Gel Nail Polish – What’s the big deal?

Having a manicure and pedicure is one of those little treats that I really miss when I’m broke.  As soon as I have a little money to spend on myself I head out to have my feet scraped and my cuticles trimmed by a professional. (Unlike many of my friends, my own manicures are a joke.  I can apply liquid eye liner with a steady hand and paint fashion illustrations, but painting my own nails is nearly impossible.  I don’t know why.)

The last last time I went to the nail salon the lady at the front desk asked me if I’d like to have the “gel” manicure.  “What’s a gel manicure?” I replied. She then explained that the gel polish didn’t chip and could last anywhere from two to three weeks. I’m pretty hard on my hands. As a result normal nail polish usually chips in two days. If I really work at it and apply top coat and touch up bad spots I can keep a regular manicure going for about four days, but that’s it. So I decided to try out this exciting new polish.

Gel Nail Polish

Gel nail polish is officially called “Axxium soak-off gel lacquer” and it’s made by OPI.  The colors all have the usual fun OPI names.  The color below is called “Strawberry Margarita”. The photo was taken about one week after the gel was applied:


Yes, IT’S ALMOST PERFECT AFTER A WEEK and it looked great for another two weeks. I was amazed. The problem is when it does start to peel the color won’t come off unless you soak your hands in nail polish remover for at least 15 minutes. I’m don’t like the smell of nail polish remover anyway, and the thought of SOAKING my hands in the stuff really makes me unhappy.

Here’s the manicure at 4 weeks of age:

Amazingly IT STILL HASN’T CHIPPED!  Instead, it peeled from the cuticle up. Also, my nails had not torn, broken, peeled or snagged. The polish protected them from all harm.  They were LONG.  I’m one of those people who’s nails are always breaking. My new 1/8 inch long nails seem almost miraculous.

Back I went to the salon to have it removed and reapplied.  In the end I think the benefits of having my nails looking great for three weeks outweigh the problem of removing the stuff.  Because a gel nail polish is applied differently than regular polish I thought you might want to see the process, so I photographed it.

First the old polish is soaked in a special solution (that I believe is sold on Amazon) and then scraped off.  (I forgot to get a photo, but after just a couple of minutes the old polish goes white and peels up.) Your cuticles are then trimmed and nails filed as usual. Because my nails have ridges they’re usually sanded down a bit. Mittens are pulled over your hands, (more on that later) and your nails are prepped with a special adhesive.

Next a base coat is applied.  Between each layer you stick your hands in these ultraviolet cookers.  You wear the mittens to keep the rays off your hands.  This is probably the creepiest aspect of the whole process.

The polish has to be carefully mixed because it tends to separate. The second time around I chose a pale pearly sheer taupe called “Cosmo, not now honey” so the eventual peeling wouldn’t look so obvious.

The polish and top coat is applied as it would be normally.  Your hands are massaged afterwards as the polish dries completely in the ray soaking devices.  Here’s my new manicure, a few days after application.  That was last week, and they still look great!

I’m not the only one of my friends who’s thoughts have turned to manicures and nail polish recently.  If you haven’t seen it yet check out Beautifully Invisible’s “History of Nail Lacquer” and Grit and Glamour’s “Nail Polish: Faves, Tips and Tricks”.

What do you think of this? Have you or would you try “Axxium” soak-off gel lacquer?

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113 Responses to Gel Nail Polish – What’s the big deal?

  1. Beautifully Invisible June 6, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    That is AMAZING. I can’t believe the tips still looked so perfect after 4 weeks of wear.

    This is definitely something to look into for anyone who doesn’t mind wearing the same color for an extended period. I have a tendency to change mine more often than that, but this would be perfect for vacations and other times when I needed to be chip-proof!

    The glove part does make me a bit leary – if they need to protect that part of my hand, what about my fingers?!
    Beautifully Invisible recently posted..The Deal of the Century- Gucci Leather Cage Ankle BootsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      I can’t manage to change my nail polish unless I go to the salon – it just seems like there isn’t enough time in my day! The salon is a treat, so I make time for it once a week or so, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to take care of my own manicures. Sometimes I can throw some polish on my toes, but only if they can dry as I run errands!

