Nail salons are experiencing a modern renaissance among Gen Z and millennial beauty enthusiasts. Monthly beauty budgets now have a guaranteed section for nail care and styling. Salons have taken notice of this. So, whether you are popping in for a quick manicure or freshening up your gel polish, there is a place to service your every nail need. Plus, getting your nails done has become synonymous with a self-care centric lifestyle. Yep, not only are you getting gorgeous extensions, but you are also pouring your heart and soul out to your favourite nail tech, who often doubles up as a therapist. But what do you do after you get a new coat of gel polish?
Nothing works to raise your mood than gorgeous coloured, neatly textured nails, but they can affect your nail health adversely. Sorry folks, gel manicures aren’t the best thing for your nail health, and there are some critical mistakes that can ruin your gel polish quicker than usual. Here’s an exhaustive guide that you can keep handy, especially if you are a beginner.
Gel Polish Process
Before we dive into the other aspects of gel nails, let’s understand the process. Gel manicures comprise of additional steps as compared to regular manicures; namely –
1. Removal of old lacquer, trimming and shaping of the nails
2. Soaking it in water to soften the cuticles and prep them for removal; cutting the cuticles
3. Thorough buffing and cleaning of the nails to remove any dirt and old polish residue
4. Application of primer to dehydrate the nails and application of a base coat
5. Application of base colour, followed by nail art, if any
6. Topcoat to seal everything in
With every coat, the nails are placed under the UV light (for at least 80 seconds) to cure. It is done to harden the layer of the gel polish so that they do not smudge easily like regular nails. Once the gel nails have perfectly dried, they stay that way for at least a week! Also, you can get gel nails done on your natural or acrylic nails; long or short nails don’t matter.
Gel Polish Perks
Besides the vast colour palette, textures and shapes to choose from, the most significant advantage of gel nail colour is that they last for a longer duration than standard nail colours. They keep looking as good as recently manicured nails for about 2-3 weeks. They add an additional layer of protection to your nails (no chipping!). The drying process is quick and mess-free, which also makes it easier to create layered manicure designs. Unlike acrylic nails, which are rigid, gel nail polishes still bend and feel natural!
Gel Polish And Nails Management
The quality of your gel nail colour will last for anywhere between 2 to 3 weeks, depending upon how you take care of your nails during this time. It would be advisable to follow some ground rules to avoid compromising the health of your natural nails and the look of the nail art –
1. Raise your concerns to the manicurist before the procedure – There is no shame in raising all your worries when getting your nails done at the salon. Before starting the process, ask about the safety precautions, sanitisation protocols, sterilisation processes, and everything you want to know about the manicurist.
2. Use sunscreen – Before going to your spa appointment, don’t forget to apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 over your nails and hands. The sunscreen will protect your skin from the UV light that is used to seal the gel coat.
3. Hydrate your nails often- Between every two polishes, hydrate your nails by applying cuticle creams or gels to your nails. The creams will increase the life of your nails, make them less brittle and prevent them from chipping.
4. Take regular breaks from polish- After getting your gel nails done, take at least a week to 10 days from any kind of nail colour/polish. You can use protein-enriched base coats to add a sheen to your nails and nourish them simultaneously. Let the nails breathe and repair themselves before the next mani.
5. Visit nail spa for gel manicure removal- We can’t press enough that it is imperative to get the gel nails removed from professionals. However convincing the DIY tutorials are, try not to remove the gels at home.
6. Soak only your fingertips in the acetone while removing the gel nails. The best way to get them removed would be to use cotton balls dipped in acetone.
7. Apply an additional topcoat, avoid hot water baths, use cuticle oils and wear rubber gloves while cleaning or cooking to save your gels nails from ruin.
Gel Polish Removal
A gel manicure is removed by soaking cotton pads in acetone and folding them over the nails with aluminium foils for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Your manicurist might also use a buffing machine if a gel manicure has been worn for too long. Though the process is easy and can be done at home watching DIY videos, we advise visiting a nail spa or your manicurist to get it removed. Failed experiments with the removal may cost you your natural nails without immediate reversals.