Gel manicures are a girl’s answer to amazing nails in no time; they require less drying time, have zero probability of smudging, last for a longer time and present an enduring glossy finish. When applied and cared for correctly, these glossy lacquers aren't harmful to your nails at all. However, there is a downside, seemingly simple things can cause your gels and natural nails to prematurely crack and peel. Read on to discover the mistakes made with gel manicures.
Peeling off your gel manicure: To remove a gel manicure yourself, you can opt for an at-home removal system, or create your own with a 100 percent acetone solution. But whatever you do, do not pick and peel. Gels aren’t what ruin your nails, it is the removal process, so make sure you take the time to do it the right way.
To do so, use a gritty emery board to buff the surface of your gel manicure until you have dulled down its shine, then secure a acetone-soaked cotton ball atop each nail. Tightly wrap a square of tinfoil around each fingertip so no air can get in (which would let the acetone evaporate), and wait at least 10 minutes for the nail polish remover to work.
This could take a little trial and error — depending on the strength of the gel, you may need to wait up to 40 minutes for the gel to flake off. But if the lacquer looks like it is ready to lift away from your nails, use an orange stick to gently scrape it away from your nail's surface. Once you have completed these steps on every finger, nourish your dehydrated nails with cuticle oil.
It is essential that you are gentle as you remove your gel polish: your nails are likely quite soft from this process. You absolutely should not have to force the gel off with that orange stick; it should just come off with a very slight push. If you attempt to roughly slough off the lacquer, you will remove the top layers of your nails along with it, making them even weaker.
Avoiding cuticle oil: Dabbing on cuticle oil regularly will actually help prolong the time between appointments. Nails are like a sponge, if they get dried out too quickly, it can cause the nail to pull away from the gel. Instead, keep nails hydrated with cuticle oil and you will prevent this from happening.
Picking at the edges: Picking and fussing with the lifted area will not only ruin your manicure but likely remove the top layer of your nail. Instead you should either get it professionally fixed, or figure out how to redo your paint job more carefully.
Improper nail prep: You may try to swap out special nail prep formulas (as in the ones specifically made for the brand of gel polish you are using) with a cheaper, less expensive nail cleanser like pure acetone. Don’t do this. Improper nail prep results in problems with how the gel cures to the nail. Every system comes with its own prep product that cleanses the nail's surface of oils, dirt, and dust.
Mixing and matching nail systems: Every gel nail system is designed differently. Each one features its own prep products, basecoats, topcoats, and color. These are all specifically engineered to work together to deliver the strongest and shiniest gel manicure possible. Mixing products from one system or another can mess with the results, making removal particularly challenging.