Gel manicures are hugely popular today because they create a shiny, chip-free look with staying power of up to two weeks and a quick dry time.

But not every manicure needs to include gel polish. You can get the same shiny effect by using the right topcoat. Here are some essential questions about gel-like topcoats every nail professional should be prepared to answer, including how to get a gel finish, what to look for in a topcoat and how to create the perfect gel manicure.

What Should You Look for in a Gel-Like Topcoat?

For clients who want a perfect gel-like finish without using gel at all, choosing the right topcoat is essential. Look for topcoats that give you a glossy, long-wear finish. While they’re still technically nail polish, gel-like topcoats are thicker in texture and formulated differently than non-gel-like topcoats.

Essentially, you want a gel-like topcoat that plumps like gel, provides a gel-like shine and is easy to remove like traditional polish.

What’s the Best Way to Apply Topcoat?

Achieving a gel-like finish is pretty simple. After applying your favorite nail color, just follow these three steps:

  1. Apply two layers of colored polish to the nail surfaces. Dry and cure.
  2. Float the topcoat over the color coat to ensure a gel-like finish.
  3. Finish by conditioning the nails and soft tissue with cuticle oil.

How Long Should a Gel-Like Topcoat Last?

With a strong topcoat, your client’s manicure should last 5-7 days, with maximum glossiness and shine.

What Looks Best With Gel-Like Topcoats?

Gel topcoats look great with any design, color or embellishment, but they look extra fierce on rich creme shades. Here’s one inspirational idea featuring a manicure with a gel-like topcoat.

Mod French Manicure

Gel-like topcoat

Photo source: @cndworld

Dress up your client’s French manicure with a silver base and black tips. Begin by filing the nails into an almond shape. Apply two coats of a silver base coat. Then, apply a black polish to the tips of the nails and finish with a gel-like topcoat. The topcoat provides the perfect powerful shine, making the look appear modern, classy and polished.

With a gel-like topcoat, achieving a glossy finish is simple. By knowing how to get a gel finish and what to look for in a gel topcoat, you can answer all of your clients’ burning questions about this popular finish — and give them a gel-like look that will leave them in awe.