Gel nail polish is a liquid gel which usually comes in a bottle or pot. The gel liquid is painted to the nail in the same way that normal nail polish is, but it’s easier as it’s self levelling and you won’t leave brush strokes. Each coat of polish is cured under a LED lamp for 15 to 60 seconds or a UV lamp for two to three minutes (depending on the polish brand and lamp).
This curing process sets the gel into a solid state. The polish does not dry until it goes under the lamp, so any slips are much easier to rectify. After curing, the gel polish is completely hard, but will have a sticky layer left, ready to bond to the next layer. Additional coats can be applied after each layer is cured.
Top coat is usually applied to seal the gel polish and add a finish, such as shine or matte appearance. Gel top coats must be cured under the LED/UV lamp too. Most gel polish manicures are completed by wiping the nail with cleanser to remove the final sticky layer (unless using new No Wipe Top Coat) and the polish is completely dry.
Are gel nails bad for my natural nails?
Gel polish is not bad for your natural nails. Reports of nail damage from gel polish can be quite common but this is usually caused by incorrect removal – for example if polish is pulled/picked off or nails are scraped during the removal process.
If removal instructions are followed carefully and high quality gel nail removal products are used, no damage should be done to the nail. Try our new StripGel Peel Off Basecoat product for the ultimate in gel nail removal!
To keep nails healthy, it’s a good idea to apply cuticle oil to your nails after each removal process (this applies to normal nail polish too). Cuticle oil will help to nourish the nail bed and encourage strong growth. If you are applying another gel manicure straight away – make sure you don’t apply the cuticle oil until afterwards.
How much do gel nails cost?
If you are going to the salon for a gel mani, you can expect to pay anywhere from £20 to £50, although nail art will be extra. The more colours or nail art effects you choose, the higher the cost will be.
If you are using an at home gel nail kit, such as the SensatioNail Starter Kit, your initial outlay will be £49.99. A gel starter kit will include everything you need to create a gel mani at home:
- if you buy the StripGel kit you'll have StripGel and No Wipe Top coat
- base and topcoat
- buffer and manicure stick
- most importantly, the LED lamp you will need to cure your nails with (some newer LED lamps come with USB charger cables which can come in super handy)
Most starter kits will also include one colour to get you started. The starter kit will last for around 10 manicures - that’s around £4.99 per gel mani. Bargain!
Once people get the hang of their starter kit, they often begin to buy more colours and stock up on their essentials separately. People use colours, primer, top coat etc. at different rates so all these items are available individually. Check out these gel nail essentials.
How long do gel nails last?
Depending on the salon, brand and application, gel nails can last from one to three weeks.
When applied correctly, SensatioNail gel polish should last for up to two weeks. That means no chipping, cracking or smudging. Whether you’re doing the washing up every day, chasing kids around or plastering a wall!
Why do people wear gel nails?
Aside from looking gorgeous, there are many reasons people wear gel nails:
- No dry time. Once your manicure is complete it is completely dry immediately. You can go straight out, get changed, go swimming, root around in your bag….
- To stop biting nails
- To protect nails from wear and tear
- The mirror-like shine that lasts throughout your manicure
- No chipping or cracking. Freshly painted nails look so good but even the best polishes can chip within hours of application.
- For a manicure that will last longer than a few days (when going on holiday for example)
- For nail art. Nail art is easier with gel nails as you can force each layer to completely dry immediately with the LED lamp making it easy to create effects or apply glitter, stickers or overlays. You can also swirl colours together more easily.
- The huge range of colours. Gel polish is such a phenomenon now that there are so many colours available. Check out all the SensatioNail colours here. Even better – you can mix colours together to create bespoke shades – just mix on a bit of foil, the polish won’t dry up as it’s gel - then cure as normal.
- You are now able to turn all your current polishes into Gel too! Want to go a step further on your colour choices or have a favourite shade? Mix SensatioNail Polish to Gel with any standard nail polish, then cure under the LED lamp for a gel/polish hybrid that will be instantly dry and last up to 10 days
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