As gel nail manicures and pedicures have become all the rage, more and more manicure and pedicures lovers are introducing gel nail products into their lives each day. But with all the innovation, there are sure to be many questions about how to best use new gel nail polish and products.
The word “gel” lends itself to confusion ¬because it originally described the nail product’s physical state, but over the years it has become a generic name of the product category. Gel nails first appeared in the U.S. in the early 1980s, but were met with limited success. At the time, the manufacturers of gel lights and the gel itself had not joined forces, not yet recognizing the need to precisely match the intensity of the light to the photoinitiators in the gel. Nail techs and clients soon found out that ¬using the wrong light or applying too much gel caused a burning sensation on the client’s fingertips. -Additionally, education on gel application was limited, leaving nail techs in the dark about the product, and home-use ¬systems were introduced around the same time, damaging the reputation of salon-use systems by ¬association. By the end of the ‘80s, many companies had pulled their gel products from the market. But by the end of the ‘90s, gel nails were back on the U.S. nail scene, now with much-improved formulas that were ¬designed to work with a precise light wavelength and intensity. These new formulations also delivered better clarity and ¬durability. Gels are one of the most frequently added services to salon menus.
Are gel nails right for everyone?
If you have healthy nails and nail beds, gel nail is a fantastic way to get 14-days of gorgeous color and brilliant shine. However, if your nails are damaged, chipped or in need of TLC, it might be your best bet to nurse them back to health before trying gel nail products.
How are gel nail manicures different from traditional nail enamel manicures and pedicures ?
Gel nail polishes are formulated differently from traditional nail color and cure under artificial light, so they dry faster and last longer.
Like a traditional enamel manicure, most gel nails are applied with a base, color, and top coat, but the gel polish process begins differently than a traditional manicure and pedicure because nails should not be soaked in water. Soaking nails causes them to become waterlogged, which will keep the gel basecoat from properly adhering to your nail bed.
The key “gel” ingredient in gel nail polish is photo-reactive, so once applied, it requires curing under a light-emitting diode (LED) lamp or ultraviolet (UV) lamp. gel nail products are only compatible with LED lamps and cure to a gorgeous, glossy finish in just a few minutes. The gel top coat is applied last, and then the nails are cleansed to remove any residue. The gel top coat protects nails while giving them the strength to take on your daily activities, without chipping, peeling or looking scratched.
How long do gel polish manicures last?
With the proper care, gel can last for two weeks—that’s up to 14 days of brilliant nail color and shine! Of course, the result will vary depending on how well you care for your nails. Exposing your gel nails to cleaning products without wearing gloves, or peeling gel nail polish when it starts to grow out will affect how long it can last.

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