The Different Types of Nail Polish and Which One Is Right For You

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There are a lot of different types of nail polish out there, and they’re not all created equal! So how do you choose the best nail polish? Here’s what you need to know about all the different types of nail polish on the market today, so you can make an informed decision when you head to the store to buy your new favorite color!


Better Than Gel? A recent trend to note is the shellac manicure. It’s a regular nail polish application that’s been lacquered over with a special resin, which cures under UV light. Unlike gel polish, it doesn’t get stiff when it dries and offers all of its gorgeous colors for two weeks—and then comes off in seconds! Shellac is still new to some areas but will be common soon. If you have thin nails or your nails tend to break easily, shellac might be your best bet because it’s not as hard on your nails as other types of polish. If you like having different colors every week, shellac may not be for you because it takes longer than other options to remove old colors and apply a new one. This can also lead to chipping more quickly if you don’t wait long enough between applications.

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Gel nail polish

It’s a full-coverage polish that requires UV light to cure. It lasts up to three weeks and is very durable; it can be difficult to remove, but most do so with regular nail polish remover. The initial application of gel polish can be expensive, and removal is tricky; use only acetone-based nail polish remover. Gel polish is like regular nail polish in that it’s made up of two components: a base coat and a color, with a possible topcoat. The difference is that gel polishes are cured under an LED light or in UV light, which not only makes them last longer than regular nail polish (up to 14 days) but gives them a stronger finish as well. Gel nails generally need to be professionally done (not to mention costly, running at about $40 per session) and removal can also be difficult.

LED manicures

The newest craze to hit nail salons is LED manicures. They offer some wonderful benefits over traditional manicures. They’re much more natural-looking, don’t dry out your nails, and can last for weeks on end. Before you go and get one, however, there are a few things you should know about them—which I’ll tell you about below! First of all, it might surprise you to learn that they use real light in these manicures rather than artificial UV rays. So why would you want real light? Well, firstly because UV lights cause cancer (but only if you spend long periods under them). Secondly, they’re not as damaging to your skin or nails. Thirdly, because they don’t make your hands feel hot like sunbeds do. And fourthly…well, actually that’s pretty much it!

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Regular nail polish

Goes on relatively sheer and dries to a touchable finish. This is generally best for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time getting ready in the morning but still like some color on their nails. Tip: Many experts recommend using a base coat with regular nail polish to protect your nails from staining or discoloration and make them last longer. Base coats also help even out your nail surface so that you get an even application of color.

Another good option if you just want something quick and easy is gel polishes. Which go on opaque and dry quickly (like regular polish) but last much longer (up to two weeks).  Gels tend to be more expensive than regular polishes, so they may not be as cost-effective in the long run. Gel manicures also require a UV light, so it’s best to get them done at a salon or spa. Tip: If you can’t afford to get your nails done professionally every week. Try investing in a quality home kit like those from CND or Sally Hansen.

OPI gel color

Durable polish that lasts for a long time without chipping. OPI gel color is great for those who want their nails to look professional and well-maintained. This type of polish goes on thicker than regular nail polish and can be cured under a UV light to help keep it from smudging or discoloring. It’s also made with sealants that protect your nails from getting stained. Gel color costs more than other types of polish. So you may find yourself shelling out more money to maintain beautiful nails. However, if you don’t mind spending a little extra cash on top-of-the-line products. Then gel color could be worth looking into.

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