The Gel Mani

General Blog Update: It has been a lot trying to balance work, life and the blog lately and I’m very sorry I haven’t blogged a lot in October. I am trying to make each post worth your precious time to read it, so they need to be awesome! Because of this, I may not be blogging three times a week for a while; but I will be shooting for at least ONCE a week. 

The gel manicure has been around the block for a bit but it is still pretty new to most people. It was to me till I met my girl Nicole who I used to work with. I’ve talked about my manicures in passing before, but when I finally got a gel manicure it was shocking.

First off, the whole processes is a lot more than a regular manicure since there are specially formulated base coat, polish and top coat. Nicole really stepped it up by giving me the full experience of a manicure too since she was doing it in-home: soak, buff, manicure and massage. This is how a manicure of any kind should be like!

The actual polish is very weird to me because you think it should look like a gel, would be thicker than regular polish yet it seems to be more difficult to work with. Your nail beds have to be dry for it to stick and if the nail tech doesn’t put it on just right it can just slide off. And they have to put several layers on to get the rich color you want.

My very first gel mani ever! I loved this color and it lasted forever.

My very first gel mani ever! I loved this color and it lasted forever.

Drying is interesting too because you need a special formulated nail drier for gel polishes. I know it is a type of UV dryer/fan so it can dry and set the polish. But it’s funny because as the polish dries (you have to dry the base coat, polish and top coat under this) it stings your nails a little. Or at least it did for me. Nicole said that’s normal, so don’t be shocked if it happens to you too!

But the results are amazing. I’ve had regular manicures, acrylic nails and now gel manicures and I have to say I love the gel the best. It is pretty much indestructible! You can spill cleaners on it and even acetone polish remover and they don’t budge. I tried, just to see, it didn’t come off. And they last for 2+ weeks.

Since  I’m on the topic of long lasting I will put in this note: they last forever but they don’t look very well after 2 weeks. They start to grow out and you get a bit of a lip where it sat against the cuticle at times. Once they start growing out they also start catching on things and can start to chip and peel after 2 weeks. And different gel colors last different lengths of times. My purple mani started peeling right at 1.5 weeks; but my red mani last almost a month without chipping!

I got so many compliments on this color!

I got so many compliments on this color!

To take off gel polish it is a bit of a trip. You have to let them “soak off” but it’s not like soaking off regular polish. Your technician can do this for you but if you want to take it off yourself here is the step-by-step:

You will need: 

– strips of foil

– cotton balls

– acetone polish remover 

First lay out 1 finger on top of 1 strip of foil. Soak a cotton ball in remover and place on to the nail. Wrap the cotton and your finger up tightly in the foil. Repeat for the rest of that hand. Let them sit for 15 minutes at least. The foil helps heat the remover so to lift the polish away. When you remove the foils the polish is still in a solid state normally, I’ve had to pretty much scratch the rest off to get a clean nail. 

ONLY DO ONE HAND AT A TIME, unless you have someone helping you. I tried the first time to do both hands at once and its impossible to get the foils on correctly with a foiled hand. You need them to be snug on the fingers to get the right heat to remove the polish.

Overall I love gel polish. It is totally worth it and when you find a fabulous technician take advantage of their skills! I hope to find a new one (since Nicole moved) to pick up on my amazing experience. I also want to try designs! I’m not sure if you can with gel polish, but I shall discover it.

READER QUESTION: Since we’re on the topic of nails and designs. I’m hosting a Sex and the City themed party soon and I want to get my nails done for it. Any suggestions on colors and designs? I’d love your input! Comment below with your ideas and your experiences with gel polish!

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