Technically speaking, hard gel (also called traditional or standard gel) is similar to acrylic in its chemical makeup. It’s made of monomers and/or oligomers (chains of monomers) plus other ingredients that help the gel remain workable, adhere to the nail, harden properly and resist yellowing. Hard gel is applied to the nail straight from the pot (no mix ratio required) and each layer is cured under a UV or LED light. The curing process, called polymerization, creates a strong, compact polymer that solvents can’t penetrate—which means hard gel can only be removed by filing. After curing, a tacky film of uncured gel, called the inhibition layer, is left and must be removed with nail cleanser. -NailPro.com-
So, is it for you? Well, Hard Gel is something that I recommend to clients who are sensitive to the odor of acrylic, who want to work with their natural nails, and who have problems such as brittle, weak, or damaged nails. However, there are a few things to consider before jumping into the world of Hard Gels.
It CANNOT be removed with acetone like Gel Polish and Acrylics. For the hard gel to be removed, it must be carefully filed off.
The product produces a “Heat Spike”. As the curing chemical reaction occurs in the the LED lamp, the product heats up. When this happens, some clients might feel discomfort, some more than other, for a couple of seconds.
Hard Gel May still cause an allergic reaction. Those who have had a reaction to acrylic are more likely to have a similar reaction to Hard Gel.
When the product grows out, it has to be Rebased like acrylic after a good cuticle care, and prep routine. After about 3-5 Rebased, the “original” product should be removed and start fresh to prevent lifting at the center of the nail, and to prevent cracking of the product.
Damage to your natural nail is not caused by the product, unless you have a negative skin reaction to it. Damage to the natural nail is usually caused by careless nail techs, or injury by the client to their own nails.
Now that we have gone through all of that, how do you feel about Hard Gels? I am a Gel nail tech, so I don’t work with acrylic. I like that Hard Gel is virtually odorless, and that it is a good option for my clients who want to maintain their natural nails. Like always, I suggest you ask questions and do your own research. They are after all YOUR phalanges.