Polygel Nails Are a Hybrid That Won't Damage Natural Nails

This gentle new formula is an acrylic and gel hybrid. Here's everything you need to know.

Considering how much it costs to get your nails done, who doesn't want a long-lasting manicure? But, if you're someone who doesn't love the bulkiness and process of getting an acrylic set and you're worried about the chance of ruining your natural nails with a gel manicure, then polygel nails are your answer.

Polygel nails are a hybrid between gel and acrylic manicures because they're durable, long-lasting, yet still flexible. They can cause less damage to the natural nail than other gel manicures. Ahead, keep reading to learn more about this innovative manicure formula straight from a nail professional.

What Are Polygel Nails?

Polygel nails are a cross between acrylic and gel nails. "Polygel is considered to be a hybrid formula that combines the durability of acrylic and the elastic application of gel," says Syreeta Aaron, a professional nail artist, and LeChat Nails educator.

Polygel is typically applied in one of two ways. Aaron says the formula comes in a tube that looks like toothpaste. This is applied directly onto the nail on top of a nail form. Then, it's molded to the length and shape you desire. Or, a nail technician can have shapes formed into full tips, then pressed onto the natural nails and cured under a gel lamp.

The average cost for a full set of polygel nails can range between $50 to $150. This price can vary considering the length and shape that a client chooses, explains Aaron.

How Do Polygel Nails Differ from Acrylic and Gel?

The biggest similarities between acrylic and polygel nails are that they are a form of nail extensions, and they can get filled in when new growth appears. However, polygel nails are a bit easier to work with and shape and don't require the use of monomer chemicals, like acrylics.

"With polygel, you can shape the nail for a longer time," says Aaron. Acrylic dries and hardens very quickly after applying, so a nail tech needs to move quickly to get the shape and length you desire. "Polygel hardens after you place it underneath the gel lamp."

Acrylic nails tend to be thicker and sturdier compared to polygel nails. On the other hand, traditional gel nails are thinner and can cause more damage to the natural nails than polygel. "Gel polish on natural nails can bend the nails and cause breakage," says Aaron.

Person's hands with neutral colored polygel nail and wearing rings on multiple fingers
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Are Polygel Nails Safe?

"Polygel can be considered safer for the technician and the client, in that neither is inhaling chemicals, such as monomer," says Aaron.

Polygels can also be safer for your natural nails, as less breakage occurs as long as you're taking care of your nails and carefully removing them when the time comes.

"The removal process makes all the difference regardless of the application of a nail enhancement," says Aaron. "Soaking off is always the best for your nails rather than peeling or tearing off the application, as this peels off layers of your nail plate along with the application."

How Long Do Polygel Nails Last?

A polygel manicure can last up to three weeks, but it depends on your lifestyle and how much wear and tear your nails experience daily. Ultimately, you can expect similar longevity to acrylic nails.

Who's a Good Candidate for Polygel Nails?

If you're someone who's looking for a long-lasting and durable nail enhancement that isn't as bulky as acrylic or thin as a gel, then polygels might be your new favorite thing.

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