What is Gel Nail Polish?

What is Gel Nail Polish?

Sep 23, '20

Have you heard about gel nail polish but aren’t really sure what all the hype is about or if it is right for you? We understand your feelings about this, and gel polish seems to be a polarizing topic for some people. However, we are here to change that, as we believe investing in gel nail polish is not only good for your nail style but works for your nails as an overall investment.

Before we dive into what exactly gel nail polish is, here are a few reasons why you should definitely try it out the next time you decide to get a new nail look:

  • Last longer than traditional polishes - Gel nail polish is known to last longer than traditional polishes, so their upkeep isn’t as consistent as it would be with regular polish.
  • Easy to apply - Because gel nail polish is cured not left to dry like traditional polish, you can cut down your salon or at home nail manicure time, and who doesn’t like saving on time?
  • Low upkeep - With gel polish’s ability to stay hardened and virtually chip-free for up to two weeks with consistent care,  you don’t have to go to the salon as often to get them maintained, thus saving you time and money in the long run.

In addition to their ability to last longer, dry quickly, and cut down on your nail maintenance costs, you can also dress them up like you would with traditional polish.

If you’re concerned that gel polish will limit your nail art design choices, definitely think again. You can definitely create art and designs for your gel polish nails the same way you would traditional polish, and it will last longer too. 

You can create ombre effects, glitter looks, and nail art on your gel nails as you would with your traditional polish. Now that we have hopefully gotten your attention and piqued your interest, let’s dive in and really get to all about gel nail polish. 

What Are Gel Manicures?

Gel polish is a type of manicure that uses a gel-based polished and either a LED or UV light that helps cure, or harden, the polish which hardens to your nail, giving it an acrylic look without actually having to use acrylic. Gel polish is considered to be more durable than regular nail polish because of the fact it hardens and attaches to your nail more securely than other types of traditional polishes.

Regular polish can break down easily by chipping as soon as two to three days after application, whereas gel nail polish can stay chip-free for weeks on end. Because of this, it’s no surprise that most people are opting for gel manicures over the traditional polish because they want their polish to last longer. 

Gel Manicure Worth

A lot of people have asked if getting a gel manicure is worth it, and the answer is a resounding yes. Because of the way the gel polish hardens on your nail, it takes on a very acrylic look but is on your natural nail, which looks fantastic if you don’t want to use acrylics but like the acrylic look. It’s definitely a win-win situation.

Also, if you get manicures or pedicures regularly or have a long trip coming up where you won’t really have access to your nail salon to have your nails done, it is definitely worth your investment. And gel nails are typically cost-effective too, as they’re not usually much more than a regular polish mani-pedi. 

There are also kits you can purchase online that enable you to do this from home if you really want to save money. That’s how easy they are to do; you can even do it at home. 

How Long Gel Manicures Last

Gel nail polish can last up to 14 days without needing any additional application since it becomes hardened during the UV lighting application process. This is about two weeks in total, where your gel nails will look as great as the day you got them. 

However, you should note that although your gel polish may still look great after the two week period, you do need to keep in mind that you can run the risk of damaging your nail health if you decide to keep wearing your gel polish them until your natural nail grows back all the way. This is definitely not a good look, nor is it healthy for your nails. 

There are also a couple of other reasons why you should be redoing gel nails after about two weeks: 

  • The gel polish will continue to cure or harden in any UV exposure or direct sunlight, which, as we all know, is basically all around us, so there is definitely no escaping the continuing hardening process.
  • The longer you keep your gel polish on, the longer it cures, making it that much more difficult to remove when you are ready to change your current gel out for a newer, fresher look. 

You can definitely remove the gel polish on your own at home if you follow the proper guidelines and use the correct tools. However, If you decide to try this yourself by pulling the gel polish off, be aware of the following that will happen to your nails if you do so:

  • Brittle nails - By taking the gel nail directly off the nail itself, you risk pulling off part of your natural nail that has attached to the gel polish, which means it will leave your natural nail very weak.
  • Your natural nail won’t look good at all - When you remove the gel polish without using guidelines or proper tools or don’t go to a manicurist, it can cause your natural nail to look flaked, cracked, and all-around unhealthy. 

Although you may think that you can remove the gel nail yourself and cover it back up with polish, your natural nail will still be too weak. Your weak nails will need a chance to either grow back to their natural form, or you will need a manicurist to correct them.

So, if you are thinking about removing gel nails on your own, you certainly can just be sure you follow the correct guidelines and have the correct tools to do so.

Gel vs. Acrylic

Another question a lot of people have is what the difference between acrylic and gel nails is? Are they different, or are they the same? 

They have in common that they are both considered nail enhancements, and that’s about where all the similarities start and end. Acrylic nails are typically made with a polymer  mixed  monomer, and their main purpose is to lengthen the nail or provide a stronger top layer over the natural nail. The gel nail is your own nail unless you get acrylic added in addition to the gel nail, which you definitely can.

The main purpose of the gel nail polish is to act as a more vibrant and longer-lasting polish that is different from traditional polishes in this way as well as not breaking or chipping as easily as traditional polish. Gel polish is also completely dried at the end of the service, saving you drying time. 

Do Gel Manicures Damage Your Nails?

This is a huge misconception that we are clearing up right here and right now. No, gel manicures do not damage your nails unless you do this damage to yourself.

Like we mentioned earlier, by peeling or pulling off your gel nail polish when your natural nail begins to grow back in, you can damage your nail. You are best off leaving the itch to pull off the polish unscratched because you can do a lot of damage to the nail if you don’t follow the proper steps and have the proper tools to remove them.

Most likely, people who picked at their gel nails are perpetuating this myth because they damaged their nails in the process. So, no, gel manicures do not damage your nails as long as you take care of them. 

Controversy Surrounding UV Light

In addition to the rumor that gel nails ruin your nail’s health, which is definitely not the case, some people are concerned about the possible health effects of using UV light. This started as people became concerned about the effects of UV lights and how harmful they can be.

Although UV lights have been rumored to be  dangerous, most curing machines that salon’s use or ones you can buy online have switched to LED lights instead, which doesn’t have the same side effects that UV has on your skin. The danger of using these lights is  still debated within the industry. This concern most likely came about when gel polish technology was just emerging and most likely contained UV light.

Since the switch over to LED light, this is no longer a valid argument. 

Give Gel Nails a Try

Getting a gel nail polish manicure is definitely worth your time and investment. They are not only faster-drying than traditional nails, but they also stay hardened longer, allowing you to enjoy chip-free nails for up to two weeks.

So let yourself indulge in this new trend and see for yourself how amazing a gel manicure can be for your nails. 

Sources:

https://www.seventeen.com/beauty/nails/a31574/things-you-need-to-know-about-gel-manicures/

https://lifewithme.com/gel-nail-polish-vs-regular/

https://www.instyle.com/beauty/nails/what-to-know-about-getting-acrylic-nails