The Polygel Nails Trend Is Taking Over London Salons

Photo via @dormroomnails.
From see-through jelly nails to long-lasting powder dip nails, we're spoilt for choice when it comes to viral manicure trends and smart techniques. With all beauty salons currently closed following government guidelines in response to coronavirus, manicurists are getting creative at home and many have taken to Instagram to show nail obsessives what's going to be big when salons reopen.
While acrylics and gel nails are arguably the most popular, there's another manicure trend on the block and it's much kinder on your nails than other professional treatments. Enter: polygel nails.

What are polygel nails?

According to award-winning nail artist Metta Francis, polygel nails are a gel-acrylic hybrid. "They are also often referred to as 'acrygel' nails but essentially, polygel is a putty-like consistency, which is applied to the nails using a liquid solution. This helps smooth the polygel onto the nail." Your manicurist is likely to employ a small, flat brush to shape and secure the putty onto your nail, in a similar way to applying acrylics.
"Polygel colours are typically clear, pink and white but this can be mixed with gel polish to create colours," adds Metta. "Or you can simply create nail art on top with gel polish or regular nail paint."
Take inspiration from nail artist Miss Laj with bold, teal, square nail extensions or keep things nude with subtle nail art, like Metta.

What's the difference between polygel nails, acrylic nails and gel nails?

"Polygel nails feel much lighter and are a lot more flexible than acrylic and dip powder nails," says Metta. "They also look and feel more natural. If you accidentally nick your polygel nails, they are less likely to crack right through the middle like some acrylic nail systems."
If long nail extensions aren't your thing, the polygel nail technique can also be adapted on shorter, natural nails, says Metta – just like gel polish. "Polygel can be used as a natural nail overlay to give nails a stronger coating, which then protects them."

How long do polygel nails last?

"Polygel nails can last a few weeks but it's recommended to have a maintenance or an infill appointment approximately every three weeks, depending on how quickly your nails grow," says Metta. This is similar to acrylic nails, which often require infills after three weeks and replacement after around six to eight weeks, while gel nails typically last for two weeks.
Opting for a natural base and pastel French tips like this style created by nail art specialist Ferdaws on Instagram means you're less likely to notice much regrowth at the cuticle.

What are the downsides of polygel nails?

Metta mentions that unlike acrylics, there is no offensive odour or vapour with polygel nails, however because polygel nails are essentially a 'hard' gel, they can't be soaked off to be removed. "Polygel nails would have to be filed off. Because of this, there is a certain amount of commitment required." Nails might also be susceptible to similar damage caused by removing acrylics, such as weak nails or a bumpy nail bed.
Metta advises: "For one-off nail extensions or overlays, it’s best to go for a soak-off solution that can be easily removed."

How much do polygel nails cost?

Basic gel manicures can cost anywhere from £20 to £30, while acrylics are a little pricier. Polygel nails are similar. "For a full set of polygel extensions, you could be looking at anything from £50 to £90 upwards, depending on the nail salon and technician," says Metta.

Where can you get polygel nails in the UK?

Metta advises that polygel is still a relatively new nail service so isn’t offered at all nail salons but suggests having a look online. Of course, all beauty salons are closed for the foreseeable future following government advice during the pandemic, so it is not advisable to have your nails done currently. Many salons in the UK are selling gift vouchers which can be redeemed when non-essential businesses are permitted to reopen. Check in with your local salon via its website or on social media.

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