Benefits of Hard Gel Enhancements (Artificials)
What is Hard Gel?
Hard gel is a nail enhancement like acrylic nails, except it cures in a UV light. It is NOT gel polish/shellac/soft gel/soak off gel. You can put gel polish over hard gel (and you should because it looks great). You can extend the length of the nail with hard gel, just like acrylic. It can be sculpted and shaped just like acrylic. The only difference is that hard gel hardens through UV light rather than through evaporating solvents (like acrylic). There are many benefits to using the innovative nail enhancement that is hard gel. Read on to find out more.
“Hard gels have a tight molecular structure and low molecular weight. Because of this tight structure, acetone cannot penetrate to break down the gel… Soft gels (gel polish), however, have a higher molecular weight and elongated molecular structure, creating space between cross-linking agents. The space between allows for solvents (like acetone) to penetrate and break down the product.” (³Nails Magazine)
Why Choose Hard Gel Enhancements
Super shinyTop coat will never discolorhypoallergenicless damaging to nail if there is traumaNo strong fumesLess filingBetter adhesionBonder is acid-freeBonder hides lift lines and fill linesBonder had great adhesionCures in 30 secondsMany gels are self-leveling which creates a natural, smooth finishCan be worn with nail polish for a very natural lookLong-lasting staying powerFiling is faster and easierCan create many different nail shapes (square, round, oval, stiletto, coffin, etc.)
Hard gel is hypoallergenic, which means it is less likely to cause allergies than acrylic. This is because hard gel uses oligomers rather than polymers. “Oligomers are resins that have been reacted with other resins to form a larger resin close to being fully polymerized. Light Elegance gels use a lot of oligomers. Because they are so large they have difficulty getting into the bloodstream and therefore are much safer to use… The large quantities of oligomers makes Light Elegance hypoallergenic.” (¹Light Elegance University Student Handbook)
Hard gel is more flexible and stronger than acrylic, but it’s not as hard. Someone who is used to acrylic may feel that hard gel is weaker, but that is not true. Hard gel can withstand greater pressure and it is less likely to break or crack than acrylic is. Just like acrylic, gel can crack if it is flexed beyond its stretching point. However, because it has more flexibility, it will generally cause less trauma when cracked than when an acrylic nail cracks. It can withstand greater pressure and it will cause less trauma if a crack does occur.
“The viscosity of gels can make the proper bond more error-proof because the gel will naturally seep into all of the macro-crevices of the natural nail.” (²NSI Nail Lab) This means gel will stick to the nail better and have less lifting.
Hard Gel Vs. Acrylic
Hard gel is not necessarily a better enhancement than acrylic nails. Both are very good enhancements when performed by a skilled technician. However, I personally prefer hard gel for many reasons.
No odor, no strong fumesMore hypoallergenic than acrylicMore flexibleFeels and looks more naturalSafe during pregnancyWon’t yellow like acrylic (especially helpful for a hair stylist)Less damaging to the nail in case of traumaSuper shiny and shine lasts until your next fillMore resistant to lifting and cracking than acrylic
Hard gel is more resistant to lifting and cracking than acrylic because of its flexibility. If there is lifting, the hard gel will still stay close to the natural nail and be less bothersome and catch less than lifting on acrylic nails. The flexibility also makes it less likely to crack because it can withstand greater pressure. The flexibility also makes the gel feel much more natural than acrylic because it moves along with the natural nail.
Hard gel is safe during pregnancy. Although there is no evidence to suggest that acrylic nails are unsafe for pregnancy, a woman who is pregnant may still prefer hard gel. If a woman wants to be extra cautious, hard gel is a good substitute nail enhancement during pregnancy. Also, hard gel has no strong odors or fumes. Pregnancy tends to make women extra sensitive to smells and the odor of acrylic may be too much for a pregnant woman. Hard gel has absolutely no odor and it looks just like acrylic.