Q:

How do you use gel nail polish without a UV light?

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As of 2014, gel nail polishes are hitting the market that allow users to apply gel-style polish at home without the UV light typically required to set a gel manicure in a nail salon. Some of these polishes use two different bottles of product to create the look. Some use LED lights in place of UV light, and others simply promise a gel-like look with one bottle of polish.

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With home gel polishes that use two bottles, the polish is applied directly to the nail without a base coat. The second bottle contains the gel top coat, which dries more quickly than conventional top coats and gives the appearance of a salon gel manicure. The polish is removed conventionally with nail polish remover, in contrast to salon gel manicures. Sally Hansen MiracleGel is an example of this type of gel polish.

Some gel polishes require LED lights for the curing, or drying, stage of a manicure. LED lights actually cure nail polish much more quickly than do UV lights. Each layer of polish dries in 30 to 60 seconds using an LED light, compared to curing times ranging from one to five minutes using a UV light. However, LED curing lights are more expensive than UV lights.

Some manufacturers, such as Cover Girl, sell conventional nail polishes which they claim provide a gel-like look. However, manicures with these polishes last about seven days as opposed to the two weeks claimed by most multi-step gel polishes.

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