Are Gel Manicures Worth the Hype?

Gel manicures are longer-lasting than regular polish.

If you’re a nail polish fan, then you probably know that gel manicures are longer-lasting than regular polish. But what is it that makes them so durable? And what is the best way to care for your nails when they’re sporting a beautiful new coat of color?

Applying a wide-spectrum sunscreen to your hands before getting a gel manicure is important, as the UV light used to cure the polish can cause skin damage over time. Also, rehydrate your nails by applying cuticle oil in between manicures.


Gel nail polish is thicker and harder than regular nail polish, which helps it stay chip-free for weeks. This is also why it lasts longer than a traditional manicure.

However, like any beauty treatment, it’s not without its drawbacks. A major one is the damage it can do to your natural nails if not removed properly. If you peel your gel manicure rather than getting it soaked off, it can weaken your nails over time, leading to them becoming thin and dry.

This is why Gibson Tuttle and Lim both agree that you need to take care of your nails if you’re going to get gels. It’s important to hydrate your hands and nails and apply cuticle oil daily. This will help your natural nails grow strong, so they can support the gel polish better. It’s also a good idea to keep a mini file in your purse for quick touch-ups. This will help your manicure last longer and look better, too.

Easy to Apply

Gel manicures are fairly simple to apply, and the results are stunning. Before applying the polish, the technician will prep the nail by wiping away any dust, dirt, oils, or creams that may be on the nails. This will ensure that the gel adheres to the nail and is properly sealed.

Afterward, the technician will apply the base coat and color. It’s important to use a good quality base coat and topcoat because these help the color last longer. After the polish is applied, the nail is cured under a UV or LED lamp. This process is what makes gel so different from traditional nail polish.

The curing process also gives your natural nails a hard shell, which protects them from damage and breaks in between nail salon appointments. Whether you get a manicure from a professional or do it at home, rehydrating the nails and cuticles daily will minimize any brittleness. And if you want to keep your nails looking even more beautiful, try using a cuticle oil.

No Scrapping Needed

As long as you properly remove your polish, a gel manicure shouldn’t damage your nails. This is mainly due to the product ingredients and application process. It also helps to wear gloves when performing chores such as washing dishes or tending the garden, and to apply cuticle oil regularly.

Your nail technician will add a base coat to prepare your nails for the color, then paint each finger with a coat of the desired color. Each nail will then be placed under a UV light to “cure” the polish, which takes between 30 seconds and two minutes.

Avoid ripping your nails off — even if they look chipped or messed up — because it can damage the delicate layers of skin and nail. If you don’t go to the salon often, a DIY at-home kit may be worth the investment for you. (Just make sure you follow the instructions to a T.) Just keep in mind that it takes a lot of practice to achieve a professional-quality gel manicure at home.

No Damage to the Nails

Unlike acrylics, which are glued on top of your natural nails, gel polish is brushed directly onto your nail plate and cured under an LED or UV light. This means that if done correctly (and by a trusted salon technician), there’s minimal damage to the nail.

However, if your nails aren’t completely healthy to begin with, you may experience some thinning and peeling after getting gel manicures. To help minimize this, avoid picking at your nails when the color starts to lift, and instead have them professionally removed or remove them yourself at home with a bottle of 100 percent acetone, tin foil, cotton balls, and a file.

It’s also a good idea to rehydrate your nails in between manicures by applying a moisturizing product to them daily to minimize brittleness. So if you’re in need of a new look that’ll last for weeks, or if you have a special event coming up that requires chip-free color, a gel manicure may be worth the splurge.

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