18 Best Professional Gel Nail Polish Brands Used In Salons: The Updated List For 2021

Gel manicure has become a beauty staple. Every salon offers it. So both salon owners and clients need to know the popular professional gel nail polish brands used in salons.

Gel nail polishes are durable. They stay on for weeks without chipping or peeling. They dry very quickly, usually under a UV/LED lamp. And they have an amazing shiny look that is to die for.

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GelishGelish Mini Marilyn Color Collection 9 mL Soak Off Gel Nail Polish Set, 3 Color Pack with Marilyn Monroe Inspired ColorsThe original LED polish, a favorite of many nail techs.CHECK ON AMAZON
DNDDNDDuo Gel (Gel & Matching Polish) Fall Set 446 - Wood Lake by DND GelDuo packs with gel and ordinary polishes.CHECK ON AMAZON
LeChatLeChat - Perfect Match Gel Polish - Flawless White - White with Cream Finish - (0.5 Ounce) - Easy Application - Soak Off FormulaWell-pigmented professional gel polishes that give good coverage in one coat, each color has a matching regular polish.CHECK ON AMAZON
IBDIBD Just Gel Nail Polish, Mauve Over, 0.5 Fluid OuncePro polishes with a huge range of colors and a convenient brush.CHECK ON AMAZON
Gel IIGel II Reaction Color Changing Mood Nail Polish UV Soak Off Blue Shark Bite R126Pro 2-step polishes with no base coat that last.CHECK ON AMAZON
Kiara SkyKiara Sky Gel Polish Ombre Glow - G706 KISS AND MAKEUPOmbre polishes.CHECK ON AMAZON
Bio SeaweedBIOSEAWEED Unity CollectionHealthy, non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free.CHECK ON AMAZON
Orly GelFXOrly GelFX Builder in a Bottle (.6 Fl. Oz. / 18 mL)Non-toxic gel nail polish with vitamins and a builder gel.CHECK ON AMAZON
EZ Flow TruGelEZ Flow 2nd Launch Pretty Princess Gel Polish, 0.5 Fluid OuncePopular professional polish.CHECK ON AMAZON
BeetlesBeetles Gel Nail Polish Set-Spring into Summer Collection 20 Colors Gel Nail Polish Pastel Neon Gel Polish Red Pink Glitter Purple Nail Gel SetGel polish sets with lots of colors and effects.CHECK ON AMAZON
AimeiliAIMEILI Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish - Sparkle Grapefruit (018) 10mlBeginner-friendly versions of popular pro polishes.CHECK ON AMAZON
Red CarpetRed Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit with New Portable Light, 2 OunceBeginner-friendly sister polish of Gelish for at-home manicures.CHECK ON AMAZON
Mia Secret GeluxMia Secret Gelux Soak Off Gel Polish Kit, Quick Drying Nail Glitter, Long-Lasting Shine, Safe and Stylish, Low Odor, Excellent Adhesion and Elegant Shine, Complete Gel Nail Polish Kit,Pro polish with a wide array of colors.CHECK ON AMAZON
CND ShellacCND Shellac Gel Nail Polish, Long-lasting NailPaint Color with Curve-hugging Brush, Plum/Berry Polish, 0.25 fl ozThe first-ever UV gel polish on the market, non-toxic and cruelty-free.CHECK ON AMAZON
CND VinyluxCreative Nail Creative Nail Design Vinylux Nail Lacquer, Wildfire, 0.5 Fluid OunceProfessional no-light gel nail polish.CHECK ON AMAZON
Born PrettyBORN PRETTY Cat Magnetic Eye Gel Nail Polish Set 9D Cat Gel Polish with Black Gel Polish Top Base Gel Magnetic Stick and Nail Brush ToolMagnetic cat-eye effect polishes.CHECK ON AMAZON
Essie Gel Coutureessie Gel Couture Platinum Grade Finish Top Coat, 0.46 Ounces (Packaging May Vary)No-light gel nail polish.CHECK ON AMAZON
Sally HansenSally Hansen Miracle Gel Pink/Nude/Red Nail Polish Set, .5 Oz, Variety PackNo-light gel nail polish.CHECK ON AMAZON

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

So I’ve asked professional nail technicians and salon owners what brands they prefer working with. I’ve also tried out and analyzed the ingredient lists of all the best gel nail polishes on the market. And here are the best gel nail polish brands used in salons.

