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A Complete Guide to Gel Nails: What You Should Know

A Complete Guide to Gel Nails: What You Should Know

7 minute read

Gel nails have quickly risen to fame in the beauty industry, offering long-lasting, durable, and shiny manicures. However, gel nail care can be intimidating for people new to the process. How does gel polish differ from regular nail polish? What does the process look like? How can you make sure your manicure lasts? Learning the answers to these and other questions can help you make the most of your manicure and enjoy your stunning gel nails for as long as possible.

If you’re considering trying gel nails for the first time or simply want to learn more about them, we’ve got you covered. Learn about everything from what the gel manicure process looks like to how to preserve your nail health before, during, and between manicures with this complete guide to what you should know about gel nails.

What Sets Gel Manicures Apart?

Just like any type of manicure, gel manicures begin with nail care—including cleaning, trimming, and shaping the nails and taking care of the cuticles. However, the process begins to differ once you’re ready to start applying the polish.

You apply gel polish the same way you apply regular polish, but instead of letting each layer air-dry, you use a curing light to set your gel. The curing process takes a minute or less, and then you repeat with more polish layers. The process ends with applying and curing the top coat. After curing this final layer, your manicure is set and ready to show off wherever you go!

The Benefits of Gel Nails

Why choose a gel manicure over other methods? One of the biggest draws of gel nails is how long they last. They’re strong and durable, so your gorgeous look will last significantly longer than a traditional manicure.

Plus, gel nails are flexible. This makes it less likely for the polish to chip off. It also means the gel is less likely to damage your natural nails if your manicure does break.

Another benefit of gel nails is that the process is incredibly efficient. You don’t have to wait around for your nails to air-dry, which means you can be in and out with a gorgeous manicure in less time.

Finally, a gel manicure is versatile enough to work with both natural and artificial nails. You can also use gel nails for any design, ranging from subtle solid coats to intricate nail art.

Curing With UV Lights

A complete guide to what you should know about gel nails would not be complete without mentioning UV-light curing. One of the biggest fears—and biggest misconceptions—about gel nails is that the UV lights you use to cure the polish can harm your skin and nails. Excess UV exposure is linked to premature aging, skin cancer, and other issues. However, the exposure you get from curing your gel nails is so minimal that the risk is virtually nonexistent. Curing lamps are perfectly safe.

If you’re still worried, though, you can try a couple of tricks to give you peace of mind as you enjoy your gel manicures. Apply sunscreen to your hands before your manicure to protect your skin under the UV lamp. Alternatively, use LED curing lamps, which work just as well to cure the gel polish without the use of UV light.

Making Your Gel Nails Last

Gel nails last for two to three weeks on average, making them more durable than traditional manicures. However, there are ways to further extend their lifespan with proper care and good nail habits.

First and foremost, any manicure will last longer if your natural nails are healthy. Your nails should be strong—not dehydrated or brittle. When you apply the manicure, make sure your nails and the surrounding nail beds are clean and free of residue from water, lotion, oils, and other products.

Once you have your gel manicure, keep it intact by avoiding hard, hands-on work that might scuff or chip your nails. Wear gloves to protect your hands during manual labor or chores like dishes. Keep a nail file on hand so you can fix any chips or breaks. Additionally, protect your nails from products that might wear away the polish, such as cleaning products or hand sanitizers.

Finally, don’t be afraid to schedule touch-ups or fill-ins between manicures. These appointments are a quick way to reestablish your manicure so that natural nail growth or regular wear and tear don’t ruin your look.

Properly Removing Your Gel Manicure

One of the biggest things that can ruin your manicure is picking at it. You might feel the urge to scrape away polish once it chips, but doing so will further ruin the look of your nails and harm your natural nails. That’s why one of the most important things you should know about gel nails is how to remove them properly.

It’s never a bad idea to go to your trusted nail technician to remove your manicure. They have the expertise and tools necessary to safely remove the gel polish without causing any harm to your natural nails.

Alternatively, if you prefer to remove your gel manicure at home, do so safely by first soaking your nails in acetone and then gently buffing off the polish. Avoid filing or scraping your nails, as this can damage and weaken the nail bed.

Remember, patience is key during this process. Rushing through the removal can lead to unnecessary harm. Take your time and ensure that all traces of the gel polish are fully gone before moving on to your next manicure.

Caring for Your Nails Between Gel Manicures

One of the most common misconceptions about gel manicures is that they can destroy your nails if you do them too often. This isn’t true. Manicures don’t pose a risk to the health of your nails.

However, improper nail care does. Dehydrating nails for a manicure, picking at polish and scraping the natural nail bed, over-trimming or cutting cuticles, and so on all harm your natural nails. These habits can lead to issues like brittle nails, chips, and infections if you’re not careful.

Take care of your nails before and between manicures by keeping them trim and neat. This promotes healthy growth and prevents breakage. Moisturizing your cuticles is also important. Dry or damaged cuticles can lead to weak and brittle nails, so keep them hydrated. Use a cuticle oil or cream daily to keep them hydrated and healthy.

In addition to caring for your cuticles, moisturizing your hands and nails is crucial. Apply hand cream or lotion daily, focusing on the nail area to combat dryness and damage from exposure to chemicals, water, and daily wear and tear.

Gel Manicures at Home

Believe it or not, gel nails aren’t exclusive to salon services. Because the process is quick and easy, you can buy the proper tools and learn how to do your own gel manicures at home. Gel nail kits, personal curing lamps, and other tools provide you with everything you need to master the art of the gel manicure yourself.

Mia Secret has everything you need to achieve salon-quality gel manicures. Explore a bold and beautiful range of manicure gel polishes for nail techs and home enthusiasts alike when you visit us today.

A Complete Guide to Gel Nails: What You Should Know

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