[Skills] Gel for L&P Users: How to Expand Your Service Menu & Grow Your Clientele

“I went to nail school so long ago, we didn’t even learn about gel!”

Sound familiar?

No worries, beautiful Nail Betty!

Gel is a nail enhancement system, just like Liquid & Powder. The application is different, but your clients can still enjoy 3 weeks of perfect wear with either system.


Some advantages that have led to the rising popularity of gel as a nail enhancements system include:

  • It’s odorless, making it a great addition to service menus in spa settings or salons with small spaces where Liquid & Powder vapors may disrupt ambiance.
  • It’s workable. Because gel doesn’t cure until exposed to UV light, you have more time to sculpt the perfect enhancement without worrying about it hardening before you’re finished engineering that perfect nail.
  • It hypoallergenic. Okay, this benefit carries a caveat & applies specifically to CND’s award-winning gel system, Brisa. Brisa is a non-acrylate gel, which greatly reduces the incidence of developing a sensitivity or allergic reaction to the system. Brisa Gel features low initiator levels & a formaldehyde- & gluteraldehyde-free formula, which makes sensitivity reactions exceptionally few & far between.

While Liquid & Powder is a nail enhancement system made of two pieces that must be mixed together to create the enhancement, Gel is made of preformed monomer chains (called oligomers) that have a gel-like consistency (surprise!). That’s right! No more worrying about mixing liquid & powder to an exact ratio.

This consistency offers easy application in one bead (single color) or two (Forever French).

Gel contains photoinitiators that cause the oligomers to harden when exposed to a precise output of ultraviolet (UV) light. Every gel system contains a very specific amount of photoinitiators that requires a very specific UV output in order to cure properly; this is why it’s SUPER important to use the lamp designed for your specific gel system.

Fun fact: LED lamps still use UV light energy to cure gel products!

Liquid & Powder & Gel enhancements may wear the same, but their chemical composition makes each ideal for a different natural nail type. So, how do you know which Nail Enhancement system to recommend to a client?

When it comes to nails, just remember opposites attract. Read on as Walt Disney explains…

Liquid & Powder is the hardest nail enhancement system around. It’s perfect for weak or thin nails. Like Violet Incredible’s force field, it’s going to take a lot of force to break a properly structured L&P enhancement.

On the other hand, Gel is tough but flexible. It offers the perfect support & resilience for hard, brittle nails. Remember Baymax, the personal health assistant in the (AMAZING) movie, Big Hero 6? He’s tough, bouncy & resilient, like a gel enhancement:

For the seasoned Liquid & Powder user, trying out a gel system may seem mysterious & maybe even a little intimidating. Being mindful of a few key differences in approach can save a lot of the learning curve:
  1. Use a lighter touch. When you sculpt L&P, you use your brush to deliberately press & pack the product on the nail plate & create optimal adhesion between the nail plate & enhancement. With gel, you use your brush to guide the product into place with a VERY light touch. Holly Schippers, aka the Finger Nail Fixer, calls this process “influencing” the gel.
  2. Sculpt in layers. Yes, zone sculpting still applies, but sculpting in THIN layers ensures complete UV light penetration & proper cure while creating a strong enhancement. It also prevents heat spikes & client discomfort.
  3. Lighter file finishing. The process of file finishing is the same as L&P enhancements, but gel is a softer material, so it requires a much lighter touch & softer files, like the refined 100/180 grit Blizzard file, which actually feels like a 180/240 file to the touch, or the Boomerang padded file, also featuring a refined grit of 180/180.

All of this put together makes for a very comfortable, light experience for both Nail Pro & Client. Mindful sculpting creates very little need for filing, which results in a manageable service time. (Go ahead & take that lunch break!)

Want the rundown in an easy-to-read comparison chart? Click below to get your copy of the Gel Vs. Liquid & Powder Comparison Chart that I made juuust for you!

Ready to try your hand at Brisa Gel?

Attend the Master Sculptor in Denver, Colorado, on September 26 as part of the CND Grand Master Weekend. You’ll get 8 hours of hands-on education supported by the best Gel product kit I’ve ever worked with! You’ll also receive exclusive CND swag & LOTS of special (read: only Master class grads get it!) business-building support.

For more information & to register, visit the Event Page.

Have questions? Leave a comment below!

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