Everything You Need to Know About Gel Nails
What are Gel Nails?
As the name suggests, it is a gel-like substance that is applied to nails. It is painted on much like normal nail varnish, but it is considerably thicker and needs to be cured by ultraviolet light to dry. Gel fill-ins can also be applied to the nail to hide growth. Gel nails are a popular type of false nail as they last up to a month and are quite durable and tough.
How to do Gel Nails?
Gel nail varnish is applied in a step by step process to ensure the nail is ready and the application goes as smoothly as possible. You can get gel nails applied by a professional manicurist or you can try at home with a gel nail kit.
- First the nails will be cleaned and buffed, taking away any natural shine, so they are ready for the application.
- Next a primer will be applied to the nails, this is to protect the natural nails and provide a smooth surface for the gel.
- The first layer of nail gel is applied next; this needs to be a very thin layer.
- The first layer is then set under a UV light for up to three minutes.
- The varnish and drying process is repeated, usually twice, until the nail is fully covered and the colour is thick.
- The nails are then filed and shaped.
How to remove Gel Nails?
Instead of being wiped off with varnish remover and cotton wool like traditional nail varnish, gel nails are removed by soaking them off in acetone. It is recommended that gel nails are removed by a professional as, if the process is done wrong, it can damage the nail. However, you can do it at home if you are careful and have the right products and tools.
- First the top layer of the nail gel needs to be broken so that the acetone can get through the seal and work on the rest of the gel. This is done by lightly filing the top layer until the shine is gone.
- The nails are then soaked in a bowl of acetone for at least ten minutes to loosen the gel. If you are doing this at home then it’s a good idea to place the bowl of acetone in a larger bowl of warm water; this will heat the acetone and hopefully speed up the process. Do not heat the acetone up in the microwave or oven, it is highly flammable.
- The gel nails should eventually soak off by themselves; this can take up to thirty minutes. You can use a cocktail or orangewood stick to gently ease any remaining gel off the nail. Don’t press too hard or you may damage the nail underneath.
- Once the gels have been removed the nail can be trimmed and filed if necessary, then moisturiser is applied to help stop the acetone from drying out the skin and nails.
Gel Nails vs Acrylic Nails
Gel and acrylic nails are two very popular types of nail enhancements, but which ones are best? We’ve listed the benefits of both types so you can decide which ones will best suit you.
Gel Nails – Benefits
- More natural appearance than acrylics.
- Slimmer and more supple than acrylics.
- Non-toxic so can be worn by pregnant women.
- Dry faster than acrylics.
Acrylic Nails – Benefits
- Usually cheaper than gel nails.
- Stronger and more durable than gel nails.
- Easier to remove than gel nails.
Salon Gel Nails vs At Home Gel Nails
If you have never tried gel nails before then it is recommended to go to a professional manicurist to get them done.However, once you are a little more aware of the process you may decide to do your nails at home. We’ve listed the benefits of at home and salon gel nail application and removal so you can decide which process is right for you.
Salon Gel Nails – Benefits
- The gel will be applied by a professional who has been trained in gel nail application and removal.
- It’s safer to remove gel varnish at a salon as there is less likelihood of damaging the nail.
- A salon will have all the equipment, such as acetone and a UV lamp; if done at home you will have to purchase them.
- Salons will have a wide selection of gel colours to choose from.
At Home Gel Nails – Benefits
- You won’t have to pay a manicurist each time you want nails attached or removed.
- There are various kits and products available to apply gel nails at home.
- Once you have bought the equipment, such as a UV lamp, you can use it over again, which saves you money.