We get asked this question a lot, especially by those who have never used gel nail polish. If you’re new to gel polish, welcome! The Journal will help you discover more about gel polish, making you a gel expert in no time.
Let's get into the differences between Regular Nail Polish and Gel Nail Polish.


The application process for regular and gel polish differs in the tools required. Gel Polish requires a UV, UV/LED or LED nail lamp to cure the gel polish. Curing is the process of drying gel polish. Gel Polish is activated by the light source causing it to dry quickly.

In terms of the application process, you would apply gel polish the same as regular polish and then cure it under the lamp to dry.

Drying Time

Regular polish can take anywhere between 10 minutes to 2 hours to dry depending on the nail polish brand and formula. Gel Polish cures in 60 seconds with The Gel Collective Co UV/LED Nail Lamp. This means no more waiting for your nails to dry and risking having them smudge while waiting.


One of the major advantages of gel polish is its longevity. It can last up to three weeks without chipping or peeling, making it a popular choice for those who don't have time for frequent touch-ups. Gel polish also has a higher gloss finish than regular polish and is less likely to fade or dull over time. Gel Polish is much harder when dried than regular polish. This prevents gel polish from chipping or peeling as quickly as regular polish.

Regular nail polish typically lasts between 5-7 days for the above reasons. Frequent removal and touch-up are necessary to maintain a flawless look.

Nail growth

Although Gel Polish does not inherently have nail growing properties, gel polish can aid in nail growth as it provides extra strength and creates a protective barrier that can help prevent nail breakage and splitting. By keeping your nails protected and less likely to break, you may be able to maintain healthier nails that are less prone to damage and more likely to grow longer.


Removing regular nail polish is a rather simple process that can be done at home using acetone or a nail polish remover from the chemist. Gel polish removal on the other hand requires more tools and attention.

You will need:

  • Acetone
  • Cotton Balls or Pads
  • Aluminium Foil, cut into small squares
  • Our 100/180 Grit Nail File
  • Gel Remover Tool
  • Nail Buffer

Here’s a step-by-step guide to removing your gel polish at home.

  1. First, use the 100 grit side (courser grit) of the nail file to gently buff the surface of the gel polish, making it easier for the acetone to penetrate. Pro tip: You only want to break the seal and remove the shine (top coat layer). Do not buff off the gel colour.

  2. Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on the nail.

  3. Wrap the nail in aluminium foil to hold the cotton ball in place.

  4. Repeat the process for each nail and let the nails soak in the acetone for 10-15 minutes.

  5. After soaking, remove the aluminum foil and cotton ball, and use our Gel Remover Tool to gently scrape off the gel polish. The Gel Polish should come off easily. Pro tip: If certain areas are not coming off, do not tug and peel it off. Soak the gel for an extra 5 min and it should come right off.

  6. Use our nail buffer to gently smooth the surface of the nail and remove any remaining residue.

  7. Wash your hands thoroughly to remove any acetone residue.

  8. Apply cuticle oil to hydrate your cuticles and nails.

Here TGC, we are busy finding creative and innovative ways to make your life easier. Stay tuned to hear about our new products that will completely change for gel removal routine. 

Which should you choose? 

Although we are huge fans of gel polish due to its aesthetic and longevity, ultimately, the choice between regular and gel polish depends on your personal preference, budget, and lifestyle.


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On the Journal is a space dedicated to all things gel manicures, nail art, tips and tricks, mindful beauty rituals, self-care and more.

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