Before we dive into the discussion it is important to know what are gel nails. Gel polish is a liquid made of acrylic monomers and oligomers, which, when applied to the nail, should be put under UV light to bond together and form a hard, chemical-resistant coating. Gel polish is different from all the other regular nail polish since it needs UV or LED light to dry and form a hard layer. Gel nails can last two to three weeks on average after application.
However, according to some sources, your nail gel should not last for more than two weeks so that you do not risk exposing your nails to some health issues. Applying gel to your nails comes with risks, including breakage and discolouration. Even though your nails would look perfectly fine after two weeks, it is advisable to remove the gel not to cause damage to your natural nails.
The gel on your nails continues to cure and harden on exposure to direct sunlight or any UV rays which are all around the environment and hence the more difficult it will be to remove. It is also preferable that you go to your manicurist who has got experience and will gently remove the gel polish without damaging your nails. If a non-experienced individual does it, they can end up stripping your nails, causing damage.
You can also cause damage to your nails by applying gel polish back-to-back for a long period. After removing gel polish from your nails, it is advisable to give them time off at least a week or so without applying another gel.
There are various things you can do to make your gel polish last longer. These include:
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Using Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is used to condition your nails. Applying cuticle oil daily keeps your nails moisturized. You should apply it by brushing it on your cuticles and the skin around it. It should be followed by applying a moisturizing hand lotion for extra softness.
Wearing a Top Coat
Applying a top coat on your gel polish can prevent the gel polish from chipping off so fast. You can do this by applying a clear polish over your nails after about a week and drying it naturally. You can also use a gel top coat and dry it with UV light.
Another tip to prevent the gel polish from chipping off is passing the brush on the tips of your nails while applying the clear polish to seal the tips. You should get used to applying the topcoat after every few days, and your gel will last longer.
Keeping Your Nails Dry
It is advisable to keep your nails dry to lengthen the life span of your gel polish. Keeping them dry means avoiding putting your hands in water for too long. It is good to wear rubber gloves when washing clothes, dishes or cleaning the house.
When you keep your nails in water, they get wet and expand, and when they dry up, they contract. These changes will easily lead to the chipping off of the gel polish. So, it would be best if you keep your nails dry at all times. Hot water mainly can cause easy chipping, so you should avoid hot water by all means.
Being Gentle on Your Hands
When your gel polish is just from the application, you should be careful in whatever you do to avoid any chip. Even the smallest chip can grow to a bigger chip very fast. Many chips start from the edge of the nail, where it is very easy for the rest of the polish to come out.
You should avoid doing things that can damage your nails when you have new polish, like removing sticky substances using your nails.
Filing Your Nails Regularly
As seen above, a small chip can lead to a bigger one so fast. When you have gotten a chip on your nail, it is better filled with a nail file to make it smooth, which will prevent the gel polish from tearing further. After filing, add a clear coating by brushing it on the gel to cover the chip.
Avoid Applying Polish on the Cuticles
The polish on your skin will come off faster than the polish on your nails. This indicates that if your polish is applied up to the cuticles, it will come off fast, affecting the rest of the polish on the nail.
You should apply some oil on the cuticles to avoid this, which acts as a barrier between your cuticles and the nails. When you apply any polish on the cuticles, it is easier to wipe it off when you have applied oil.
How Long Do Gel Nails Last Compared to Acrylic Nails?
Acrylic nails are nail enhancements that involve the attachment of an artificial acrylic nail to the natural nail using a glue-like substance.
If applied correctly and taken proper care of, acrylic nails last longer compared to gel polish. They can last for three weeks and more. This is because acrylic nails are made of a liquid monomer and powder polymer, which, when combined, blend in well to form a very hard substance.
Acrylic nails tend to be firmer, whereas gel nails have a more natural look and a smooth reflective surface.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Gel Nails
Advantages of gel nails
1. They have a more natural appearance
Gel nails appear and feel very natural compared to other artificial nails such as acrylics. This is because the gel polish is applied in thin layers, allowing each layer to cure under UV light, which makes the gel able to bend on the nail, giving flexibility to the nail. Acrylics, on the other hand, are known to be quite stiff.
2. They dry very quickly
Gel nails are dried under UV light which takes about a minute or two to perform its magic. Regular acrylic polish takes a long time to dry, taking about one hour to dry the nails fully.
When the acrylic nails are drying, you should remain calm until it dries up. You should not engage in any task performed by the hands since this will expose the nails to the risk of getting chips.
3. They are long-lasting
Gel nails last for long compared to regular nail polish. If taken good care of, gel nails can last for up to four weeks.
4. They protect your natural nails
When gel polish is applied to weak nails, it hardens and protects them, preventing them from breaking easily.
Disadvantages of gel nails
1. They are costly
Unlike other nail polishes, gel polish is expensive. Well, usually the more advantages something has, the more expensive it is.
2. Removal procedure can be harmful
Removal of gel polish is rough. It involves soaking nails in pure acetone, which might end up drying them out. Whatever remains after soaking the nails is supposed to be filed off using a nail file which, again, puts the nails at risk of making them thin.
3. They can irritate your natural nails
Your nails might get irritated since they get buffed to remove the natural shine. If you apply gels several times in a row, your nails will end up getting thinner. This will also expose them to breaking easily.
How long do gel nails last? Gel nails last for about two to three weeks and up to four weeks when taken good care of. But specialists advise you not to keep gel polish on nails for more than two weeks to avoid risking your nails to some health issues and discolouring your nails.