It can be quite confusing to know the differences between various nail products so I’ll try to explain the main differences between hybrid gels and so-called true gels. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages and will suit different needs.
Curable UV gels have been on the market for 35+ years. They started as potted hard gels that need filing off and they lasted around 4 weeks on the nails. Later on, soak-off gels were developed. The big difference between hard gels and soak-off gels was that the soak-off gels were removable with acetone. Till then, the only way to remove gel was to file it off. This often caused damage to the nail plate due to over-filing and improper removal.
Then 10+ years ago, hybrid gel was developed. It all started with Shellac which is a brand of hybrid gel polish but it’s often used by consumers to describe a hybrid gel manicure. Sort of like saying ‘Hoover’ when talking about a vacuum cleaner…
Hybrid gels are a cross between regular nail varnish and soak-off gel. They contain solvents that evaporate just like in regular nail varnish, but they also contain curable gel that hardens to a durable coating. Hybrid gels need to be removed and re-applied very 2-3 weeks, meaning they don’t last quite as long as true gel. The advantage is that clients come for service more often and if there’s an issue on the nail plate it is discovered sooner.
There are also differences in removal. Hybrid gels soak-off much faster than soak-off gel thanks to the solvents. Usually the removal takes around 10-15 minutes, a lot faster than gel or acrylic!