Gelish

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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Gelish was one of the first soak-off professional gel nail polish brands on the market, and the first one to come with a brush.

In fact, its brush is very convenient and when I tried it I was able to paint each nail in only 3 strokes.

This product line was developed by the two-time International Champion in acrylic nails Danny Haile.

Haile wanted to create a brush-on gel polish that would last up to 21 days without chipping or peeling.

So it’s one of the most durable gel nail polishes on the market, and this is a huge plus!

Pretty much like CND Shellac, its main competitor among professional gel nail polish brands used in salons, Gelish polish uses a 3-step application process.

Like Shellac, it requires a nail cleanser.

However, unlike Shellac, Gelish needs a more thorough preparation of the nail plate, which takes a bit of extra time, and this can be a downside for some people.

But the nail prep steps increase the longevity of the polish a lot.

You’ll need to buff the shine off the nail plate, dehydrate the nail plate with the Gelish pH Bond.

Then you can apply the base coat, the color polish and the shiny top coat.

Gelish needs to be cured with an LED lamp.

It’s a quick-drying professional gel polish. It takes only 30 second to cure it under a standard LED lamp.

But it can also be cured in a UV lamp. It will just take a bit more time, about 2 minutes.

In fact, Gelish was the first LED curable gel polish ever released.

There are over 200 colors in the Gelish gel polish line. This is another plus. You can choose any shade imaginable to unleash your creativity.

Most Gelish colors offer great coverage in 2 coats. Some lighter ones are pretty sheer and can require 3 coats.

Many Gelish polishes come in sets of mini bottles. This is very convenient for trying out new colors.

Another plus, in comparison with Shellac, is that Gelish comes in a larger bottle so you get more product.

DND

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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The DND professional gel nail polish brand was launched in 2011 by a team of people with a background in nail art.

Their products are made in Los Angeles, California.

They sell their gel nail polishes as duo packs that contain gel polish and ordinary nail polish that come in the same color.

A DND gel polish from the DND Duo pack requires the same 3 step application and soak-off removal process as most other gel polishes.

You need to apply a base, a color coat, and a top coat, curing every layer with an LED or UV lamp. As with Gelish, it will only take 30 seconds under an LED lamp and 2 minutes under a UV lamp to dry it. This is another quick-drying gel nail polish.

Both kinds of lamps are fine to use with DND gel polishes.

The DND base coat and top coat are not included in the duo sets. You can buy them separately.

They also come in a duo package that consists of the base and the top coat bottles.

DND is a durable gel polish. It stays on very well, for about 2-3 weeks without chipping or peeling.

However, if you need to apply your polish quickly, and don’t want to wear it for too long then you can choose the ordinary polish from the same DND Duo pack and use it for coating your nails or for quick touch-ups.

So it’s ideal for both salon nail techs and at-home users.

LeChat Perfect Match

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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LeChat is an almost 30-year-old brand of nail products from San Francisco, CA.

The company manufactures powder gel systems and Perfect Match professional gel nail polish used in salons that has regular polish dupes.

The colors of gel polishes match the colors of LeChat’s regular polishes. So you can use these ordinary lacquers for quick touchups and fill-ins for your gel manicure.

You can either buy LeChat gel polish and regular polish separately or together in duo packs.

LeChat Perfect Match gel nail polish goes on very smoothly. It’s also well-pigmented and provides opaque coverage even in one layer.

The black shade of Perfect Match is probably the best black gel nail polish on the market. You get a true opaque black with no green, blue, or purple undertones in just one coat.

LeChat comes in a lot of different beautiful colors, including mood-changing gradients.

It also has a wider array of nude shades than Gelish and is as strong and long-lasting as Gelish.

