Gelish, GelColor by OPI, Shellac, Angelpro, Calgel, Paragel: Which Gel Nail Polish is BEST for you in Singapore?

Published on Sep 09, 2015
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Pedicure, manicure, kitty-cat claws. We ladies love making our nails look pretty, and why shouldn’t we!

But we are all too familiar with the frustration of chipped manicures after sitting in a nail salon for a good amount of time or spending hours giving ourselves a DIY manicure.

Thankfully, the innovation of gel nail polish is the answer to our nail woes. They dry super-fast, leave a shiny finish and are long-lasting!

There are however TONS of gel nail polish brands available in Singapore nail salons.

Which one is best for you?

In this article, we try to understand a little more about each gelish brand to help YOU decide which brand is best suited for YOU.

Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony


If you've tried Gelish before, you would have probably heard of, seen and even tried this brand before:

gelish 2

As one of the first gelish brands to be introduced to Singapore that is relatively affordable, Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony is MOST COMMONLY USED by many nail salons in Singapore.

With 201 colours to choose from, ranging from dark to light, shimmer to glitter, customers love the wide range of colours that give the nail artist much room for creativity.

Best of all, the Gelish manicure / pedicure lasts up to three weeks, making Gelish the ideal choice for people who are hard on their nails.

Consider This

Although affordable and convenient, Gelish can be pretty damaging for your nails.

  1. Gelish requires nails to be buffed before applying base coat, two coats of colour and top coat.
  2. Even for removal, nails have to be buffed again.
  3. Cotton pads are saturated with acetone and placed on top of each nail, followed by wrapping tin foil around the nails. The wraps are then removed with slight pressure after your nails have soaked for 15 minutes.
  4. You often have to go back to the salon (and sometimes pay an additional charge) for soak off or removal of the gelish colour.
  5. As gelish polish can last for a few weeks, your nails will not be exposed to air for an extended period of time. This may increase the probability of bacterial infections. Prolonged gel use might cause your natural nails to soften and become brittle!

Verdict

For someone new to Gelish nails, Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony is a perfect introduction as it is relatively affordable and very commonly used in nail salons. In fact, we find that many salons offering Groupons or cheap nail deals are often using Gelish! If you are going for Gelish frequently, however, we would recommend that you let your nails rest for a few weeks in between gel manicures as the process of gelish can be pretty damaging for your nails.

GelColor by OPI


Gelcolor OPI

If you think about nail colour brands, OPI is probably the first brand that comes to your mind. It is therefore not surprising to find OPI introducing its own Gelish brand: GelColor by OPI.

GelColor is a 100% gel colour. It wears and protects like a gel; the GelColor Base Coat also contains both gel polymer and solvent-type polymers for a faster removal.

Consider This

Although reputable, GelColor by OPI also appears to be as damaging as Gelish for nails.

  1. GelColor requires nails to be buffed before applying base coat, two coats of colour and top coat.
  2. Even for removal, nails have to be buffed again.
  3. Cotton pads are saturated with acetone and placed on top of each nail, followed by wrapping tin foil around the nails. The wraps are then removed with slight pressure after your nails have soaked for 15 minutes.
  4. You often have to go back to the salon (and sometimes pay an additional charge) for soak off or removal of GelColor.
  5. As GelColor polish can last for a few weeks, your nails will not be exposed to air for an extended period of time. This may increase the probability of bacterial infections. Prolonged gel use might cause your natural nails to soften and become brittle!

Some people have mentioned that GelColor may also last slightly shorter period of time as compared to Gelish at about over 2+ weeks.

We also note that the range of colours also appear to be lesser than Gelish at over 100 shades although given its fast introduction of new and exciting colours, we aren't that worried on that end.

For nail artists, some have also mentioned that the base coat tends to get thick and goopy, making it harder to use the bottom 25% of the bottle.

Verdict

GelColor by OPI is to us very similar in effectiveness and colour range to Gelish by Hand and Nail Harmony. There are not as many nail salons in Singapore carrying them but if you have a chance to try, we would not hesitate to ask you to go for it!

