What Are Gel Nails?

What Are Gel Nails Banner Image - Freshly manicured nails. Close-up of female hand with beautiful manicure

Over the last few years, gel based nail products have taken the manicure world by storm, offering a longer lasting, durable and versatile alternative to traditional nail lacquers. Favoured by professionals and nail enthusiasts alike  – including busy mums who constantly have their hands full – this contemporary method sells itself with their unique capacity to withstand the wear and tear that comes with day-to-day life. For those who are looking to keep their nails looking perfectly buffed and polished without the disadvantages of varnishes and acrylics, gel nails are the way to go. Let’s get into what the craze is really about.

The Basics – include Gelish here

In short, gel nail products are not unlike regular nail polishes, in that they can be applied in much the same way. What sets gel polishes apart is their durability, courtesy of an innovative blend of polymer resins, monomers and other ingredients that come together to form a hard-wearing coating that does not renege on glossy brilliance. These gel-like substances are ‘cured’ or hardened under either a UV (ultraviolet) or LED (light-emitting diode) lamp, both adorning and protecting your natural nails. Hard gel polishes are more resistant to chemicals like acetone, making them more protective than their soft gel counterparts which are porous and therefore easier to remove. Some hybrid gel products on the market, such as Gelish polishes developed by Hand & Nail Harmony, borrow the best features from traditional polishes and gel systems to create a soak-off gel nail manicure that is chip resistant while being flexible and easy to apply.

How Much Do Gel Manicures Cost?

Your biggest question might be, “but how much do gel manicures cost?” The answer might surprise you. On average, a professionally serviced hard gel manicure will set you back approximately the same amount, if not less, than a full set of acrylic falsies. This kind of service will include complete nail preparation (think buffing and shaping) to further extend the life of your gel manicure. It is important to note that add-ons, such as nail art and designs, will often incur surcharges. Alternatively, if you are keen on taking the DIY route, there are gel nail kits for beginners, making it even more convenient to let your creativity flow while juggling life. While gel manicures are admittedly more costly than traditional varnish manicures, the most attractive payoff is the chip-resistant longevity, making them excellent bang for your buck.

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

The versatility of gel nails adds to their allure. Possessing a well-rounded spectrum of colours, including vibrant hues, pastels, neutrals and the latest trendy shades, there is something available for everyone. The quick-drying nature of gel polishes mean less time in-salon, with the curing process amounting to two or so minutes under a UV lamp, and an impressive 30 seconds under LED. This means your manicure is fully hardened, beautifully shiny and protected in a matter of minutes. If you are worried about exposure to UV rays, Dr. Stephanie Bollard, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, recommends applying a broad spectrum, high protection factor sunscreen twenty minutes prior to your service, or wearing UV protective gloves. Where acrylic sets will cause long-term nail damage, brittleness and dehydration, gel polishes offer protection against breakage and are far less taxing on the naked nail during the removal process. Better still, gel nails do not break like acrylics do, meaning less fear when opening cans and boxes (hooray!).

Gel nails have become all the rage across the beauty industry, offering a longer-lasting, durable alternative to traditional nail lacquers. Looking at our quick cost-effectiveness analysis, it’s a no-brainer that they are revered by both professionals and busy individuals for their ability to withstand life’s demands. Gel polishes are popular for their extended wearability, achieved through a blend of polymer resins and monomers that create a hard-wearing coating with a sparkling, high gloss finish. These gel-like substances are cured under UV or LED lamps to protect and build upon natural nails. While the cost of a professionally serviced gel manicure is comparable to acrylic nails, they trump acrylic services with lower risks to nail health and maximum wear. Whether you are seeking to decorate your fingertips for a night out or to complement your everyday wardrobe, gel nails are the solution for keeping your nails shiny and pretty day to day.

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