Manicures are cosmetic procedures to alter the appearance of a person’s nails. Gel nails provide you with the high-shine and ultra-long wear manicures that you desire. When creating the perfect gel nail manicure t, it is essential to discover which gel nail type will suit you best. Because there are so many types of gels, you may confuse that “which one is my gel?”.
Don’t worry. Today, this article will discuss my gel nails from the types of gel nails to how they differ. Through this post, you can better understand what is gel polish and how to use it. Therefore, next time if you want to do a manicure, you will not be confused.
What Are The Different Gel Types?
A perfectly manicured set of nails is everyone’s dream. A gel is available in two different forms, including hard gel and soft gel. Knowing “my gel” and “my manicure” preferences will help you choose which gel nail type will be best. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of gel nail options.
Soft gel is a soak-off gel that can be removed with 100% pure acetone. The soft gel adds minimal strength to short to mid-length natural nails but is not strong enough to support a nail extension. Soft gel is applied with a nail brush and is cured under an LED lamp or UV light.
This gel is available in many colors and can be worn alone as gel polish for two to four weeks. The soft gel will wear thin on the nail’s free edge over time, requiring touch-ups every few weeks. Gel polish is soft gel.
- Adds strength to short to mid-length nails
- Longer lasting soak-off gel
- Can be removed by soaking in acetone
- Can't add length
- Wears on free edges over time
Hard gel is used to add length to the natural nail. This thick gel is laid onto the nail, then moved around the nail to form the shape. Hard gel nails can be shaped to form any nail shape and to add the nail length that the client desires. These factors make hard gel nails a prevalent nail option for many people.
Hard gel cures underneath an LED light or UV lamp until it hardens to perfection. After the curing process, the nail technician will file and shape the nail with a nail file or e-file tool. Color is then added, and the manicure is complete. Each hard gel nail set will last three to four weeks before needing a refill.
The hard gel should not be removed at home. Doing so will damage the natural nails. The nail tech should remove the gel in the salon by filing away the gel. A nail tech will help maintain the integrity of the natural nails underneath the hard gel.
- Can be used to add length instantly
- Lasts up to 3-4 weeks
- Lightweight, strong and durable
- Must be filled or removed by a professional
- Difficult to shorten or fix at home
Gel Nail Polish
Gel polish (soft gel) performs like a gel and applies like traditional nail polish. Traditional nail polish usually chips within two to three days, whereas gel polish lasts for several weeks. Gel polish is a thin UV gel that is pigmented and available in many shades of color.
The gel is slightly thicker than shellac or traditional nail polish and can be worn for several weeks. As a bonus, the gel protects the natural nails and is hardier, making it ideal for those with weak, brittle nails.
Gel polish dries by curing it under an LED or UV lamp. It can be applied alone over natural nails or on top of hard gel and lasts for two to three weeks. Gel polish is safely removed at home with 100% pure acetone, and it is the quickest gel nail service available.
It is important not to peel away gel polish from the nails. Peeling gel polish away from the nail will cause damage to the natural nails. Gel polish is ideal for all nail types, from short styles to longer nails.
- Thin application
- Fastest gel service time
- Possible to remove it safely at home
- Doesn't provide strength
- Doesn't last as long as other gels
What Is Gel Manicure?
Gel manicures use a type of light-sensitive gel. This gel acts as nail polish but has special properties that differentiate it from acrylic nail polishes.
My gel manicure follows most of the same steps as your traditional manicure—your nails are cut, filed, and shaped, and cuticles are cut (if you so choose), but that's where the similarities end.
Gel nail polish is painted on similarly to classic lacquer. However, it is cured with a UV or LED light to help lock it in place for long-lasting wear. Each coat of gel polish will need to be cured for about 30 to 60 seconds at a time. And instead of waiting for your nails to dry, you're ready to leave the salon as soon as your last topcoat cures. And as a bonus, Gel manicures are more resistant to chips and wear and tear. They also stay glossy for the duration of the manicure.
What Are The Benefits Of My Gel Manicure?
Anyone can get a "my gel" manicure, whether you have natural nails (long or short) or want to get tips glued on first. Stacked up against a regular manicure, gels last longer, feel stronger, and stay shiny.
Here's how the process works: Like your run-of-the-mill mani, a gel manicure starts with cutting the nails, lightly soaking the hands, trimming the cuticles, and a thorough hand-cleaning. The polish itself is where things get different: you'll start with a base coat layer that primes your nails for the gel, which is a special kind of polish that, instead of air-drying, sets under a UV light. After each coat is painted on, you place your hand under a UV light for 30 seconds. The technician will finish things off with a glossy topcoat that's also set with a UV light.
How To Do My Gel Nails At Home?
The Supplies For My Gel Nails At Home:
- Nail lamp. The one that I got a few years ago is no longer for sale, but I did my research and this one is a great option. It has hundreds of great reviews and is about 1/4 the price that I paid for mine.
- Acetone to remove the polish. This is the kind that I bought that I love (it hadn’t arrived by the time I took these pictures which is why it’s not pictured).
- Cotton pads
- Nail polish soak off clips (these make it soooooo much easier to remove the polish)
- Cuticle remover liquid
- Nail file – I HIGHLY recommend a glass nail file. This one is a great option!
- Steel cuticle remover and cutter – I got this one and love it but this is a great combo for cuticle clippers AND cuticle remover
- Nail clippers
- Cuticle clippers
- Nail buffer block
- Rubbing alcohol
- PH bond, base coat and top coat – this is a great package right here. My favorite brands of gel nail polish are Gelish and OPI
- Gel nail polish – search here for some favorite colors. I love this color, this color and this color a lot.