Do however remember to give your nails a rest in between GelColor manicures to keep your nails healthy!

Jacqueline Burchell


Jacqueline Burchell

Not many of you may have heard of this brand but Jacqueline Burchell is actually a homegrown brand made in Singapore, in a quiet corner of Holland Village!

Like Gelish, Jacqueline Burchell is free of the 3 toxic chemicals that are often found in nail colours: Dibutyl Phtalate, Toluene and Formaldehyde, making it a safer choice.

At over 1,000 colours, Jacqueline Burchell also has one of the largest range of gel polish in the world! Jacqueline Burchell's collections such as I Am Peranakan and These Are My Colours, and The Orchid Collection offers extraordinary colours with a local flair that you won't be able to find elsewhere!

The Jacqueline Burchell Brush on Gel is also rather revolutionary; it finishes like a regular gel manicure with long-lasting shine and durability, without the need of a UV or LED light. This presents great opportunity for nail art as you can keep the nail colour away from natural light if you need more time or under sunlight if you want the nail colour to dry faster.

Amazingly, it can even be removed easily like regular nail polish!

Consider This

With no need for LED Curing and buffing for removal, Jacqueline Burchell is less damaging than the usual Gelish and GelColor by OPI!  It however does still require nails to be buffed before applying base coat, three coats of colour and top coat.

  • 3 Coats? Yes, according to some users of Jacqueline Burchell, many of the colours offered under the Jacqueline Burchell Brush on Gel range tend to be rather light / faint. Therefore you may have to apply at least 3 coats for the colour to show.
  • Unlike Gelish and GelColor, Jacqueline Burchell also appears to be less lasting; some report 1 week before the gel starts to chip!

Verdict

Although a healthier and more convenient option for nails, its not-so-lasting quality makes it a rather big constraint for Jacqueline Burchell Brush on Gel. After all, most of us love gelish nails because it is just so long lasting.

Regardless, we are confident that Jacqueline Burchell will continue to improve on its formulation to make its gelish nails more resistant to damage!

Shellac


Shellac

Shellac is a highly popular brand outside of Singapore and while it is not exactly a gel nail polish, it does share similarities to a gel manicure. Created by Creative Nail Design, Shellac is a hybrid, meaning it's half nail polish and half gel!

It applies like a regular polish but finishes like a gel, giving a smoother, neater finish even when compared to Gelish.

Nails are not required to be buffed before application and supposedly during removal, making it less damaging to the nail.

Consider This

  1. When compared to Gelish, many nail artists have mentioned that it is harder to remove Shellac. Gelish appears to come off cleaner and lifts naturally away from the nails whereas you must scrape off or buff the Shellac off at times.
  2. Shellac uses UV lamp to cure the gel, which appears to have caused some controversy over its safety.
  3. Shellac is less lasting than the usual Gelish / GelColor since it can last for about 2 weeks!
  4. The range is also limited at about 90+ shades of colour available.
  5. Also, very few nail salons in Singapore offer Shellac so you may have a hard time finding one!

Verdict

As Shellac is harder to remove than even Gelish, it is unclear if it is more or less damaging to the nails although buffing is technically not required. Gelish is however a clear winner in terms of range and even has an edge in how lasting the manicure is.

Also, it is pretty hard to find Shellac in Singapore... so not the easiest choice for the nail novice!

Angel Pro Gelly Polish


Angelpro

A Korean Gelish Brand that is increasingly gaining in popularity in Singapore, AngelPro is a worthy competitor to Gelish with its over 200 shades of colours and textures! Their newly launched range includes pastel colours and magnetic nail colours that even allow the nail artist to create unique designs with magnets! The resulting gel is very long lasting (it can last even longer than 3 weeks!) and boasts of high shine 2 weeks after the nail colour!

With no buffing or filing required before application, it is also less damaging than the usual Gelish.

