Gel Manicure: Everything You Need to Know

Nicely groomed nails are always a compliment to a person’s look. Having a nice manicure is a sure way to draw attention.

With the new trends and designs out now, it is easy to choose a manicure set that highlights your style and adds that extra ‘oomph’ to your look.

Nail technology has been improving over the years and we’ve seen different false nail types come out and establish themselves but none of them have been as good as gel nails.

The invention of gel nails changed the industry for good. Slowly, women (and men) changed from the classic manicures because of the advantages they have.

What is a Gel Manicure?

You might be familiar with Gel nails, but not quite sure what they are. I’ll give a quick rundown of what gel nails are and how they are fixed.

Gel nails are nail extensions that are made using a hard gel product. This gel gets even more hardened when placed under a UV or LED light.

 Gel Manicure drying under UV light

The gel is designed to mimic the look of a person’s natural nails, last a lot longer than other manicures, and allow people with short nails the opportunity to have their dream nails.

Gel nail polish is applied like normal nail polish in coats or layers. Each coat has to be cured under a light for 60 seconds to harden the gel. 

That’s the most basic application information. If you want some more details on how to apply gel nails, you can always check it out.

With the way a gel manicure is applied, it is more resistant to chipping and breakage. It also stays shiny for the duration it is kept on.

Now, you might be wondering. With what I’ve mentioned above, are there any disadvantages to using gel manicures

There are quite a few disadvantages, as well as advantages. This is what we will be focusing on now.

Pros of Using Gel Manicure

Gel manicure by expert
Polygel Manicure by lux_nails_ig

The hype gel manicure gets is worth it. There are other nail types, but there is no denying that gel is among the most loved, and for good reason.

1. Good Looking

Gel nails are created to look beautiful no matter what you’re going for. The polish was originally made to mimic natural nails. 

So, if you want to do something that looks more natural, the gel is the best option you have.

Even if you want to get classic french tips or go crazy with the designs, you are guaranteed a great-looking result with gel.

Unique designs that you can’t do with normal nail polish can be achieved with gel polish.

2. Long Lasting

Gel polish is cured under a UV or LED light to lock it in place. This is why gel nails can last for three to four weeks.

That’s better than the classic nail polish that lasts for three to four days. You have at least three weeks to look and feel your best.

3. No Fade

Gel polish does not fade, chip, wear, or fall off. It is strong enough to stand daily activities, from dishwashing to lifting heavy objects. A gel manicure will always look fresh and clean for as long as it lasts on your hands.

4. Dries Quickly

One of the biggest advantages that gel nails have over others is that it dries quickly. Once it is applied on and goes in and out of the UV lamp, you won’t have to worry about chipping or scratching the gel.

5. No Smudging

After its quick drying advantage, gel polish does not smudge. Once the UV light has hardened the nail, the gel cannot come out.

This means you’re free to go home immediately after the top coat dries. You don’t have to be extra careful when picking up your coat or turning your steering wheel.

6. Flexible

Gel nail polish dries to a much more flexible form than acrylic does. It’s one of the many reasons why gel nails look more natural.

The flexibility also means less damage to your nail bed. If you hit your gel manicure again on a hard surface, it will give way instead of tearing at your nail bed.

7. Easy to Use

Gel manicure kits come with gel polish in a bottle and a normal nail polish application. There is no need to mold like one would when using acrylics.

8. Endless Nail Looks

Because of the ease of application and quick dry time, there are endless nail art looks you can create with your gel polish.

All you need is your UV or LED light to adhere a nail form or tip to your nails with the gel, and you’re good to go. 

Cons of Gel Manicure

No one thing has only a positive side. No matter how much we don’t want it to, gel nails also have some disadvantages.

1. Recovery Period

Natural nails need air to stay strong. If you don’t take breaks between your manicures, your nails will suffer.

Nails need a week’s break every eight weeks from gel manicures. During that period, strengthen your nails with a good nail strengthener.

If your nails are completely damaged, allow them to grow from cuticle to tip for four to six months. Support your nails with some strengthener to help them get back in shape quickly.

If you want to go back to using classic nail polish, you have to wait for six weeks.

2. Irritation

The constant buffing to make your nails lose their natural shine so the gel sticks better are slowly making them get thinner.

This can lead to irritation in your nails. Carrying out the process wrongly can also cause an infection (rare, but still there).

3. Harmful Removal

Because the gel manicure is hardened to make it last as long as it does, removing it requires soaking the nails in pure acetone.

Gel nails need to be soaked in acetone to break the bond between the gel and your nails. 

This can cause brittleness, drying, and peeling of the nails and the skin surrounding the nails.

4. UV Rays

Gel nails have to be cured under a UV light to get dry. Now, a few seconds of exposure to a few seconds of UV rays may not be a lot, but manicure lights are intense.

There has been some speculation that the rays may be carcinogenic or cause the skin around the nails to age, but nothing is confirmed yet.

However, to be on the safer side, apply some sunscreen or oil around your cuticles to offer a little protection to your fingers.

5. Weak Nails

A gel manicure is a more or less liquid acrylic, so it is likely to make your nails thinner and weaker, increasing the risk of breakage due to the damage.

6. Expensive 

Getting a gel manicure at the salon is more expensive than other manicures. If you’re going to be carrying the nails for as long as they last, it won’t increase your costs.

However, if you like to change colors and designs often, the added-up total might be too high.

The bottom line is getting a gel manicure is an effortless way to complete your look. If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, go ahead and stunt on ’em.

Gel Manicure FAQs

What are the disadvantages of gel manicures?

Although gel nails are beautiful and long-lasting, they can be tough on the hands. They can cause brittleness, cracking, peeling, and repeated use can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin on the hands.

Are regular manicures better than gel?

Gel nails last twice as long as regular nail polish and will not chip the way regular polish does. If applied correctly, it will not smudge.

What’s the benefit of a gel manicure?

The biggest benefit gel manicure has to offer is that it is long-lasting. You won’t have to worry about changing your nails for almost a month.

Is regular polish safer than gel?

Gel polish and regular polish have the same effect on nails. However, because gel nails have to be removed by soaking with acetone, regular polish is safer.

Are gel nails healthy for natural nails?

Gel nails are a healthier alternative than acrylic. They are less likely to damage the nail bed and feel more natural, and less rigid than acrylic so if you accidentally hit your hand against something, they are less likely to snap.

Do gel nails get ruined easily?

Gel nails are durable, long-lasting, and scratch resistant.