Even though many of us aren’t getting the chance to be seen by anyone outside of your household due to lockdown measures, we still want to look good. It’s only human. Getting my nails done with Japanese gel at one of the few New York salons that specialize in the technique was part of my monthly beauty ritual. But now, as nail salons are still shut down in many states, and those that are open probably aren’t with the risk, I mostly accepted my hands would look like that of a 16-year-old boy for the foreseeable future.
But a few months ago, my Instagram explore page started filling with this seemingly simple do-it-yourself nail process (likely a result of longingly scrolling through nail design pages) called polygel.
Polygel is an all-in-one, odorless non-acrylic nail extension alternative that requires no mixing. The full kits come with everything you need to do a full set from your home. They generally include clear and colored polygels, a UV or LED lamp, brush, nail molds, a nail file, base and top coats, and slip solution.
I’m very impatient, heavy-handed and not the most artistic person in the world, so when I saw the YouTube videos of beauty vloggers applying these nails and getting flawless results, I was skeptical about it working for me. But I was very impressed with my first-time results. My nails had a nice shape and felt just as strong as when I’d get them done at a salon.
The molds make it super easy to get the shape you want without having a crazy amount of excess polygel clumped onto your nail. They cure quickly and once they’re set, they don’t budge. I even played around with the glitter!
I will say that I made them a little too thick my first time. I could have thinned them out a bit in the mold before applying because a little goes a long way. The biggest lift for me was the filing. I’d recommend investing in an electric nail file to help with shaping. And you’ll probably need it for removal too. This process was made to last and you can definitely tell when you’re doing it.
Polygel is picking up traction but finding a good-quality kit that has everything you need can be a bit difficult. Here are a few we recommend giving a try.
Buy on Amazon, $60
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