Beauty Q&A: What Are PolyGel Nail Extensions?

March 11, 2020
Genesis Rivas
By: Genesis Rivas | by L'Oréal

As someone who is lazy about getting manicures and struggles with biting their nails (nervous tick — don’t judge me!), artificial nail enhancements are game-changing. I can’t count how many times acrylic and gel manicures have kept me from feeling mildly embarrassed whenever I need to shake hands with someone at a formal event. 

Recently, I found out about PolyGel nails, and as someone who needs all the help she can get, I was curious to learn more about them. Here, Gina Alcedo, celebrity manicurist and founder of Nailvana L.A., is giving us the scoop.

What Is a PolyGel Manicure? 

PolyGel nail extensions are a nail enhancement that is more flexible and lightweight compared to acrylic but is harder than regular gel or Gel-X nails,” says Alcedo. “PolyGel nails are great if you want long nails but have trouble growing your natural nails.” 

Because PolyGel requires a lot of filing of the natural nail, once you remove them, you may experience some damage. However, there are many things you can do to make your nails strong again.

The In-Salon Application of PolyGel Nails 

STEP 1: Your nail tech will begin by pushing back and filing the cuticles with a drill or nail file. Then, they will file the nail bed to remove any oils, explains Alcedo. 

STEP 2: Next, a nail form, which is what’s used in this video, or a nail tip, which is simply a fake plastic nail, will be applied depending on what the nail tech feels more comfortable working with. “If they apply a nail tip, your tech will have to rough them up with a nail file so the product will stick,” says Alcedo. 

STEP 3: After, Alcedo says a nail bed dehydrator will be applied to further remove any moisture or oils followed by a nail primer. 

STEP 4: First, a ball of PolyGel will be applied in the middle of the tip or form using a spatula. Then, your technician will begin to work and mold the ball of PolyGel to give you the shape and length that you desire. 

STEP 5: Alcedo says, once your whole hand is done, it will be cured for 60 seconds under a UV light. 

STEP 6: Then, your technician will go in with a drill or nail file one last time to ensure a soft and smooth finish and dust off any residue with a brush.  

STEP 7:  If you want a color, Alcedo says you can choose a gel color of your choice and then they will cure your manicure for another 60 seconds. Finally, a top coat will be applied and cured and voila! You now have a PolyGel manicure. 

How Do You Remove PolyGel Nails?

“Cut the extension off and use a file to remove the remainder of the PolyGel on your nails,”  says Alcedo.