If you're looking for a way to pamper yourself without having to spend too much, gel nails might be the perfect solution. But what is gel nails? Gel nails are artificial nail enhancements that can last up to two weeks with no chipping or peeling and they require less maintenance than regular acrylics. More importantly, gel manicures are more natural-looking than acrylics because they don't require an additional layer of polish on top of them when applied. So if you're interested in getting gel manicure done in order to save time and money while still maintaining healthy-looking hands, there are a few things you need to know before going in for your appointment!
What Are Gel Nails?
Gel nail polish is similar to regular nail polish in the way that it’s painted on, but unlike traditional nail lacquer, gel polish is cured with a UV or LED light. This light helps to set the gel polish in place which makes it last longer than your classic nail polish.
Just like with a normal manicure, you can still get super cute designs and patterns with gel polish that you usually can’t with alternative options like dip powder.
What Are the Benefits of Gel Nails?
The main benefit to getting gel nails is that they last way longer than traditional nail polish. With that being said, gel can still chip just like with regular polish, it’s just not as likely to happen as quickly or easily. Unlike some traditional polishes, gel manicures stay glossy the entire time. Gel polish can also make your natural nails feel stronger.
Getting a gel manicure cuts down on drying time and reduces the chance of you smudging your nails before you walk out of the salon door. Plus, you can get it done on short or long nails.
How Long Does Gel Last?
A gel manicure can last anywhere from 10 days to up to three weeks (and even longer if you’re super careful.) The longevity of your gel nails all depends on how well you take care of them though.
Here are some tips to making your manicure last a little bit longer:
1. When cleaning or washing the dishes, make sure to wear gloves. Harsh chemicals and hot water can sometimes cause gel polish to lift or peel off of your nails.
2. Take care of chipping as soon as it happens. If you chip or break your nail, file it into your preferred shape. If the chip is really bad, don’t be afraid to head back into your salon for a touch-up. Most salons will offer free fixes on chipped gel polish within a certain timeframe of your manicure. Just be sure to ask!
3. Apply nail and cuticle oil to keep both your cuticles and the gel polish hydrated. Yep, you read that right! Keeping gel mani hydrated can actually help prevent chipping and cracking. Who knew?
4. Apply a thin layer of clear topcoat every once in a while. This will also help prevent chipping.
5. Be gentle with your nails! Simply being mindful in your everyday life of what you’re using your hands for can make all the difference. If you know you’re going to be lifting heavy items, doing arts and crafts, etc., it’s probably best to hold off on getting that gel manicure.
Gels look more natural than acrylics
It's a good option for people who want a natural look without the hassle of getting acrylics done at the salon. Gels are a great alternative to acrylics because gel nails don't require an additional layer of polish on top. This means that gel manicure is more natural looking than traditional nail enhancement options, as it doesn’t have the shiny look that regular polishes do.
Gel Nails Can Save Time and Money!
In addition to being healthier for your hands, gel nails can save you time and money in the long run! Gel manicures usually last longer than other types of traditional nail enhancements which means there's less trips back to the salon or spa! And if you decide getting gel mani done at home, not only will you be saving yourself some cash but also precious hours out of your week – yay for extra weekend adventures with bae!
How much do gel nails cost?
Each nail appointment costs around $40-$100 depending on the salon you are visiting.
Gels look more natural than acrylics
It's a good option for people who want a natural look without the hassle of getting acrylics done at the salon. Because gel doesn't require the bulky acrylic layer on top of your nail plate it looks a lot more natural.
Does This Manicure Damage Your Nails?
Not if it’s applied properly. In fact, the most damaging part of a gel manicure is usually the removal process! To avoid potential damage to your natural nail, leave it to the professionals. Even though there are a ton of at-home gel kits on the market, the best way to make sure you’re getting a product that will last and not cause any damage is by going to a professional nail artist.
While there is some information out there that says UV lights can lead to dark spots and wrinkles, it’s very rare. To avoid this, just apply some sunscreen to your hands before going under the UV light.
How Do You Remove Gel Manicure?
You can either go to a nail salon to get your gel mani removed or do it yourself at home. Just remember if you’re opting to remove your gel manicure yourself, but super gentle and careful—especially around the cuticle area.
The easiest way to remove gel nails at home is with pure acetone, tin foil, and cotton balls/rounds.
Soak the cotton balls/rounds in acetone and place them on top of your nails.
Take a small piece of tinfoil and wrap it around your finger to secure the cotton ball in place.
The removal process takes about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the tinfoil and cotton ball and most of the gel polish should be soaked off! For any tough spots, go in with more acetone or very gently buff the problem area.