  2. Elicia June 6, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Its totally addictive and is not dissimular really to having acrylic or fibre glass wraps on yr nails but a simpler more friendly process if your nails are basically strong to start with..looks fab and makes your hands feel amazing..been doing it for 19 yrs..just wait till you have a break from it, then you hide yr hands away…Lolyr nails look gorgeous and its totally worth the pampering every 3 weeks

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      I didn’t know this stuff has been available for 19 years! It’s only been at my salon for about a year.

  3. Alexis of NorthOnHarper June 6, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Funny, I am about to get a manicure…. maybe I will try this!!!!
    My nails are constantly breaking and I have to apply lotion several time a day or my cuticles crack (not fun!), so I am thinking this may help me out…
    Alexis of NorthOnHarper recently posted..Wine Of The Week 34My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      I’d love to hear what you think of it Alexis.

  4. SACRAMENTO June 6, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I always keep my nails short: I make my own bread, so not much point; but I am going to get myself some OPI nail polish, as soon as I set my eyes on it.
    Missing you
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

      My nails are usually really short – all the drawing and typing I do isn’t nail polish friendly.

      I’ve been lurking on your blog I just need to leave a few comments!

  5. GRIT & GLAMOUR
    Twitter:
    June 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Hey sweets, thanks for the shout!

    OK, so I had Axxium done last Halloween and loved it…great stuff (you I love OPI). My mani went three solid weeks with no chips, breaks, or flaws. I chose not to continue with gel color only because I don’t like the UV exposure and my wallet didn’t need the expense either. At the end of three weeks, the only evidence that it was an old mani was the growth at the cuticle.

    Which brings me to this: Your mani should not have peeled at the cuticle. Now picking at it…that’s one thing. But it just coming up, there only, means the manicurist did not remove all residual moisture from cuticle oil or a hand massage before applying the product. Washing your hands isn’t enough; they should also go over your nails with alcohol to be sure there is no oil on the nail bed. Can you recall if they did that? If I were you, I’d find another salon, or insist that they go over your nails with alcohol as the final step before the product application begins.

    I do like the fingerless gloves, however…that’s smart!
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..WVW- The Jumpsuit Loving and LoathingMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      In all honesty I kinda picked at the first mani (the hot pink one.) But the new one seems to be sticking better than the first. Thing is the second time I went first thing in the morning and I think the manicurist did a better job then when I went in the afternoon. Normally it doesn’t seem to matter, but small things can mess up something that needs to stick for 3 weeks! I’m pretty sure he applied alcohol to totally clean the nails, but I’ll double check next time.

  6. anne
    Twitter:
    June 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    no, that cooker thing looks scary.
    (extra sensitive about medical looking devices these days)
    I would want to know exactly what kind of rays one is being zapped with and how harmful they are.
    anne recently posted..Friend Friday- vacation!My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

      Yeah the cookers kinda freak me out too. I’m thinking about my own gloves and just cutting out a spot for the nail.

    • bee September 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      the rays are nothing more than UV.
      it’s basically the same thing as going outside on a sunny day.

  7. Couture Carrie June 7, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    How cool!
    And pretty!
    Love that Strawberry Margarita!

    xoxox,
    CC

    • Heather Fonseca June 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      Thanks CC! I might have to get it again. It is a great color.

  8. Sandra June 7, 2011 at 5:15 am #

    I had never heard about gel nail polish! It sounds pretty good. The only down side, as you said, has to be the difficulty to remove it. Loved the Strawberry Margarita nail polish!

    • Heather Fonseca June 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

      I had never heard of the gel polish before my first try with the stuff. The salon said they started offering it last summer, so it’s fairly new.

    • Sister Phyllis (Columbus, Ohio) October 3, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      I love my gel nails. Makes hands look beautiful. Plus, it will last up to 4 weeks.

      • Heather Fonseca October 3, 2012 at 11:00 am #

        I’m glad you like gel polish Sister Phyllis. Mine don’t usually last 4 weeks though! More like two before they start peeling at the cuticle.

  9. Lee Oliveira June 7, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    I don’t have any nails.. I am very anxious waiting for people on the street to photograph. hahahaha
    lee x
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  10. Paula June 7, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Thanks so much for the info, Heather! I’ve heard alot about the gels, lots of my friends are raving about them. But, got to be lots of serious chemicals to make the polish stay so long….and between the chemicals in my hair, I’ll probably start to glow in a few years….
    Paula recently posted..Mini-Skirts Over FiftyMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      You know there might be mega-chemicals, but they don’t smell bad at all. I’ve never tried wraps or tips or anything like that because the smell was so nasty I couldn’t believe they weren’t toxic. I’m not sure about this stuff, but it’s probably no worse than the nail polish we already use.

