Gel Manicures 101: Everything to know about Gel Nails

by grace ashi

Gel Manicures 101: Your Guide to Gel Nails

What are gel nails or gel manicures? If you’re fed up with regular nail polish that don’t last, keep reading as gel manicures are revolutionary and I’m hooked. Not only do they work with every nail shape, but they also provide an enduring, glossy finish that won’t chip easily. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll go through the must-knows for someone starting out with gel nails from what’s needed and safety advice all the way to gel kits and best gel polish brands for a DIY job at home. Get ready to transform those bare tips into beautiful, resilient nail art!

Gel Manicure Overview

  • Gel manicures provide a long-lasting, glossy finish with extended wear and beautiful shine.
  • Benefits include durability, a professional look, and impressive longevity. Safety precautions should be taken to avoid DNA damage due to UV/LED lamp exposure.
  • At-home gel nail kits offer salon-quality results without having to visit the salon.

The Basics of Gel Nail Polish

Gel manicures have become very popular in the beauty world due to their extended durability compared to traditional nail polish. Gel lacquer is specially created for curing under UV or LED lights, which creates a glossy and resilient finish that can last up to four weeks with appropriate maintenance. Gel manicures may be slightly pricier than traditional manicures. Though Gel manicures cost more than a traditional manicure, it’s worth investing in! its chip-resistant quality ensuring you always have flawless nails!

What are Gel Nails?

Gel nails offer an option for a manicure. The difference between a gel manicure and a regular manicure, they last longer and will not chip or fade. This special type of gel polish creates a long-lasting, glossy finish and is only hardened when UV or LED light comes in direct contact with the nail, unlike traditional nail polishes which dry through air exposure. The nail-curing process enabled by this unique technology gives you polished nails with no dullness over time.

Benefits of Gel Nails

Gel manicures have become incredibly popular due to their long-lasting properties. Up to two weeks of polished and perfect nails can be achieved with the correct nail care practices prior to and at home removing gel nail polish. Something difficult if using standard polish or traditional nail polish. The shine on gel-coated nails is an added bonus that gives a professional look impossible for regular nail polishes alone.

The Gel Nail Manicure Process

To have an impeccable gel manis, use the appropriate products during the process of getting a gel manicure. The procedure for achieving this look is different from when applying regular nail polish as it requires two main steps. Firstly, apply your chosen shade of nail polish, and secondly, harden and set using UVA light or LED lamps. This will give you mesmerizing long-lasting nails that stand out compared to regular polish applied on regular fingernails. So if done correctly, these techniques enable flawless results every time!

How to Apply Gel Nails

To properly apply gel nails, start with the base coat being spread evenly on your natural nails. Next comes a color layer of whatever hue you want. Ensure thin and smooth layers for ideal curing results and an exquisite finish. Finally, to protect the nail plate and color beneath it as well as seal in that famous glossy look. Add a topcoat over everything else. All throughout this process, avoid liquids like lotions, or water touching any parts of the nail, or lifting/peeling could occur during application time frames.


Gel manicures require the gel polish to be properly cured in order for it to have a long-lasting, durable finish. The curing process entails using either a UV or LED light which will harden gel nail polish and secure the nails into place when exposed to specific wavelengths of light. This ensures your nail color won’t chip away quickly due to daily wear and tear.

Gel Nail Safety and Precautions

Gel manicures can give stunning results, but it is important to take precautions and be informed about any potential hazards. UV and LED lamps used during the curing of the gel polishes may carry risks so selecting safe gel brands should not be overlooked for protecting both your nailbeds and skin. For those who want to enjoy a stylish gel polish manicure with all its benefits while avoiding compromising their health, taking sensible measures when using gel nail polish is key.

UV vs LED Lamp Exposure

Gel manicures rely on UV and LED lamps like a UV nail lamp, which can be dangerous if not done safely. Exposure to ultraviolet light while getting a gel manicure treatment has been linked with DNA damage as well as cell destruction and increased mutation formation. This can lead to a higher risk of developing skin cancer over time. Premature aging is also possible in those who undergo frequent gel manicure sessions.

Applying sunscreen prior to starting a session will help protect you. Using protective gloves such as YouVeeShield may come in handy too, guarding our hands from UVA ultraviolet radiation while getting glamorous nails!