Steps To Do My Gel Nails At Home
If you have gel polish on already, you need to cut your cotton pads into 4 pieces and soak each of them with acetone. Buff the top of each nail, then cover your nail with the cotton pad and then apply the nail polish soak off the clip to hold it in place. Keep it there for 15 minutes. This is a great time to watch a good show on TV!
Remove the clips and begin scraping off the gel polish with the steel cuticle remover and scraper. The polish should be lifting and it shouldn’t be too difficult to remove at this point. If it is, apply another cotton pad with acetone for a bit longer.
Apply the cuticle remover liquid onto your cuticles and rub it in. Use the steel cuticle remover and scraper to push down your cuticles and scrape them off your nail. Use the cuticle clipper to cut off the cuticles from your nail.
Clip your nails to the length that you want them, use the nail file to shape them, and buff the tops of your nails to take off a bit of the top layer of your nail. This will help the gel polish to adhere to your nails better.
Rinse your hands with water (no soap) and remove all of the dead skin and dry well. Make sure the nails are completely clean. Paint on the PH Bond to help dry out your nails.
Apply an extremely thin layer of the base coat gel polish onto your nails then cure under the light for 120 seconds. Remember, make the layer as THIN as possible! This was my huge downfall when I wasn’t able to do gel nails at home well. It started to build up into a big mess. Not anymore, sister! I learned my lesson.
Apply one coat of gel polish (remember, as thin as you possibly can!) If you get the polish on your skin, use some acetone to wipe it away before putting your hand under the lamp again. I also like to use toothpicks to wipe away small amounts from my cuticles if I happen to get polish there. The key is not to get any polish on your cuticles or they will start to peel much, much faster. Let the polish cure under the lamp for 120 seconds, then do another layer and cure for another 120 seconds. Some lighter polish needs the 3rd layer, and if so, do the 3rd layer of polish then cure for 120 seconds.
Apply the top coat then cure it under the lamp for 120 seconds.
Soak a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and rub each nail well. You’re done! You don’t have to wait for it to dry and you can touch anything without ruining your manicure. This is why I love gel polish!!
Can My Gel Manicures Damage Nails?
Say you notice that your gel polish is chipped. As annoying as that might be, you should never (and we mean never) pick off the rest. Gel manicures don’t damage nails; what can be damaging is a poor removal process such as peeling it off the nail.
The biggest disadvantage to my gel manicures is improper removal. You can avoid this by properly (and patiently) removing the polish yourself at home or seeking manicurists who take their time in removal to protect your nails.
Even when you follow every protocol for healthy gel removal, there’s a chance that your nail plates could come out looking and feeling damaged. If peeling nails is your reality, it's best to skip gels for a while and allow the nail to grow out. Applying daily cuticle oil is a must to help your nails grow strong.
How Do I Safely Remove My Gel Manicure?
Your nail beds and cuticles are what's most important — they're made of living tissue, which is why you need to be careful during the application and removal process. Don’t rip them off. You can either have gels removed at a salon safely (it usually costs around $10-$20) or remove them yourself at home with acetone, tin foil, cotton balls, and a nail file.
If you go to the salon, make sure your technician is removing "my gels" carefully. No one should be scraping your nail bed aggressively. The product should just crumble off.
If you want to save money and a trip to the salon, just be extra careful. Here's how to remove "my gels" safely at home:
- Get a bottle of 100 percent acetone and a glass bowl.
- Break the seal of the top coat with a light grit file.
- Soak the nails in acetone for about three minutes.
- Gently scrape the jelly-like substance with a wood stick cuticle pusher.
- Once all is removed, gently buff the nails.
- Moisturize with cuticle oil and hand and nail cream.
How To Keep My Gel Nail Healthy?
Dermatologists recommend the following tips to keep "my gel" nails healthy before, during, and after gel manicures:
- Make an effort to communicate with your manicurist. Please inquire about the sterilization of tools, and glance around to ensure that they are washed and disinfected tools after each client. Furthermore, never allow your manicurist to push or cut your cuticle since this may cause inflammation and infection.
- Instead of using gel paint, consider using regular nail polish. Because acetone is required to remove gel polish, this is especially critical if you have reoccurring nail problems or are allergic to it.
- Picking gel nail paint is not a good idea. When the color starts to fade, don’t pick at it or try to remove it with other nails or tools. Make an appointment to get the polish removed with your manicurist instead.
- Only use acetone to wet your fingertips. To protect the surrounding skin, merely soak your fingertips in acetone instead of your entire hands or fingers when removing your nail polish. Cotton balls can also be used to remove the polish. Soak the cotton balls in acetone and wrap little pieces of aluminum foil over your fingertips to apply them to your nails. Only your nails will come into contact with the acetone this way. The nail polish should peel off easily after about 15 minutes.
How Long Do My Gel Manicures Really Last?
Generally, a gel manicure can hold up for two to three weeks. Just like with your regular polish, how you treat your hands post-manicure and throughout those two weeks will make a big difference in staying power. If the gels are not chipping, leaving gel polish on for two to three weeks is fine. But like with all lacquer, breaks between manicures are a great way to ensure your nails stay strong and healthy.
While gel manicures look just like your regular old manicure, the added benefits are that they last longer, are super shiny, and feel sturdier. Plus, the beauty of a gel manicure is that anyone can get “my gel nails”, whether your nails are super short or Kylie Jenner-long. So it’s time to consider getting a gel manicure.
And hope this "my gel" guide can help you master some useful information about gel manicures.