Its colors don’t fade with time.

LeChat is even stronger than CND Shellac. However, it’s more difficult to soak off than Shellac.

The downside of LeChat gel nail polish is that if you make the layers a bit too thick it shrinks during the curing process and, as I’ve already mentioned above, becomes difficult to remove.

So you should try to apply it in very thin layers, especially when putting on the base coat. You can achieve it by wiping the polish brush against the opening of the polish bottle to take the excess product off the brush.

You can cure LeChat in 30 seconds under an LED lamp. If you want to use a UV lamp with this product then the manufacturer suggests using their own powerful LeChat 36-Watt UV lamp. It can even cure this polish in 1 minute.

IBD Just Gel

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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IBD (International Beauty Design) has been manufacturing professional nail products for more than four decades.

The company’s most famous product is its range of amazing builder gels. But their gel nail polish is also one of the top products in the nail industry.

IBD professional gel nail polish is one of the best alternatives to Gelish gel nail polish.

It’s opaque, very long-lasting, and, like all the UV polishes on this list, cures both under UV and LED nail lamps.

Just like the professional gel nail polishes I’ve mentioned above, IBD is another quick drying polish that cures in 30 seconds in an LED lamp and 2 minutes under a UV lamp.

IBD gel nail polish comes in a huge selection of colors.

It also has a very convenient brush that lets you paint it on smoothly in 3 strokes.

You can easily apply it in a thin layer and this lets you cure it and remove it with no problems.

The only downside that it has is that most colors are quite sheer so you may need extra layers for better coverage.

Gel II

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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Gel II is another professional gel nail polish brand used in salons.

Even though it’s a 2-step gel nail polish that has the base coat mixed in with the color polish, many nail techs report that it’s stronger than Shellac, which is pretty impressive.

Most 2-step polishes last a lot less than the traditional 3-step polishes because they don’t have the extra sticking power that a separate base coat provides.

But it seems not to be the case with Gel II.

I’ve had it last for up to 18 days, while some gel polishes chip after a week.

Of course, it’s recommended that you perform the nail prep steps using dehydrator and primer to make this polish last longer.

So it’s the best 2-step gel nail polish that I’ve tried.

The downsides of this professional gel nail polish are that most colors require 3 coats for full coverage instead of the usual 2 and that it has a stronger smell than Shellac or Beetles.

Kiara Sky

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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Kiara Sky has a really cute story behind its title. It’s the name of the owner’s little daughter.

The polishes are easy to apply without bubbles and don’t shrink during the curing process if applied right.

Kiara Sky polishes are different from other products on this list because they are 2-step gel nail polishes.

They can be applied in two steps. First, the color coat and after that, the top coat only.

That means the Kiara Sky gel polish manicure doesn’t require a separate base coat.

The base coat is already mixed in with the color polish.

You can simply coat your natural nails with gel polish without a base layer underneath.

You can either cure each coat with an LED lamp for 30 seconds or use a UV lamp for a couple of minutes.

Then just remove Kiara Sky gel polish by soaking it off with an acetone-based remover.

Kiara Sky is also famous for its polishes with special effects.

One of the gel polish lines available from Kiara Sky is Ombre.

It’s a mood-changing polish that changes color based on your body temperature or the temperature of the objects you are holding in your hands.

For example, a cup of hot coffee or an ice cream cone that you hold in your hands can produce different shades of the same polish on your nails.

So a lavender hue can turn into a foam green one on your nails within minutes.

Usually only part of the nail changes color. This creates a lovely ombre pattern look.

Kiara Sky manufactures a large array of colors, including all their special effects and glitter polishes. It’s a big plus for people who love to have a big palette of hues at their fingertips.

All Kiara Sky products are made in the USA and are cruelty-free. The company never tests them on animals.

Kiara Sky also manufactures the super-popular nail dipping powder system.

The downside of 2-step gel nail polishes is that they don’t stay on your nails as well as 3-step polishes that have a separate base coat.

This is because the base coat performs the function of a double-sided sticky tape.

