If you are bewitched by all the manicures and nail art you ogle at on Pinterest and Instagram, then you would not have missed the latest trend on the block – gel nails. The lustrous look of the eyes and glossy lips has now taken over your hands too.
Adorn your own set of gel nails and break out the new look for an evening about town. You are sure to turn some interested glances, and bonus points if you are the first one in your friend group to try them on. Soon you’ll have your friends clamouring for details on what they are and how to get at them.
And when they do, show them this article. It’s got the low-down on everything you need to know about gel nails and how to get started with the use. It also offers you advice on the care routine and tips to keep the look going for several weeks.
Get all your facts right about gel nails
If you are thinking about getting faux nails, extensions or overlays, Gel nails, hands-down is the clear winner.
The biggest challenge to make faux nails work is ensuring that they stick well to the base of your natural nail. To make this possible, the nail has to be rough enough to create friction. This means that a stylist has to rough up the surface by filing it. Sometimes people might not be comfortable with the process.
But this is not the case with gel nails, as they just come in a bottle like any other nail polish. No preliminary filing is necessary to make the nail rough. The one requirement is that your nails are as dry as possible.
What makes gel nails a class apart:
- Length and hardness: The moment you think of faux nails, you think of shockingly long nails that are hard and powder-dipped. They are hard and cover up your natural nail. Gel nails are not so hard on your nails. They are hardened using UV light. For an extended length, tips can be added as an enhancement.
- Thickness: Gel nails tips are similar to having polished nails with nail polish. They don’t add extra thickness.
- Nail Health: Gel nail sets are easier to apply and less abrasive on your nail bed. For this reason, they are thought to be safer and healthier for your skin.
- Cost and maintenance: For someone who gets regular sittings, gel nails are costlier because you need a fresh coating of the gel every time you walk in for refills. But the initial gel nails cost is nearly the same from a range of Rs 1500 – 4000. You can get good gel nails set for Rs 2500.
- Endurance: Gel nails are less harsh on the cuticles and nail bed. However, gels last 2-3.5 weeks on the nails while acrylic nails last a month or longer before they need refills.
Gel nails kit – what goes into making those nails shine
The components are already factored into the gel nails price if you get the manicure done at a salon. If you decide to do gel nails at home, you have to buy the following items:
- UV lamp (LED light will also work)
- Nail file/ soft buffer
- Base coat/top coat of sticky, protective gel
- Gel cleanser
- Lint-free wipes
After you get the gel nails kit in place, you will want to learn from a tutorial video or a live demonstration to see what steps are included. Then, you’re on your own about getting the perfect look for your hands.
This routine yields you swoon-worthy gel nails:
The procedure of making your gel nails perfect follows these steps. It is the same whether you get it done at a salon or at home where you do it all yourself.
- Before even prepping your hands, it is important to start with clean hands. Washing your hands gets rid of excess oils. Dab them on a soft, absorbent towel to get rid of all moisture.
- Your stylist will then rub cuticle removing compound on your nail beds and cuticles (and this product will be left to soak in for a minute or longer). This will loosen and start to melt the dead cuticle tissue. After this, the stylist follows up with a cuticle pusher which bunches up all the dead tissue, cleaning out the nail surface of all residual tissue with a lint-free nail wipe. Next comes a cuticle cutter (nipper), trimming out all the excess tissue hanging around.
- The nail file comes next, and this is used to shape the nail according to your preference. You can try square tips, almond-shaped tips, round tips, coffin-shaped tips, stiletto points, rounded squares, or any other shape you wish for. The file makes the edge even and smooth and preps it for the next stage.
- Cleaning the nail surface of all cuticle compound is the final stage of cleaning. Wiping the surface carefully of all tissue, chemicals and natural oils keep the polish firmly in place. Some stylists go a step further to paint your nails with a dehydrator to remove moisture further after the wiping.
- The next process is the foundation for all the products to come. This is formed by the base coat. It’s clear and sticky, and you just need a thin layer of it.
- After drying out the foundation under a LED or UV lamp, the gel nail polish comes next. One or two coats of this need to be dried out individually under the lamp. This process is called ‘curing’.
- After you achieve the colour (shade) of your choice – and you can try a combination of hues or gradients with your gel polish, or you can even try gel nails with glitter. Cure it under the LED lamp, and you’re ready to finish off your manicure.
- The last step is to finish off with a top coat from your gel nails kit which seals in all the work put in and sets it in place. A good stylist will again lock off the edges of your nails as well so that chipping or popping off is delayed.
- At the end of the process, it is recommended that you put a drop of cuticle oil and rub it in. This gives strength and nutrition to the nail beds and lets them breathe. Healthier nails beds hold nail polish and gels better.
Watch out for these gel nail problems while doing the manicure:
It can’t be said enough that all layers of product need to be really thin, and topped off around the edge of your nails. If this is not done right, the gel nail can come off within two days of application. This can be damaging to the skin tissue. Instead, get gel nail removal done professionally at the salon to keep the damage to a minimum.
Preserving your manicure carefully by not overworking your nails is sure to reduce the number of gel nails refills you will need. This is another way to guard your nail health.
In between manicures, it is really important to let your nails strengthen. A good diet and gaps between manicures is a good thing to have.
Final thoughts – a little info goes a long way in making you ready
With all this good to know information, you are now all set to try out your first gel manicure. When you’re confident, you can order off Amazon your gel nails kit.
But it is highly recommended to get it done by the professionals so that there is no room for a mistake.
For those who are enthusiastic and patient with their nail care, gel nails maintenance with refills and infills, even overlays and extensions comes easily. You can get creative and try out styles that are as minimal or as bold as you like. You can even try gel nails on toes and make your feet pretty.
It’s a matter of finding out all you need, and then falling in love with your new manicure. Go for it!