What are gel nails?
We've all been there: apply nail polish, accidentally catch your nails against something while they're drying and that's it - ruined nails!
But when gel polish entered the market, it changed the game. No more waiting for nails to dry, no chipping or cracking, and a longer-lasting manicure that we don't need to worry about for a couple of weeks or more.
For those who are new to gels, the whole process might be a little confusing. What exactly is this magic, fast-drying gel polish and what are the differences between gel and normal nail polish?
What's the difference between gel nails and nail polish?
They both look pretty similar when in a bottle and are applied to the nail the same way, but that’s where the similarities end.
The formula of gel polish is a lot stronger than your normal nail polish, which is the beauty of a gel manicure. Starting with a base coat to ensure the gel polish can stick to the nail, it is cured under an LED or UV lamp instead of air-drying. This solidifies the gel making it ready for the next layer. You must cure each layer you apply before moving onto the next.
You'll need 2-3 coats of your chosen gel polish, and a top coat is then applied for a shiny finish that lasts for the duration of the gel manicure. You can also go for a matte top coat for something a little different.
Are gel manicures worth it?
Because of the curing process, it means the gel dries immediately so there’s no worrying over smudging or catching your nails while they dry.
You also don’t need to worry about chipping or cracking. The formula of gel polish means it hardens during the curing process, and applying a top coat gives the manicure protection from damage.
The durability of a gel manicure is its best quality. When applied correctly and cared for, gel nails can last for up to 2 weeks and still look just as stunning on day 14 as they did on day 1!
Is gel harmful for your nails?
With good application and aftercare, getting a gel manicure will do no damage to your natural nails. Here are our top tips for nail care:
- Always make sure you wash or sanitise your hands before applying gel – and make sure they are thoroughly dry to prevent trapping any dirt, which could lead to infection.
- When removing gel polish, apply an acetone remover to a cotton pad, place on your nail and wrap in foil. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. The gel should then crumble away – use a wooden stick or cuticle pusher to carefully scrape away any remaining gel. You can also use our remover wraps.
- Never peel or pull at your gel manicure to get it off; improper removal like this can cause damage to your nails.
- Be gentle with your filing – over-filing can cause nails to become weak and break.
- Use cuticle oil regularly to help keep your nails moisturised.
Where can I get them done?
If you don’t fancy a trip to the salon, our starter kit provides you with everything you need for a salon-quality gel manicure from home. In the kit you’ll receive a 24W LED lamp, a base coat, top coat, cleansing wipes, a nail file, buffer and three of our best-selling gel polish colours.
There’s plenty more you can do with your gel manicure too. From simple nail art to stunning designs, the more you practice the better you’ll get!
We're always keen to see how you're getting on with your gel polish. Make sure to tag us in your nail photos over on Instagram - you can find us @bluesky_cosmetics.