How Much Do Gel Manis Cost
How much you’re going to pay for a gel mani really depends on where you live, but also what kind of look you want. Basic one-color gel manis start around $35 to $40, according to Duguay-Gordon. But if you want crazy celeb-level nail art, it could end up costing up to $100 or more â and that’s not including the 20% tip.
Sick Of Paying For Gel Manicures I Got Everything I Needed For Less On Amazon
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If you want something done well, do it yourself and if you want to stop paying $35 every two weeks, buy some supplies and learn to do your own at-home gel manicure! Regular manicures are very important to my overall self-care routine, but the price tag that comes along with shiny gel nails often isn’t feasible, even for those with a bit of disposable income. A couple years ago, after paying $65 for a pedicure and a gel manicure, I hit a wall.
I logged onto Amazon and proceeded to spend two hours piecing together the perfect gel kit. I didn’t want to completely overspend after all, I’m trying to save money here but I also wanted to buy nice materials that would give me the same quality as a salon manicure. I bought a total of five products, but I also have an existing cabinet full of cotton balls and nail files. That said, if you don’t have the basics, you may need to invest slightly more money.
Are Powder Dipped Nails Better Than Gel
The biggest difference between gel and dip powder is longevity. Dip powder manicures can last up to a month, which is twice as long as gel nail polish. Also, dip powder manicures don’t require light curing lamps. That means you won’t have a bulky nail lamp taking up space in your closets or drawers, and you won’t have to deal with UV exposure.
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And Is The Ring Selfie Worth It
Its hard to imagine life before gel manicures, isnt it? No drying time, a glossy finish, and two-week staying power is the stuff nail dreams are made ofespecially for those about to say “I Do” who want chip-free nails from the rehearsal dinner through their honeymoon. But are they all that safe?
Its a question thats been contested and debated almost since the gel manicure has been invented: Should you really be placing your hands under UV lamps in the name of ring selfies? Since there have been hot takes all around, we decided to ask NYC-based dermatologists Dr. Joshua Zeichner and Dr. Shari Marchbein for their expert opinions.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Joshua Zeichner is the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
- Dr. Shari Marchbein is the Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine in New York City.
Read on for expert intel on the long-term effects of UV lamps, protective measures to consider, and manicure alternatives that deliver similar results without the worry.
Let Your Natural Nail Breathe In Between Gel Manicures
Whether or not you opt for a gel or traditional polish formula, the truth is that regular manis of any kind can weaken your natural nails. “The manicure process can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail plate,” says Dr. Adigun. “I’ve seen my clients come in with peeling, thin, breaking, discolored nails and even painful nail beds,” explains Jenna.
But that fact isn’t to deter salon regulars, nor those who live for an at-home manicure. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Adigun, by not looking at your natural nail at least every two weeks you won’t be able to properly assess its condition, plus you might even be missing infections and in certain, severe cases, tumors. The thick, armor-like coating of polish also blocks nails from being able to transfer oxygen, explains Jenna.
Dr. Adigun encourages patients to avoid back-to-back gel appointments to prevent lasting damage. “I always tell my patients to go on a gel ‘honeymoon,'” says Dr. Adigun. “This break will allow their nails to rehydrate and repair.”
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Try Not To Pick At Peeling Gel Polish
One thing that’s pretty common among gel devotees is the picking process. When the color begins to lift, you may be tempted to remove it, almost like you would a scab. “As peeling and lifting begin, water can seep into the nail,” says Jenna. “This can harbor bacteria and possibly cause fungus. Once the peeling phase starts, it’s hard not to pick at your polish. If you rip it off, you’re probably taking some layers of your nail off with it. This kind of damage can take over six months to repair.” Dr. Adigun adds: “In one study, nail plate thickness was measured both before and after just one gel manicure and thinning was observed.” It’s not clear exactly which component caused the thinning, but one or more points in the gel process are to blame.
“When applied and removed correctly, gels are completely safe to wear on an ongoing basis, adds Rita. “Gels can certainly weaken the nails if they are peeled or pried off the nail, which can strip layers of the natural nail, or if the nail if over buffed prior to gel application.”
What Are The Steps For Gel Nails
Once youve found the gel nail kit for you, its time to perfect your technique. Like most things in life, the best results take practice.
For the glammest, glossiest gels, follow the instructions and timings included with your chosen kit. Theyll probably go something like this:
Wipe Your Nails With Rubbing Alcohol
Buffing leaves behind a lot of dust that can interfere with the gelling process. Thankfully, you can clear the nail of the traces of dust with rubbing alcohol.
