Everything You Need To Know About Gel Nails

June 24, 2022
Gel Nails

So you’ve seen those Pinterest-worthy gel manicures and thought, “I need to get my hands to look like that!” Well, you’re in luck — because today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know about getting gel nails.

What Are Gel Nails?

Gel nails are a type of artificial nail that is created using a gel. They can be either pre-formed or sculpted and are usually much thinner and more natural-looking than acrylics.

Gel Nail Extensions Vs. Acrylic Nails: What’s the Difference?

Nail extensions can be created using both acrylics and gel. They also share a similar aesthetic, although gel tips may feel lighter.

They also have different nail structures, but the difference really boils down to polymerization, removal simplicity, and density.

Asides from that, gel is considerably faster to apply. There are no strong smells, and you won’t have to deal with dust like you would with acrylic nails.

Acrylics are more rigid than gels and have less flexibility. They may also be more harmful to the nail, mainly because it needs more work to remove it with soaking in acetone and buffing off.

How Is A Gel Manicure Performed?

A gel nail manicure

A gel manicure is similar to a regular manicure in that it involves cutting, filing, and shaping your nails; however, the steps after that are quite different.

Gel polish is applied similarly to regular lacquer, but it is cured with a UV lamp to help it stay in place for long periods. Also, each layer of gel polish must be cured for 30 to 60 seconds at a time using either UV or LED light.

And instead of waiting for your nails to dry, you can leave the salon immediately following the application of your final topcoat. Gel manicures are more durable against chips and wear and tear. They also keep their glossy appearance for long periods.

5 Benefits Of Using Gel Nails

Gel Nails offer a lot of benefits when compared to acrylic. Below we list some of them:

  • Long-lasting: Gel nails can last for a long time without chipping or peeling.

  • Stronger than regular polish: Gel polish is more resistant to chips and nicks than regular nail polish.

  • Dries quickly under UV or LED light: You don’t have to wait for your nails to dry — they cure immediately under a UV or LED lamp.

  • No need for a base coat: Because gel polish adheres directly to the nail, there is no need for a base coat — which can save you time during your manicure appointment.

  • Shiny finish: Gel nails have a natural shine that lasts the entire wear period.

How Long Do Gel Manicures Last?

Gel manicures can last up to three weeks or longer when properly applied and cared for.

To prolong the life of your gel nails, avoid using harsh chemicals and water. Also, make sure to use cuticle oil daily to keep your nails and skin hydrated.

How Much Do Gel Manis Cost?

How much you’ll pay for a gel mani depends on where you live and what kind of look you want. Basic one-color gel manis start around $35 to $40. However, if you want something more elaborate, such as nail art or special effects, the price may be higher.

How Do You Remove Gel Nails (Step-By-Step Guide)?

Removing gel nails is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, it’s quite simple — and you can do it at home with just a few nail tools.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • acetone
  • cotton balls or pads
  • tin foil wrap
  • nail file
  • orange stick or cuticle pusher

Follow these steps to remove your gel nails:

  • Start by filing the top coat of your gel nails using a coarse nail file. This will help break up the seal so that the acetone can better penetrate the polish.

  • Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on top of your nail. Wrap your finger in foil to secure the cotton ball in place.

  • Repeat this process for each nail.

  • Let your nails soak for about 20 minutes or until the gel polish starts to lift.

  • Gently push the gel polish off your nails using an orange stick or cuticle pusher. If the gel polish is not coming off easily, let your nails soak for a few more minutes.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any residual acetone.

  • Apply cuticle oil to hydrate your nails and skin.

Do Gel Manicures Damage Your Nails/Nail Beds?

When professionally done, gel manicures aren’t hazardous to your nails. However, it can be detrimental if you don’t take the proper steps beforehand. It’s a widespread misconception that gel manis harm your nails; but in reality, the removal process is typically the most damaging.

Avoid picking the gel off of yourself (we know it’s difficult), and if you’re getting your nails done at a salon, make sure your nail technician doesn’t file, buff down, or use a drill.

Many individuals are also concerned about using gels since they are afraid their nails won’t be able to “breathe.” Nails don’t breathe in the traditional sense; instead, they get their oxygen and nutrients from the circulation.

When done correctly, gel manicures are a safe and long-lasting option for your nails!

Are Gel Manicures Safe?

A lady's hand under a UV Lamp

One of the tools used during a gel manicure is UV light. Because of this, some people worry that gel manicures may be unsafe. What are UV lights? UV lights are a type of light that is invisible to the naked eye.

These lights help “cure” or dry the gel polish so that it will not smudge or come off easily. While UV rays can cause skin cancer, the risk is very low when you get a gel manicure. The amount of UV light exposure from a gel manicure is similar to the amount of exposure you would get from being outside on a sunny day.

Studies have also shown that the amount of UV exposure from a gel manicure is not enough to cause any long-term damage to the skin or nails.

Do At-home Gel Kits Work?

Unless you’re familiar with proper nail prep and application, we recommend going to a salon. The process of doing your own gel manicure at home is time-consuming and, if not done correctly, can damage your nail bed.

At-home gel kits last a bit longer than traditional manicures — perhaps around ten days. These kits also require you to follow directions precisely and have a steady hand.

If you’re set on doing your gel mani at home, make sure you have all the proper tools and nail products.

We understand that sometimes you just can’t make it to the salon. In this case, we recommend investing in a good quality at-home gel kit from a trusted brand. These kits typically come with everything you need for a gel mani and include detailed instructions.

What Are Semi-cured Gel Nails?

A semi-cured gel is a form of real gel nail polish that has been cured to 60 percent – and is meant to be used like a sticker. The only distinction between semi-cured gel nail wraps and stickers and gel nail polish is that the latter is in liquid form.

Semi-cured gel nails also differ slightly in terms of flexibility, durability, and thickness, depending on the manufacturer.

Asides that, semi-cured nails are much cheaper than their fully-cured couterparts.

Are They Better Than Gel Nails?

Yes. They are an excellent alternative for those who want the look of gel nails but don’t want to commit to the time or cost associated with getting them done at a salon. They are also a good option for people who have allergies to some of the chemicals in gel nail polish.

They last way longer than regular nail polish, up to four weeks, and can be easily applied at home.

One thing you should note about semi-cured nails is that they also require more care than regular manicures and need to be kept dry and clean to prevent bubbling or peeling.

Need Awesome Semi-cured Gel Nails? Shop Gellydrops

GellyDrops is a store that offers more than 230 designs! Our goal is to offer the most diverse and inclusive selection of semi-cured gel nail art on the market. We have the quickest turnaround with gellies shipping from our Los Angeles warehouse and delivered in 1-3 days in the USA. We also have a dedicated customer service team to help answer all your questions.

Final Thoughts

We hope this article has answered all your questions about gel nails! If you’re still undecided about whether or not to get them, we say go for it! They are a fun and easy way to change up your look.

And remember, if you do decide to get gel nails done, be sure to go to a salon that uses high-quality products and has experienced technicians.

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