KOKOIST Japanese Gel vs. Gel Polish

KOKOIST Japanese Gel vs. Gel Polish

Paola PonceApril 07, 2022

Let’s compare and contrast Kokoist Japanese Gels vs. Gel Polish.

Now because I’m not a chemist, I’m going to be very generic, but this will benefit you as you’ll get the big picture of things without fretting about all of the chemical details.

Let’s start by describing characteristics of both gel polish and Kokoist Gel.

Hey there and welcome back, If you are new here. Welcome to the Kokoist USA Channel.

I am Paola of Paola Ponce Nails, and happy to be guest hosting another episode for you here.


What is gel polish?

Let’s look at some key characteristics.

Gel polish characteristics include:

  • thinner consistency
  • made up of ”cellulose” ingredients
    • now I went ahead and gave this word a Google for you; because I’m like you… cellu-who? Here’s what I found:

Cellulose esters are polymers used by the nail care industry as film formers. Films formed from cellulose esters have fast solvent release. Compared to nitrocellulose, cellulose esters are non yellowing and have excellent clarity and stability.

  • solvents (most common is ethyl acetate )
    • This solvent evaporates quickly as you start applying your gel polish.
    • And also you may realize that some of your gel polishes thicken or get goopy over time. And that is because this solvent evaporates over time.

Lastly they do include…

  • resin and monomer ingredients but at a lower concentration

Cellulose and solvents are ingredients that are found in nail polish-type products. They are not gel or resin material, making gel polish not a true gel.

Now I want to be very clear… This does not mean that gel polish is a bad product.

This just means it has a different wear. It is meant to wear more like a long lasting nail polish. It is not there to add structure or create extensions.

You can expect these nail products to wear up to 14 days without chipping. However, the wear period is often shorter if the nails are naturally brittle, too flexible, too long, or too damaged.

Whether you wear these products or offer them to your clients is a preference, and should be based on the services you specialize in.

If you’re more natural nail care or nail polish specialized, with clients who occasionally want a long wearing service, but it is not their go-to service, then offering gel polish services make sense in your offerings.

Like if clients don’t always have their nails structured with an overlay or extended with gel, then again, a gel polish manicure is THE service for them.

Nothing wrong with this service offering. Again you just have to determine what your nail business specializes in.

Now if you and your clients want their nails enhanced with more support or extended free-edges or want to really explore nail art trends. I would invite you to consider a 100% gel system, like Kokoist Japanese Gel.

Let’s look at some characteristics of Kokoist Gel.

Kokoist Gel like most Japanese Gel consists primarily of:

  • Oligomers (thick gooey gel resin)
  • Monomers  (thin resin for dilution & adhesion)
  • Photoinitiator (particles for UV light curing)

And lastly,

  • Additives like pigments and glitters

And Kokoist Japanese Gel is specifically different from other Japanese Gel Systems because their foundation gels (like bases & builders) are more of a semi-hard finish.

This means that they are flexible, but also have some hardness to them.

Hear for yourself that crunch…

Even their softest texture gel (Mega Stick Base) has a little bit of hardness to it.

This semi-hard texture gives all of your gel nail enhancements great durability.

Their builders keep your extensions firm, and your overlays give your bendy nails stability, making all of your services wear 3+ weeks.

So you may be wondering… are there any similarities between gel polish and Kokoist Gel (true gel)? Can I use them together?

The similarities between the two products are that they both soak-off with acetone.

Gel polish products soak-off faster because they have solvents that help dis-solve the product.

So essentially these solvents kick-off the process of melting off some of the ingredients in the gel polish to aid in a speedy removal.

True gels can be hard gel (do NOT soak-off with acetonr) or soft gel (do soak-off with acetone).

Kokoist Japanese Gel, is soft gel in the sense that it is soak-off. It soaks-off with acetone.

When we talked earlier about Kokoist being semi-hard, we were talking about its finish and rigidity once cured.

And remember semi-hard meant some hardness and some flexibility to them.

So the similarity between gel polish and Kokoist gel is that they are both soak-off gel nail products.

Can you use them together?

Yes. But in my experience, gel polish products are much thinner. You won’t get a guaranteed 3+ week wear as you do with a true gel when applied properly.

For me the most common issue when using gel polish over true gels was that the free-edge wore out easier. So it either chipped, lifted, or wore off.

This may depend on what brands you put on top of your KokoIst true gel enhancement. Feel free to play on yourself with whatever nail products you’re exploring, but on paying clients I would keep true gels with true gels.

Now, prior to this video, you may have thought that gel polish referred to a nail product simply being in a bottle. That is certainly not the case. Although gel polish formulas you will most commonly always find them in bottled form.

True gels can be in either bottle or pot.

Alright, time for a recap.

Gel polish products are resin products that are highly diluted for thin natural applications on the natural nails, and their goal is to look, feel, and wear like nail polish for up to 14 days.

True gel products like Kokoist Japanese Gel are 100% gel formulas meant to provide support to the natural nails via structured overlay and extension applications. And in addition Japanese Gels are super versatile for nail art, with their variety of sheer and highly pigmented colors and other clear nail art gels like Art Clear Zero, and Boba Gel!

And now that you see the differences between the two you can probably now see why true gels are the standard in gel nail manicuring in Japan.

Kokoist USA is here to catch you up. I hope you will join us, we would be more than happy to have you as a true gel specialized nail tech.

Thank you for joining us today, stick around for our next video or check out the description below for any active promo codes to go shopping.

We’ll see you again next week, and bye for now.


Paola Ponce is an independent nail educator helping the Japanese gel nail niche and its nail techs grow! You can follow more of her work at www.paolaponcenails.com and @paolaponcenails on Instagram. Save & support her work with affiliate code PPN10.


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