While anything 70% or higher can work well, using rubbing alcohol with 91% alcohol content is best for this work.
Applying the rubbing alcohol is easy but should be thorough. After washing your hand with warm water and hand soap, dry them gently using a soft cloth.
Then put the alcohol on a cotton pad and wipe each finger nail gently. Make sure no strands of cotton get attached to the nail bed. If they do, simply remove them.
Alcohol dries naturally fast, so you dont have to wait long for each finger nail to dry. Redo the same process for the other fingers to achieve dry and clean nails free from oils ready for base coating.
What You Need For Gel Nails At Home
Getting gel nails done is unlike a traditional nail polish procedure where equipment is not needed. With gel nails, you will need a kit of tools in order to properly apply gel polish.
What you need for a seamless at-home gel mani is:
- LED lamp or UV Lamp
- Glass or crystal files
Without a curing lamp that emits UV light, you wont be able to cure your gel nails.
Its possible to go au naturel by sunbathing your nails and taking advantage of the suns UV rays, but its not the most effective method for curing your DIY gel polish manicure because youd have to wait for the weather to be right.
A UV lamp or LED curing lamp is the right choice here. However, our recommendation is to stick with a LED curing lamp as it omits less UV light and dries the gel polish the quickest.
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But Not All Hope Is Lost
Im not saying youve gotta swear off gels for the rest of your life, but if you are worried about the possible nail damage, there are a few things you can try to mitigate the effects. Before the manicure, ask how the product will be removed and make sure that they wont be using a gritty file, sander, or other tool to vigorously scrape the product off, says Dr. Stern. Gel polish should come off easily after soaking in acetone, and these methods can cause tremendous, and sometimes irreversible, damage to the nail and cuticles.
And, she adds, you need to be your own advocate in the salon, because nobody else cares as much about your nails as you do. If its not easy, something is wrong, and you should speak up.
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Apply Cuticle Oil To Your Nail Beds
Another important part of nail prep: cuticle oil. Itll soften your cuticles so youll be able to push them back gently. And please don’t forget to wash or soak your hands afterward! You need to make sure the oil is completely off your nails before you start the gel processany leftover oil could cause your gel nails to lift . To be extra safe, swipe your nails with a bit of acetone before washing your hands to remove any excess oil.
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Do Gel Manis Damage Your Nails
Not when they’re done correctly! “Gel manicures are not bad for your nails when professionally done,” Duguay-Gordon says. “It can be damaging though, without proper nail prep, application and removal.” A common misconception is that gel manis damage your nails when in reality, the removal process is usually the most harmful.
Avoid picking the gel off yourself , and if you’re getting your nails done at the salon, be sure your nail technician isn’t filing, buffing them down, or using a drill.
Many people worry about getting gels because they fear their nails won’t be able to “breathe,” but Duguay-Gordon assures that nails don’t breath, as they’re dead to begin with. The whole idea is a myth, but it is kind of cute to imagine your little nails with micro-nostrils.
One Of My Christmas Presents From Terry This Year Was A Diy Gel Nail Kit Which Ive Been Getting Plenty Of Use Out Of Over The Festive Season And Beyond
A gel nail kit is something Id been considering for absolutely ages. As some of you may know, my nails and particularly my cuticles are the bane of my life, and I always feel a bit embarrassed by the state of them. A bit of polish makes them look much better, but it always chips so quickly on me, that even with a decent topcoat, I find myself having to remove it and re-do it more often than I can really be bothered with.
I have, however, had a few professional gel manicures, and have always loved the fact that they allow me to just completely forget about my nails for a couple of weeks at a time, so when I opened up my own little gel nail kit, I was really exited to try it. Heres how I got on
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Gel Nail Polish Removers To Consider
Here are some of the most recommended gel nail polish removal methods you can use to successfully remove gel from your nails.
Keep in mind that before trying any of these methods, you should use your nail file to file the top coat lightly or a buffer to buff the top layer of gel polish off before soaking it in acetone.
1. Soaking Your Nails in Acetone
Due to the high-solvent nature of acetone, it remains as one of the best nail polish removers. However, using acetone frequently removes lots of natural oils and pales your skin, so keep your nails soaked in acetone for 15-20 minutes.
