Gel nails— they’re the traditional manicure with a twist. After decades of domination by the acrylic nail, a new leader is staging a take-over.
Gel nails, a type of artificial nail, are creating a buzz in the beauty world. This manicure method, when compared to an acrylic manicure looks more realistic. Along with this more natural appearance, gel nails typically last for about 10-12 days. However, when compared to acrylics, they tend to be a more expensive manicure option. The starting price is around $25 but can be as expensive as $35.
When looking into gel nails there are two main types, “soak-offs” and “file-offs. Appearance wise they’re the same, but it’s mainly in the removal process that they differ. If you’re getting them professionally done, this isn’t too big of a deal, but if you are planning on removing them at home, “soak-offs” are the better choice. Another advantage that they have over acrylic nails is that you don’t have to endure all of those killer fumes while trying to get pretty. You’re helping the environment and getting pampered — kudos!
If frequent trips to the nail salon aren’t your thing, you can always purchase gel nail polish. Sally Hansen and OPI carry various colors. But you must be warned that this process is easier said than done when at home. In order for the gel polish to work, you need to dry them under a UV light for about five minutes. If you don’t have one, don’t bother trying the gel polish at home because it won’t work. UV lights can be purchased at beauty supply stores like ULTA.
Now for the dreaded removal aspect. For those brave souls attempting this at home instead of going to your nearest manicurist pay attention. DO NOT RIP OR BITE OFF YOUR GEL NAILS! It’s disgusting, and it destroys your natural nails. To remove “soak-offs” you will need cotton balls, pure acetone, a cuticle stick, foil, a nail file and a nail buffer.
You are first going to file through the clear coat surface of your nails until you’ve reached the gel. Then, you’re going to soak cotton balls in acetone, one for each finger, and place them on top of the nail. It’s best to do one hand at a time. Now, take your foil, wrap it around each finger, and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take your cuticle stick and gently scrape off the gel. It should come off easily, but in the event that it doesn’t, put the foil and cotton back on your finger, and let it soak a bit longer. Finally, use your buffer to clean off any excess residue.
Although this seems like quite a process, you’ll be much happier with the results than if you took the cannibal route with your fingers.