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Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Gel Manicure

Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Gel Manicure

Looking for a manicure that will last through a vacation, a busy work week, and a special occasion? It's time to think about getting a gel manicure. 

The application process is faster and lasts four times as long as regular nail polish because of the quick-dry formula. That means you'll have several weeks to enjoy your lovely nail art. But first, there are a few things you should know first.


What Is a Gel Manicure?

Gel nail polish is applied in the same way that traditional lacquer is. It is, however, cured with a UV or LED light to help lock it in place for long-term wear. 

Each coat of gel polish must be cured for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. Instead of having to wait for your nails to dry, you're ready to leave the salon as soon as your final topcoat cures. 

Gel polish lasts longer than regular polish. And, unlike regular polish, which can chip in two to three days, the gel stays chip-free for weeks.

What’s the Difference Between Gel and Acrylic?

Gel and acrylic are completely different. Acrylic nails are created by dipping a powder in a solvent. They are primarily used to lengthen the nail or to provide a stronger top layer over the natural nail. Acrylic nails are sometimes colored, but they are usually clear or natural-toned. 

Gels, on the other hand, come in a variety of nail polish colors and are hardened by curing under a UV or LED lamp.

How Long Do Gel Manicures Last?

With proper nail prep and at-home care, such as cuticle oil and hand lotion, gel manicures can last up to two weeks. However, if you're careful, they can last up to four weeks. 

Chips and broken nails are still a possibility with gels, just as they are with any other manicure. They're simply not as likely. 

If you chip or break a gel, keep a nail file on hand at all times. If you have a series of events coming up, such as prom, internship interviews, and family vacations, gels can be the ideal solution.

Do Gel Manicures Damage Your Nails?

When done professionally, gel manicures are not harmful to your nails. However, without proper nail prep, application, and removal, it can be harmful. 

A common misconception is that gel manicures harm your nails, when in fact, the removal process is usually the most damaging. Avoid picking the gel off your nails, and if you get them done at a salon, make sure your nail technician isn't filing, buffing, or using a drill.

Even when you follow every protocol for healthy gel removal, your nail plates may come out looking and feeling damaged. If you have peeling nails, it's best to avoid gels for a while and let the nails grow out. Applying cuticle oil on a daily basis is essential for healthy nail growth.

How Do You Remove a Gel Manicure?

The most important thing is to take care of your nail beds and cuticles while applying and removing polish. Gels can be safely removed at a salon, which typically costs around $10-$20, or you can do it yourself at home with acetone, tin foil, cotton balls, and a nail file. 

If you want to save money and a trip to the salon, here's how we recommend safely removing gels at home:

  1. Get a glass bowl and a bottle of 100% acetone.
  2. Using a light grit file, break the seal of the topcoat.
  3. Soak the nails for about three minutes in acetone.
  4. With a wood stick cuticle pusher, gently scrape the jelly-like substance.
  5. After you've removed everything, buff your nails gently.
  6. Moisturize your hands and nails with cuticle oil and hand and nail cream.


Klassi-La'Chiq Beauty Essentials is a beauty supply retail store and fashion boutique in Asheville, NC. Our nail polishes, removers, and creams will keep your nails looking and feeling great. For more information, contact us.