Hands up who panic bought a gel nail lamp during Lockdown 1.0? WELL, you’re in luck because this post is dedicated to you.
Whilst we’d still prefer to get ourselves over to our regular nail gal (hello we love you and miss you and dream about you at night), sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. So, whilst nail salons remain closed, we spoke to two maincure know-it-alls to get the lowdown on how we can actually make our at-home gel nails last… well, longer than a few days.
We hope this gives your hands (and feet) the pick-me-up they deserve…
1. ‘Make your gel manicure last longer by applying cuticle oil around the base and sides of your nails every night. This will keep your nail bed moisturised and strong which will in turn, help the gel last as it will prevent peeling.’
2. ‘So, the very basics that you need to do before applying your gel polish at home is to push your cuticles back, because any over grown cuticle left on the nail can lift the gel polish from underneath in time; file the edges and ensure any nail dust is removed from underneath the free edge of the nail and then wipe over with acetone or a nail prep solution to remove any excess oil which can act as a barrier on the nail plate.’
3. ‘Another tip, is when you apply your base and your colour coats, ensure that you don’t go to close to the base of the nail. This can cause the gel to lift, resulting in one or more peeling off completely.’
4. ‘Don’t be too heavy with any of your coats as this too can cause peeling of the gel as the natural nail cannot support too many heavy layers.’
5. ‘The main culprit when it comes to sabotaging a lush manicure, is unfortunately our new best friend of 2020, hand sanitiser. The high alcohol content in hand sanitisers erode and essentially melt away the gel polish at the free edge and around the sides of the nails, this creates a weakness in the varnish, allowing water and oil to creep underneath and lift the varnish up. Now I’m not saying you need to pick between protecting yourself from Covid and protecting your manicure, but when you have the choice between hand sanitiser and washing your hands with good old soap and water, go for the latter.’
‘6. Finally, removal. It is crucial you don’t pick and peel your polish off. Nails are composed of cells called keratinocytes that look like tiles on a roof if you examine them under a microscope. By peeling off a gel manicure, you are not only removing the gel, but also the top layers of these delicate cells. This can result in white patches and textural irregularities throughout the nails. To safely remove the gel varnish without damaging your natural nails underneath, you should lightly buff the shiny top coat to allow the Acetone to penetrate easily. Either soak your fingers in a bowl of Acetone or tear up a cotton pad into five little sections and soak these sections in Acetone and rest on top of the nail and then wrap them in tin foil. This will retain the heat and speed up the removal process.’