Polish vs. Gel Manicures

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 13:30

What’s better: polish manicures or gel manicures? The straight answer is that it depends on your life circumstances and priorities. Manicures are practical for hygiene and nail maintenance, allowing you to have beautiful nails as you live your busy life.

Let’s take a look at the differences between polish and gel nails to determine the best manicure for you.

Polish Manicures

Lifespan: 1-7 days
Drying Time: 20 minutes
Removal: Nail polish remover and cotton balls

Polish Application

For a traditional nail polish application, professionals will clean and shape your nails. After a hand massage, a professional applies a base coat, waits for it to dry, and then applies 2 coats of your chosen color, followed by a quick-dry top coat.


Polish manicures are quick to chip, sometimes not even lasting a full 24 hours. The slow drying process can also be frustrating when you’re in a rush. Nothing is more annoying than a nail polish wrinkle, and for traditional nail polish, this can sometimes happen directly after application. Finally, multiple coats of polish are required to gain the desired color, which can take longer to finish and set, also posing a problem if you are in a hurry.


Polish manicures are easy to change by yourself. You can have a different color on your nails every other day if you so desire. Polish manicures are often more affordable as well. Regular nail polish also allows for more creativity in nail design due to its ability to be manipulated more easily than the thicker gel. A polish manicure is ideal for the person who doesn’t want to commit to a color for several weeks.

Gel Manicures

Lifespan: 2-3 weeks
Drying Time: 1 minute
Removal: File nail surface, soak off with acetone 

Gel Polish Application

Although very similar to a classic polish manicure, a gel polish includes some extra steps. The gel manicure still has nail cleaning, shaping, and hand massaging, but the gels are set with a UV light for curing 3-4 for up to a minute each time.


We love how long gels will last, but the removal process requires the skills of a professional rather than just cotton balls and nail polish remover. While gel polish can last for weeks without chipping, its removal requires soaking, UV light, and filing. Gel manicures are also costlier than a traditional manicure and more expensive to maintain.


The long-lasting wear of gel polish makes this kind of manicure a clear winner for someone who is on-the-go and uses their hands a lot. Due to the heartiness of gel polish, fingernails are often able to grow longer than without the support of the gel. The UV light sets the gel polish in no time so you are able to leave the salon and immediately use your hands without fear of chipping or wrinkling. For someone with weak nails, gel polish creates a strong layer that will prevent chipping or cracking.

Whether you prefer a traditional or gel nail polish, we can give you a beautiful manicure that will fit your lifestyle. Schedule your appointment today by calling (352) 335-9920.