When you apply it to the nails it adheres to the natural nail and stays very sticky on the surface. This helps to bind the polish layer to the nail plate.

When the base coat is mixed in with the polish it has less staying power.

However, it’s ideal for a quick manicure, since it eliminates the need for an extra step.

Still, this polish can stay on your nails for up to 10-14 days.

Bio Seaweed Gel

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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Bio Seaweed is a family-owned business that manufactures healthy, non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free gel nail polishes used in salons.

Their nail products are made in the USA and are big-5 free.

That means they contain no Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, BHA, or Camphor.

The word “Seaweed” in the brand’s name doesn’t mean the polishes are made of seaweed.

There is no seaweed in any of their products.

It’s rather used to emphasize the healthy nature of their polishes.

Bio Seaweed professional gel nail polish is water-based.

It doesn’t damage or dehydrate your nails, according to the manufacturer, but instead enriches them with minerals and vitamins to make them stronger.

Still, it can stay on the nails for quite a long time. The manufacturer promises up to 14 days. And on my nails, it stayed even longer.

You don’t need to roughen your nails for better adhesion before applying this polish. So there’s less damage to your natural nail plate.

And you can remove the Bio Seaweed polish just by soaking it off with acetone.

Like many other gel products, Bio Seaweed’s 3STEP gel line requires a 3-step application process: base coat, color coat, top coat.

The top coat doesn’t leave a sticky layer. So you don’t need to wipe it, which is a plus.

No need to perform another time-consuming step of the manicure process for you or your clients.

The base coat and the top coat are also compatible with gel polishes made by other brands.

But Bio Seaweed’s most interesting and unique invention is their UNITY line.

Here’s the catch:

It’s an all-in-one polish that has the base, color, top, and nail strengthener in one bottle.

The UNITY gel polish also doesn’t require any wiping with Isopropyl Alcohol after application, because it leaves no sticky layer.

And it cures to the touch in direct sunlight, without a lamp.

The brand’s SolarCure technology is perfect for DIY at-home manicures.

Just apply the polish and cure it in direct sunlight for 2 minutes. No lamp is necessary in this case.

You can also cure it under the lamp on a cloudy day. It has the standard drying times of 30 seconds to 1 minute under an LED lamp and 2 minutes under a UV lamp.

However, as with all 1-step and no-light gel nail polishes, the downside of this line is that it lasts less than the best 3-step UV gel nail polishes.

Bio Seaweed’s selection of color polishes in both of their lines has 250+ shades to choose from.

Orly GelFX

Professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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Orly is a cruelty-free beauty company that manufactures a special vitamin-infused gel nail polish.

Orly is one of the leading professional gel nail polish brands used in salons.

The brand’s GelFX gel nail polish has vitamins A, E, B5 in the formula. So the manufacturer promises that this gel nail polish protects and strengthens your nails.

It’s the most non-toxic gel nail polish on this list because it’s 12-free. It’s absolutely free of the most harmful toxins and unpleasant components, according to its ingredient list. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free. All this is an enormous plus.

You have to apply it in the usual 3 steps: base-color-top, curing each layer under an LED or UV lamp.

But you need to use the GelFX primer before putting the base coat on and you’ll have to wipe the sticky residue off after you’ve added the top coat.

Part of this nail polish line is the Orly GelFX Builder in a Bottle.

It’s a soak-off sculpting gel for nail extensions that comes with a brush. So it’s is much easier to use than nail dipping systems or builder gels that come in jars.

Builder in a Bottle is thick and you can easily control its application.

You can just brush it onto forms like a polish.

And then you can apply a color polish over it.

Builder in a Bottle is UV/LED curable.

These extensions can be removed by simply soaking them off.

You won’t need a nail drill as you do with acrylics.

Orly GelFX doesn’t damage your nails, according to the manufacturer, so it won’t make your natural nails thinner.

However, since it’s free from many functional chemical ingredients, it comes with a few downsides. For example, Orly GelFx nail polish is sometimes prone to chipping and peeling. It’s also more difficult to soak off than other polishes on this list.