  11. Madison
    Twitter:
    June 8, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Hhmmm, this makes me want to try this again I’ve only done this once before but wow, 4 weeks?!!
    I’m always a bit hesitant about going to just any manicurist for this special technique… so picky these days! Good post! -xo
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  12. Fashion Limbo June 8, 2011 at 3:51 am #

    Thanks for this review Heather, I don’t have a clue on anything nail-related and have seriously misbehaving nails, chipping away constantly. My sister has introduced me to a better way of painting my nails and I have noticed a slight improvement but I was wondering what was the deal about the gel manis and your detailed documentation of the process is very useful. Loved the colours you went for by the way ;)
    Fashion Limbo recently posted..Style and the City – AntwerpMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 8, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      My nails are kept super short for a reason – if I don’t they break and look horrible! But not anymore. They’re now almost 1/4″ long, haven’t broken or torn, and this time the polish hasn’t peeled at all. I’m really wowed. Let me know if you try it out.

  13. THE-LOUDMOUTH
    Twitter:
    June 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    I’m a little creeped by the cooker, but besides that, this looks like a fab idea! Thanks for showing us the details of the whole process… great post :)
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..Loudmouth Look – – Whites- brights &amp makeupless in the morningMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      If you’re interested PM me and I’ll send you the name of the place so you can try it too if you want! It does cost $15 more than the usual mani-pedi.

  14. Aquí June 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    wow, I’ve always wanted to know more about this! I’m really rough on my nails too and its hard for me to grow them out as a result. I think I’m going to try this!

  15. Mordrian June 9, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    I have no idea why, but your nails after 4 weeks looked REALLY COOL! I really liked them :-) haha they’re unique

    • Heather Fonseca June 11, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

      LOL! I felt like a mess with the weirdest chipped nails ever.

  16. Leia June 9, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    This is really interesting! How odd that you’re an artist and find it difficult to paint your nails, and I can’t draw a straight line yet manicuring isn’t too hard for me.

    I’ve only seen gel nail *extensions* – so fake nails – and I haven’t liked them because they just look, well, fake. Your nails, however, look great! I’m not sure if I would do this but I am really happy you told us more about it!

    • Heather Fonseca June 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      You do such a nice job on your nails yourself I’m not sure you’d need to do something like this. I can paint my left hand, but my right hand ends up a big, ugly, mess. Plus I have kids at home and there never seems to be enough quiet time to sit and do my nails appropriately, which is why I have them done somewhere else. Having my nails done is a big treat for me!

  17. WendyB June 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    I became addicted to gels this year. Went from having manicures that chipped after two days to manicures that last two weeks! So fantastic.
    WendyB recently posted..What Wendy Wore- Plus Thoughts on Bill CunninghamMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca June 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Wendy! Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s addicted. I can’t wait to go again.

  18. Consider Me Lovely June 10, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I think gel nail polish is great! I have friends who get this or Chellac and love it, but I have a problem with keeping polish on my nails for more than a week. I love changing my polish weekly, and that’s the one thing keeping me from trying it! Your nails look very lovely; I’m glad you found something that works for you!

    • Heather Fonseca June 11, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      To tell the truth I get a little bored of seeing the same color on my nails for more than a few days, but I’m starting to get used to it.

    • radpanther July 25, 2013 at 12:18 am #

      did you know you can paint regular polish over your gel nails, when ready to remove just use non acitone polish remover.

  19. Best of Palm Beach June 12, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I love gel polish is the only thing that works for me. In order from them to not peel from the cuticle up is to make sure they don’t apply too close to the cuticle, otherwise it lifts. Mine don’t peel at all and it saves me money and time.

    Veronica

    • Heather Fonseca June 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

      This time round the gel polish is sticking quite well. I think it’s been on for over two weeks at this point and they’re still perfect!

  20. Jamillah June 13, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    The last time I went for a mani the woman next to me was getting gel mani and she raaaaaaved about it! I’m so happy that you went into way more detail than she did.