Mistakes to Avoid When Wearing Gel Nail Polish
In order to get the most out of your gel manicure, here are a few things to avoid when rocking your gel polish:
Your nails shouldn’t have any oil or lotion on them getting a manicure. Whether you’re doing your nails at home or in the salon, make sure your nails are completely dry and free of any cuticle oils or hand lotions as it could prevent the gel polish from sticking.
Remove your gel manis properly every time! This is probably the most important tip to avoid any damage to your nails. Don’t peel or pick at your nails as it can weaken your overall nail plate.
Make sure to evaluate the health of your nails before getting your next gel manicure. Applying and removing nail polish over and over again can be rough on your natural nail. This can eventually lead to dry, brittle nails that break easily. When removing your gel manis take a look at your nails to see if they seem weaker than normal. If they do, skip out on the gel polish for a bit to give your nails some time to ‘breathe’.
Apply cuticle oils to you nail beds and hand lotions often to keep your cuticle and nails in tip-top shape. At the end of the day, gel polish and UV/LED lights can lead to dryness. Help combat this by applying cuticle oils and lotions regularly.
Hot baths or showers can cause gel manis to lift.
If you are looking for a long lasting wear, make sure not to expose your gel manicures to lots of hot showers and hot baths so you mani doesn't lift or gets damaged.
Are gel manicures safe?
Yes, gel nails are completely safe provided you go to a reputable salon and it is done by a licensed nail technician. Yes, gel nails are completely safe provided you go to a reputable salon and it is done by a licensed nail technician. We strongly suggest that you let your natural nail breathe between gel manicures.
Gel manicures are safe as long as you do them properly. Always remember gel nails should be done by a professional who knows what they're doing. If you’re not sure about the salon or nail artist, check reviews online before making an appointment! Also always make sure your hands and cuticles are completely dry when applying gel polish to avoid any unwanted smudges on your beautiful mani & flawless for weeks!
The soaking process can be harmful.
Acetone may cause your nails, cuticles, and the skin around your nails to become red, dry, and flakes. The skin of the fingertips and nail beds are also affected after soaking in acetone and will appear white as a result of being dehydrated.
You can either go to a nail salon to get your gel, acrylics or shellac nails removed or do it yourself at home. Just remember if you’re opting to remove the product yourself, but be super gentle and careful around your nail bed.
What is the difference between gels and acrylic nails?
Acrylic nails are a type of artificial nail extensions that is very similar to real nails in appearance and feel; however, they differ in the technique used to apply them. They are prepared by filing down your natural nail to create a rough surface on which the acrylic paste is applied.
The gel application is just like a regular manicure but you with the base coat and the top coat the is cured under the UV lamp.
What's the difference between gels and shellac nails?
There is a lot of confusion about the differences between gel nails vs shellac nails. The products are similar, but they do have some key distinctions: Shellac nails are essentially a hybrid of regular polish and gel. Shellac nails are applied with two color coats, then under UV light for curing time - so nothing too crazy!
Best Gel Polishes for DIY Manicures at Home
Red Carpet Manicure Pro Kit
The Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Kit is all you need for a perfect manicure that lasts and shines. A routine trip to the salon will never be needed again with this pack of products from loved beauty brand, Red Carpet Manicure. With a professional-style brush, your nails are prepped and ready to look put together in minutes. The manicure stays on even longer without color bleeding or chipping–months at a time, so no more running out of buffer sheets or careful coating!
Gelish MINI Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish Complete Starter Kit
Mixing the bold look of regular nail polish with the benefits of gel, this product covers it. Gelish MINI Soak-Off Gel Nail Polish Complete Starter Kit features 5 gel polish colors and comes with an on-the-go LED light, Mini Basix kit, and 5 different shades.
Vishine Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
This gel nail polish starter kit comes with everything you need to create salon-worthy nails at home. From the UV lamp set to base and top coats, color mixers, scraper and painting brush - this is the only tool that will help you create impeccable manicure when in a rush!
So what is the verdict? Is it worth getting a gel manicure, or should you just stick with regular polish and save yourself some time and money? We say that if you can afford to get one done at a salon then go for it! It lasts longer than standard nail polish, smells better (due to lack of formaldehyde), and looks more natural. However, don’t feel like you have to make an appointment at your nearest salon because there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do them yourself. All you need is a UV/LED lamp from Amazon or other beauty retailers, which will only cost around $30-50 depending on where you purchase from, as well as some patience when applying the product
So the next time you decide to get a manicure, be sure to take the necessary steps in caring for your nails. Whether you opt for DIY or salon treatment, it is worth getting one and we hope this blog post helps you make an informed decision!
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