Solid Gel Review & Swatching | What are the advantages (disadvantages) of solid gel polish?

Cream gel, Cake gel, Jelly gel… the same thing. All of these words refer to the new trendy format of gel type for nails… AKA solid gel. It just depends on what brand you buy into.

I’ll be honest. I think I’m kind of late to the party over here with this solid gel nail thing… but to be fair to myself… I actually am not super quick to jump on trends.

I like to let them sit and percolate a little bit, and let those with a lot more time and energy than me go first.

So in my quick little solid gel nail polish research, I learned that these have been out for at least two years and then it seems as of mid last year or so, that the solid gel nail thing really took off with so many gel nail brands carrying them.

And you know me, I’m a girl of no more than 3 brands for regular use. So when one of my favorite brands, Leafgel, launched their series of these solid gel nail bad boys… I had to try, and relay my findings to you.

And, overall, yes! I like solid nail gel… but I am not ready to trade in all of my gel pots and bottles.

Let’s begin with some advantages of solid gel

Advantage #1 Easy to travel with.

While gel pots are also super compact and easy to travel with, solid gel has the advantage of not spilling or leaking as traditional pots or bottles do. It stays firm but still applies like smooth butter on the nails.

Advantage #2 Full coverage with just one coat

Yes, I know we often say that about Japanese color gels too, but this is truly opaque if applied with the right thickness. Do not add too much much pressure to your brush when applying to achieve a solid one coat application.

Advantage #3 No-run formula

No need to go chasing gel here. Wherever you set this baby, it will stay. And even with you brushing over and over on it again, you will not be removing gel every time as often is the case with traditional potted gel. You can actually do wonderful line work with this solid gel, as your lines will not feather.

Advantage #4 No stirring required… ever!

So, typically when you get your Japanese Gel you have to stir it in the first time, and then again, if it’s been months since your last use, but with solid gel, it is actually a crime to stir (lol). No stirring is required ever, or you may actually introduce bubbles, and lint particles floating in the air into it, and even turn it a bit liquidy.

And even though you should not stir, I found no problem in mixing colors on a palette and applying. It still applied super creamily.

Advantage #5 Best for ombre!

If I had to say that solid gel was created for one specific thing, it is ombre or gradation effect! It blurs like nothing else, especially when you do the sponge method! You truly get an airbrush effect, it does not matter what color you use. Even white is super easy! If you use the sponge method with traditional liquid color gel, you will get a lot of air bubbles.

Advantage #6 Better price than potted gel color

This is true at least for Leafgel and the Korean gel nail brand Mithmillo that offers solid gel in compact-type containers. This Leafgel solid gel has 5g of gel for $14 while the traditional pot has 4g at $20. Does that equal less or more nail sets, I’m not sure, but I do look forward to solving that mystery for you, and I will add that information to my free resource which is a comparison chart of my favorite brands of Japanese Gel Nail products, down in the description box below. Make sure to download it to receive the details on how many sets does a compact creates vs a pot.

Also, I mentioned the brand Mithmillo, and what’s cool about their solid gel roll-out is that they offer replacement packs on the color when you run out, saving you money, and of course reducing waste.

Alright, let’s talk about some disadvantages of solid gel.

Disadvantage #1 Limited color selection

Because this still seems to be a new concept, companies are rolling out colors slowly & steadily, or have not yet gotten on a seasonal calendar for releasing colors. I think the market is still being tested, and again if I had to buy these for any ONE reason, it would be for gradients! Just superb!

Disadvantage #2  No self-leveling magic

You may have already suspected this, but unlike traditional liquid gel, this solid gel does not self-level. So please do not apply it super thin. I found that in order to avoid a streaky application it is better to grab a generously thin amount or keep grabbing as much as you need to avoid streaking.

Disadvantage #3 Limited art creativity

If you’re into nuance designs, which are super popular in the Japanese culture of nail art, nuance is the kind of nail patterns that happen organically just by the moving and natural self-leveling of the gel (think along the lines of marbling)… you will be left waiting as this solid gel does not really have movement or self-leveling properties once it is placed on the nail. 

Disadvantage #4 Seems to require a longer cure time

One thing that is super helpful with traditional color gels is the ability to flash cure in between designs. Because these are applied a little bit thicker and are more opaque, nothing less than 30 secs is recommended as a cure time, and I would even go as far as curing for 60 secs to ensure a proper cure.

Disadvantage #5 Slightly raised linework

Although these are great for line work because they stay put, they do end up a little raised. So if you prefer your lines flatter, then you may not want to do them with this solid gel.

Alrighty, so that does it for me as far as this review for solid gel nail color. What’s your opinion about these types of gel? Are they here to stay? Let me know down in the comments below.

Remember to download my resource of Japanese gel nail brand comparisons, and if you liked this topic, sign up HERE for our newsletter to be one of the first to get our next blog post.

Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next week again, bye for now.


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