    I am kind of a lover of changing up my nails with fun mani’s but this would be great for vacation! How about toes?! Can you get this done on the little piggies?

    • Heather Fonseca June 13, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      The place I go doesn’t offer the gel for the toes, but a pedicure will easily last me 3 or more weeks. Let me know if you try it!

  21. Marissa June 13, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    I’ve been wanting to try the gel or even shellac nails.. but I don’t have loads of bills lying around, cause I know I would get hooked! :) hehe

    Thanks for sharing.. and making me want to get them more.
    XO
    Marissa

  22. Midnight Cowgirl June 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I’ve never had a gel manicure, but now I am intrigued!

  23. liz
    Twitter:
    June 14, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    I love OPI but after doing the gel polish for a few months consecutively,  my nails became quite thin and brittle underneath. It’s great, but I would suggest breaks after every two times or so to prevent damage to your nail.

    • Heather Fonseca June 14, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      Good to know! I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

  24. Modelle firenze June 17, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

    Wow!!! what a nice Nail Polish. I’d love to hear what you think of it Alexis. Really fantastic blog. Thanks for sharing this post so much.

  25. Mary Jo June 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Ok, I’m actually so glad I just saw this and read your post! Opi invited me to try this when it first launched and I was too chicken because of the removal process and the chemicals. So, after reading your post I’m leaning a bit more toward it, but getting my nails done is my least favorite thing to do in the world–I don’t know what happened to the girl who had to have them done once a week–she disappeared 2 years ago and I haven’t seen her since. Are you still liking your second gel?

    xo Mary Jo

    • Heather Fonseca June 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

      It’s actually less stinky, chemical wise, than a regular manicure! Try it out. I’d love to see what you think.
      I’m at the point in this manicure when it must come off, and it must come off soon. The problem is I’ve been swamped with work. Not that that’s a bad problem to have! I’m happy about it, but the problem with the gel is I can’t get it off myself.

  26. For Those About To Shop June 28, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    I was wondering about these! The ultraviolet rays will keep me away. Thanks for the info!

    • Heather Fonseca July 8, 2011 at 7:38 am #

      Yeah the ultraviolet rays are a little creepy. I’ve now had the gel polish three times in a row, and each time I’m amazed by the staying power of the product. The next time I’m just getting a regular polish, to give my nails, and my hands, a rest.

  27. andri world news October 12, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    yes, a nail can be a very cute part of a woman :)
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  28. Sonia October 12, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I recently bought the do it yourself version of this and I love it. It lasts so long and stays shiny and chip free for about 2 weeks. I use Red Carpet Manicure from Ulta and my light is LED, and only covers the tips of my fingers. This stuff really can take some abuse. However, it does take me an hour and the removal is a bit tricky.

    • Heather Fonseca October 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

      I’ve seen the do-it-yourself versions on-line and was wondering if it looked OK. Sounds like it does! The lady at the nail salon told me you had to use pure acetone to remove the stuff though.

  29. Tori November 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    I had this done for the second time today, and my salon didn’t use gloves or mittens of any sort (not to mention, no hand massage~boo!!). I wonder if I should be worried about this?!?!

    • Heather Fonseca November 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      I don’t know Tori. I think the UV cookers are rather light sunlight, but it does seem a bit creepy. The salon I usually go to is kind of expensive, so I think they try to do little things to make it seem like you’re getting more value for your money. I think the no hand massage would really make me sad. One of the main reasons I have my nails done is for the pampering!

  30. Jenna Dale December 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    But, got to be lots of serious chemicals to make the polish stay so long….and between the chemicals in my hair, I’ll probably start to glow in a few years…. It’s only been at my salon for about a year. Your nails, however, look great! I was wondering about these!
    Jenna Dale recently posted..Cancer Tattoos TumblrMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca December 12, 2011 at 10:49 am #

      Hi Jenna, I’m glad you found the article informative. I’m not sure that the chemicals involved in gel nail polish are any more caustic than the ones in regular nail polish. It doesn’t smell any worse, and it does last a long time.

