Gel Nail Polish vs. Regular Nail Polish

The world of nail polish has evolved significantly over the years, presenting us with a myriad of options to express our personal style and creativity.  Among these options, gel nail polish and regular nail polish stand out as popular choices.  But how do they differ, and which one is better for your nails?  In this article, we'll dive deep into the realm of nail polishes, exploring the pros and cons of gel nail polish and regular polish to help you make an informed decision.

Is Gel Polish Better for Your Nails than Regular?

One of the primary questions that arise when considering nail polish is whether gel polish is truly superior to regular polish in terms of nail health.  Gel nail polish is often praised for its long-lasting nature and chip-resistant properties.  However, experts suggest that its extended wear could potentially lead to weakened nails if not applied and removed correctly.  On the other hand, regular nail polish is easier to apply and remove, which might be gentler on your nails in the long run.  The choice between the two depends on your priorities – durability or nail health.

What's the Difference Between Gel Polish and Regular Polish?

Gel polish and regular polish are both types of nail polishes, but they have significant differences in terms of application, appearance, durability, and removal. 

Gel Nail Polish Versus Regular Nail Polish

Gel Nail Polish


Regular Nail Polish

Formulation  A thicker, gel-like substance Film-forming liquid
Drying Process UV or LED curing Air-dried
Drying Time <2 minutes >7 minutes
Longevity About a week Around two to three weeks

Wear and Tear

No chipping or peeling. Will chip,peel or fad
Removal Soaked in acetone for 15-minutes. Wiped off with remover and cotton balls.

1. Formulation:

Regular Nail Polish: Regular nail polish, also known as traditional or regular lacquer, is a liquid mixture of color pigments and solvents. It dries when exposed to air, forming a hard layer on the nail surface.

Gel Nail Polish: Gel polish is a thicker, gel-like substance that requires UV or LED light to cure and harden. It's a combination of acrylic monomers and oligomers that polymerize when exposed to UV or LED light.

2. Application:

Regular Polish: Regular polish is applied in multiple coats—base coat, color coat(s), and top coat—allowing each layer to air dry before applying the next.

Gel Polish: Gel polish is applied in a similar manner, but each layer (base coat, color coat(s), and top coat) needs to be cured under a UV or LED lamp to harden and set.

3. Drying and Curing:

Regular Polish: Regular polish dries through evaporation, which can take several minutes to an hour for each layer to completely set.

Gel Polish: Gel polish requires a UV or LED lamp to cure each layer, which takes only a few minutes per layer. This results in a faster and more durable finish.

4. Durability:

Regular Polish: Regular polish is more prone to chipping, peeling, and fading, and it generally has a shorter lifespan on the nails compared to gel polish.

Gel Polish: Gel polish is known for its longevity. It's more resistant to chips and can maintain a glossy finish for up to two weeks or more, depending on the brand and individual nail care habits.

5. Removal:

Regular Polish: Regular polish can be easily removed using acetone-based nail polish remover.

Gel Polish: Gel polish removal involves soaking the nails in acetone or using specially designed gel polish removal wraps. The process can take longer and may require some gentle scraping or filing to completely remove the cured layers.


The debate between gel nail polish and regular nail polish is not about which is definitively better, but rather which aligns better with your lifestyle and priorities. Both options offer unique benefits, from gel polish's durability to regular polish's versatility. By understanding the differences and assessing your own needs, you can confidently choose the nail polish that suits you best, allowing your creativity to shine through your impeccably styled nails.

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