After years and years of hitting the salon to get your nails done, and that dreaded feeling of anguish when your polish starts to chip, can tempt any beauty-loving girl into opting for a gel manicure. Definitely not as high-maintenance as acrylic nails, a gel manicure allows you to enjoy bright, glossy, chip-free nails for anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, not really. This beauty phenomenon comes with its share of health hazards. We give you a few things every girl should know before getting a gel manicure that may make you rethink things.
1. What IS a Gel Manicure?
A gel manicure is when the manicurist binds synthetic nails to natural ones using a gel. Most places simply use gel polish that hardens under UV light and stays fresh and unchipped for a couple of weeks.
2. Your Nails Need To Breath
It’s important to go natural and let your nails be free from colour every 2 weeks. The thick coating of polish blocks oxygen from your nails. Also, having nail paint on too often can lead to yellowing. If you’re one of those ones who feel incomplete without their fave shade, you may want to keep this in mind.
3. A Gel Manicure Lasts Longer Than Regular Polish
Obviously, the fact that you don’t need to worry about chipping, or having to redo your nails for a few weeks is its biggest plus point. Having a gorgeous mani that looks fresh for that long can be pretty tempting, we got to admit.
4. Harmful UV Lights
Part of the process of a gel manicure involves sticking your hands in a box that shines UV lights on your fingers to set the gel. This UV-light usage has caused a lot of speculation, thanks to associated health and cancer risks. There is no verdict out on the matter as yet, but the thought of it is enough to scare us into reconsidering our manicure preferences. Plus, even if we don’t know for sure about cancer, constant exposure to those lights can definitely cause dark spots on your hands and premature aging. One thing’s for sure, you cannot go in for one of these procedures without applying a high SPF sunscreen that is water resistant on your hands and fingers.
5. Once It Starts Peeling...
If you’ve ever gotten a gel mani before then you would know that the thick polish begins to peel after a few weeks which can tempt you into ripping it off. Picking and peeling at it can lead to dryness and brittleness and can also take off a few layers of your nail with it. All that thinning and weakening will definitely lead to more breakage, which means you can say goodbye to those pretty long nails.
6. Dry Cuticles
Wearing the gel for an extended period of time can cause damage and dryness to your cuticles. If the thought of a long-lasting mani sounds too good to resist and you do go in for those gel nails then make it a point to rub a good cuticle oil onto your nails everyday to counteract those effects. We like The Body Shop Almond Nail and Cuticle Oil (Price: INR 795).
7. The Horrible Removal Process
Those gel nails may look fabulous, but getting them off is a whole new story all-together, necessitating another visit to the salon (please don’t even try and peel them off at home). The process involves wrapping each finger tip in foil soaked in acetone for at least 10 minutes, which is pretty toxic and will dehydrate your nails as well as your skin. This is followed by even more nail trauma where each nail is then scraped to get rid of the gel. But you can even remove Acrylic nails at home as well. We don’t need to tell you that the conditions of your poor nails can be pretty scary afterwards. Yikes!
8. Things To Keep In Mind
Gel manicures look fab, but those weakened nail beds are a huge downside. It’s best to save this mani for special occasions and vacations only.
It’s essential to moisturize your hands and fingers like your life depends on it when you’ve got your gel polish on. And don’t forget that cuticle oil.
Definitely don’t get back-to-back gel manis. Give your nails a break to repair for a few weeks if you’re considering getting it done again.