The Difference Between Gel Nails and Gel Polish

The Difference between Gel Nails and Gel Polish

Gel nails and gel polish seem similar for obvious reasons, but it’s worth knowing the differences between the two. These two products both involve materials made of gel. Their final outcomes, though, will have two fairly different looks. Then, there’s the question of which one is better. This may entirely depend on what look you prefer. Learn here which one you might prefer as we look at the difference between gel nails and gel polish.

Gel Nails vs. Gel Polish

Gel nails are essentially nail enhancements in which faux nails are applied over the natural nails. They can cover the whole nail, or they can be applied to the nail tip as extensions. Gel polish, on the other hand, is a nail polish made with gel. It goes directly on the natural nail.

The Nail Application Process

The process of applying these two products varies significantly. Applying gel nails tend to be a bit more of an invasive process compared to using gel polish. With gel nails, the faux nail enhancements or gel tip extensions are applied with an adhesive. The gel product is then applied over the enhancement. Gel nails will also sometimes need to be filled after a few weeks to maintain them. Conversely, gel nail is applied directly to the natural nail and then specially sealed.

The Removal Process

There are very specific differences in the removal processes. Removing gel polish from the natural nail involves soaking them in acetone. The removal process for gel nail enhancements is bit more involved. You begin by cutting down the tip to the natural nail. The top layer then needs to be filed down. The rest can then be soaked off through acetone.


This is a big part of the difference between gel nails and gel polish. Due to the addition of a faux nail over the natural nail, gel nail enhancements end up being much stronger than gel polish. This means they’ll be a bit more durable. The gel polish tends to be more flexible, but it won’t make your nails as tough.