The Modern Day Manicure
“Oh my gosh! Why didn’t I think of this?!” - a phrase I hear on a regular basis when my 40 minute Gel Manicure appointment is at an end with this busy, working mum, sat in front of me for the first time.
And there’s plenty of reasons as to why Gel Polish has become a modern day mani mainstay: They're pretty much indestructible, insanely glossy (or perfectly matte - whichever finish you choose!), and are now offered at the majority of nail bars across the globe. Gel nails are instantly dry, and are chip free and lift free for over 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes more. It’s the perfect manicure for any one who needs low maintenance nails which can be done in your lunch hour. It is the most revolutionary manicure product of the Noughties, and has changed the nail game for the long run. Gone are the days where we are sat for hours on end waiting for Nail Varnish to dry before we even dare raise a finger incase it smudges, only to awake the next morning to find your face imprinted on your lacquer with a hint of fluff!
I first started working with Gel Polish when I qualified in 2013 and it was the best decision I ever made. Since then, I have trained with other Gel Polish brands, and now work daily with 4 of the leading brands in the professional industry. I have also taught myself a range of in demand nail art skills using gel polish techniques which have got me to where I am today in my career.
Years down the line since it’s launch, there are now hundreds of gel polish brands all over the world, and it is vital that as a tech, you choose the perfect one for you and your clients. Personally I would recommend choosing a brand which is Pro-Only, Safe, Highly Pigmented and Viscose, Non Shrinking and Non Yellowing, and definitely mega glossy. Brands develop all the time to try and be the number one choice for many reasons including colour choices, longevity and a reasonable price. You will find a brand you love through trial and error for both you and your client - what works for some doesn’t work for others and I think it’s vital to remember that. Not all brands are the same, and neither are clients nails.
When a revolutionary product comes to the market, this obviously opens up the scope for imitation and inexpensive brands to follow suit. More recently hitting he headlines has been the ‘home’ Gel Polish kits with reports of an allergy epidemic from under cured product and overexposure to (meth)acrylate, a chemical found within Gel Polish systems. Recent studies found this to be most likely occurring when people apply the product themselves, or if their nail tech has insufficient training. Though this may be a cheaper and more convenient option for many women to do their mani in the comfort of their own home, the long term damage from incorrect application, lack of training and poor aftercare can be overwhelming and potentially irreversible.
Many of my clients have been coming to me for manicures and pedicures for over 4 years at the salon I currently work in, and have had gel polish on constantly within that time. Having had them soaked and removed properly by myself, this gives me the opportunity to asses the health of the clients natural nails between each new application of gels. A huge benefit of having countless regular clients Is that I get to know not only them, but their nails so well. I know if they have any quirks with their nails or any health conditions which can affect their manicure, and when the gels are removed, I get the opportunity properly asses them and look for any changes. You often hear the phrase that having gels on ‘back to back’ isn’t a wise idea as it ‘damages’ your nails, and this often comes from people having picked off their nails, rather than having them soaked off in Acetone and doing no aftercare.
So how can you tell the difference between a well trained, professional nail technician and an undertrained one, to go to for your next Gel Mani to ensure they will last over 2 to 3 weeks, and there is zero damage to your nails? A qualified nail tech will use genuine products purchased from ‘professional only’ brand. They will also be happy to show your their certificates, their sterilisation methods and all the products they use. Don’t forget to take a look at the Nail Technicians previous work and reviews of their Gel Polish Manicures, as this generally tends to be a good indicator of the quality of their work. If you have any questions, ask! A well trained tech will be able to answer most questions you may have, be that about the treatment itself or about the health of your natural nails prior to the manicure.
My 5 top tips for your aftercare of your Gel Manicure:
•Apply Cuticle Oil daily around both the skin and on nail plate. This will ensure your gel stays flexible with your natural nails and keeps your nail plate and skin well nourished.
•Avoid any Hand Creams containing Lanolin as this can cause your Gel Polish to lift off prematurely when left to absorb in.
•Avoid products which can stain/discolour your gels; Suncream, Insect Repellent, Fake Tan, Make Up, New Denim/Dyed Clothes, Fresh Magazine/Newspaper print, Oily food based products such as Curry, and finally Bleach or other cleaning products.
•‘Your nails are Jewels, not tools!’ Do not use your nails as tools, especially for picking and pulling at things. This can break the seal of your Gel Manicure which results in chipping, and can also damage your natural nail beneath. Wear gloves to protect your ‘jewels’ when doing any cleaning or gardening too.
•The most important point; do not pick off your gel nails! Gel nails need soaking off properly to prevent any nail damage, which takes an average of 15 mins and is carried out at the salon. Chewing, biting, pulling and picking at your gels will peel away layers of your nail which are attached to the base coat of your polish.
It has stood the test of time, and I think with the revolutionary path Gel Polish has paved, it will be around for a long time to come, it will develop further and can only get better from here. I love my job, and can’t see that changing for as long as Gel Polish is around!