  31. Camille January 24, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Hi. Just found this because I have been doing Shellac nails for about a year and was intrigued by another brand. I like Shellac but am getting tired of the same few colors to choose from. I was told by my manicurist that the lamps are similar to a tanning bed lamp so if I wanted to rub sunscreen into my hands before I left home it would soak into my skin and I wouldn’t need gloves and my whole hand, finger tips too, would be protected. I like not having to worry about my polish for a couple of weeks and usually get a light color. I can put a bright or dark color over my Shellac for an evening out and remove it with regular nail polish remover and my Shellac manicure still looks great. I was also searching for info because I heard from a friend that you can put the gel topcoat on over regular nail polish and it will last a really long time so I just wonder if it really works.

    • Heather Fonseca January 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      Hi Camille thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I haven’t tried the Shellac nails only the OPI product, but like you I wasn’t excited about the color options so I sort of stopped having them done. Right now I’m experimenting with the old-fashioned “silk wrap” with regular polish. I have to say I’m really happy with the staying power of the polish over the silk wrap.

      I don’t know anything about putting a gel topcoat over regular polish, I’ve only know what my manicurist has told me and what I’ve tried myself.

      • Janice Butler July 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

        The wraps are the ” Best”,,,,,,love them but can’t find but one gal in Memphis that does the wraps and I’ve lost her. There is an art to it. Loved them when I had them though.

        • Heather Fonseca July 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

          Hi Janice,
          I tried a silk wrap here in LA but it was really time consuming to do and honestly didn’t last that much longer than the gel. Not sure I would do it again, but maybe if you really have a pro working on it it would be nice.

  32. Grace April 23, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    Thanks so much for this post. Really helpful to see exactly what happens. I read (somewhere) that you can dry the gel under non-UV lights, but it will take 2 mins, rather than 30 seconds. That’s something I’d gladly do. Have you heard about that?

    • Heather Fonseca April 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Hi Grace. Honestly I’ve only had the gel polish done professionally so I don’t really know how much the process can be changed. I know the UV lights are kind of freaky! I do know that OPI and other companies have updated the product, so maybe it can be done differently now.

  33. Leo Ward May 18, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    This will be a good chance to improve the appearance of my nails and my friends will surely adore this one.
    Leo Ward recently posted..How to remove Gel NailsMy Profile

  34. Maite May 26, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    I just tried it on my toes!!! Very uncomfortable to get it done because of the UV light machine, but pleased with results. I am a bit concerned on how they will get it off because they told me I would have to soak them in acetone….
    I am looking forward to at least 4 weeks of beautiful toes!

    • Heather Fonseca May 28, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Hi Maite. I’ve never had gel polish put on my toes but I imagine it would be weird putting my feet in the UV “cookers”. I always go back to the salon to have the stuff removed, but I’ve also heard pure acetone will get it off. Removal is one of the drawbacks of gel polish. I hope you enjoy your pedicure!

  35. KT August 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    The last time I went for a pedicure the guy talked me into doing the gel polish. I told him my reservations- My nails are pretty short from biting them, so they’re not much to look at, and I’m not wasting $$ on something that never, ever, lasts more than a day or two (I always chip them the second I get home). He told me it would help my nails grow, and if I did a clear coat, it wouldn’t draw attention to my short nails. Willing to give it at least one try, I agreed, and he mixed together a really light, almost clear pink with sparkles in it. Well that was well over a week ago, and my nails have yet to chip or break. The only pealing that’s taking place is where my nail has grown, and even that it hasn’t been too terrible. It’s actually deterred me from biting my nails too. Although I wasn’t aware of the whole UV exposure until I read this article, I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I go back for a polish change. But considering how long the polish actually lasts and now nice my nails look, I think it’s a chance I’m willing to take. I’m gonna let them grow a little longer before I go back, but from now on, the gel polish is the only thing I’ll pay to have put on my fingernails. :-)

    • Heather Fonseca August 27, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Hi KT and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I wrote that post last year and I know there have been changes in the formula for gel polish since. My salon still used the UV cookers, but I don’t know that the new formulas need as much cooking. I am amazed by how long gel polish lasts. It really doesn’t chip. Like you I find regular polish only lasts a few days at most on my ever-working hands, but I’ve been experimenting with different brands of polish and I now can honestly say I’ve found a few that last more than a day or two and never really chip. They do wear off the ends of my nails and after a few days I’ll find some very small chips, but they last pretty well. My favorite brands are Sonia Kashuk, Mary Jo Matsumoto and Essie. I’ve written about all three here on the blog.

