Gel manicures: 5 do’s and don’ts
If you’ve decided to finally attempt gel nails yourself at home, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you begin.
What is gel polish?
Gel polish is painted on the same way as normal polish but because it’s self-leveling it means it won’t leave brush strokes. Each layer is cured under an LED lamp for 15 to 60 seconds which sets it into a solid state. Unlike normal polish, gel polish does not dry until it is under the lamp which means that any mistakes are easier to change. After each layer is cured, the gel polish will become completely hard, but it will still be sticky enough to bond to the next layer.
DON’T peel off the polish yourself
Picking off the gel polish yourself will be hugely damaging to your nail plate because of the high adhesion that it has. So, when you peel it off, you’ll probably also be peeling off layers of your nails along with it leading to uneven and flaking nails. For this reason, it’s always best to invest in the correct products for removing gel nails.
DO prepare your nails before you begin
To work properly, gel polish needs a clean and dry surface. To prepare your nails, first push back your cuticles then file your nails to your desired shape. You also need to make sure that you get rid of the hangers from the edges of the nails so that there won’t be any rough or uneven edges that can cause problems. Your nails should be buffed to remove the shine then sprayed with cleansing alcohol before using a pH balancing liquid before you start the application.
DON’T let the gel touch the skin
If any gel polish gets onto your skin, it can start to lift once you’ve completed your manicure. It can also cause jagged and uneven sides which will catch. To avoid this, before curing each of your layers, use an angled brush that has been dipped in acetone to remove any extra polish along the sides or on the cuticle.
DO make sure that you choose a colour that you love
When done correctly, a gel manicure can last up to three weeks. That means that you’ll want to choose a colour that you love and will be comfortable with. A good tip is to choose something that matches your skin tone. If you have olive skin whites, nudes, orange-based brights and darks tend to suit. Those with blue undertones should stick to pinkish nudes, blue-tone brights and darker shades like fuchsia and deep violet.
Applying layers that are too thick can affect how the polish cures and adheres so you’ll definitely get a smoother application when you apply thin layers. When you think you might have applied too much polish, you can use the dry-brush technique to wipe away any excess and drag it back over the polished nail.