EZ Flow TruGel

EZ Flow 2nd Launch Pretty Princess Gel Polish, 0.5 Fluid Ounce

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EZ Flow manufactures its products for professional nail artists.

It’s one of the most popular professional gel nail polish brands used in salons among nail techs.

Their TruGel is a standard professional brush-on gel nail polish that you can apply over the base coat and finish off with a top coat.

You’ll need to cure all these layers in a UV/LED lamp.

The best features of this polish are its topcoat’s amazing shine and high gloss, and its beautiful range of delicious colors.

In fact, it has the most gorgeous reds and the shiniest top coat of all the best gel nail polishes that I’ve ever tried.

The downside is that the consistency of the TrueGel nail polish is very runny. It’s a lot runnier than, for example, Gelish.

So you will need to apply it carefully and in several thin layers.

This polish is prone to running into the cuticles and may be difficult to use if you’re a beginner.

But it stays on really well. You can wear it for up to 3 weeks.

TruGel is easy to remove. You can soak this polish off with an acetone remover in about 10 minutes.

Mia Secret Gelux

Mia Secret Gelux Soak Off Gel Polish Kit, Quick Drying Nail Glitter, Long-Lasting Shine, Safe and Stylish, Low Odor, Excellent Adhesion and Elegant Shine, Complete Gel Nail Polish Kit,

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Mia Secret is an American company founded in 2006. It manufactures professional products for the nail, spa, and eyelash industries.

The brand is famous for its top-quality acrylic powders and acrylic kits.

Mia Secret’s Gelux is a soak-off gel nail polish that has a durable formula.

It requires UV or LED curing.

You can apply it to natural nails or nail extensions.

If applied correctly it can last for 2-3 weeks.

The application process takes more than 3 steps though, which is a notable downside.

Before you apply the base coat you’ll need to wipe the nail plate with a cleanser, then apply a primer and let it dry.

The manufacturer states that it’s not recommended to skip the nail prep step.

Then you need to put on the color coat and the top coat and wipe the sticky layer off.

With a longer and harder application process, this gel polish is more suitable for salon use than at-home use.

CND Shellac

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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CND Shellac is probably the most famous professional gel nail polish brand on the market, according to many nail techs.

It’s a popular choice of celebrities for their red carpet appearances.

Shellac is a very high-quality gel nail polish that has a non-toxic formula. So it won’t do any harm to your nails, according to CND.

In fact, many professional nail techs report that their clients had fewer allergic reactions to Shellac and other CND products than to professional gel nail polishes from other brands.

Shellac doesn’t need nail roughening for better adhesion. It sticks to your nails very well, thanks to its high-quality base coat.

You only have to use the CND FreshScrub nail cleanser to prepare the nail plate.

In addition to that, there’s less damage to your natural nail plate, since you don’t need to roughen it or use any chemicals to dehydrate it or increase the adhesion.

Then you can apply it using the most common 3-step gel nail polish application process.

You start with the base coat, add two color polish layers, and finish your manicure off with the top coat.

Shellac requires curing each coat with a UV lamp.

This is a huge plus because you can perform the manicure quicker with no extra preparation steps.

The top coat is sticky after the curing, so you have to wipe it with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.

And that’s the final stage of the Shellac manicure.

The Shellac removal process is pretty easy.

You just soak Shellac off with an acetone-based remover.

No need to use an e-file like you have to do with hard gel and polygel nails. So there is no damage to the nail plate.

Shellac has a huge range of colors, which is a big plus. You can always find a gorgeous hue for any outfit or occasion.

Most Shellac colors need 2 coats for a fully opaque look. However, their light polishes are pretty sheer.

For example, when I use the light pink shade called Negligee, I need to use 4 coats until I get the look I want.

This can be a downside if you don’t like your polish to be too see-through.

Another downside is that Shellac is less budget-friendly and has more limited availability to non-professionals than most other polishes on this list.

CND Vinylux

Best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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CND also sells Vinylux long-wear polishes.

