Polygel slip solution explained and alternatives you need to try

What is polygel slip solution and do you really need it?

Let’s find out.

In this post, we’re going to demystify slip solutions.

We’ll talk about how polygel slip solution works, why it’s important, and what to use if you don’t have any.

In a hurry?

Here’s the short and fast answer:

Polygel slip solution is a liquid thinner for polygel. Dipping your brush in a slip solution makes it easier to sculpt polygel nails to the desired shape and thickness. The main ingredient in slip solution is usually alcohol or ethyl acetate, which are both solvents. If you don’t have a slip solution, rubbing alcohol, acetone-free nail polish remover or a gel base coat make good substitutes.

Alrighty, now let’s dig a little deeper.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:

What is slip solution and how does it work?

Slip solution is a solvent. It works like a thinner.

You may have noticed that when you squeeze polygel out of the tube, it’s thick, gloopy, and very sticky.

Polygel slip solution basically thins out the poly gel a little, just enough to make it easier to work with.

It’s important to note that poly gel slip solution only thins out the nail gel slightly.

Slip solution does not break down the poly gel to the point where the structure of the nail is affected.

Slip solution works in a similar way to monomer for acrylic nails.

Though a major difference between monomer and slip solution is the smell.

Monomer smells really bad, but slip solution is low-odor.

Some brands of slip solutions even have a pleasant fruity smell.

Basically, using a slip solution makes the whole gel manicure process smoother, easier, and quicker.

What are the ingredients in slip solution?

Precise ingredients vary between brands.

However, the main ingredient in slip solution is usually fast-drying alcohol like denat or Isopropyl alcohol.

Another key ingredient in slip solution is a solvent called Ethyl acetate.

Most slip solutions do not irritate the skin and you can buy slip solution that is free from chemical nasties if this is a concern.

How to use polygel slip solution

Using poly gel slip solution is easy.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Pour a tiny amount of slip solution into a small dish or glass.
  2. Squeeze the polygel tube until you have a blob sitting on top that’s the size you want.
  3. Use the spatula end of your application tool to transfer the gel to your nail plate, a dual form or tip.
  4. Clean the spatula, then dip the brush end of your application tool into the polygel slip solution. (You can add more liquid bit by bit until you’re happy with the consistency).
  5. Using the wet brush, sculpt the nail to the shape and thickness you want.
  6. Once the solution has evaporated, (this only takes a few seconds) you can go ahead and cure your nail.

Polygel slip solution DIY

Can you make your own polygel slip solution?

Why, yes you can!

Here’s the best recipe for making your own slip solution at home.

What you need:

  • 1 x cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn is good for this)
  • 3 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin

How to make it:

  1. Mix the water, dish soap, and glycerin together in a bowl until well combined.
  2. Pour the solution into a plastic container or a glass jar/bottle with a lid.
  3. Shake it up before each use.

Bare in mind that the water is going to take a lot longer to evaporate than alcohol.

What can I use if I don’t have slip solution?

If you run out of slip solution or you’re polygel nail kit didn’t come with one, don’t panic!

There are some great alternatives that you might just have at home.

Below are some of the products that people have tried out instead of slip solution and details on whether they work or not.

Can you use alcohol instead of slip solution for PolyGel?

Yes! Alcohol is the main ingredient in a lot of slip solutions, so it makes sense to use it as an alternative.

The higher the percentage the better.

Ideally, you want alcohol that’s 70% or higher for it to work.

Rubbing alcohol is ideal. In fact, some nail technicians prefer it to slip solution!

If you have a bottle of vodka or a similar spirit that is 70% alcohol, that will also work.

Can you use acetone instead of slip solution for PolyGel?

You should never, ever use acetone as poly gel slip solution!

Acetone is what’s used to remove polygel.

So if you use acetone as slip solution it will dissolve the gel too much, leaving you with a runny, awful mess!

Can I use nail polish remover as slip solution for PolyGel?

Most nail polishes contain acetone, so they don’t work as slip solution alternatives for poly gel nails.

However, an acetone-free nail polish remover will work, and is a suitable substitute for slip solution in a pinch.

Can you use isopropyl alcohol?

rubbing alcohol 91 isopropyl https://nailhow.com/polygel-slip-solution/

Yes, isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) works very well as a slip solution.

Some people prefer to use Isopropyl alcohol rather than a slip solution to apply their nails.

90% and above is going to give you the best results, but anything above 70% volume should do nicely.

Is slip solution the same as acrylic liquid?

Although slip solution is to polygel nails what monomer is to acrylics, they are not the same thing.

The chemical composition between monomer and slip solution is completely different.

Because of this, it’s not a good idea to use a liquid monomer as a slip solution with polygel nails.

It may make application a tiny bit easier, but it doesn’t help with the stickiness and your nails are going to be more likely to lift.

It’s much better to use rubbing alcohol if you have that.

Can you use basecoat as slip solution?

Actually, some basecoats can work in place of a slip solution.

Your basecoat needs to be compatible with the poly gel that you’re using (the same brand is ideal).

Then you can go ahead and pour a tiny amount of the base coat into a dish and dip the brush in just like you would with any other slip solution.

What is the best slip solution for Polygel?

Forget all of the polygel brands with their fancy ingredients and even fancier packaging.

The best slip solution for polygel nails is 99% Isopropyl alcohol(click to check price).

So many DIY’ers have used rubbing alcohol when they ran out of slip solution and found that it works better for them.

So save yourself the headache and grab some simple but effective Isopropyl alcohol.

The link above is for a 99% formula that’s great for gel nail prep, but that also works well for cleaning beauty tools (like nail and makeup brushes) and for sterilizing earrings.

Final thoughts:

Let’s sum up what we’ve learned, shall we?

Polygel slip solution is a substance used to help with the application of polygel nails.

There are many substitutes for slip solutions that can be used in a pinch if you run out or don’t have any on hand.

The best substitute for polygel slip solution is 99% Isopropyl alcohol. 

Alcohol is the main ingredient in a lot of slip solutions, so it makes sense to use it as an alternative.

Isopropyl alcohol works very well as a slip solution and is a suitable substitute for polygel nail application.

You can also use nail polish remover, but make sure it is acetone-free.

Basecoat can also work in place of a slip solution as long as it is compatible with the poly gel you are using.

In general, it is not a good idea to use liquid monomer as a slip solution with poly gel nails because it can make the nails more likely to lift.

I hope that you enjoyed this post on polygel slip solution and that you found it useful.

Happy nailing!

Check out our best polygel nail kit article here.

Amazon associate’s disclaimer

As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases


  • Phoebe Meadows

    Phoebe Meadows is a self-proclaimed nail addict, always on the lookout for the latest trends and techniques. When she's not creating stunning nail designs, you can find her researching the latest nail care products or experimenting with new techniques.