There are two types of gel, hard gel and soft gel.
“Hard gel gets its name because, once cured, it is tough enough to be made into a nail extension. Nail extensions are artificial nails created by using a nail product to extend the nail past the edge of the natural nail.”
“Soft gel refers to the gel products that are too soft to create a nail extension. This includes gel polishes and thicker gels meant for gel-overlay services. Gel polishes are used for the increasingly popular gel polish manicures. These manicures, when done by caring, experienced, and trained professionals, are gentle to the natural nail and the polish stays intact on the nail for at least a couple of weeks with high shine and no cracking, peeling or chipping.”
“The product used to create nail extensions using gel or gel nails is gel, not to be confused with acrylic nails, which are created using liquid monomer and polymer powder. All gel services are performed using some form of gel, which usually comes in pots of gel or bottles of gel polish. Gel also comes in a variety of colors. All forms of gel require curing, or hardening, under a UV or LED light.”
“UV and LED curing refers to the chemical process that occurs when photo initiators within the gel itself are exposed to the UV or blue light. The chain reaction creates heat while oligomers combine to form long chains during the polymerization process. These long, bonded chains make the gel hard and cause photoinitiators within the gel product to begin the curing process. Usually, once the nail extension and/or gel manicure has been finished, there is a residual tacky layer, referred to as the “inhibition layer,” that is removed by wiping with a preferably lint-free wipe soaked in high concentrate alcohol.”