Gel nail polish Vs classic nail polish - which is better?

You’d be forgiven for thinking having a manicure was relatively simple…a bit of me time, a tidy up of the nails and a pop of colour. But take a closer look at the treatment list and the reality is there’s a world of choice – and it’s not just about what colour to pick!

So, if you’re planning a post lockdown pamper, or want to treat yourself to a DIY manicure at home, how do you know which nail polish you should be using?  

Here the nail experts from Semilac Shop, talk you through two of the most popular options out there – the old school classic nail polish and gel nail polish. Is there really much difference between them? Is one better than the other? And more importantly, which one should you be using?

Let’s take a look…


What is ‘regular’ nail polish?

This is the stalwart of the nail polish family, often referred to as ‘nail varnish’. For years it was all that was available and still dominates the shelves in many beauty stores. The downside of classic nail polish is that it chips easily and takes foreveeeeeeeeer to dry!

But fortunately, that’s where gel polish comes in.


What is gel nail polish?

Gel nail polish combines gel and UV with the convenience of regular polish to create a stronger more hardwearing finish that is cured under a UV or LED lamp for dry nails in minutes.


So which is better?

The pros and cons of classic nail polish:

  • No special equipment needed – all you need is a bottle of your chosen colour and you’re ready to go.
  • Requires patience – you might not need special tools, but you will need plenty of patience - and time! Using regular nail polish, you will have to wait at least 20 minutes for each coat to dry, and to get proper results from the colour, you’ll usually need to apply a minimum 2 or 3 coats!
  • Chips easily - with classic nail polish you’re likely to get a week, tops, from your manicure before it starts looking tired.
  • Easy to remove – no faffing, just wipe with a basic nail varnish remover and you’re done, giving you the freedom of changing colours more frequently.
  • Plenty of choice – as a supermarket staple, classic polish is easy to get hold of with a rainbow of colours and shades available.
  • Cheap – whilst costs can vary for regular nail polish, prices usually start from as little as a few pounds.
  • Good for marbling – if you like to get artistic with your nails then classic polish works well with marble art but other options are more limited.


The pros and cons of gel nail polish:

  • It lasts – with gel nail polish you can enjoy your manicure for up to 2 weeks – often longer if you take good care of it. Hard wearing and extremely resistant to chips, your polish will be growing out before it shows any other signs of wear.
  • Dries quickly – the UV light used to set gel nail polish cuts drying time to just a few minutes. So no more waddling around in flip flops in the middle of winter waiting for your toenails to dry or biding time before you can carry out simple task like typing out a text message or fastening your coat.
  • Less chance of smudging – not only do you need patience with classic nail polish but you’re likely to also be frequently plagued with the frustration of smudging. Not so with gel nail polish. Its super speedy curing time dramatically reduces the risk of you smudging all your hard work.
  • Salon quality results - even when applied at home using gel nail polish you will get salon quality results.
  • More expensive – in the interests of giving a balanced overview, then yes, it’s true to say that gel nail polishes are usually more expensive than regular. But balance this against their quality and longevity on the nail and the difference is negligible.
  • Trickier to remove – people sometimes avoid gel nail polish thinking they have to visit a salon to have it removed. Not so! There are plenty of easy ways to remove gel nails at home so don’t miss out.
  • Nail art – with gel nails the nail art possibilities are endless, so it’s the ideal choice if you like to get creative.


The verdict

Hands down (see what we did there?!) gel polish wins every time. Yes, gel nail polish may be a little more expensive, yes it may take longer to remove BUT when you balance this against the fact that it lasts longer, looks better and can actually be relatively easily removed at home with the right tools, then for us the winner has to be gel polish.


Talk to the gel nail experts

The only way to really decide which is best is to try for yourself. And thankfully here at the Semilac Shop we’ve got everything you need to get started with gel nails. From a fabulous range of gel polish colours, to UV lamps, nail files and handy manicure removing sets.

There’s nothing our team don’t know about gel nail polish. So, if you have any questions about using gel polish or about any of the products we have available, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch – nails are our favourite subject!