Replacing an absolutely good manicure is one of life's most annoying frustrations. As I constantly open packages and write stories, wearing gel nail polish has been a salvation when it comes to preserving my mani. While I love the flexibility that a normal manicure offers, Gel Polish is so much more durable – so I tend to stretch every manicure as long as possible.
"With gel polish, your manicure may take two to three weeks, but with regular polish, you'll be lucky if it lasts for five to seven days without chipping," says Kristin Pulaski, owner of Paintbucket Nails in Brooklyn, New York, opposite SELF. According to Pulaski, in addition to staying power, the gel has another great advantage because it provides a harder layer of protection over the natural nail that can lead to increased nail growth.
Unfortunately, these durability and protection can be rough on your nails, making them weaker and prone to splitting. No one wants that, so there are a few things you should keep in mind to maintain the health of your nails when you receive gels. We asked Pulaski, Celebrity Manicurist Skyy Hadley and Christy Harpring, co-owner of Sea Salt and Candy Bar in Savannah, Georgia, to Polish us on Gel . errors to avoid.
. 1 Back-to-back-gel manicure.
Since removing and applying gel nail polish can cause a lot of nails, you should clean out your manicure. "If gel nails are obtained every two weeks, the nail plate will be stifled," explains Hadley. This can lead to dehydration of the nails and ultimately to breakage. Make sure your nails do not have time between gels. "It's important that a professional nail technician assess your nail health between applications to determine if your nails can use a sabbatical for polishes," explains Harpring.
. 2 They leave the gel polish too long.
Since gel nail polish can be worn over weeks without a tiny chip, it is tempting to extend the life of your manicure. However, Hadley suggests removing a gel manicure after a maximum of two to three weeks to avoid damaging the nail beds and cuticles. Harpring agrees, adding that excessive gel manicures not only result in weakened nails, but can also introduce potentially harmful bacteria. "It's important to know that the gel only starts to lift, allowing moisture to get under the gel and possibly lead to bacterial growth," explains Harrington.
. 3 They remove an old gel manicure without professional help.
If a gel manicure is on her last leg, you may be tempted to remove yourself but experts advise against it. "The safest way to remove gel polish is from a specialist," says Harrington.
If you absolutely can not get it into the salon for removal, it recommends that you first file the polish slightly to remove the shine. This allows the acetone to penetrate and dissolve the gel more easily. Then soak cotton balls in acetone (a chemical commonly used to remove gel nail polish), apply a cotton ball to each nail, and wrap it in aluminum foil. Let the wrap work for 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully squeeze the gel from the nail plates with a wooden cuticle pusher. Finally, slightly polish the surface of the nail with a polishing tool and apply oil to the nails and cuticles to hydrate the water.
. 4 They do not use cuticle oil.
According to Hadley, you can access nail damage because of its flexibility: normal nails are a bit flexible, but the harder and stiffer the nail, the more likely it is to break. Since the cold weather tends to make the skin drier the proper hydration of the skin can make a big difference. In addition, acetone can dry very much in the nail bed, causing the nails to break or become brittle over time.
To prevent nails dryness, experts recommend keeping the cuticle oil within reach (no pun intended). "I swear by cuticle oil and personally love NCLAs ," says Pulaski to SELF. "I used to think that cuticle oil is not really necessary, but I used it about two years ago and I always carry it with me now, especially in the colder months!" Add a few drops of oil to your nails and cuticles The salon visits stay hydrated.
Making my nails look good with or without polish is definitely a priority. I probably will not give up the nail polish, but I'll definitely think twice before trying to stretch my manicure for more than two weeks.