First off, let’s get things straight – Essence The Gel Top and Base Coat is NOT a gel product. Gel products have small plastic particles called monomers or oligomers, which link together and form a durable coating when a chemical called a photoinitiator is activated by light. There’s a full explanation of the gel polymerisation process here, but in short, it’s like the monomers are chocolate chips spread over a tray, and the photo initiator makes them melt and harden together as a single sheet. Usually the photoinitiator is activated by UV light from a lamp, such as in Shellac or other salon or home gel products.
Recently though, a few gel products have come out which are activated by exposure to normal light – Sally Hansen Miracle Gel is the most successful one. The top coat contains a light-activated gel – in other words, a photoinitiator and some oligomers. Here are the ingredients: