What Are Soak-off Gel Polishes?

Soak-off gel nails are often otherwise known as “soft” gel nails. Traditional nail polish is paint, wait forever, and go. It chips easily and can be a pain to remove. Soak-off gel nail polish is painted on as well, but after each layer, it is “cured” with a UV light. This means that the nails are placed under the light to dry before adding another layer.

How Are They Different From Buff-off Gel Polishes?

Buff-off nails are a different kind of gel nail, more commonly known as “hard” gel enhancements. The main difference between the two is how they are removed. Living up to their names, buff-off gel nails are non-porous, and therefore can only be taken off by buffing them down. Soak-off gel polishes, on the other hand, can be soaked in acetone for removal. They are more flexible and lightweight, which sounds better to most because they seem more natural out of the two, however, they do not last as long as their counterparts.

Soak Off Gel Nail Polish

Benefits, Benefits, Benefits!

  1. Long Lasting- Soak-off gel nails last for about 2 or 3 weeks, and that’s without chipping, s they always look like they were just done!
  2. For Use on Natural Nail- It is possible to add length, but the polish is easily painted directly on top of your natural nails, just like traditional nail polish.
  3. Dry Time- Using the UV light means that the gel polish dries in minutes. Forget those troublesome smudges, dents, and waiting forever!
  4. Not As Damaging- Soak-off gels don’t require hurtful and damaging drills and extensive filing.
  5. Easy Temporary Polish Change- Need to change the color of your nails for the night to match your dress? No problem at all. Just use traditional nail polish and paint on your gel nails. Remove the color when you are ready with a non-acetone remover.
  6. Touch Ups- When your nail grows, there will be a small gap at the bottom of your nail that indicates the nail growth. A quick stop in the salon will fix you right up! A bit of the gel polish will be added to fill in the space, which will be a lot faster than getting them done all over again.
  7. Removal Process- Removal was mentioned in the beginning, but it’s definitely a clear benefit. It’s easy to remove soak-off gel nails by using acetone. A bit of further filing after may or may not be required to finish up.
  8. DIY- Now, quite a few brands and company are selling soak-off gel kits that include everything you need, for example, a miniature UV or LED lamp. All it takes is practice, and you’ll soon have your nails looking like you go to the salon every week. It can be a worthy investment!
  9. No Strong Smell- If you have ever had acrylic nails, then you know the smell I’m talking about. There are no chemical involved in gel nails either.
  10. Works Like Traditional Polish- They are as easy to apply as regular nail polish, plus they have all the above advantages. What are you waiting for?


Any Negatives?

As with anything, there are a few, but they are very manageable.

Cost- Acrylics, hard gel, and silk wraps are the most expensive nails to upkeep. However, soak-off gel nails, even though they are cheaper, are 2 to 3 times more expensive than regular nail polish. You will also need to invest in a UV or LED light if you plan on doing them at home. This is a one time cost though, so it’s worth it.

Nail Stress- Anything that is not natural is most likely not the absolute best for you. Nails are no exception. Covering your natural nail with soft gel for two or more weeks (and filling it without taking them off) prohibits your nails from “breathing”. This could possibly lead to your nails becoming weaker and more brittle. It’s therefore recommended that you take a break in between sporting soak-off gel polish.

Time- Though there is a very fast dry time, the process of doing your own gel nails or going to the salon takes longer than if you were choosing regular nail polish. You need to prepare (smooth) the nails, put on a base, then the color, the topcoat, and finally use a gel cleaner to clean off any sticky residue.

Nail Growth- Nail growth will start to show and will become more noticeable as time goes on. It’s more noticeable with darker colors, so that may influence your color choice if that is something you are concerned about.

Is It Worth It?

The short answer is yes, and I hope you’ll agree with me after weighing the advantages and disadvantages. The feel of having well maintained and manicured nails does not match any other, and that alone is quite a good reason to get them. They are the least harmful of all fake nails. Once you try them out, you will love them!


  1. Very nice article. I have been painting my nails since I was a child and wanted salon nails but I’m to cheap to pay someone. So for $100 online I picked out a starter kit with brushes, an electric nail drill/file, long french tips, fake nail cutter, UV fingerless gloves, nail buffers, acetone, colored gels, a 36 watt UV light and clear Lina builder gel. I’ve only been doing it 7 months now.

    Today a stranger told me my nails were gorgeous. I say if you are creative, soft gels are the way to go. You can soak them off and start over if you get bored with them. I can keep them on up to 10 to 12 days. Sometimes I just want short nails for a week while I search for a new design. Do searches online for nail pics and watch videos on youtube. I did all that first before I started so I’d know what I was getting myself into. Have fun with it, I do.


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