Gel nails are an artificial enhancement placed over natural nails. This specific type of polish is cured under a special UV light lamp after each coat of polish. They can be any length and have any color or pattern placed on them. Professional nail artists show such skill through their gel nail creations and they are extremely popular for women of all ages. Gel nails can be costly and so knowing how to make your gel nails last longer is useful to know.
Gel nails should last as long as two weeks if they are maintained properly. If you are extremely careful, often you can get up to a month out of your set of gel nails. Gel nails can be expensive and so it is worth taking the time to care for your nails so that you get longer out of your fresh set and save money. The useful tips below can help you to make the most out of your gel nails.
Types of Gel Nails
As mentioned above, gel nails are an enhancement for your natural nails. They can be molded to the shape of your natural nails to give a lovely, natural finish. Gel tips can be used if you are lacking length from your natural nails. Lengths can vary and it is best to keep in mind what length would be best suited to your lifestyle so you are not limited with what you can do when you have your nails done.
The most common gel nail shapes are round, square, coffin, or stiletto. These are explained below:
Square shaped gel nails are squared off at the tip of your nails, meaning they do not curve at the edges.
Rounded gel nails follow a natural curved shape and can look the most natural.
Coffin shaped gel nails are similar to square shaped nails but they taper at the tip rather than having the same width across the base of the nail and across the tip.
Stiletto gel nails are usually very long in length and pointed at the tip, similar to the heel on a stiletto.
Other less popular shapes include squoval, trapeze, square with rounded corners, and edge shape.
Gel nails can be a very personal thing as they allow you to showcase your personality through colors and designs. Professional nail artists can hand-paint on designs or embellish your nails with stickers and stones. There is no limit on what talented nail artists can achieve.
The duration of the application process varies depending on what length, shape, and design you are having done. More basic designs can be completed within thirty minutes with extremely embellished designs taking between one hour to ninety minutes. If you are having a previous set removed this will also add time to the process.
Related: How To Remove Polygel
Related: How To Do Gelish Nails At Home
How to Make Gel Nails Last Longer
To get the most out of your new set add the below six useful tips and tricks into your self-care routine to get longer from your gel nails.
Cuticle Oil is very important as it maintains the cuticle and keeps the skin soft and conditioned. If your cuticle is dry it is harder to push back and this can leave cuticle marks on your nails which makes it difficult to apply a smooth layer of gel nails. Cuticle health is necessary for anyone who gets regular manicures, especially gel nails.
Don’t soak your nails
Did you know that if you have your hands in hot water your nails expand? When washing dishes it is encouraged that you wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your nails. If you do not wear rubber gloves, your nails will expand when in the water and shrink back to normal size when removed. This expansion and contraction can cause damage to the gel nails as the adhesive is worn down during this action, causing your gel nails to peel off.
Apply a clear topcoat
If you notice that your nails are starting to lose their shine, applying a clear top coat is a great trick as it makes the nails look fresher as well as acts as a protective barrier to prevent chips or peeling.
File snags away
Snags are inevitable but if you file snags away the moment they happen it can save the entire nail. Carrying a nail file at all times is an easy way to maintain your nails, even when you are out and about.
Nail oil is a great way of keeping gel nails hydrated and this helps to avoid chipping. Depending on how thick your gel is, the oil can be absorbed and even reach your natural nail, keeping them hydrated and maintained too.
Don’t pick your nails
This probably seems obvious but often people can’t help but touch and pick their gel nails. This can ruin a full set and cause chips and peeling.
The above six tips and tricks are easy to do and don’t take up a lot of time making it simple for you to care for your gel nails, making them last for longer.
The Difference between Acrylic and Gel Nails
When deciding whether to get acrylic or gel nails it is worthwhile thinking about how you want your nails to look as well as what activities you carry out to ensure your nails won’t be a hindrance. Acrylic nails are durable but they are not very flexible which can make it difficult to carry out certain tasks. The main difference between acrylic and gel nails is how long they last. Acrylic nails usually only last a week, maybe slightly longer if you care for your nails, whereas gel nails can last up to two weeks without any chips and up to four weeks if you maintain them properly. If you want a manicure that lasts while also looking natural and protecting your nails you should consider gel nails rather than acrylics.
How to Prevent Damage to your Natural Nails
Gel nails can cause damage to your natural nails if you do not take breaks to allow your natural nails to grow and breathe without a coat on top. To avoid your natural nails becoming brittle it is recommended that you:
- Go to a professional nail artist – this will ensure that the products used are of a high standard and that tools are sanitized
- Only soak your fingertips in acetone – if you are removing your nails at home, ensure you do not hold your entire hand in acetone as this can cause premature aging to the skin
- Take breaks – you should be taking breaks once every eight weeks regardless of how often you get gel nails. This allows your nails to repair underlying structures. Ensure your hydrate your nails during this time with cuticle oil and moisturizing products, such as petroleum jelly
- Wear sunscreen to your appointment – frequent UV exposure can increase the risk of getting skin cancer or aging your hands. By wearing sunscreen on your hands you can help to prevent this from happening. There are fingerless gloves that can be bought specifically for nail appointments to protect your skin from the UV light, which is used to cure the gel polish for up to two minutes at a time
If you notice any issues or changes in your nails you should consult a dermatologist.
Now that you know how to care for your gel nails we hope that you will notice your sets last longer and that your overall hand and nail health will improve.