This product is a great alternative for Shellac. It’s more budget-friendly and widely available than Shellac.

Vinylux is a cross between a gel and an ordinary polish.

It’s a professional no-light gel nail polish that doesn’t need a lamp and only requires a color coat and a top coat.

It lasts a lot longer than regular nail polish, for 7-10 days.

Vinylux also has a superb high-gloss shine, comparable with the glossy finish of the best UV gel nail polishes.

A huge plus of this no-light gel nail polish is that it’s a lot easier to remove.

There’s no need to soak it off or use a nail drill. You can just wipe it off like a regular polish.

The downside of Vinylux is that it lasts less than a traditional UV gel nail polish.

More and more salons are starting to offer Vinylux manicures for those clients who don’t like the traditional gel manicure procedure.

Vinylux also comes in a huge range of colors. In fact, its shades are identical to the colors of CND Shellac.

So if you’re used to a hue from the Shellac line you can make a smooth transition to Vinulylux.

You can also use Vinylux for infills and quick touch-ups of your Shellac manicure.

Beetles

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Set-Spring into Summer Collection 20 Colors Gel Nail Polish Pastel Neon Gel Polish Red Pink Glitter Purple Nail Gel Set

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Beetles is a Chinese brand of gel nail polishes and other nail products and tools.

They sell their polishes in large and small sets, including starter kits with a UV/LED lamp.

These sets can be a perfect entry point into nail art and DIY at-home gel manicures.

They also make great gifts because some of the larger sets are available in bright and pretty gift boxes.

You get a whole palette of polishes to choose from for creating all kinds of nail art.

Beetles range of colors is incredible.

The brand also manufactures polishes with special effects.

You can buy neon, glow-in-the-dark, mood-changing, magnetic cat-eye, glitter, pastel, and mermaid gel polishes.

Many larger sets and beginner kits include the Beetles base coat and two top coats.

One top coat is glossy and the other one is matte.

This lets you create gorgeous velvety matte nails and combine glossy and matte designs in your nail art.

Beetles gel polishes are certified 7-free non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free.

They are also low odor, which is great for people who can’t stand strong chemical smells of nail products.

The downsides of these polishes are that they are runny and that they last a bit less than more high-end professional gel nail polishes on this list.

Aimeili

AIMEILI Soak Off UV LED Gel Nail Polish - Sparkle Grapefruit (018) 10ml

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Aimeili is a gel nail polish brand from Hong Kong.

The manufacturer promises that its products are vegan and cruelty-free.

Aimeili has a huge selection of colors and effects. Their polishes often come in sets.

For example, you can buy Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and French manicure sets. This is great for building nail polish palettes for nail art.

My favorite Aimeili shade is Sparkle Grapefruit.

It’s a perfect budget-friendly alternative to Shellac’s famous Grapefruit Sparkle color that, according to some people and stores, has recently been discontinued.

Grapefruit Sparkle was a breathtakingly beautiful sheer warm peachy pink with lovely tiny shimmer.

It was a firm favorite with brides for their wedding manicures.

Aimeili’s Sparkle Grapefruit is pretty much identical to Grapefruit Sparkle.

You can use it for French manicure nails or wear it alone.

This shade usually requires 3 coats for better coverage.

Aimeili also offers a great professional-level rubber base gel polish.

It’s a strong and flexible base coat that smooths out the appearance of your natural nails and extends the longevity of your gel manicure.

The downside of Aimeili is that their polishes are pretty thick.

Red Carpet Manicure

Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Starter Kit with New Portable Light, 2 Ounce

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Red Carpet is manufactured by Nail Alliance, the same company that makes Gelish.

It’s their more beginner-friendly entry-level product than Gelish.

So Red Carpet is a great polish for DIY at-home use.

You can buy Red Carpet polishes in a starter pack together with a basic LED nail lamp, base coat, top coat, manicure tools, and nail prep products.

So you can have a full salon experience in the comfort of your home without paying the full price for a gel manicure.

The downside of the polish is that it’s sheer and requires several layers for full coverage.

