These nail polishes are referred to as "soak off" nail gels because you must soak off the gel rather than simply removing it like traditional nail polish. Gel nail polish is supposed to be easy on the nail and last like forever!
You must have this done by a professional because it has to "cure" under a UV light after each coat. The procedure is the same in that the nail technician uses a base coat, 2 color coats, and a top coat but then each coat must cure before the next one is applied. Thus, it takes more time and is about twice in cost as a traditional manicure. The beauty lies in the results. Once you are done, you are dry. You leave the salon with absolutely no worries about chipping, banging, or smudging your nail color. Of course if you like to change your color frequently gel nail polish may not be for you! Also, some fear it may damage the nail if not properly removed.
There are so shortage of choice these day in terms of colors. OPI Axxium for example has over 40 shades. Shellac is also another popular brand.
So after reading all about Gel Nail Polish what is a girl to do who must, yes must, have a weekly manicure or she feels totally discheveled? Well, of course the answer is try it, duh! It was hard actually finding a salon near me that was using it but I lucked out one day and accidentally stumbled in one. I made the mistake of buying some on eBay, misunderstanding initially that you needed the UV dryer which of course I don't have.
So far I've tried it twice. I don't actually remember the brand name that my salon uses. The first time the color actually started peeling after about 9 days and I was not a happy camper! Plus, it easily peeled off my nails after I started messing with it. Ugh! I actually had to have nude nails for a day until I could make it to the salon. It really was traumatic!
But, I decided to try it one more time. I thought this could save me time in the long run so what the heck!
This time the color is actually lasting. No chips, no smudges, no nothing! It still shines like the day I got it done. Interestingly, after curing it with the UV light, my technician swipes the color with a bit of alcohol to allow it to dry. It is not completely dry after the curing. Once he applied the alcohol though it was dry.
So here's my opinion on gel nail polish:
- It's completely dry when you leave the salon. No worries about smudging or scraping.
- It really does last for at least two weeks and stays shiny and bright.
- Saves time - no fix ups in-between manicures and only a trip every two weeks.
- It is more expensive. A bottle can run at least 17 dollars, usually more. The manicure is more expensive too (but it equals out if you only go every other week).
- The nail still grows which means you will see the nail near the cuticle the second week.
- You will spend longer in the salon "curing."
Clearly, I have mixed feelings about the gel. I am a bit picky, okay, anal, so the re-growth is actually driving me nuts! While I don't like chips, the regrowth is driving me bonkers! Plus, I always bring my own regular nail color to the salon so I can fix any chips throughout the week. So for me, I think I may go back to regular color. Maybe if I am going to have a busy week or two I will get the gel, but for the most part I will stick to traditional nail colors. But, I haven't tried it for a pedicure yet, ha!
I would love to know if you've tried and what your thoughts are!
Have a beautiful week!