Many people think of beauty as a one-dimensional concept. ‘treat yourself’ thing that we just can’t go without. Some people require lash extensions or eyebrow lamination every six to eight weeks. For me, it’s a fresh set of nails.
As hard as I try, I’m not much of a saver. Since I was a teenager, I had promised to cut back on the number of trips I took to the salon. Not because I didn’t love to showI did not show my beautiful manicured nails at every opportunity (I did), but because it was a practical decision. I don’t mean practical.
Once I was able to accept that the pace of my nail application had to slow, it was time to search for an alternative. To find salon-worthy nails at home, I explored every option without having to pay salon prices.
Press-ons pinged off like they were never stuck on in the first place; my shoddy DIY attempts at cool nail art were just embarrassing, and regular nail varnish wasn’t enough to satisfy my salon-influenced standards. Each time I had a chipped or damaged nail I would return to the salon and get another one. ‘who do I think I am’Momentaneously I’m lowering my weekly spending to buy an extra set of acrylics.
The salon-like look that nail technicians can create is something that I feel no other product could match. But, you’d be surprised that with the right tools and a bit (well, a sufficient amount) of time, you can achieve a result that is pretty similar.
This content was taken from TikTok. The same content might also be available in another format.
Enter: Polygel nails. When I first discovered them, they were a popular trend on TikTok. At first I was skeptical but soon I realized how great DIY manicures can look. It is that good? This was made even more enjoyable by my experience in designing at-home nails kits. ‘too good to be true’ feeling.
However, the hype was growing and my bank account continued to fall, so my F.O.M.O. intervened, and I gave it another chance. The results were truly amazing, and I’m not going to lie.
What are Polygel nails, first?
Polygel was originally created for nail techs; however, to our delight, it’s now available for us to buy. Essentially, it’s a nail extender gel that combines acrylic powder and a thick clear gel. Although the process of application may be different from that at a salon’s, the end result is almost identical. The Gel provides both the strength and durability of an acrylic overlay, as well as the flexibility of a Gel.
The tube that contains Polygel is shaped like a toothpaste, and it’s not the acrylic powder you find in salons. You can use this tube to put Polygel on your nails directly to create an overlay or extension. For the untrained wannabe nail tech (like myself), Polygel has a putty-like texture that allows you to shape the gel but won’t set until it’s cured under a LED lamp (so feel free to make as many mistakes as you’d like).
Both pros and cons
Before we head into how you use Polygel, let’s start with the pros and cons I discovered while putting it to the test.
There are pros
How much do you actually need it?
To begin, you will want to add a few items to your nail collection. If you haven’t already got one, a LED lamp is needed to cure the extender gel into place. While outright they may cost more than a single nail app, they are *much* more cost-effective in the long run: a kit that will last you years falls into the same price range as a few salon trips. If you’re just wanting the lamp, the Mylee Pro LED Lamp is a great option, or, if you’re after the whole shebang, the brand’s Lamp Kit comes with the tools you’ll need to create at-home gel nails (another great money-saving DIY kit to have in your collection).
You’ll also need Polygel, obvs. The Mylee Magic Extender Gels can be used to make acrylic nails look longer and more dimensional. The gels come in a variety of neutral shades – which look beautifully chic on their own — or you can layer a coat of gel or polish on top to add colour.
To make shaping the Polygel easier, don’t skip out on Slip Solution and Dual Ended Tool as it’ll make the process of shaping and extending the gel virtually impossible without them.
Looking for longer nails? You’ll need the Mylee Dual Nail forms to shape the Polygel into a strong nail extension.
What are the steps to apply?
Experience is required to apply polygels. Practice on the job is necessary to find the most effective method. In a nutshell, it’s a step-by -step guide to application.
- Shape your nails first. To remove residue, apply the Mylee Prep Polish that comes with your LED kit.
- Let it dry under the lamp for 60 seconds before applying a thin layer of a coating.
- It’s Polygel time. Choose the color you like and add a little to your nails.
- The Dual Ended brush can be used to form the Gel according to your nails. Use the Slip Solution to coat the bristles.
- For 60 seconds, cure again
- Use a nail file next to smoothen out the edges. To remove any residue, use the Prep Polish.
- After applying the top coat, apply a thin layer and dry it for thirty seconds.
- At this stage, you can use a gel polish instead if you’re wanting to change the colour of the Polygel.
- Finish with another use of Prep Polish. Voila!
If you’re wanting to extend your natural nail follow the first 3 steps, but instead of shaping the Polygel to your natural nail, press the gel down using a nail form and use the brush to pull out the gel to the length you want. Allow the gel to cure for at least 60 seconds before revealing its extension.
If you’re a visual learner, my TikTok guide is also available.
TikTok is used to import this content. The same content might also be available in another format.
Last thoughts: Does Polygel truly live up to its hype?
My loyalty card for my local salon won’t be punched, it is safe to say. My experience with nail products promised me salon-worthy nails, and I felt false hope. So, to find a kit that genuinely delivers (even in my inexperienced hands) is something I never thought I’d see come out of the nail industry. This has saved me many trips to the salon and made my debit card happier. I don’t think you have any excuse not to give it a go.
You can also use the polygel to create shorter acrylic overlay-like nails if you don’t want a longer extension. There are many options.