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Gel polish recommendations, any advice appreciated

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Jsolanki

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Hello, I recently completed a gel polish course. Please can anyone advise on a good quality gel brand and compatible lamp (hoping to go mobile - part time). I’m not able to purchase a huge selection, but will pay for quality. Totally overwhelmed with the number of brands out there.
 

Tropix

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Hi I have tried a few different ones and I always come back to shellac and nsi they go on well customers love them and best of all last without problems hope that helps
 

Jsolanki

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Thank you for this advice - I’m assuming I can buy a good quality LED lamp that doesn’t need to be branded according to the gel polish. I’ve also heard of Naio Nails, Ink and Gel Bottle, if you’ve had any experience with these, please feel free to comment.
 

jlsdds

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When CND Shellac was initially introduced, the swatches encouraged layering of colors to extend the many colors available.

Many of the reds and burgundy colors are semi transparent making them ideal for this application. The most popular layer we offered was Rose Brocade over Cocoa. Unfortunately, Cocoa was discontinued. But layering over any neutral color is fun and rewarding, since you don’t have to buy another stand alone color.

Many of the blues and greens are also ideal for layering.
 

Trinity

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’m assuming I can buy a good quality LED lamp that doesn’t need to be branded according to the gel polish.
No! Your lamp must be matched correctly with your chosen brand. There is no such thing as a universal lamp. If the product doesn't provide details of a specific match and say 'any lamp' avoid completely. The lamp doesn't necessarily need to be the same brand but it must be the one recommend by the supplier. This protects you and the client from potential issues of allergy, over exposure, etc.

There is a pinned post at the top of the Nails Forum that explains the reasons why lamps must be matched
 

Jsolanki

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Thank you to all that have responded you’ve all been so helpful and knowledgeable, it’s clear that I need to make an informed choice about whichever brand I invest in.
 

Trinity

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Julie Forster

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I am currently using link after rebranding from The Gel Bottle. Lots of techs were experiencing nail separation issues with TGB and there’s been a lot of negativity towards the brand amongst nail techs. Do your research. INK are a British brand with an in house chemist and manufacture in the EU with low levels of monomers with the potential to cause allergies. Can’t fault them so far.
 

Jsolanki

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Thank you to alL the advice above - I think ultimately it’s a case of trying one reputable brand and adjusting later if needed.
 

Thebesttech

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As a nail tech, you should be looking for the following things from a gel polish:

-doesn't burn
-cures all the way
-easy to remove
-lessens the chance of allergies

Now, I have a deeper understanding of how gel polish is made. I understand the business behind it and the science behind it. That is why I can say with alot of confidence, that CND is the best nail product brand out there.

But lets go back to why you should look for those things mentioned above(its more important than you think):

-doesn't burn. You don't want to burn clients. Its a painful experience. If the nail bed is burned enough, it will cause the nail plate to separate. If that happens, it will be very bad for the industry. People will become reluctant to get their nails done. Sure, you may save a couple of dollars by buying a cheap product, but you risk hurting the entire industry on the back of a couple of dollars. But burning is a sign of poor formulation. And you will see it happen often with alot of gel polishes other than CND.

-cures all the way. You cannot see what's happening when a gel cures. You are only limited to feeling that it becomes hard. This is a problem because even though it becomes hard, it does not mean its fully cured. That means that there are ingredients that haven't chemically changed to become harmless. So when you touch the product(from filing or buffing) it can cause allergic reactions. Curing properly depends a lot on the formulation of the gel and the lamp(which is made to work together when they are concieved). Again, I would recommend you use only CND gels and CND lamp. Other products don't cure properly because they aren't formulated properly.

-easy to remove. Nail services have become "fast paced". Time is money motto. This is a problem because the money you make upfront by being fast, comes back to haunt you down the road. A proper service requires time. Doing it fast will require you to cut a lot of corners which, again, will come back to haunt you. Poorly formulated gels are unpredictable in the ease of removal. Some comes off easy while others don't come off at all. This leads to techs using heavy handed and damaging removal techniques. CND gel polish is formulated for easy removal. It forms microscopic cracks when it cures so that when you soak, it will break apart. Simply put, techs aren't properly trained to remove gel polishes. Not enough thought is put into it so that the nail industry will thrive. So this is extremely important - good application and good removal.

-lessens the chance of allergies. Again, there are ingredients in nail products that when touched may cause allergic reactions. Reactions develop over time with repeated exposure. Uncured gel is very bad for the skin. Once your body develops a dislike for the ingredients in nail products, you will have to find a new line of work.

So as you can see, there exist these factors that you must take into account when picking a polish. I always recommend CND products because again, they make great products that takes all of these things into account. Whereas other brands don't. They simply can't - because of business and science knowledge constraints. Its hard not to put these other brands down because many good nail techs use them, but these lower quality brands pose a major risk to the overall nail industry. Its important to try and steer away from them.
 
