Gel Manicure Tips: Here is Everything you need to know about Gel Nail Polish According to Nail Experts.

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Gel nail polish has gained immense popularity for decades beyond traditional nail polish. They offer stronger, longer-lasting nails, are super shiny, and give your nails a sturdier feel. So, what are gel nails, and why do most nail enthusiasts love them? We combed the internet and spoke to a nail professional and a dermatologist about everything you need to know about gel nails, gel manicures, benefits, cost, maintenance, removal tips, and safety considerations. Also, we are going to highlight some of the popular gel nail polish brands as well as gel nail polish ideas to look out for the next time you visit a nail salon near you.

Let’s dive right on!

What Is A Gel Nail Polish?

orange gel nail polish purple gel nail polish

Duguay-Gordon, a nail expert, says that a gel manicure is a service that uses a gel-based polish and requires a UV or LED light to cure the polish and lock it onto your natural nails. Gel nails use a nail polish that hardens your natural nails when exposed to UV or LED light to create a hard, chip-resistant manicure. Unlike other regular polish that chip as quickly as two to three days, a gel polish typically stays chip-free for weeks or even more. The result of applying a quality gel polish is a strong, flexible, glossy finish that’s chip-free and long-lasting. Also, gel manicures use only polish; no acrylic tips or other artificial nails are applied.

How Is Gel Nail Polish Done?

burgundy gel nail polish

You can get your gel manicures done either at a nail salon, by an independent nail tech, or at home. Getting your gel manis done at a favorite nail salon comes with recurring costs of initial gel application, each removal and reapplication every 2-3 weeks. However, it’s a worthwhile expense since nail salons employ nail professionals who offer excellent nail services.

Choose to visit independent nail techs means a better affordability than salons when getting your gel nails done. An independent nail tech often curates their own services and focuses on their passions. This makes them true experts in their chosen area with a high level of skills to cater to a nail customer’s specific needs.

Doing your own dry gel manicure at home allows you to unleash your full creative agency over your own nails. It is a great way of minimizing the costs of doing your nails as well as removing them as long as you have the gel manicure skills. You just need the right gel nail kit to apply gel polish and remove them anytime while cutting down on nail salon costs. However, proper technique is required to avoid damaging your natural nails when prepping and removing gels.

How Much Does Gel Manicure Cost?

red gel nail polish

The cost of a gel mani depends on various factors, from where you live, the kind of look you want, as well as whether you want your nails done by a nail salon or by an independent nail tech. However, according to Duguay-Gordon, a basic one-color gel manis can averagely cost you around $35 to $40. Also, blaze yourself to cough around $1000 or more if you’re looking for crazy celeb-level nail art. Doing the gel manis at home will cost you around $30 to $150 for the supplies. When it comes to removing your gel polish, most salons charge an additional $10-$20 for a gel removal service, and at-home gel manicure removal tools cost an average of $10-$25.


What are the Most Popular Gel Nail Polish Brands?

After doing my research and reviewing countless gel nail customer reviews, the best-selling and most reputable professional gel polish brands include but are not limited to the following: S&L Beauty Company, OPI, GELISH, BIO SEAWEED GEL, CND SHELLAC

How long does a Gel Manicure Last?

Basically, Gel manicures are designed to last around three weeks. Totty, a nail professional advices that gel manicures typically last anywhere from 10 days and up to three weeks. Anything longer than that usually does not look great because of the natural nail growth, wear and tear. While how a gel polish is painted on plays a big role in how long it lasts, using a strengthening base gel like LeChat Liquid Gel Builder will make your gels last longer. Also, ensure you buy quality gel polishes. Apply 2-3 gel polish coats for longer wear, allow each coat (base coat, gel polish, and top coat) to properly cure under the LED or UV lamp, moisturize your cuticles with cuticle oil, and avoid frequent exposure of your nails to water.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish

Nail experts advise it’s always best to visit a professional for gel nail removal -which usually costs around $10-$15. if that’s not possible, Removing gel nail polish is not much different from removing traditional nail polish, which is peeled or rubbed off with remover. The main difference is that gel nails require extra steps to soak the cotton balls in acetone, place them on your nails, and wrap them using a foil. Then, after 10 to 15 minutes, use a cuticle stick to gently push off the softened polish. Since your nails might be brittle due to the removal solution, “slugging” your nails with an occlusive like Vaseline is recommended to keep them nourished.

Is Gel Nail Polish Safe?

Can Gel Manicures Damage Your Nails Is the common question nails experts get from customers. The primary safety concern when it comes to gel manicures is the small UV lamps used to cure them. While there is not enough evidence to specifically state the dangers of UV light lamps, it’s always better safe than sorry and most nail salons are switching from UV lamps to LED lamps to cure gel polish. Also, experts emphasize minimizing the frequency of use of gel manicures’ use of UV protection, including wearing sunscreen or UV-protecting gloves during your treatment.

How Long Should You Wait Between Gel Manicures?

Nail professionals advise that you avoid doing gel manicures too often since they might make your nails thin and weak. You should wait about two to three weeks between getting gel manicures because the process of putting on and taking off gel polish can be hard on your nails. Taking a break helps your nails get stronger again. With that said, these are the signs to look out for if you’re wondering whether to take a break from gel manicures. They include but are not limited to weaker nails, white marks, dryness, color changes, and easily broken nails.

What’s the Difference Between Gel and Acrylic Nails?

Simply put, gel nails and acrylic nails are two completely different things. For instance, Gel manicures use only polish and don’t apply acrylic nail extensions or tips. On the other hand, acrylic nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent and are essentially used to lengthen the nail or provide a stronger top layer over the natural nail. Moreover, Acrylics require the skilled application of liquid and powder polymers to sculpt and extend the nails, and then you apply the polish. Gels on the other side are simply painted on like regular polish and then cured using UV lamps to be long-lasting.

Gel vs. Regular Polish

If you’re wondering what the difference is between regular nails and gel nails, then I have your back.  Regular nail polish is also different from gels. For instance, regular nail polish is painted on and left to air dry while gel polish is cured under UV or LED lamps to harden hence can resist chips and scratches for 2-3 weeks. For this reason, regular nail polish does not last long; it can smudge, dent, or even peel off within days.


Gel Nails vs. Shellac Nails

Although many consumers use these terms interchangeably, the main difference is in the polish formulation, polish removal process, and individual preferences. Gel manicures use true gel polish, while Shellac is a hybrid of regular polish and gel polish that cures under an LED or UV lamp. Removing gel nails and Shellac both require acetone soaking on the nails, but Shellac can be removed more easily due to its unique formulation. However, both options provide a semi-permanent manicure at a similar price point.

What’s the difference between gel and dip powder Nails?

Dip powder nails are Available in a wide variety of shades and finishes made of a finer acrylic powder. Unlike the gels, dip powder can go up to three-week-long wear without being cured or sealed with a UV lamp. Unlike traditional nail polish, your nails are dipped into the powder after applying a layer of base coat until a desired pigment is achieved. (Usually two coats), then a top coat or an activator is applied, and that’s it; you’re all set.

Thank you for visiting!

Exclusively Written by: DANIEL MUTUMA

Photo credit: Pinterest


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