Gel nails are gorgeous, efficient, and long lasting – as long as you go about maintaining your gel nails correctly. If you've never had them, gel nails are technically artificial, because several coats of a special polish are used to seal your nails. The layers cover your natural nails, but they can still grow. The polish gets sealed by UV, and depending on the type of gel nails you get, the polish will need to be soaked off or removed by filing. They last much longer than traditional manicures, and can stay in good condition for up to 12 days – or longer, depending on several factors. They're arguably better for your nails than acrylics. Some people disagree with the entire idea of gel nails, which is cool. If you love them or think you might want to try them, these tips for maintaining your gel nails can help you keep your manicure looking gorgeous for quite a while.
1. Trim First
Maintaining your gel nails will be much easier if you go in with shorter nails. This gives them room to grow beneath the gel coating, and there's a smaller chance of breakage. Not everyone will want to do that, of course, and that's fine – long nails are lovely, so you may want to get this done when yours are long and beautifully shaped. Just be aware that maintaining your manicure will be slightly more difficult.
2. Find Your Own Polish
This is a given if you decide to use an at-home kit, of course, but even if you get your nails done at the salon, think about bringing your own gel polish. Your salon has lots of stunning colors, certainly, but having more control has several benefits. If you like a particular brand that your salon doesn't carry, you're set, and it will help with at-home maintenance to decrease salon visits – as you will see.
3. Go Light
One reason you might want to think about getting your own polish is because lighter is better. However, your salon likely has plenty of lighter shades as well. Why do you want a light polish? Light colors don't show chips, cracks, and imperfections as easily, which means that even if something goes wrong, no one will automatically notice it.
4. Get Filled
Whether you do your gel nails yourself or get them done at the salon, you will want to get your nails filled when growth becomes noticeable. The better you fill in your nails, the longer your entire manicure will last. You won't have to get the gels removed and replaced as frequently, which is definitely economical, especially if you really like your current polish.
5. Clean and Condition Your Nails
You really, really need to keep your nails clean and conditioned when you have a gel manicure. You don't want to deal with any trapped grit, dirt, or debris, because in addition to being unsightly, that's also unhealthy. Conditioning will keep your cuticles and nail beds in good condition, as well, so your natural nails won't be at risk even when you get the gel removed. Again, you can do this at home, but you should really consider getting it done at the salon, at least every so often.
6. Top It off
One thing you can do at home no matter what, is add a top coat to your nails. Some polish aficionados do it every two days, while others manage well doing it once or twice a week. It all depends on what you like – and what you do, because if you frequently work with your hands, you'll probably want to do it more often. Sealing your nails with a top coat can reduce the risk of cracks or chips.
7. Never, Ever Pick
Sometimes those chips happen, however. Once they start, do not pick your nails! Obviously picking is no way to maintain your manicure, but that's not the reason you want to avoid it. You can really damage your natural nail if you start ripping off all those layers of gel. Instead, remove the manicure. Do it at home, do it at the salon, but do it properly. That's why you need to find out first if your polish should be soaked off or filed off.
Again, if you don't agree with gel nails, no problem – there are so many other options! I adore mine but get them infrequently, simply because I'm a polish junkie and enjoy frequent changes. When I do get them, however, I can go up to three weeks without any flaking or peeling, which is awesome. Have you ever had a gel manicure? What did you think of it?