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Hi I am a brand new nail tech and cosmetologist.....I have some questions about the best nail products out there. I'm very confused about the whole shellac, gel nail, soak offs, etc. Which is best for natural nails? Which is best overall in your opinion? I know about acrylics and want to know mainly about the gel options. Can I use just one system for enhancements and natural nails?? Any thoughts and advice would be MUCH appreciated! Thanks!
You're opening a humongous can o' worms!!! :lol:

Every nail co. out there will tell you their's is THE best for natural nails. It's more about which one YOU feel is the best. It takes a while to find the product you feel is best for your working style and your clients.

You can use one system but it just depends on what you want to provide for your clients. Some of us prefer to specialize in one type of product, other's like to be able to give variety to reach a wider range of clients. That usually means more than one system/co.'s nail products.

The soak off gel, (sog) is all the rage now, and it's helping to get the word about gel. Hard gel, (non soakable gel) has been around for quite a while, it's just not as widely taught like acrylic. Not sure why other than it's expensive for the schools to have both systems on hand when they really don't need to. Hard gel and sog are two different types of gel, both have their positve and negative uses. Hard gels must be filed off the client's nails to remove it. It's meant for the long haul and not so much for the person who wants pretty nails just for the weekend. SOG's are much better for that. The client can soak the gel off and try something different after a few weeks.
Everyone has their favorites... mine is Young Nails - acrylic, hard gel & soak of gel. I also use their lotions & scrubs in my services. How good the services are for the natural nail has more to do with application methods, quality of product, and removal process. My prep is exactly the same for acrylics, gels, or gel polish.
Thank you both for your responses! Can you tell me the names of some good sog and hard gels that I might try??
I personally don't use sog's. I'm an educator for TEN, Tuff Enuff Nails, which is a hard gel. The link to the web site is below. You'll need to register to see the prices. If you have any questions I'll be glad to answer them on here or privately.
You've got some good answers here. There are so many awesome lines out there today. Just in the last few years since I went to school, things seem to have changed so much.

I don't love doing acrylic. That is what they taught at school, but I went to a HRTE class and fell in love with gel. I did really love the Vicky Peters acrylic, once I trained on it with Simmy.

I use TEN hard gel and Nailite's stylus, extra hard, and french gels. I could have settled on just one gel line, but I like things about both lines. For soak off gel, I use gentle gel from nailite. For SOG polish, I use ECO and I use the soak off gel polish from nailite. The one that is in the pots. I prefer to apply it with a brush, rather than like a polish. I use SOg polish on both natural and gel nails.

Good luck.
Gel is essentially pre-mixed Acrylic. Gel (hard gel) is more flexible and easier to file off then acrylic. All the schools here have switched to gel classes but more and more they are starting to provide acrylic education again. In my part of the country (Southern Alberta, Canada) I find acrylic holds up better and more techs are going back to it. Neither Gel or Acrylic is bad for the nails it is the application techniques that the Tech uses, if they are hard on and file abrasively you are going to find very thin nails and possible matrix damage. The same goes for e-files, like the Young Nails guys like to say "It's not the Tools, It's the Fools" who use them that cause the damage. I find the more you are trained in and offer the more clientele you will have.

P.S Check out You Tube you can learn alote form the tech's that make video's expecially the Young Nails guys. Lots of good info out there. 8)
Thank you all so much! I can tell I will really learn a lot here! I appreciate your input very much!
Try to attend a show and visit all the different booths and take in a few classes, the more you see or touch of the products in person the easier it is to get an idea of what you would like to try Smile
Vicki, welcome to our world!
This article needs to be updated (again) but it should clear up some of your confusion!
Gel Types - Descriptions
Are you confused about the different types of gels available? A guide to the different type of professional gels

You can use most systems (acrylic, gel - all types: hard, soak-off, UV Gel Polish) over tips or as an overlay over natural nails. You can sculpt with all of them except UVGP - for the most part they do not have enough strength to sculpt. The method if you need to correct length from a break or crak would be to base the sculpt with a hard or soak-off gel then get your color with the UVGP.

When trying to find the perfect brand, Donna is quite correct! There is no universal perfect brand, but instead you need to find the brand of product - whether it be gel or acrylic or even traditional polish - that for FOR you as opposed to against you. When trying different brands, seek out the education for THAT brand, make use of their tech support and give the product 2-3 months of trial before moving on if it is not giving you the and your clients your desired end result.

Attending a trade show or a class is also an excellent suggestion. Right here in the Sticky Posts section about how to attend your first trade show!
So this is your first [big] trade show.. Also check the calendar here (link up top), and as well, inquire at your local distributor(s)

You can receive a sample of eco Soak Off UV Nail Color by filling out the form at the web site - the link is below in my signature. With 50 colors including glitters, I personally prefer the brand over the other because of the fact it is in pots not polish bottle, as well as the application method. I have gone more than 6 weeks with no lifting, peeling or chipping with eco on my own nails.
welcome to your new career Vickilynn.

I think the best advice was already mentioned, attend a show or local network event.

Attend a show or network event without any product on your hands. Go around and get a demo nail from several mfgrs, take notes or have set questions for each mfgr. Write down which product is on what nail and see how they hold up on you.

Next, find out where the educators are located and distributors to see how convieniant it will be for you to get product and support or additional education.

There are many great products that will not perform well if not used properly. Doesn't mean they are not good products.

If you have any questions regarding the Nubar line, please feel free to contact me.
ellen torchia @ by nubar .com (sorry, didn't want to make a spam link)