You might feel exposed without your fave chip-resistant gel set, but most manicure enthusiasts don’t realize the risks associated with their once-a-month service. There are natural nail alternatives that will replace your gel manicure, and protect you from harmful UVA exposure.
Here’s the thing… gel sets only harden with UV light. Every time you pop your hands under the LEDs, there is concentrated UVA exposure. Add that to the extra UV radiation on your hands as you run errands, enjoy a trip to the pool, or relax on the back porch and you have a recipe for photoaging and skin cancer.
Skipping the gel sets once in a while gives your nail plates a chance to heal from the nail drill plus it reduces your health risks from UVA exposure. A real win-win. Dermatologists recommend going au naturel periodically with a summer-ready nail care routine that includes SPF. In this post, you’ll find the best tips for keeping up your natural manicure at home and how to book services that promote nail health this side of the summer solstice.
Table of Contents
Make a Clean Break
Serial gel manicures mean that your nail plates undergo constant trauma and lots of unnecessary ultraviolet light exposure. Without any breaks, your nails become brittle and can be prone to long-lasting damage. Imagine going for a manicure and every time, your nails are soaked in acetone, ground down, and shellacked. Then to top it off, baked in a miniature tanning bed for 30-90 seconds. Nails are resilient, but they all need a break now and then.
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Gel sets, famous for their long-lasting finish, are actually one of the worst offenders on the manicure menu. Bare nails or even natural manicures with no UV light treatment offer the perfect alternative to gel sets. Some of our favorite benefits of natural manicures include:
- Giving your nails the break they need
- Being the most versatile accessory to any flirty maxi or romper ensemble
- It’s super cost-effective and low-maintenance
Gel Set Alternative Service Options
It’s time to explore some other options on the services menu. When booking your appointment on the Booksy app, use the Add Note feature to communicate any specific goals around reducing your UV exposure or restoring your nail plate health. You will find the most gentle options under a “Natural Manicure” or “Classic Manicure” listing. Here’s the scoop:
The Classic Manicure. This service is fast and is highly satisfying. Apart from the nail and cuticle grooming, a color polish is included. Instead of a solid color, you can try a veil for a sheer, more romantic look.
The American Manicure. Similar to the super popular French manicure, the American has one main difference. Instead of bright white tips, the free edge is a natural off-white. The overall look is fresh, naked, and classic.
Not ready to quit gel sets? Be safer during your next appointment by requesting the technician apply SPF instead of other lotions during your hand massage. This is the layer of protection you need if you’re going under the LED lights. You can find amazing nail inspo here.
Before you tap ‘confirm’ in your Booksy app, don’t forget to add a note for your technician. You can confirm they will not use a gel/UV light set polish, break out the SPF, or anything else that’s important to pass along so they can prepare for your appointment.
Tools and Treatments
Removing gels and shellacs is best done by professionals, but if you’re attempting it at home, check out this article. Once you have clean, gel-free nails, maintenance is easy. It requires very little time and a curated selection of tools and treatments. At home, a daily nail treatment takes less than 5 minutes and fits into any morning routine. Remember, hydrate first, groom second.
- Cuticle oil: a gentle oil that softens and hydrates your cuticles and nail beds
- Petroleum jelly: a holy grail beauty product to use after hydration and acts as a moisture barrier
- Handcream with SPF: apply in the morning and work product all over your hands, including the nails
- Cuticle scissors: snip away excess tissue after hydration with expert precision
- 4-way nail buffer/file: this nail care workhorse performs four functions. It files, removes ridges, smooths the nail plate, and adds shine
Be sure to lean on your nail technician for a professional, customized walkthrough so you can nail your at-home regimen (no pun intended), make your manicure last, and promote overall nail health. You don’t even have to wait for your next in-person service with Virtual Appointments. All your questions answered, summer-ready products and tools shortlisted just for you.
Slaying your natural nail, hot girl summer is just a tap away.