  36. mary beth
    Twitter:
    September 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    i have not tried the Axium but is sounds a little like the shellack gel nails I recently had. I had really strong nails but wanted a french manicure that would not chip in 2 days. The nail tech recommended the gel. “does it harm my nails?” no…he insisted. “you are sure?” yes, he replied. Ok, then, why not!

    I was not crazy about the idea of him grabbing the DREMMEL to prep my nails. there goes a layer of my natural nail. hmmm :( but they looked really great when finished.

    so…they looked really good for about 3 weeks! went in for a re-do. this requires soacking off the old gel…
    more sanding of my nails! eeeeek! another application and they looked good for another 2+ week.
    went in today for a re-do. more soaking and filing, and I can see now that my natural nails are SOFTER AND THINNER. Now…I am terrified that I’ll have another 6 months of healing my natural nails, before they are back to strong again. Not happy! only two applications and my nails are ruined. not totally, but I certainly am concerned enough to just get a sheer polish this time that won’t look so horrid, chipped.

    So…bottom line, these finishes (for me) are great if you have a special event (wedding, gala event, vacation, etc) but for everyday? you are going to be down to your nail bed in a few weeks or months! they SAY that they are safe, but trust me…there is NO WAY you can “buff your natural nail with an emory board to get off the residue and have a smooth surface very many times, BEFORE you will have nothing to buff. Acrylic would almost be less damaging in that they only have to fill in the new growth. maybe it is because I wanted the sheer french look. but this is a wonderful idea that needs some work. Anyone else with this experience? I see women going in for new finishes repeatedly so maybe they have a secret I have not learned? I’m begging for a long lasting french look…. : ) maybe some nail professionals have some secrets? dr. OZ mentioned a new sealer that works almost the same but less damaging but have not found it to be available. eager for answers!

    • Heather Fonseca September 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      Hi Mary Beth. Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment. Like you I didn’t like all the sanding and found my nails were getting thinner, but unlike you my manicurist told me only to get the gel twice in a row, and to let them rest afterward. Although I liked the long lasting finish of the gel polish I’d didn’t like what happened to my nails after a couple times or the removal process. I would do gel again for a vacation, but probably not for every day.

  37. Nay
    Twitter:
    September 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I just got a manicure and pedicure today. The manicurist recommended that I try the gel polish … which I never heard of before. Yes, I know! I’m mainly a curly hairnista, and I thought that gels were only for acrylic nails. Well, I am pleasantly surprised by how shiny my nails are! I was told that they would last 2 weeks, but here many ladies have reached 4 weeks! I’ll wait and see, but I am excited by the prospect, as I’ve lost some patience for doing my own nails. Thanks for the overview on this!
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    • Heather Fonseca September 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      You’re welcome Nay. I find that after about 2 weeks the polish starts peeling a bit at the base near the cuticle. It drives me nuts! But if you don’t pick at them there’s no reason why the polish couldn’t last 4 weeks. It doesn’t chip at all. Also, I wrote this review over a year ago. The new gel products might be even better.

  38. www.myfavesjournal.com
    Twitter:
    January 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    You’re making me want to try it.
    http://www.myfavesjournal.com recently posted..Beauty: Get This LookMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca January 10, 2013 at 9:53 am #

      Try it! Try it! It’s nice having two whole weeks of perfectly painted nails.

  39. JulesinWigan January 13, 2013 at 2:49 am #

    Well, I have just bought my own lamp and nail polishes off Ebay to try. After 4 days my french manicure is still going strong and my toes have a beautiful glossy red finish :-)

    The only downside as pointed out is the uv rays and the acetone soak to get the nails off. I will certainly try the sunscreen and gloves to prevent sun damage and as for the acetone I’ve yet to have a go at doing that; but I’ve read all the hints and tips on the web in regards to removal so hopefully won’t be too bad.

    Thank you for this article, it has been really informative.

    • Heather Fonseca January 15, 2013 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Jules! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I haven’t tried any of the self-gel products. I’m glad you liked the post.

    • Jennifer April 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      If you take a peice of cotton and put the acetone on it then just put it over the nail and wrap in foil to stay in place. Takes about 5 minutes and you do not have to soak your whole finger in the acetone. Then take a cuticle pusher and gently scrap against the polish to remove. Works great. For others who talk about the roughing up, I have found that the gel works just as well with out roughing as long as I thourly clean them with alcohol first. Ask you manicurist to try it and see if it works well for you also.

