Want to make the gel manicure last between trips to the nail salon? We’ve got tips to keep your nails looking like perfection!
Are you tired of your gel manicure chipping faster than you can say “mani-pedi”? We’ve all been there, feeling like our freshly painted nails are a ticking time bomb. But fear not, because I’ve got some tried-and-true tips to help your gel mani stay fabulously flawless for longer! Say goodbye to premature chipping and hello to extended nail bliss. Let’s dive into these game-changing tips to make your gel manicure last and last.
Tips to Make Your Gel Manicure Last
The beauty of gel manicures, which seem to be more popular than ever these days, is that they last longer than the normal manicure with regular polish. Using gel can ensure a few things. Your nails won’t chip or peel after only a few days like a normal manicure. Instead, you can enjoy shiny, chip free nails for up to two or three weeks.
So, what’s different about a gel manicure?
A traditional gel manicure, often referred to as a “gel polish” manicure, involves several steps that distinguish it from a regular nail polish application:
- Preparation: The nail technician starts by preparing your nails. This typically involves pushing back the cuticles, shaping the nails, and lightly buffing the surface of the nails to remove any natural oils or residue.
- Base Coat: A clear gel base coat is applied to the nails. This base coat helps to adhere the gel polish to the nail surface and provides a smooth foundation for the color to adhere to.
- Color Application: After the base coat is applied and cured under a UV or LED lamp to harden it, the gel polish color of your choice is applied in thin layers. Each layer is cured under the lamp before the next layer is applied. This curing process helps to dry and harden the gel polish, creating a durable and long-lasting finish.
- Top Coat: Once the desired color intensity is achieved, a clear gel top coat is applied over the color. This top coat adds shine to the nails and provides an extra layer of protection against chipping and peeling.
- Curing: After the top coat is applied, your nails are cured once again under the UV or LED lamp to fully harden the gel polish and set the manicure.
- Finishing: Finally, any excess gel around the nails is cleaned up, and cuticle oil may be applied to moisturize the cuticles and surrounding skin.
The main difference between a gel manicure and a regular nail polish application lies in the drying process. Regular nail polish dries through the process of evaporation, which can take several minutes to an hour or more depending on the brand and number of thick layers applied. In contrast, gel polish dries and hardens almost instantly under a UV lamp or LED lamp, resulting in a smudge-proof and long-lasting finish that can last up to two weeks or more without chipping. Additionally, gel polish tends to have a thicker consistency compared to regular nail polish, giving it a more durable and glossy finish.
But while this treatment can save time and money, it too can become costly if it becomes too habitual. Taking proper care of your nails and maintaining them is not only important for their health, but the best way to ensure longer amounts of time between appointments. Usually by the second week, you’ll find nails starting to peel or lift a bit.
Depending on your level of perfection, this phase can last until you get to the salon for your next appointment, or peel them all off at home by yourself. However, there are a few simple tips for pushing off the inevitable, and helping to make a gel manicure last longer. Following these important steps will help give you a long-lasting manicure.
1. Wear rubber gloves when doing housework or dishes.
Water can seep into your nail beds, causing the gel polish to lift and peel prematurely. If you’re accustomed to tackling chores without gloves, it’s time to reconsider. Invest in a sturdy pair of rubber gloves to shield your hands from water exposure. Trust me, if you’re committed to maintaining your gel manicures, these gloves are worth every penny. Not only will they help extend the life of your manicure, but they’ll also protect your hands from harsh chemicals and detergents.
2. Wash your hair with the bottoms of your fingers.
It might sound a tad unconventional, but hear me out. When we shampoo our hair, we often use our nails to vigorously scrub our scalp, indulging in a little self-administered head massage. However, all that pressure and the hot water can wreak havoc on our delicate nail beds. Instead, try a gentler approach by using the pads of your fingers to massage your scalp while shampooing. This method not only spares your nails from unnecessary stress but also ensures a thorough cleansing of your hair without compromising your gel manicure. So, next time you’re lathering up, give your nails a break and let your fingertips do the work!
3. Fill in growing gaps with same color polish.
It’s as simple as coloring within the lines! As your nails grow, you may notice gaps forming between the gel polish and your cuticles. To maintain a seamless look, grab a matching shade of regular nail polish and fill in those spaces. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not experiment with a contrasting color for a funky twist?
4. File nails down a little.
As our nails grow, they can start to undermine the pristine appearance of a gel manicure. To maximize its longevity, grab a nail file and gently trim down any excessive growth. This small yet effective step ensures that your nails remain tidy and the gel manicure stays intact for longer periods.
5. Add a layer of clear polish after a week.
When your gel manicure begins to show signs of wear, don’t fret! While we can’t halt the inevitable, we can certainly prolong its lifespan. Try applying a fresh coat of clear polish over the existing gel manicure after a week. This simple trick can provide added protection and shine, granting you a few extra days or even a week of flawless nails.
6. Be mindful of how you use your hands.
Our hands are constantly in motion, whether we’re typing on keyboards or opening letters. However, being mindful of how we use them can significantly impact the longevity of a gel manicure. Opt for letter openers instead of using your nails to prevent unnecessary chipping. Similarly, if you spend hours at a computer, try to type with a gentler touch to avoid putting undue pressure on your nails. These small adjustments can strengthen your nails and ensure that your gel manicure remains pristine for longer periods.