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Ask The Beauty Stop: Gel Manicures

Question: Every time I have hit up my favorite beauty bar, they are constantly trying to give me a hard sell on gel manicures. All I know is that they come with a hefty price tag. Can you explain the pros and cons?

Gel manicure and pedicures are the new rage in salons and even at home. It’s different from your typical treatment in several different ways…

Paint or Plastic – Lets break it down like this, think of your regular polish as a paint and the gel as a plastic. It is a different beast and requires a different application process. Gels need a clean, super dry surface to cling to. So, you won’t get your typical soak in some skin reviving potion. Instead, it is a file and cuticle grooming sans water then a swipe with an alcohol based cleanser before the polish is applied.

Air or UV Lamp – Polishes air dry. Gels need a UV light to cure or harden. (UV Rays! But Camilla, you told us how bad UV rays are in ‘The Truth About Tanning!’ Don’t worry I will address.) Under a lamp, the gel will cure almost instantly.

Pros – Gel manis will stand up to the vigor of your daily life without chipping for about 10 days. They are longer lasting and have a mirror-like sheen. After your mani has cured, you won’t run the same smudge risk you do with your basic polishes. Don’t worry about the lamp causing harmful changes in your skin. Most salons use LED bulbs which do not emit the same harmful rays a tanning bed does. Ask if you are wary.

Cons – It’s so hard wearing that it is tough to get off. If you like to change up your colors often, this can be murder on your nails. A 15 minute acetone soak will do the trick, but lets not forget that acetone zaps your nails of moisture and makes them more prone to breakage.

So, it is up to you. If you are a one and done type of girl, then go for the longer lasting gel. If you like to change it up more often, go for your normal lacquer. Either way, take a break from polishes every two or three applications to let your nail regain strength.

Posted in: Ask TBS


[...] mani’s are a hot trend. You can read a break down of the trend in our Ask The Beauty Stop: Gel Manicures [...]


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