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Truth About “Gel” Tips

“YOU CAN HATE ME. YOU CAN GO OUT THERE AND SAY ANYTHING YOU WANT ABOUT ME, BUT YOU WILL LOVE ME LATER BECAUSE I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH.”
– MARY J. BLIGE, MULTI-PLATINUM TOUR DE FORCE, SINGER, SONGWRITER, RAPPER, ACTRESS  AND PHILANTHROPIST

What is the truth about Gel Tips? Are they the best thing since sliced bread? Are they a miracle gel enhancement? Or are they something very simple reframed for new consumption? We dissect the latest nail trend gaining popularity and causing a lot of confusion among nail techs. Plastic or gel, we discuss chemistry, composition, and have a quick lesson in industry terminology.
 
BASELINES
We love getting questions about nails and this topic, in particular, is a hot one. In the nail enhancement marketplace, there are several brands selling a product called “Gel Tips”. Product descriptions might read: plastic tips made of soft gel. It isn’t our habit to notice or even worry about the competition.  It’s a free market and there is plenty of abundance for everyone to succeed. However, there comes a moment where our products start getting compared to the others. It becomes necessary for us to set the record straight. In this instance, our YN product, Full Cover Tips (which we promote as a great service for temporary fashion/special event looks) have gotten caught up in the discussion. Moving forward, we’d like to clarify here that our YN Full Cover Tips are made of plastic. Plastic is a word originally from the Greek word “plastikos” which means  fit for moulding. So what do the other companies mean when they say Gel Tips?

GEL CHEMISTRY 101
Let’s take it way back to the basics. Whenever we refer to a gel product, we are speaking about a viscous substance stored in a pot/tube which a nail tech sculpts with a brush; cures in a UV light; and removes by soaking off with acetone. This is the process of polymerization. Sound familiar? In essence, both gel and acrylic nail products are forms of plastics created through this curing process.  This chemical reaction is the same method in which all plastics are made. If we asked you to imagine something in the beauty industry made of acrylic, would your mind drift to a great set of stiletto nail enhancements or to the slick acrylic product displays perched on countless makeup counters? In this example, both are products composed of plastic.

KERNEL OF TRUTH
So what do the other companies mean when they say Gel Tips? Returning to the nail industry standard definition of a gel product, it’s important to understand that prepackaged items sold as Soft/Gel Tips are composed of plastic. Don’t be fooled by marketing spin. They are not technically made of gel (as we know it). A machine has not been invented to mass produce and squeeze sculpted gel nail tips into molds.

TIP OFF
There is a broad range of shapes and sizes of tips.  Plus not all nail tips are created equal especially when it comes to quality. Because we have come out with full cover plastic tips; we felt compelled to ask the experts themselves to explain. We posed the question to our chemists for clarification. What’s up with these soft gel tips?  Based on their professional research and independent analysis, they determined what we suspected all along. Yup, they are plastic. Forget about what the label says. These companies are operating from their own definition of what gel is and have repackaged it.

SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ANYWAY?
Confusion in the marketplace is the last thing we want. It takes away from a nail professional's ability to properly educate their customers and potentially erodes trust in the relationship. Full coverage tips are usually the service choice of people on the fence about a proper set of gel or acrylic nails.  The new generation of full cover nail tips are great training wheels because they are durable, have a great shape and imitate a sculpted nail.  Knowing what they are and how they work could give a nail tech the assist to convert non-committals into regulars of gel/acrylic nail enhancements. They are great for temporary sets, photo shoots, special events, runway shows, or as specialty custom nail art.  The key takeaway here is not whether the nail tips you are using are soft gel/gel or plastic tips. You want to ask yourself are you using quality tips? Do they come in a shape that is pleasing? Are they going to last? Do they live up to your own personal standards?
 
**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube ,BIZ TALK TRUTH ABOUT “GEL TIPS”, which originally aired January 7, 2021.

***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion: