What are gel nails?
Gel is a special mixture that is applied either on top of an artificial nail extension, or directly onto the natural nail bed to strengthen the nail and promote natural growth. The gel is usually applied in very fine layers, with the nail technician ‘curing’ or ‘sealing’ the gel with a UV light between each layer so that the finished result is hard but still flexible with a natural looking glossy finish which is both instantly dry and chip resistant.
Whilst gel can be applied on top of an artificial extension to add length, they are particularly good for individuals who have very short, weak or bitten nails because they allow the nail to strengthen and grow below the layer of gel.
Pros of gel nails
- Gel does not cause damage to the natural nail and can be used to strengthen, protect and promote growth in the natural nail.
- Gel is odourless unlike some acrylic or liquid powder nail systems. Gel is also more flexible.
- Gel is considered to be a safer and more environmentally friendly option to acrylics.
Cons of gel nails
- Some individuals may find that their gel nails are less durable than acrylics and therefore do not last as long.
- Most gel nail variations must be cured using a UV light meaning that they are difficult to fix at home.
- Some gel nails will need to be filed off as opposed to being soaked off, which can be time consuming.
Gel nails removal
Gel nails should always be removed by a nail technician (preferably who applied your gels in the first place), and under no circumstances should you attempt to remove your gels at home. There are various different gel systems in use today, some of which need to be buffed off and others that must be soaked off.
As a client, you can’t be sure what gel removal system is appropriate for your nails and what will leave them in good condition – which is why this step should be left to the professional.
After around 2-3 weeks you may need to return to your technician or salon for a ‘maintenance’ appointment or ‘infills’.
The infill process will generally involve your technician filing out the re-growth area flush to the nail so that product (the relevant gel or acrylic system) can be reapplied, filed, buffed, coated and oiled so that the nails look as good as new once again.
Please note, if you have had gel nails applied, bear in mind that some systems are not suitable for infills and will have to be removed completely and reapplied.
What is the difference between nail overlays and nail extensions?
Whilst nail extensions involve applying an artificial tip to the end of the nail to add length, nail overlays involve the application of the acrylic, gel or the desired system directly to the natural nail.
Overlays can also be applied to toenails.
What are the benefits of nail overlays?
Overlays will provide an extra layer of protection that may make the nails less prone to breakages and splits. Overlays are particularly good for either individuals who have trouble growing out their natural nails, or for nail biters who have short and brittle nails as a result of their habit.
Types of nail overlays
Nail overlays are available in all of the same systems as extensions. Gel, acrylic, fibreglass or silk etc. The only difference is the artificial tip to add length will not be applied.
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