UV-Cured Nail Polish Vs. Regular Polish

Several different polish options are available with manicures.

Photo: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

UV-cured gels have long been used as a part of professional manicures, but the face of these gels is rapidly changing. A new polish option is now available in many salons that is a combination of a gel manicure and a traditional polish. The gel polish is cured under a UV light as part of the application, but it otherwise looks very similar to regular nail polish.

Application

The application for a UV-cured gel polish is distinctly different from that of a traditional nail polish. You should always have gel polish applied in a salon. A gel polish manicure includes a base coat, two coats of color and a top coat. The nails are cured under a UV light between every coat. If you don’t want to take the time to head to a salon every time you want a new look for your nails, regular polish is a better option. Regular nail polish may be applied safely and easily at home with no complex supplies or application procedures.

Appearance

UV-cured gel polish and regular nail polish look very similar at first glance. Both are available in a variety of colors and give your nails a glossy finish. After a few days, however, these two options will look very different. Gel polish is stronger and resists chipping, scratching and other damage. Regular polish is typically susceptible to damage from the regular wear and tear caused by everyday activities.

Price

Regular nail polish definitely wins if you’re looking for a quick manicure on a budget. The most affordable option is obviously to do a DIY manicure at home. However, even a professional application will cost much less with regular polish than with a gel polish. Manicures that include gel polish typically are at least twice as expensive as a traditional option.

Removal

Just as gel polish should be applied by a professional, it also should be removed by a professional. The removal process further adds to the cost of this type of manicure, but this may be offset by the fact that gel polishes typically last about 14 days. If you’ve been going in for manicures more frequently, it may be worth the expense to get a great-looking polish that will last. If you prefer to do it yourself, you can’t go wrong with regular polish that can be swiped off easily at home.

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