It’s also thicker than professional gel nail polishes and may be more difficult to apply in thin coats.

The downsides of this set are the mini sizes of the polishes that come with it and the small lamp that can only fit a few fingers at a time. Not the whole hand.

You may want to upgrade the lamp and polishes later on.

Born Pretty

BORN PRETTY Cat Magnetic Eye Gel Nail Polish Set 9D Cat Gel Polish with Black Gel Polish Top Base Gel Magnetic Stick and Nail Brush Tool

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Born Pretty is a Chinese manufacturer of gel nail polishes, nail stamping pads, and other products for nail design.

Their most interesting product is their line of magnetic cat-eye gel nail polishes.

Cat-eye chameleon polishes require a slightly longer application process, but they look really vibrant and cool.

To cut things short, you need to apply the base coat, a layer of black gel polish, then a layer of magnetic polish.

And before you cure the magnetic layer you should hold a special magnetic stick over your nails for 10-15 seconds, and only then cure this layer immediately.

After that, apply the Born Pretty no wipe top coat.

The effect you’ll get will be to die for!

I was surprised how smoothly Born Pretty polishes go on. They are so easy to apply! Very beginner and home user-friendly.

The downside of this set of polishes is that they come in small jars with no brushes that usually hard gels come in, instead of the traditional polish bottles with brushes. So you’ll have to buy a nail art brush to apply them.

These polishes also don’t last as long as some other professional gel nail polish brands.

Essie Gel Couture

essie Gel Couture Platinum Grade Finish Top Coat, 0.46 Ounces (Packaging May Vary)

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Essie was founded in 1981 by Essie Weingarten.

In 2016 the company introduced the Gel Couture line.

Essie Gel Couture is not a traditional gel polish that you have to apply in 3 steps with a base coat and a top coat, along with curing all this stuff in an LED or UV lamp.

It’s a long-wear nail polish that can last up to 14 days and has the shine of a gel.

But it only requires a 2-step application.

You only have to apply the Essie color coat and the Essie Gel Couture top coat.

No base coat necessary.

The polish dries without a lamp.

So this polish has a gel-like formula. However, it air-dries like an ordinary polish, only quicker.

It’s similar to CND Vinylux.

Essie Gel Couture is easy to use both in a salon and at home.

It’s not as durable as traditional gel nail polish.

And it often chips before the promised 14 days run out.

But it has a gel-like look and, as Essie promises, doesn’t carry the risks of nail plate damage.

You can use acetone to remove Essie Gel Couture, but you don’t have to soak it off or scrub it.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Pink/Nude/Red Nail Polish Set, .5 Oz, Variety Pack

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Sally Hansen was founded in 1946 with the Hard As Nails polish line, which is still popular today.

It’s one of the most famous professional gel nail polish brands.

The company also manufactures other beauty products, like hair removal strips, etc.

Now Sally Hansen belongs to Coty.

The company never tests its products on animals.

Their polishes are also free of Formaldehyde, DBP, and Toluene.

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is a lot like Essie Gel Couture.

It’s shinier and more resistant to chips than regular polish.

You just have to apply two coats of the color polish and one coat of the top coat, no base coat needed.

You won’t need an LED or a UV lamp to dry the Miracle Gel either.

However, you may need to buff your nails a bit before the application process to prevent the polish from peeling, which is a downside.

Most no-light gel nail polishes don’t need this step. For example, Vinylux adheres to a non-roughened nail plate well on its own.

The removal process of the Miracle Gel doesn’t require any soaking off or scrubbing.

So it’s another gel-like salon nail polish that is easy to use at home.

Another bonus is that Sally Hansen has a large range of colors, so you can pick the perfect one for you.

Just like all other gel-like polishes, it’s not as long-lasting as the best traditional gel nail polish brands.

How to select the best professional gel nail polish brands used in salons

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The best gel nail polish brands used in salons manufacture only very high-quality polishes.

Best gel nail polishes: longevity

These professional gel nail polishes have a very nice gloss. They don’t lose their shine for weeks after the application.

