Gel Nail Polish Tips For Beginners

Nail Art Tips For A Long-Lasting Manicure.

As the spring season kicks in, we find ourselves spending more time outdoors enjoying the warmer weather, which leaves us with less time for our manicures and pedicures. Since we want our nails to be as spring beautiful as our outfits, we had to find an effective way to reduce chipping and ensure our nail polish lasts longer.

Maybe you’ve heard friends, coworkers or family raving about their gel nail polish manicure? Or perhaps you’ve heard your favorite celebrities raving about it? Either way, if you’re tired of having to frequently apply your standard nail polish then it's time to give gel nail polish a try.

Not sure where to start? Or if you should apply a base coat? Is a top coat necessary? How long can you expect your gel nail polish manicure to last? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Read on for ten tips to keep your gel nail polish manicure looking fabulous!

1. Yes, a Base and Top Coat Are Still Necessary

Yes, like your usual nail polish routine, when it comes to using gel polish, still apply that base and top coat. (You’ll probably want to get gel-based base and top polishes.) However, after applying each coat, place your hands under a UV light for about 30 seconds so the polish dries nearly instantly.

2. Wear Sunscreen

As mentioned, with gel manicures, your hands are briefly under a UV light in between coats. As you can probably guess, this means your hands are exposed to UV light. Which is all the more reason to apply waterproof sunscreen to your hands about 20-30 minutes before getting your gel manicure. That way, your hands will be protected and the sunscreen won’t wash away should you soak your hands before applying the polish.

3. Go Easy on the Filing and Buffing

Gel manicure or not, you may want to take it easy on the filing and buffing. As Huffington Post states, while they even nails and nails beds out, they can weaken them, which can make your nails more prone to infection. 

4. Do NOT Pick

According to Bustle, the good news is, gel nail polish tends to last longer than your normal nail polish. The bad news, picking your gel polish will make it a lot harder to get the polish off when it does start to chip and flake and you’d like to have it off. Put simply, don’t pick. Yes, it’s tempting, we know. Just don’t do it.

5. Wear Gloves to Prevent Chipping and Flaking

Like with your standard nail polish, wear gloves when doing hands-on activities like washing dishes, gardening, or changing your oil. Gloves give your hands and nails that extra protective layer that prevents chipping and flaking.

6. Taking Your Gel Nail Polish Off

To take your gel nail polish off, according to Fox, wrap your nails in cotton balls soaked in acetone. Fox goes on to state that you don’t want to soak your entire nails in a cup of acetone, as acetone is known for drying your nail beds.

7. Pamper Your Nails

Yes, as we’ve mentioned, acetone is a bit drying for your nails. Which means your nails deserve some TLC after taking off your gel nail polish. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize your hands afterwards.

8. Refrain from Cutting Your Cuticles

This goes for manicures in general. You don’t want to cut your cuticles because it makes your hands more prone to getting an infection. Save the cutting to your nails only.

9. Read the Ingredients

Not all gel nail polishes are made the same. Some do have irritating or even cancer-causing chemicals. According to Huffington Post, two such chemicals you need to be on the lookout for are methyl acrylate and butylated hydroxyanisol.

Refrain from Using Polishes That Have Methyl Acrylate Methyl acrylate, as Huffington Post goes on to state, is an irritant, which can cause a rash to your skin. This rash could spread to other areas of your body—like your hands or face—if you touch your face while having the rash on your hands. While getting such a rash isn’t a cause for concern, it definitely is a bit annoying, if not uncomfortable.

Here’s Why You Should Stay Away From Polishes with Butylated Hydroxyanisol. Butylated hyroxyanisol, on the other hand, is a chemical that is known to cause cancer. As Huffington Post states, we don’t know how much exposure to this chemical you need, but it’s best to play it safe and stay away from nail polishes—gel-based or the standard—that contain it.

10. Give Your Nails a Much Needed Break

While your nails are dead and, unlike what some may say, don’t need to breathe, it’s best to give them a break before getting your next manicure. The UV light and acetone can be a bit harsh to subject your nails in a short amount of time. For this reason, let your nails go au natural for some time before indulging in a gel manicure again.

Bonus Tip: Enjoy the Benefits

Overall, getting a gel nail polish manicure should be a treat, it’s the perfect time to wind down, relax and you should enjoy having this time to pamper yourself. You can wear gel manicure at a special occasion, when going on vacation and in day-to-day life. And since gel nail polish lasts longer than your regular manicure, you can wash your hands frequently, clean up and run errands without worrying about flaking or peeling.

(If you’re wondering where to get gel polish, you can find it at your local drug store, or online at nail polish e-commerce stores like Pink Gellac.)

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Get more tips and inspiration for your next manicure in our nail art and nail design articles.

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