to consider. The ideal bottle size for many is 15 mL because larger contains have some risk of drying out. Some other features to think about are the finish (gloss or matte) and opacity, which will impact how many layers of polish are needed.


Compatibility in gel nail polish is crucial. Firstly, you need a lamp (either LED or UV) compatible with the polish you’re using. If you don’t, the polish won’t dry properly and bubbles or wrinkles can appear. So be sure to check that the polish is compatible with your lamp.

But that’s not the only matter to consider. The polish should also be compatible with your nail polish remover. Even though you may find “universal” nail polish removers, you should ideally use the same brand for both products. This will make ensure that the polish is easily removed and that you don’t cause nail damage. Most polish brands sell their own polish remover.

E-mail of different couleurs

There is a wide variety of colors and styles available for painting your nails.
(Source: Kzenon: 17324711/


Gel nail polish may be the key to an always-perfect manicure. Its acrylic-based composition, when dried with UV or LED lamps, results in flawless polish that lasts an average of two to three weeks. That is quite the achievement!

You can join in this trend right from home, since the best brands offer all you need to do your own manicure using gel nail polish. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and any recommendations in order to easily achieve a professional look that will last longer.

If you found this guide about gel nail polish helpful, please share it on social media or leave us a comment with your thoughts.

(Source of the featured image: belchonock: 97473085/

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