What Are Gel Nails? A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding This Popular Nail Trend

By I Want Those Nails!

July 30, 2023

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If you’re someone who loves to keep up with the latest beauty trends, you’ve probably heard of gel nails. Gel nails are a type of artificial nails that are created by applying a special gel polish to your natural nails. This polish is then cured under a UV light, which hardens the gel and creates a long-lasting, durable finish.

One of the main benefits of gel nails is their longevity. Unlike traditional nail polish, which can chip and fade within a few days, gel nails can last up to two weeks or more without showing any signs of wear and tear. This makes them a popular choice for people who want to maintain a flawless manicure for an extended period of time without having to constantly touch up their nails. Additionally, gel nails are available in a wide range of colors and designs, so you can choose a style that matches your personality and preferences.

 

Understanding Gel Nails

Definition of Gel Nails

Gel nails are a type of artificial nail extension that is cured under a UV light. The gel is applied to the natural nail and then cured, creating a hard and durable layer that can last up to two weeks or more. Gel nails are a popular alternative to traditional acrylic nails because they are less damaging to the natural nail and have a more natural appearance.

Gel nails come in a variety of colors and finishes, from glossy to matte, and can be customized to suit your personal style. They can also be used to add length to your natural nails, or to strengthen and protect them.

What are Gel Nails?
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History of Gel Nails

The first gel nail product was introduced in the 1980s by a dentist named Dr. Stuart Nordstrom. He developed a gel that could be used to create dental molds, and soon realized that it could also be used to create artificial nails.

Over the years, gel nail technology has improved, and today’s gel nails are much safer and more durable than their early counterparts. They are also more versatile, with a wide range of colors and finishes available.

In recent years, gel nail polish has become increasingly popular, as it can be applied at home and does not require a UV light to cure. However, gel nail extensions remain a popular choice for those who want long-lasting, durable nails that look and feel natural.

 

Types of Gel Nails

Hard Gel Nails

Hard gel nails are made from a polymer resin. This type of gel is thicker than soft gel and is used to build up the nail. Hard gel nails are ideal for those who want to add length to their nails. They are also perfect for those who have thin or weak nails. Hard gel nails are cured under a UV lamp and can last up to three weeks.

Soft Gel Nails

Soft gel nails are made from a more flexible polymer resin. This type of gel is thinner than hard gel and is used to add strength and durability to the natural nail. Soft gel nails are ideal for those who want to maintain the length of their nails. They are also perfect for those who have strong nails but want to protect them from breaking. Soft gel nails are cured under a UV lamp and can last up to two – three weeks.

Shellac Nails

Shellac and gel nails are both popular options for long-lasting manicures, but they differ in their composition and application process. Shellac is a brand name for a type of hybrid nail polish that combines the durability of gel nails with the ease of application of regular nail polish. It is cured under a UV lamp and typically lasts around two weeks.

When it comes to choosing between hard gel nails and soft gel nails, it’s important to consider your lifestyle and the condition of your nails. If you want to add length to your nails, hard gel nails may be the better option. If you want to protect your natural nails while maintaining their length, soft gel nails may be the better option.

What are Gel Nails?
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Advantages of Gel Nails

Durability

Gel nails are known for their durability. They are stronger than regular nail polish and can last up to three weeks without chipping or peeling. This is because the gel polish is cured under a UV light, making it harder and more resistant to wear and tear. You won’t have to worry about constantly touching up your nails or dealing with unsightly chips.

Appearance

Gel nails have a glossy finish that looks great for weeks. They come in a variety of colors and can be customized with nail art or glitter. The gel polish also maintains its shine and color for a long time, unlike regular nail polish that can fade or dull after a few days. Gel nails give you a polished and put-together look that lasts.

Safety

Gel nails are generally safe to use. The UV light used to cure the polish is not harmful to your skin in small doses. However, it is important to use a reputable salon and ensure that the technician is properly trained in gel nail application. If the gel polish is not applied correctly, it can cause damage to your nails or skin. It is also important to properly remove the gel polish to avoid any damage to your natural nails.

In summary, gel nails have many advantages over regular nail polish. They are durable, long-lasting, and give you a polished appearance. As long as you use a reputable salon and technician, and properly remove the gel polish, gel nails are a safe and stylish option for your nails.

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Disadvantages of Gel Nails

Removal Process

Removing gel nails can be a tedious and time-consuming process. You cannot simply peel them off like regular nail polish. Instead, you need to soak your nails in acetone for at least 10-15 minutes, and then scrape off the softened gel with a nail file. This process can weaken your nails and cause damage if not done correctly.

Maintenance

Gel nails require regular maintenance to keep them looking good. You need to get them filled every two to three weeks, which can be costly and time-consuming. If you don’t maintain them properly, the gel can lift off your nails and cause them to look uneven and unattractive.

Potential Damage

Gel nails can potentially cause damage to your natural nails. The application process involves roughing up the surface of your nails with a file, which can weaken them. Additionally, if the gel is not applied correctly, it can trap moisture and bacteria, leading to infections or other nail problems.

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In conclusion, gel nails are a popular and long-lasting nail enhancement option. They are made from a gel-like substance that is applied to the natural nail and cured under a UV or LED lamp. Gel nails are ideal for those who want to have beautiful and durable nails that don’t chip easily.

One of the main advantages of gel nails is their long-lasting nature. They can last up to three weeks without chipping or peeling, making them perfect for those who don’t have the time or desire to touch up their nails frequently. Gel nails also come in a wide range of colors and designs, allowing you to express your unique style.

However, it’s important to note that gel nails can be damaging to the natural nail if not applied or removed properly. It’s essential to have a professional nail technician apply and remove the gel nails to avoid any damage to your natural nails.

Overall, gel nails are a great option for those looking for a long-lasting and beautiful nail enhancement. With proper application and removal, gel nails can be a safe and effective way to achieve the perfect manicure.

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