Is a gel manicure right for you?

As a licensed manicurist, I try to give my clients the best possible advice for their nails while keeping them up to date on what’s trending in the industry.

Gel manicures are the ‘latest craze’, even though were introduced about three years ago. Since I was never a fan of acrylic enhancements, I’m happy to see that more people are opting for the gel manicure in place of acrylics.

Gel manicures are less damaging to your natural nail than acrylic nails. However, you have to be aware that it is a chemical process and will still do some harm (even though slight) to a healthy natural nail. The best part about gel manicures is that they can be removed with regular acetone (nail polish remover) so no more poking and drilling of the natural nail to remove the product. That in itself is a huge advantage to keeping your natural nail in the best health possible. A healthy nail is a strong nail and a strong (but flexible) nail will grow long and strong for months at a time.

Gel manicures will not extend the length of your nail. It is just a coating for the nail, like a polish. I do find that my clients with shorter nails have been able to grow their nails much longer than in the past with gel manicures, as they seem to provide added strength and protection for the nail underneath.

CND (Creative Nail Design) was the first company to introduce a gel manicure system that did not require mixing. Their product comes ready to apply right out of the bottle, much like nail polish. The idea behind this product was to create a manicure that would not chip or peel for up to fourteen days and dry almost instantly. I have personally used this product and can tell you it lives up to its claim.

Since CND released Shellac, many other companies have introduced similar products (OPI, Harmony, Orly, Cacee, Gelish, Artistic Nail, etc). The list continues to grow from month to month, with new products and lots of fabulous colors and effects for gel manicures. You can even buy starter kits in drug stores.

The product is applied in thin coats (like nail polish) and cured under a UV light, making it dry and touchable almost immediately. No more sitting in the salon for hours waiting for your manicure (or pedicure) to dry so you can dig into your handbag and get your car keys.

Just a warning about gel manicures: although I mentioned that it is much less harmful to the natural nail than an acrylic application and removal, you will see a slight decline in the strength of your natural nails when the product is removed. This is caused by a breakdown in the keratin (the substance that our nails are made of) from the acetone soak, which is required to remove the product each time a new gel manicure is applied.

That being said, I do love this process and would recommend you give it a try.

If you have a question about a nail product or service you can contact me at

Here is a small starter kit that I recommend you try if you are going to venture into it on your own.  Watch some Youtube video’s and take your time.  You will probably need to do your nails a few times before you get the hang of it.  Even some of the manufacturers of the gel products have instructional video’s (if they sell a home kit) on their websites.

Many companies (including ones I have no idea about, many coming from overseas) are selling gel products on various sites including Ebay.  Stay clear of them.  You have no clue what is in the product and you have no recourse if you are harmed from their products.  Names to look for that are american reputable nail companies are Gelish, CND, OPI, Orly, Cacee, and Harmony).

Posted in Beauty.