Gel Nails – All You Want to Know!!

Hola beauties!!!

You know, the other day, I was just thinking, that our hands do so much our work, and yet we care so little for them, in the area of care and beauty. Come on, our hands start working right from the morning, all your household work, running through the keys of your laptop, operating your cell phone, applying your skin care and makeup regimen, till your very last moment of the day, that you have spent awake.

Don’t you think that they deserve a little more than an occasional slap of nail paint, and regular nail cuts and files at home. I mean, to be honest, how many of us actually visit our parlours and salons especially for manicures? Guilty as charged!! I too am in this category.
So, this time, I thought of dedicating one post, to our hands, the nails specially, for people like me. I wanted to do this post for the very reason of introducing a way, in which you can transform your hands, from drab to fab.


What are Gel Nails?

Originally, gel nails were nail extensions that were made using a gel product, hardened by curing under an ultraviolet or L.E.D. Recently, the process is much easier however, in the form of gel nail paints, and of course the very popular, gel polish manicure.

Gel Nails are basically the traditional manicure, but but but, wait a minute, it is a manicure, with a twist to it. Also, please do not get it confused with acrylic nails, which were created using liquid monomer and polymer powder (Ewww!! Really. I mean, I bite my nails sometimes. Though the habit has reduced to a great extent now, but imagine, biting these things unintentionally!!! *shudders* *squirms* :( :(  )

Some More Info on the types of Gel Nails…

The gel version of nails are of two types: light cured and no-light gels. The former are hardened by placing your fingers under a UV light for approximately two minutes, where as the latter are cured by applying a special gel activator, that can either be brushed or sprayed onto your nails.

Before you start, yourself or at a salon, be sure to have clean nail beds. Clean and moisturize your nails from the beds to the tip, if you want to avoid the risk of any kind of fungal infection.

Apart from the above categorization, you also have to look into the removal aspect of gel nails, as those are also of two types, “soak offs” and “file offs”. They look alike in appearance, but differ in the removal process, and trust me, ladies, it does matter a lot, especially if you are going to do it at home. Also, if you are planning to do the removal thing at home, experts suggest the “soak off” method.

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At Home or At the Manicurist? Take your pick…

It is suggested that since you have to get it done once every two to three weeks, it is recommended that you get it done through a manicurist or at a salon. Still, if you want to do it yourself, buy gel nail paint, like Sally Hansen or OPI, and UV lights, that can be purchased from beauty supply stores online. Remember, no matter what the companies say, just applying the gel nail paints is never going to give you that gel finish that you want. It will just be like an ordinary nail paint, till you dry it under UV light for about five minutes.

My recommendation? Since the frequency is of two to three weeks, why give yourself a headache. Go to your nearest salon, spend some money, and get some pampering, which obviously working women of today definitely need. I agree that it is a tad expensive method, you may get the rates from your salon, but it is worth it, as it stays longer, and by the time you visit next, all your manicurist does is,fill in your nail beds and the small areas that have grown since your last visit, and files your nails. 

Tadaaaaa!! As good as new. :D

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How Is It Removed?

Again, I would recommend, if you want to do this, get it done at your manicurist. I believe that anything on your body, which requires an expert, should be done by him or her. Even if it is the easiest thing to do, chances are that you might overlook some minor details or the other and end up spoiling things. So, better visit your manicurist. This advice goes for all the procedures that might look tempting to do yourself but are better done at salon. Keep in mind ;)

If, even after reading the above “WARNING” paragraph :P , you still want to give it a shot yourself. You are first going to file through the clear coat surface of your nails until you’ve reached the gel. Then, you’re going to soak cotton balls in acetone, one for each finger, and place them on top of the nail. It’s best to do one hand at a time. Now, take your foil, wrap it around each finger, and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take your cuticle stick and gently scrape off the gel. It should come off easily, but in the event that it doesn’t, put the foil and cotton back on your finger, and let it soak a bit longer. Finally, use your buffer to clean off any excess residue.

To cut the long story short, you can do gel polish removal at home with at-home kits or by soaking cotton pads in an acetone remover, placing them on the nails and then wrapping them in foil for 20 minutes.

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Some Precautions:

Remember that your nails and nail beds should be very clean if you opt for gel nails. Otherwise there is a risk of fungal infection. Also, take care of your gel nails, as even a minor trauma like getting your finger caught in a door accidentally banging your hand against something, can bring out the entire nail, from the bed. Also, even if the nail doesn’t come off entirely, is still attached, it is enough for bacterial infections.

If you do notice that gel manicures are making your nails feel dry and rough, or you find that your nails are becoming weak and unhealthy, don’t get gel nails on a regular basis. Limit them to special occasions or trips and vacations, when you don’t have time for regular manicures or need manicures that are done quickly and will last for a longer length of time.

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Gel Nails & the Cancer Scare

Phew!! It sounds like one of Harry Potter books :P But unlike that, it is not a fictional concept. Gel manicures do contain certain chemicals that might make you prone to cancer; also exposure to UV lights does not do any good to your health either.

Solution? For the UV rays, all I can suggest is that apply a healthy dose of your sun block before going for the procedure. It will curb down the harmful effects to a reasonable extent. Also, since gel manicure can be done with either LED or UV, try to find a salon with LED, which is a lot less risky than UV.

Some nail paints might have cancer causing ingredients. This time, the culprit is butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), a known cancer-causing agent. The National Toxicology Program lists it as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Other chemicals to watch out for include the so-called “Toxic Trio”: dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. On a better note, this is the case with “some” nail paints, not all. Try to find nail paints with BHA label, and be a “jagrook” customer. :P

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On the ending note

If you ask me, this is my research work, and not personal experience. Even then, this much I have gathered that gel manicures are good, but not on a permanent basis. In between sessions, give your nails time to breathe. Also, my personal reco will be, that get these done for special occasions, or for those time when you just want to pamper yourself.

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