Consider This

  1. Similar to Shellac, it is harder to remove AngelPro as compared to Gelish. Some scraping and buffing may be required before the gel comes off.
  2. You often have to go back to the salon (and sometimes pay an additional charge) for soak off or removal of Angelpro
  3. As Angelpro polish can last for quite a few weeks, your nails will not be exposed to air for an extended period of time. This may increase the probability of bacterial infections. Prolonged gel use might also cause your natural nails to soften and become brittle!

Verdict

For the uninitiated, Angelpro is yet another great brand to start your gelish nail journey with. It is easy to find salons offering AngelPro, the colour range is amazing and it is very long lasting!

However, it is likely to be more damaging than Gelish due to the removal process. Therefore, we would highly recommend you to rest your nails for a few weeks in between gel manicures to keep your nails healthy!

Calgel


Calgel Nails

A Japanese brand of soft gel nails, Calgel has been making waves with its gas-permeable gelish nail polish! What this means is that air can now move in between nail polish layers and your natural nail. As moisture released from the nails evaporate through the gel layer, wetness does not accumulate between the gel and nails, preventing lifting and formation of bacteria and microbes.

Best of all, it does not require extensive buffing upon application or removal, requires minimal LED / UV for curing and lasts up to 4 weeks without chipping or peeling. It is also less likely to chip because the gel is thin, gentle and flexible.

It is also hypoallergenic and odourless, making it suitable for even the most sensitive of you.

Consider This

  1. It still requires some gentle buffing so some damage (minimal) is still inflicted on the nail
  2. It can be easily removed by yourself if you use their Calaway solution. If not, you would have to go back to your Calgel salon.
  3. Their colour range is more limited at over 70 colours to choose from
  4. Calgel tends to be more expensive due to its superior technology and available at selected Japanese nail salons in Singapore.

Verdict

There are so many things to love about Calgel, from its gas permeable gel colour to its hypoallergenic properties and less-damaging nail application / removal process. Other than making your nails look pretty, Calgel ensures that your nail is kept healthy so that there is minimal downtime in between gelish nail colour applications and also, minimal bacterial infections!

Para Gel Nails


Paragel

The latest Japanese nail technology to be imported to Singapore is Para Gel Nails.

With no buffing required and a similar gas-permeable system, Para Gel has probably replaced CalGel as the most advanced nail technology seen in Singapore and even in Japan!

paragel

No nail buffing or sanding is required as Paragel adheres on top of the nail like a vacuum to disconnect the air between the nails and the gel, enhancing its adhesion.

After the Paragel is applied, it can then be cured in 30 seconds using LED light.

It is also highly durable, with no chipping, peeling or other signs of wear and tear for up to 4 weeks.

In addition, you will find that your natural nail colour will not discolour or change over time as the colour pigments in the gel are small.

For those with damaged nails, Paragel may be the best option as it helps accelerate the repair of your nails while keeping it looking beautiful at all times!

Style Gallery

Final nail
Marimekko Nails (Safori)
Blue Nails (Safori)

Paragel Nail Colour by Branche Nail Salon

Consider This

  1. Although no buffing is required, it takes about 10-20 minutes of soaking in acetone and wrapping in aluminium foil before the remaining gel polish can be carefully pushed off with a metal pusher.
  2. The range of colours is also not as wide as the established brands like Gelish and GelColor!
  3. Prices can be a lot more expensive than the usual gelish nails.
  4. Very few salons in Singapore offer Paragel.

Verdict

For nail connoisseurs and frequent gelish nail users, Paragel is definitely a must try. Nail colour application is smooth, colours are lasting and best of all causes ZERO damage to your nails. For those with nails already damaged, Paragel is also a great time for your nails to rest and recover.

We however only know of one Paragel nail salon in Singapore: Branche Nail Salon, featuring Safori who is currently the only Paragel Educator in Singapore. Her skills are fantastic but there is only one of her in Branche, so you may have to take turns if you are intending to do your nail colour with a friend!

Having read all the above, do you have a favourite Gelish Brand in mind?

Do you have a Gelish experience you would like to share with us?

Tell us below!

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