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jlsdds

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A very important item to use in your application of gel polishes is a plastic-backed cotton pad. The inhibition layer we remove at the end of the service has uncured gel left over in it which you do not want on your skin.

No matter what product line you choose to use, this is a sure way to protect yourself from overexposure which can lead to sensitizing which can lead to allergic reactions.
 

jlsdds

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Thebesttech

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Maybe you meant to say, IMHO, or LOL.
No. I meant what I said.

Most nail techs will never know about these things. The community here is small compared to the number of techs out there who will never go on a forum or further educate themselves.

The reason I know what I know is because I have the luxury of having time on my hands for research purposes. Many nail techs don't have this luxury.
 

Jsolanki

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Thank you Best Tech

Literally this week I invested in CND Shellac after a lot of mulling around and advice seeking.

Hence the reasons you outline above above gives me the confidence that I have made a sound decision based on research and safety and also a good quality appearance. So I thank you for taking the time to post this.

I just hope my (potential) clients will see the value as it has been quite a learning curve for me let alone customers who may not give much thought about product - unless associated with negative experience. Only time will tell.
 

Julie Forster

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CND it’s an amazing product and a brand I’ve used for very long time. However, there are some wonderful brands out there who invest in their research, produce sound, safe products that are producing wonderful results for nail technicians. We are all biased towards the brands that we have chosen to adopt, research is definitely key. Understanding the science behind the product is extremely helpful.
 

Thebesttech

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Thank you Best Tech

Literally this week I invested in CND Shellac after a lot of mulling around and advice seeking.

Hence the reasons you outline above above gives me the confidence that I have made a sound decision based on research and safety and also a good quality appearance. So I thank you for taking the time to post this.

I just hope my (potential) clients will see the value as it has been quite a learning curve for me let alone customers who may not give much thought about product - unless associated with negative experience. Only time will tell.
The goal is to get two weeks of wear for Shellac. Nothing more or less. On some people, Shellac isn't a good fit because they are too hard on their hands. This can lead to techs and clients thinking that Shellac isn't a good product.

Proper application will also affect wear. This requires you to understand yourself. How likely are you to admit wrong? You must be able to pinpoint areas you are not good in, like painting, shaping, learning, asking questions, level of curiosity, etc.

Its important that you set yourself apart from NSS(non standard salons - salons which don't care much for the health of the nails or the industry). IMO, what sets a quality tech from a non quality tech is consideration for HEALTH. Health of the nails and skin. Sanitation is another thing that sets you apart. So you have to emphasize these things to the client and educate them on it. Otherwise they may never see the difference or it may take a long time for them to see the difference. Once you show them and they understand, a light bulb will go off in their head.

Its also important that you charge the right amount for your time and effort. If you are using high quality products and taking the proper time to remove and prep the nails, charge for this time. Its ok to charge more. Keep in mind the market in your area. Are people affluent? If not, you may have to move to an area where they can afford your services.

But with understanding of the business, nails, products, yourself and others you can make better predictions/guesses/hypothesis. Predictions on if a product will be lift prone or difficult to remove, predictions on what part of town you will be able to make the most money, etc

Understanding = better predictions.
 
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Trinity

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Some clients may or may not see the benefits. The problem with Shellac, is that it tends to chip easily vs low quality gels, which can have very good adhesion but poor release from the nails.

Its important that you set yourself apart from NSS(non standard salons - salons which don't care much for the health of the nails or the industry). IMO, what sets a quality tech from a non quality tech is consideration for HEALTH. Health of the nails and skin. Sanitation is another thing that sets you apart. So you have to emphasize these two things to the client and educate them on it. Otherwise they may never see the difference or it may take a long time for them to see the difference. Once you show them, a light bulb will go off in their head.

Its also important that you charge the right amount for your time and effort. If you are using high quality products and taking the proper time to remove and prep the nails, charge for this time. Its ok to charge more. Keep in mind the market in your area. Are people affluent? If not, you may have to move to an area where they can afford your services.

But with understanding of the business, nails, products, you can make better predictions. Predictions on why a product is lifting or difficult to remove(because poorly formulated), predictions on if a certain customer is willing to more for a service because of their financial background.

Understanding = better predictions.
@Thebesttech you've changed!!! But I love it 😆 ;) :cool:
 

Thebesttech

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NancySyd

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-doesn't burn.
-cures all the way.
-easy to remove.
-lessens the chance of allergies.
Thebesttech, in his enthusiasm for CND, often says things that are incorrect and/or misleading. CND is a magnificent brand with great products, but there are many other great brands and products out there. A brand is an important decision (and going with CND is certainly not a bad choice), but much of what he speaks to are about techs and how they work, not about the brands. Identify your needs, choose a reputable brand and work in a responsible manner.

But let me address his other points:
- Burning – I am assuming he means heat spikes. All brands, including CND, can cause heat spikes/burning if improperly applied and/or cured. The curing of gel is an exothermic reaction and heat is released. Too much product applied means a strong exothermic reaction. Additionally, overly buffed and filed nails are very sensitive and can burn quite easily and it is very painful. Cheap, unprofessional brands build durability and fast cures by using lots of photoiniator which puts out lots more heat during curing. The large amount of photoinitators also increases the likelihood of sensitivity and allergies. Reputable professional brands do not burn if applied thinly, cured with the proper lamp, and applied on healthy nails.

-Cures all the way. All reputable professional brands when applied and cured properly, cure completely (i.e., >90%). But gels harden at only about 55% cured. Because there is no easy means of determining a proper cure (even for CND), your best assurance of a proper cure is to follow the manufacturer's instructions, especially using the proper lamp.

-Easy removal. Shellac removes easily because it is a hybrid, but there are other hybrids out there and other brands with easy removal as well. And ease of removal often equates with less durable, so one is always seeking the proper balance between durability and removal, and it's not the same for everyone. But easy removal really isn't really about ease, it's about time and patience. Given enough time and acetone, any decent product will come off. The real issue is making sure you are patient and thorough enough to give the product the time needed to remove it without doing damage to the nails.

-Allergies. Possibly the biggest looming issue out there. Sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost on this and it will have a huge impact on the industry. CND Shellac is hypoallergenic, but there is no medical definition to this. Yes, CND R&D is wonderful, but other brands, large and small (Light Elegance, IKONIQ?), have made R&D a cornerstone of their brand and OPI's R&D division alone is larger than all of CND. While it is certainly manufacturers' responsibility to create products with low likelihood of allergies, the fact is that allergies are most often caused by techs using products improperly. So it is our responsibility to train and work in a way that minimizes allergies (on ourselves and our clients).
 
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Thebesttech

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Thebesttech, in his enthusiasm for CND, often says things that are incorrect and/or misleading. CND is a magnificent brand with great products, but there are many other great brands and products out there. A brand is an important decision (and going with CND is certainly not a bad choice), much of what he speaks to are about techs and how they work, not about the brands. Identify your needs, choose a reputable brand and work in a responsible manner.

But let me address his other points:
- Burning – I am assuming he means heat spikes. All brands, including CND, can cause heat spikes/burning if improperly applied and/or cured. The curing of gel is an exothermic reaction and heat is released. Too much product applied means a strong exothermic reaction. Additionally, overly buffed and filed nails are very sensitive and can burn quite easily and it is very painful. Cheap, unprofessional brands build durability and fast cures by using lots of photoiniator which puts out lots more heat during curing. The large amount of photoinitators also increases the likelihood of sensitivity and allergies. Reputable professional brands do not burn if applied thinly, cured with the proper lamp, and applied on healthy nails.

-Cures all the way. All reputable professional brands when applied and cured properly, cure completely (i.e., over 90%). But gels harden at only about 55% cured. Because there is no easy means of determining a proper cure (even for CND), your best assurance of a proper cure is to follow the manufacturer's instruction, especially using the proper lamp.

-Easy removal. Shellac removes easily because it is a hybrid, but there are other hybrids out there and other brands with easy removal as well. And ease of removal often equates with less durable, so one is always seeking the proper balance between durability and removal, and it's not the same for everyone. But easy removal really isn't really about ease, it's about time and patience. Given enough time and acetone, any decent product will come off. The real issue is making sure you are patient and thorough enough to give the product the time needed to remove it without doing damage to the nails.

-Allergies. Possibly the biggest looming issue out there. Sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost on this and it will have a huge impact on the industry. CND Shellac is hypoallergenic, but there is no medical definition to this. Yes, CND R&D is wonderful, but other brands, large and small (Light Elegance,IKONIQ?), have made R&D a cornerstone of their brand and OPI's R&D division is larger than all of CND. While it is certainly manufacturer's responsibility to create products with low likelihood of allergies, the fact is that allergies are most often caused by techs using products improperly. So it is our responsibility to train and work in a way that minimizes allergies (on ourselves and our clients).
Nancy, do you have any association with any of these other brands?

Its easy to say that other brands are quality, but I have very good reasons to believe the opposite. I've done the actual leg work of looking into these brands. You have to dig deeper if you want a better understanding.

But if I had to recommend another brand, it would be OPI and Light Elegance. Both of these brands have good research and development and are promising brands.

I don't want people to think im just bashing other brands and have no respect for it, but it is what it is. These other brands pose a risk for the industry based on my research. Many of them aren't properly made.

One of these days, I might put together a proper comparison thread, to prove all of this, but it would take a ton of work. I would actually have to fly all the way to california and gather up all evidence from scientific machines and stuff like that. Very costly and time consuming. So for now, readers will just have to take my word and use common sense.
 
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