A gel manicure requires the utilization of both a special nail polish gel and an ultraviolet (UV) lamp. During the application process, the thin gel polishes—offered in a slew of colors—are brushed on top of natural nails. After each coat, nails are “cured,” or set, under UV light for approximately three minutes. About one hour later, the individual is left with shiny, healthy, natural-looking nails. The gel nail polish will last about two to three weeks, with no need for maintenance—and no chipping or scratching. Once a gel manicure has started to wear, it can easily be removed with pure acetone nail polish remover. Fortunately, your natural nails will look no worse for the wear.
A gel manicure differs from a traditional one in many ways. For starters, gel polish requires setting under a UV light after each coat, in order to properly harden. Also, the gel manicure will take an hour to complete, while most traditional manicures can be done in a quarter of that time. Gel manicures tend to be a bit pricier; in NYC, one application can cost as much as $60. Of course, the upside to the higher cost is that once the gel manicure is complete there is no dry time at all, and you are literally ready to use your hands as soon as you step out of the salon. The gel manicure also won’t chip like a traditional manicure, and can last up to three weeks on most women.
Ultimately, the benefits of a gel manicure are increased longevity and no dry time. The drawbacks are in the price, the limited range of gel polish colors, and the hour-long application process. All in all, it comes down to what is most important to you in a manicure. For those seeking lasting results from their manicures, gel may be the way to go.
-Adina Zilberman, Guest Beauty Blogger
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