From an extended wear time to a coveted glossy finish, there’s a lot to love about gel manicures. But with potential damage to nails, are gel manicures too good to be true? We sat down with celebrity nail expert, Barbara Warner to break down the good, the bad, and the ugly about gel manicures.
What are gel manicures?
Like a regular nail polish manicure, traditional gels are applied to the nails and are cured through a UV light that allows them to dry quickly. Application typically requires a base coat, one to three coats of your nail lacquer of choice, and a top coat. Once set, your gel mani are ready to go!
Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we? If you’ve ever gotten a gel manicure, you probably fell in love with how long they last. Compared to regular polish manicures which last about a week, according to Warner, gel manicures last at least 10 days to two weeks. For this reason alone, gel manicures are great for busy women who are juggling it all and don’t have as much time to set aside for nail appointments. To extend its wear time, Warner recommends applying a cuticle oil, like Dermelect Revital-oil Nail & Cuticle Oil, twice a day to keep the nails hydrated.
Its high gloss look is often another reason for going gel. Warner says, “When compared to other products, they have great shine throughout the duration of your manicure.” So, unless you’re going matte, gel manicures might be the best option for you. Warner also claims gel manicures can potentially be beneficial to the overall health and growth of your nails. When applied properly, she says, “They give your natural nails strength and protection from everyday wear and tear.”
If you have thin or weak nails, gel manicures might not help. Warner says, “Gel manicures can further weaken and soften your natural nails. Also, if you have a naturally oily nail bed, a gel manicure won’t last as long as someone without oily nail beds.” Whether you opt for an at-home DIY gel mani or go to the experts, a gel manicure that’s not applied or removed properly can leave your nails damaged and brittle. Between the filing (and even sometimes drilling!) off of the gel nail enhancement, soaking in acetone and all the metal implements need to physically remove the gel, your nails and surrounding skin incur of damage with every artificial manicure.
How should I properly remove a gel manicure? Ideally, certain precautions should be taken to ensure the health of your nails, according to Warner. She says, “Gels should NEVER be removed by peeling, pulling or biting.” Opt for soaking them, instead. She adds, “Soak them in acetone with cotton and tin foil for about five to six minutes before gently removing them with a cuticle pusher. You can also file afterward, if necessary.”
According to a report from WebMD, Chris Adigun, MD notes that the UV rays used in gel nail lamps can pose a potential threat to the skin on your hands. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to wear an effective sunscreen before using a UV light to dry your gel mani!
Say NO to Artificial Nails!
So now that we know all the potential harm gel manicures can impose on your nails, the question is do you dare to go- au naturale? And is so is it even possible? Thankfully the answer is a resounding YES! Warner recommends investing in a quality top and base coat that can help maintain and strengthen your nails and even help restore nails post gels like Dermelect’s Natural Nail Repair Kit, which includes the essentials: TRANSFIX Nail Restore base coat and EXPEDITE Protect & Prolong top coat. She says, “This base and top coat combination are specifically formulated to help repair and nourish your natural nails after a gel or an acrylic manicure.” For the nail expert, Tremella Mushroom is a standout ingredient within the kit because of its antimicrobial properties. Warner adds, “It’s so important to protect your nails from any toxins after a gel manicure!”
After any manicure, Warner likes to give her clients a mini hand facial to help rejuvenate clients’ hands and nails and you can do the same! Warner says, “The number one focus of treatment for nails after a gel manicure is to HYDRATE.” To achieve this, Warner recommends Dermelect’s Rejuvenail Fortifying Nail & Cuticle Treatment. She says, “It’s my go-to product for nail hydration! My personal favorite ingredient is its hyaluronic acid, which is a special hydrating element that provides an incredible amount of moisture to the nail to regain your nails’ natural balance.” She adds, “It’s super important to never skip this step because keeping your cuticles hydrated prevents your nails and nail beds from drying so you can restore the full health of your natural nails.”
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