Gel manicure

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gel manicures came onto the scene a couple of years ago, but I'm just now (carefully) getting on the band wagon. I'm not talking about gel overlays (like acrylic nails) - I'm talking about gel "polish". I think OPI was first on the market with Axxium (that link isn't the OPI website, but it explains the Axxium system), and now CND has Shellac.

According to my nail tech, Shellac is "easier" on your nails than Axxium, because it is newer technology. I know nothing about the details, but everything I've read on the internet seems to reinforce her information.They call it a "hybrid" - it goes on like a polish & wears like a gel. Plus it's supposed to be easier to remove than the OPI.

If you aren't familiar with gel manicures, it's basically a manicure where the polish is a special polish that is "activated" by 30 seconds of UV light. My nail tech does 4 coats - base coat, 2 coats of color, and a top coat - each followed by 30 seconds under the UV light.

This stuff is amazing!! There are a ton of colors from which to choose - I chose a pale neutral pink with just a hint of shimmer which looks very natural. It's very shiny and it really does stay that way. They tell you that it lasts 2 weeks, but it may last a bit longer. I was busy at the 2 week point, tried to get an appointment at 3 weeks, but my tech was on vacation for a week. So I went 4 weeks before reapplication. Other than the new growth at the base of the nail, they pretty much looked the same as when they were first done. My tech was amazed, so I assume that is not the norm.

(I forgot to take a picture before the old gel was removed, but the nails really looked the same as they did at Day 21. This picture is of the new gel.)

So it lasts at least 2 weeks, stays shiny, doesn't chip, and it's completely dry at the end of the manicure. Yes - you can reach in your purse for your keys & your nails will be just fine! The cost at my salon is $32. I've checked other local salons & that seems to be about the average price.

I admit, I'm a little concerned about the UV light. Only the tips of the fingers are under the light - and one doesn't normally worry about fingernails when out in the sun. But there is that little bit of skin that is exposed. I thought about sunscreen, but since you have to soak the nails to remove the old "gel", I assume that would soak off the sunscreen as well. I'm wondering if one could apply sunscreen after the nails are prepped, but before the product is applied that makes sure the nailbed is clean & dry? I don't know if that would affect how the "gel" adheres or not. I would be interested in any information or advice concerning the UV aspect of the manicure. I'm hoping they find a way to do this without the UV light, because it really is a great manicure.