Choosing a Safe Gel Polish Brands

Getting a safe gel and polish manicure is important to keep your nails healthy. Avoid gel nail polish products that include dangerous substances like toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate to safeguard yourself against potential nail and skin harm. Selecting a gel nail polish free from these three carcinogenic ingredients can allow you the chance for fashionable nails without risks. Jinsoon, RGB, Zoya, and Sally Hansen are just some options that provide gel formulations with no such toxins included. Giving you access to stylish nails minus worrying about consequences down the line

Top Nail Polish Brand

  1. Zoya: Zoya is known for its toxin-free nail polishes. They offer a wide range of colors and their products are free from harmful ingredients such as toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate).
  2. CND Shellac: CND Shellac is a popular brand among professionals. It’s a hybrid nail color that’s part polish, part gel and is cured under UV light. The brand claims to be 7-free, meaning it doesn’t contain seven of the most harmful chemicals often found in nail polish.
  3. Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro: This brand offers a dual-patented formula infused with 10 active ingredients that help deliver health, wear, and shine. It’s free from toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, DBP, xylene, and diethyhexyl adipate.
  4. Butter London Patent Shine 10X: Butter London offers a gel-like finish and shine with up to 10 days of wear. Their polishes are free from formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, DBP, toluene, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, xylene, and TPHP.
  5. Essie Gel Couture: Essie’s Gel Couture line offers long-lasting, gel-like shine without the need for a UV or LED lamp. It’s a 2-step system that includes a color and a topcoat. Essie polishes are free from DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde.

Maintaining and Extending the Life of Your Gel Manicure

gel, manicure, brush

For the best results with your gel manicure, take care to maintain proper upkeep and address any damaged nails quickly. Daily maintenance as well as dealing with broken nails swiftly with chips is essential for extending its life so that you can have beautiful nails for weeks on end. The correct products must be used in combination with the right tools if you wish it to last a long time.

Daily Care Tips

To keep your gel manicure looking beautiful for longer, you need to ensure that daily maintenance is done. Apply cuticle oil or petroleum jelly every day in order to nourish and protect the nails from everyday elements. Also, make sure to avoid hot water to prevent the lifting of the gel nail polish. Wear gloves when cleaning since they can guard against accidental exposure to harsh chemicals or breakage. By following these tips on caring for your hands and nails regularly, you will enjoy stunning results with each new application of gel nail polish!

Touching Up Chips

If your gel manis begins to show signs of wear, such as chipping, don’t worry! Gently put the nail file back down the affected area and put some gel polish on it. Then expose it to a UV lights or LED light lamp in order for the topcoat to harden – and you’ll have your perfect Gel Mani back before you know it. To keep more damage away and increase longevity, make sure to act quickly if any chips appear.

You can extend its life by addressing them right away with this same technique using appropriate products: filing then coating with gel polish followed up by curing under ultraviolet/LED lights system should do wonders for maintaining that flawless look of yours longer!

Removing Gel Nails at Safely

When the time comes for you to say goodbye to your gel manicure, it is essential that the correct removal techniques are used in order to protect your natural nails from any nail damage. Whether you opt for a professional service or attempt the process yourself at home, utilizing proper methods will ensure an easy and harm-free experience.

The beginning of removing gel nails requires filing down its top layer with a buffer or grit file before anything else can be done. By using this step as part of the procedure, you can avoid excessive force being applied during the removal process. This may potentially cause breakage or tears on both your nails, surrounding skin, and the fake fingernails due to over-buffing them together.

How to remove Gel nail at home

For those confident in their nail-care skills, removing gel nails at home can be an economical and accessible option. To begin the process of removal wrap each fingernail with a cotton ball soaked with acetone then secure them with aluminum foil for 10 minutes to soften the polish coatings on your natural nail bed.

Gently scrape away the layers of gel using either a cuticle pusher or an orange wood stick taking extra care not to harm healthy nails already underneath. Finally, moisturize to restore strength and nourish the nails

Professional Removal

If you’re having trouble with taking off your gel manicures at home or they are already damaged, a professional removal service may be best. A nail technician will guarantee minimal damage to natural nails while providing them with good care and an adequate surface for any new manicure. By visiting a nail salon, not only do you save yourself time and stress. Professional removal is highly recommended if one wants to secure healthy nail growth. To try it out on their own without prior experience of the process involved!