Nonetheless, it’s still a good gel polish remover. You have to settle for one of the two options to use it: file your nails and soak them in acetone, or soak cotton in acetone, and wrap your nails with cotton and foils. Either way, the polish will be out in minutes.
2. Use a Gel Removal Steamer
A gel removal steamer does just what the cold one cannot do-it steams the whole process giving a warmer environment for faster effective results.
To use it, first make sure you have filed and buffed your gel polish. Then pour the acetone remover into the base, switch on the steamer, then stick your fingers into the 5 finger holes.
Typically, most gel removal steamers will beep you, indicating its done. When youre told its complete, use an orange wood stick or a nail scrapper to scrape off the gel polish.
Repeat the process until the gel nail polish is scraped off of each nail.
Are Gel Manicures Safe
With sales of nail polish nearing $800 million a year in the United States, there’s a sea of decorated digits out there. But spending your cash on polish that chips or flakes in a couple of days can be a waste of time and money. Now, women have the option of gel polishes that offer 2 to 4 weeks of staying power.
“Gel polishes last longer and resist chipping,” says cosmetic chemist Ni’kita Wilson, CEO and co-owner of Catalyst Cosmetic Development in Union, N.J. A long chain of molecules in the gel polishes gives them strength by forming a durable yet flexible coat upon hardening. The polish sets with exposure to ultraviolet light.
The downside with gel manicures stems from the crucial UV-curing step. A recent study found that the cumulative damage from the light frequencies the nail lamps emit can cause DNA damage to the skin that can result in premature aging and possibly cancer.
“To be honest, there’s not a simple answer about the danger of the UV rays in gel nail lamps,” says Chris Adigun, MD. She’s a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.
“But I wouldn’t spend time worrying about the UV exposure from these lamps,” she says. “The risk of malignant cancer due to nail lamp exposure is extremely low.”
Even so, Adigun suggests you apply sunscreen to the tops of your hands, or buy sun-protective gloves with the fingers cut off.
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How To Remove Nail Glue
As for the removal process, youll want to use acetone. It will penetrate through the glue for easy removal, says Boyce. The technique is similar to removing a gel mani. Simply soak a cotton ball or cotton pad with acetone, place it on your nail, and wrap it with foil, says Boyce. Wait 10 to 15 minutes and the nail glue should come off easily.
How To Protect Your Nails From Uv Light
Both doctors suggest that sunscreen and fingerless gloves can help to lessen any risk. According to Marchbein, if you must get a gel mani, you can protect yourself by applying, a broad spectrum SPF 30+ prior to manicures, and wearing a UPF glove with the fingertips cut off.
If the thought of sitting for a gel manicure still makes you uneasy, Marchbein suggests that you skip the gel and get a regular manicure. She adds that a gel alternative such as Gel Couture by Essie, definitely lasts longer than a regular manicure and doesnt require the same upkeep as gels.
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Does It Contain A Gel Lamp
When it comes to choosing the right at-home gel kit, Aaron first says to check whether or not the contents of the kit require a gel lampand if they do, check whether the kit contains one or if you’ll need to purchase one separately. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to opt for a kit that contains all the tools you’ll need, gel lamp included.
Butter London’s Gel Polish Peels Off Nails For Easy Removal That Won’t Tarnish Your Tips
Pros: Professional-quality lamp, easy removal without damage to the nails
Cons: Works best with Butter London polishes only, USB cord is very short, directions are a little confusing
The worst part about getting a gel manicure is, arguably, taking the nail polish off. Butter London’s PureCure Peel-Off Gel Lacquer kit eliminates that headache with its two-in-one top and base coat formula. The 12-free prep and prime polish negates the need for foil and an acetone wash by making the color removable via peeling: Gently lift the polish up off the nail with your thumbnail or a cuticle pusher and slowly peel off the cured layers.
The brand’s curing lamp has a professional quality to it. The white LED lights are very bright and do not emit any UV rays. The device itself is big enough to stretch your entire hand through. Even though the top and base coat is exclusively compatible with butter London gel polishes, the lamp can be used with any gel formulas.
There are only two downsides to the lamp: The first being, it’s cord is relatively short. I had to pull my coffee table closer to the outlet for it to reach. The second caveat is that the instructions on how to use the PureCure Peel-Off Gel Lacquer Gel Base & Top Coat are confusing. On the bottle, it says to apply a thin layer to the nail and cure before adding color. Nowhere does it say to add an additional coat to the top of the nail. This is only specified on the website.
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