You are here
Home > Features > The new gel polish

The new gel polish

By Gordon Ashdown


I thought I would take a walk on the wild side and talk about the new product category being created by such manufacturers as Shellac from CND, Polish Pro from NSI, and many more. The category is a hybrid – not a real gel, and not a nail polish, but somewhere in between.  They apply like a polish in that you paint them on with a brush, but then you cure them in an ultra-violet light like a conventional gel.  It’s a straight-forward base coat, colour, top coat application, and it lasts longer than polish, but not as long as gel.  The application is removed with a soak in acetone, whether in the salon or at home.  Many claims are made as to how long the application will last and most agree that a week or so on the hands, and two weeks or so on toes is about normal.  It’s been said that gel polish can last for five or even six weeks on toes.  Now that’s performance!

Now so far I haven’t told you anything you don’t already know.  Here’s where some confusion still exists as to what to do with this interesting new product.  Some nail technicians have moved their gel clients to this category.  Some polish clients have been moved to gel polish, and what have we accomplished?  We must remember that this product has created a new category altogether.  It fills the space between gel and regular nail polish. Remember, not all polish clients want to be bothered using acetone to remove the polish, and few gel clients want to lose the great wear ability of gel.  So focus on the “category” and not on switching your clients to this great new product.  Make sure you know what each client is looking for before you suggest they switch. Keep in mind, as always, it’s all about the client.  Ask about the client’s lifestyle; do they spend hours on a keyboard?  Do they do dishes every day?  Are they gardeners?  Mechanics?  This all helps determine if you should suggest they move to this category.  Remember that you’re the expert, and that you need to ask questions before you recommend.

15-3Now about the new products coming soon to a distributor near you.  It seems that to build in more wear, manufacturers are trying to make their product more gel-like.  That sounds good, right?  Well then, why not just go to a soak-off gel?  Well we’ve likely been doing just fine with our clients for years with regular gel, right?  So, then where should manufacturers go with this?  Some of my clients have some suggestions.  If gel works for you and your clients are happy with it, don’t rock the boat.  If you need to get your pedicure clients out the door quickly and safely with no smudges, or just keep their polish looking good longer, maybe this is for that client.

Now please don’t be too hard on me for what I’m about to say.  Most manufacturers / distributors have deemed that you don’t have to be gel trained to use the “gel polish” products.  From my point of view, you still need to know all about sanitation, how to properly file, good product application, and so on, for the best and safest result for your client. This is an ideal situation for someone doing hair services to help fill up their day profitably and add new tools to their toolbox.  After all, a busy day, a happy client, and a good income are about as good as it gets!

About Gordon Ashdown

15-5Gordon founded Can-West Agencies Ltd. in 1995 and has been the manager ever since.  He has an extensive business background spanning many years and many businesses.  The excitement and variety of the esthetics business continues to inspire him every day.  Your comments and experiences related to this article would be appreciated. Email Gordon at