Alternatives to Gel Nails

For those who prefer another kind of manicure, there are other choices other than gel manicures. Acrylic and dip powder nails both possess their own unique advantages and disadvantages that can be suited to the particular needs concerning one’s nail care. Providing a variety of options when it comes to selecting which style is best for you.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are a form of artificial nail extension that is applied on top of natural ones to create the desired shape and length. It involves combining a monomer with a polymer in order to strengthen them and add durability, while also having an option for adding polish after it’s been put together. This offers individuals who want customized designs or more length but need greater upkeep than gel-based alternatives. With proper care and maintenance, these acrylic nails can last as long as required. To know more about the difference read gel nails vs acrylics nails post.

Dip Powder Nails

Dip powder manicures provide a long-lasting finish on the nail bed and can last up to three weeks without needing UV Lamp curing, unlike gel nails. This process involves dipping one’s fingertips into an acrylic powder that will harden afterward. Dip powders give you similar strength as gels but might not have such a glossy end result and may require regular touch-ups more often than other forms of nail treatments.

At-Home Gel Nail Kits

Nail aficionados can now have salon-level gel manicures at home using a convenient kit. Instead of going to nail salons, this package provides all that is required for an exquisite and attractive look in no time! Not only does it save money but also makes sure you get amazing results as with any other professional salon experience. Achieving your desired finish will be effortless by following the steps included within these kits while enjoying foolproof equipment inside every box set making the task even easier!

Pros and Cons

Deciding if an at-home gel nail kit is right for you requires considering the advantages and potential drawbacks. The main benefits of this option are convenience, cost savings, plus the opportunity to explore different colors or designs. Yet there’s a chance that inexperienced users could cause harm to their natural nails during application due to a lack of knowledge of proper technique. Considering all these elements can help make your decision simpler regarding whether at-home manicures with Gel Nails are suitable for your needs or not.

Recommended Products

Gel Nail polishes offer an unbeatable shine and durability compared to other kinds of nail treatments, making them a popular choice for those looking to maintain their manicures for longer. If you’re interested in trying out at-home gel kits from brands like Sally Hansen or SUNUV, then with the right product and some practice you should be able to achieve results comparable (if not better!) to what you’d get in salons, without any of the hefty price tags that usually accompany professional services!


Gel nails offer an excellent and durable option when it comes to having a flawless manicure that will last for weeks. Knowing the basics of gel nail application, and curing techniques, as well as taking necessary safety precautions can guarantee you numerous benefits associated with this type of manicure. You may go to a nail salon or buy at-home kits, though other options like acrylics kits and dip powder kits are also available if desired. In any case, these methods provide amazing results such as chip-free nails quickly.


Are gel nails better or acrylic?

Acrylic nails are an ideal choice for those who wish to have strong and resilient nail enhancement. These artificial nails provide greater durability than gel ones, which can chip or break more easily despite offering a more natural look. Gel varieties give the user flexible protection while still remaining less tough when compared with acrylics.

What is the downside of gel nails?

Gel manicures may come with risks, such as nail brittleness and peeling or cracking. Although UVA led light from gel nails has not been conclusively linked to skin cancer or premature aging, it’s important to take this potential hazard into account. With acrylics, the strength of the gel is weaker meaning that your nails could start coming off quicker than usual.

What exactly are gel nails?

Applying gel nail polish involves painting it onto the nails, followed by led curing under UV or LED light. This creates an attractive and lasting manicure that requires a base coat, polish layer, and topcoat to complete – all of these steps create a glossy, hardened finish for your natural nails.

How long should gel Manicures last?

Nails polished with gel are capable of lasting up to twice as long, around two or three weeks, compared to standard nail polish that typically remains intact for a maximum period of just one week.

What does a gel manicure do?

Gel manicures deliver a gleaming look that remains in perfect condition for up to four weeks, and helps fend off chips, peels, or fractures.

Are Gel Manicures Safe?

The UV light has always had scary side effects and many brands are now using LEDs in their treatments because it reduces the UV radiation. Gel manicures are becoming more common in salons and there are extensive reports regarding skin deterioration. Traditional UV lamps that cure these items have different bulbs than traditional tanning beds.

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