I can’t believe I had to put “Get a Gel Manicure” on my 101 list to actually get it done.
I also can’t believe that I convinced Kelly to get a pedicure while I was there to do my nails. He loves me.
AND he now loves pedicures. They feel great on marathon-worn feet. I have a feeling we’ll be back here together.
Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect with a gel manicure. I didn’t know how they were applied, what the process was like or how long it would last.
The process is simple – they do a normal manicure first (if you want…and I did). Soak, trim, file, cuticles. You know, the usual.
Then they put on the gel color. You “bake” your nails under an array of LED lights between each layer. If I remember right, I had 4 layers:
- Base coat
- Color coat #1
- Color coat #2
- Clear top coat
The nails are hard and perfect when done. They do a bit of clean up work to remove any stray bits and you’re good to go. I went with a very neutral color because I had several events on the calendar and I wanted to be sure my nails looked good as they grew out, since I wasn’t sure when I’d have time to come back in to remove it.
How long does it last? For me, it lasted for two weeks before it started peeling. By the time I went in at the two-and-a-half week mark, they looked like this:
How is it removed? This is an important thing – you can’t (or shouldn’t, anyway) remove a gel at home. You can really damage your nails. Remember, it’s practically baked on. First, the tech uses a rough file to remove all of the pieces that have already lifted and are peeling away from the nial.
The next step is soaking. You’ll hear technicians talk about using “foil” on your nails. Basically, they soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on your nail. To hold the acetone-soaked cotton in place, a small square of foil is wrapped around the tip of your nail. You let the remover sit on your nail for a while (5 minutes at least). The tech then lightly scrapes your nail to peel off the gel.
To give my nails a chance to recover and breathe, I had the tech buff and shine my nails, leaving them polish-free.
Truthfully, I don’t really like how my nails felt after the removal. They were rough – I felt like I needed to file a snag, but there was no snag in sight. It was simply the surface of my nails.
Based on this, for me anyway, I think a gel polish is something to do now and then rather than on a regular basis. For example, it would be perfect before going on a trip where you want to have great nails and don’t want to worry about chipping.