The gel manicure has proven over the last couple of decades that it’s here to stay. With vibrant colors and a healthier process for your nails than acrylics, a gel manicure has only grown in popularity since it was first introduced in the 1980s.
Gel nail polish offers many different shades, and most promise to last a while. But what exactly is considered “a while”? And how can you know which gel nail polish is going to last as long as it says it will?
Here are some basics about gel polish and how to pick a suitable polish that will last.
What is a Gel Manicure?
If you don’t know what a gel manicure is, let’s catch you up to speed quickly. A gel manicure is a process that uses a particular sort of compound (a gel) that has both the monomers and oligomers mixed in a semi-solid state. That may sound a little confusing, but it’s sort of like if you combined the two components of a typical acrylic nail (the liquid and powder) into an easy one-step process.
When you’re getting a gel manicure done, your nail tech will start by prepping your nails but trimming them, pushing back and clipping your cuticles, and buffing the nails. They will then thoroughly clean your nails with alcohol to make sure they have a good base. After applying a base coat, they will then paint the gel on very similarly to how you would use regular nail polish. You would then cure your nails in a special UV or LED light, which sets the polish in about 60 seconds.
Doing Your Gel Manicure
It’s just about as easy to do your gel manicure right at home. All you need is some high-quality gel nail polish, essential nail care tools, and an LED machine (don’t let this scare you, you can get one online for under $100).
Today, many combo gel polishes are a crossover between a gel and a traditional polish.
How to Find One that Lasts
Now that you know just how a gel manicure works let’s figure out how long a gel polish should last you.
How Long Should It Last?
The best quality gel polishes will offer you up to 14 days of continuous wear. One of the best things about gel polishes is that they last much longer than traditional nail polishes, which rarely make it to a full week of wear.
An advantage that a gel manicure has over a regular manicure is that not only does the color last longer, but it also won’t chip away or flake off, either.
To get the most wear out of your favorite gel polish, make sure you’re taking preventative measures ahead of time to prepare your gel manicure for success. Use a good base coat, follow up with a topcoat, and carefully paint your polish on thin layers. If you’re new to this, go slow and cure your nails between each layer. This caution will pay off in the end and will make your gel mani last longer.
A long-lasting bottle of gel nail polish will only cost about $15, which you’ll be able to reuse for several months. With only the LED light as an upfront cost, you’ll save a lot of money versus salon trips in the long run.
Gel is the Better Choice
Gel polish has the long-lasting effect of an acrylic set, with a traditional manicure’s natural look and feel. Plus, it won’t do damage to your nails like an acrylic set will, meaning healthier nails down the road.