Polygel is one most convenient materials for a manicure. It rapidly gained popularity in the nail industry since it’s easy to work with and its application is way broader than regular gel nail polish. Here we provide a full tutorial on how to use it.
What is Polygel?
Polygel is a hybrid material and is essentially a combination of polymer gel and acrylic powder.
Thus it has the benefits of both: the flexibility of hard gels and the durability of acrylic.
Ways to Apply Polygel Nails at Home
There are several methods you can apply polygel nails. The choice of one depends on your level of skill and the goal you want to achieve.
You can apply polygel directly onto your natural nails. To get nail extensions you will have to use Plastic Dual Forms, Paper Nail Forms, or Nail Tips.
Applying Polygel Directly On Natural Nails
You have the option to use polygel as a usual gel polish.
First of all, you need to prep your nails by trimming your cuticle. It’s easier to cut it off, but if you don’t want that, you can simply push it back. You shouldn’t apply the gel onto a smooth nail surface, so you need to remove the shine from nails with a medium grit buffer.
Apply a degreaser (or acetone), dehydrator, and primer onto every nail. Once you are done with nail prep, apply a gel base coat to each nail and cure under a UV/LED lamp for 30 to 60 seconds.
To apply polygel you will need a spatula tool, a brush, and rubbing alcohol, which is used as a slip solution to dip a brush into. Squeeze a small amount of polygel onto the tip of the spatula and transfer it onto your nail. Shape it with a brush to have an arc in the middle.
Poly gel should be cured for 60 seconds in a UV/LED lamp and covered with a top coat.
What are Dual Forms?
Dual forms are made of plastic and look similar to tips. They come in a package in many different sizes to fit your nails. After curing they come off easily, so you can use them multiple times.
They were designed to work with polygel specifically and are the most common way to apply polygel nails at home since they are beginner-friendly.
The reason is that you don’t have to sculpt your nails and file them too much as a result.
How to Use Dual Forms
Same as before, start with nail prep. Trim your cuticle, buff your natural nail, and apply degreaser, dehydrator, and nail primer. Cover your nails with a base coat and cure it.
Now select a matching dual form for every finger. Wipe a bead of polygel from the tip of the spatula onto the tip of a form. Using a brush dipped in alcohol evenly distribute polygel in the form to get the desired shape and length. Make sure there are no air bubbles inside of the gel.
Firmly press the form onto your nail. Remove the dual form from the nail extension. Repeat steps 1 to 2 for all nails. Only then file the extensions to even length and form and buff them to smooth the ragged edges. Apply top coat and cure it.
Tips for Dual Forms
Dual forms are usually curved so you shouldn’t make extensions too long, as they would look unnatural. You should also cut your nails short to achieve better results.
You can mix poly gel with gel nail polish or any nail design piece straight in the form to create nail art. However, it takes some level of skill to get a good result.
What are Paper Forms?
Paper forms are either thin plastic or stiffened paper stickers that usually come in a roll. These nail forms must be attached to the finger under your natural nail. It provides a base on top of which you sculpt your nails with builder gel.
They are not reusable, but aren’t expensive either. And you don’t have to worry about buying them too often, the pack usually consists of a hundred forms.
Paper nail forms require a higher level of skill compared to dual forms, however, they are a better option for straight nails as they blend more naturally with your nail form.
How to Use Paper Forms?
After preparing your nails stick paper form firmly onto your finger so that it resides under your nail.
Squeeze a bead of poly gel onto the spatula and then transfer it onto your nail.
Using a polygel brush dipped into rubbing alcohol sculpt a bead of gel to get the shape and length you want and cure for 60 seconds in a LED or UV lamp. Once polygel is cured file it to even your nails and then apply the top layer and cure it as well.
Tips for Paper Forms
Using paper forms you can regulate the width of your nail extension. You can make a sticker form wider or more narrow to regulate the shape of an extension.
Similar to dual forms, you can mix polygel with nail design materials, such as glitters or powders.
How To Use Polygel with Tips?
Combining polygel with tips is an original method to do your manicure.
Tips are acrylic plastic fake nails you stick onto your natural nails with glue. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so they would be the easiest in terms of filing afterward.
Once you prep your nails, select the tips to fit each nail. Cut your nail tips to a needed length and glue them so that nail tips cover about one-third of the nail. Buff it as well to get rid of the smooth surface. Apply base coat, cure it, then sculpt poly gel. Cure it and cover it with a top coat.
How to Remove Polygel Nails Without Damaging Natural Nail Surface?
Removing polygel nails at home is more accessible compared to removing acrylic hard gel nails since polygel can be removed using a special solution (or acetone) to soften and separate gel from your nails.
To do that you should coat a cotton pad with acetone and attach it to the nail with foil or special forms.
You can also use an electric file, which should consider getting if you plan on using polygel regularly. It will make the removal process and correcting the shape of nail extensions much easier.
Tips and Conclusions
Personally, I prefer dual forms as they require less effort, but to find what really fits you best you’ll have to try them all out.
You can paint your extensions with regular nail polish or gel polish.
Use a regular one after covering the polygel layer with a gel top coat so you can repaint your nails without removing nail extensions. If you use gel polish, apply it onto the polygel layer and then cover it with a gel top coat.
Do you need a UV light for Polygel nails?
Some gels can only be cured in a UV lamp, others – in LED. The curing time for any gel also depends on the lamp. Such info is usually provided on the package of a gel.
What not to do with polygel?
Do not use excessive amounts of liquid so that a layer is not too dense near the sides of the wall/cuticle.
Don’t work with a dry brush, always use a slip solution, otherwise, it will stick to poly gel.
Do you cure base coat for Polygel?
Using a base layer with polygel is not necessary, but desirable. It protects your natural nails as well as provides better adhesion between them and polygel extensions.