Most gel nail polishes can last up to 14-21 days without chipping or peeling.

Longevity is an important quality for gel nail polish.

There are super-durable polishes, like Gelish and Shellac that can last for up to 3 weeks.

There are also slightly less durable ones, such as Born Pretty, but they still last up to 2 weeks.

You can also buy no-light gel nail polishes. For example, Vinylux and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel.

They can only last up to 7-10 days. Which is still a lot longer than the longevity of regular nail polishes.

Best gel nail polish for you: application steps

Most gel nail polishes require a 3-step application process with the base coat, color coat, and top coat layers.

All these layers must be cured in a special UV or LED lamp.

The curing takes just a couple of minutes, so there’s no need to wait for your nails to dry like you have to do when you use ordinary nail polish.

You instantly get perfect nails without any smudging.

Still, this takes some time.

However, you can find gel polishes that only need a 2-step or even 1-step application, but they are not common. One of these polishes is Kiara Sky.

You can use these polishes if you don’t have too much time for gel nail polish application.

They just last slightly less than 3-step polishes because a separate base coat increases the adhesion and the longevity of your manicure.

Nail prep

Some polishes need additional preparation of the nail plate with a special primer and with the dehydrator.

While other polishes, such as Shellac, let you skip this step.

If you have some extra time for nail plate preparation, I’d recommend you to perform this step. It can make a dramatic improvement in the longevity of your gel nails.

Best gel nail polish finish

The finish depends on the top coat that you use with your gel nail polish.

You may want to choose polishes with a high-shine top coat.

Also, there are gel polishes that leave a sticky layer after the top coat cures and require wiping with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.

At the same time, you can find polishes that don’t need wiping. Most people prefer this kind of top coat because it lets you do your gel manicure quicker.

Best no-light gel nail polish

You can choose between UV/LED gel nail polishes and no-light gel polishes.

You can cure gel-like no-light polishes without a lamp. Just let your polish air dry and you’re done.

But this also comes at a cost. You’ll have to sacrifice longevity.

A no-light product usually only lasts for a week.

Best gel nail polish: safety

You can apply gel polish to natural nails without any risk of nail plate damage.

You can always find vegan, cruelty-free, and non-damaging polishes without the most harmful toxins.

All these polishes can be easily removed. You won’t need to file your gel polish off with an e-file.

It’s enough to soak it off with an acetone-based remover with no damage to the natural nails.

Best gel nail polishes with special effects

If you want to create interesting effects on your nails get gel nail polishes that change colors when your body temperature changes.

Or use a special magnet and a magnetic polish to create the cat-eye effect using magnetic gel nail polishes.

There are also neon and glow-in-the-dark polishes for doing bright party nails.

And pastel polishes for creating French manicure nails.

There is a great choice of gel nail polish brands used in salons on the market.

To sum it up, there is a gel nail polish for everyone. Go ahead and make your choice armed with all the information above!

Recommended reading:

Matte Gel Nails Ultimate Guide: Best Matte Gel Top Coat Brands List [Updated] Plus Gorgeous Matte Gel Nail Designs

Best Gel Base And Top Coat: The Updated List Of The Best Gel Nail Base And Top Coat Sets

Non-Toxic Gel Nail Polish Brands 101: Choose The Safest Gel Nail Polish

Most Popular Shellac Colors – The Ultimate List Of 15 Best Shellac Colors For Fantastic Manicures

Best Shellac Colors For French Manicure: The Complete CND Shellac French Manicure Guide. Get The Perfect French Manicure Shellac Nails!

Best Nail Dryer Table: Choose A Perfect Nail Drying Table Or A Nail Drying Station For Your Salon

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Best Small Salon Reception Desk: Make An Amazing First Impression

Why Are My Gel Nails Lifting? 15 Reasons Why Your Gel Polish Is Lifting

Overlay Nails 101: Acrylic And Gel Nail Overlay On Natural Nails – The Ultimate Guide

Best No Light Gel Polish — Gel Nail Polish Without UV Light

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