      • Heather Fonseca June 9, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

        I haven’t had much luck soaking my own nails in acetone. I really do need to return to the salon to have gel removed, but maybe I’m just not patient enough!

  40. Jane Sanders April 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good
    points in Features also.

    Regards,
    Jane Sanders, Professional Beautician
    gel nails

  41. Jane Sanders April 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks for the post. I get here Very helpful information. Excellent blog right here! I was just searching for this information for a while.There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. I have been using latest collection of Shellac polish and I really satisfied.

    Regards,
    Jane

  42. Peeling nails June 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Great, just need to first fix my fingernails from peeling before even thinking of getting a treatment.
    Peeling nails recently posted..Aerobic Exercise Reduces Risk of Breast CancerMy Profile

  43. Alexandra Melo June 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Adorei o seu post e estou a adorar o seu blog antes de passar ao assunto como você colocou o widgts do google para o blog, eu já li como passar os comentarios do google para o blog mas ainda não o fiz, preguiça agora eu conheço essa tecnica em Portugal nos chama-mos gelinho, e realmente dura, também o que deixo sempre para trás é o cabelo e manicure e pedicure, porque não sei fazer quando pinto em casa pinto unhas e dedos, até tenho jeito para DYD agora isso não o cabeleireiro aqui é caro então ando sempre a contar os tosto~es para ir ao salão de beleza porque custa-me deixar lá cento e tal euros, custa-me, mesmo que tivesse dinheiro acho que é muito, mas ficou lindo adoro o colar.
    Beijinhos
    Alexandra Melo

    • Heather Fonseca July 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment Alexandra! I don’t speak Portuguese but I checked your comment in google translate and I want to say thank you. I’m so glad you like my blog.

  44. Belle Gel July 10, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    You really get to the heart of why Gel Nails are so good, there is some small disadvantages but overall they save us girls a whole lot of time the future is definitely gel nails!

    • Heather Fonseca July 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      I still like the versatility and ease of regular polish, but gel is really fab.

  45. Nina Shumaker August 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I treated myself last week to my first mani-pedi while on a small vacation and the lady used the gel polish and I fell in love. I work in Pre School and my hands are in water constantly all day long so my nails won’t grow, they peel, chip and very soft. I am amazed the gel polish has stayed on and still looking great after 2 weeks. My nails have grown out a little and hardened as well. I have to remove my polish in a couple of days to get ready for a surgery, but I am already looking for a salon near me that does the gel polish. I don’t like the “fake” nails where a drill is used to smooth or remove, and with the gel polish no drills area used. This is all the more reason to have the gels removed and reapplied. I can not wait for the time I can go back!

    • Heather Fonseca August 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

      Hi Nina, I’m so glad you tried the gel polish and liked it. Be careful not to let your nails get too thin, which can happen if the manicurists use the drills to file like mine do. It sounds like you have that under control though.

      • Nina Shumaker August 12, 2013 at 3:05 am #

        I don’t allow the drills to be used on my nails. Years ago I had the acrylics put on and they used a drill and I was in pain. I’ve not had another fake nail put on or allow a drill to be used.

        • Heather Fonseca August 12, 2013 at 10:44 am #

          I’m glad to hear you won’t let them drill! When I wrote this post two years ago the gel process was more intensive and they had to use the drill to file my nails. The last time I went to have gel done it was much faster and easier. They no longer used the drill and had switched from ultra violet light to LED lights. The process of having gel nail polish applied is getting much healthier.

          • Nina Shumaker September 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

            Well, I never did find a salon around here that does the gel nails for a decent price. Where I live they are charging around $45-$60 to do gels nails and they use those drills. So I broke down, went to a Sally’s beauty needs store near me and bought my own supplies do to my nails at home. It did cost a total of $120 for the light and all supplies, but well worth the money!! I do my daughters nails and mine about every 3 weeks and LOVING it!!! (plus I can change the color when I want lol)

          • Heather Fonseca September 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

            I have a friend who does her gel polish herself just like you do. She loves it too! I’m so glad you found a way to do gel polish for you and your daughter.

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