LED and UV gel nail colors are famously low-maintenance. So much so in fact, the ""hands off"" benefits of gel nail polishes are a large part of their appeal. However, you do have to treat your gel polish manicure right, if you want it to treat you right. Who wouldn't want to protect their investment with a little TLC? Here are some gel nail do's and don'ts to best help preserve your gel nail color so that you can make the most of its incredible staying power!
DO the math
essie loves smart women. So take control of your beauty and arm yourself with lots of information. Articles like this one from trusted resources will help you understand the different varieties of gel nail polish on the market today. If you still have questions or if you have a particular nail concern, just ask your favorite salon to talk to you about the different gel nail polishes and services they offer – then you can make an informed decision about what type suits you best.
DO hydrate your cuticles
Dry, split cuticles can make even the most elegant gel nail polish look like an afterthought. After a gel nail manicure, massage essie apricot cuticle oil into your cuticles as many times a day as you can remember to seal in moisture and hydrate cuticles and nails. A few minutes spent rubbing this oil formulated with vitamin e onto cuticles and nail beds can work absolute wonders and keep your nails and skin looking their best.
DO have fun with color
Did you know that essie•gel nail polish now comes in 100 shades? And did you know that finding your favorite essie nail polish shade in a gel polish formula is easier than ever before? All of our gel nail polish shades have been renamed to match the essie nail polishes you know and love, including cult classics like ballet slippers, wicked and smokin' hot. essie•gel's state-of-the-art formula delivers up to 14 days of exceptional color and shine—no matter what color you choose.
DO keep nails looking happy and healthy
The lived-in, chipped manicure look may be a rebellious fashion statement to some, but we don't recommend it. essie•gel nail polish delivers fabulous color that lasts, but once it begins to fade, don't delay removal. Rocking worn-down gel polish would be like wearing smeared lipstick and can also be hard on your nails. So whether you remove and then go for another essie•gel manicure or simply opt for traditional polish, keeping nails tidy is always in fashion.
DON'T peel your gel nail polish off
If you're ready to have your gel nail color removed—and have picking tendencies to boot—you may be tempted to pick off or peel off your gel nail manicure. Whatever you do—don't! Peeling off gel nail polish doesn't just take off the color, but can also remove the top layer of your nail plate. When that happens, your nail beds won't just be tragically dry, but may very well form ridges and other irregularities from the damage. To maintain smooth, healthy-looking nails, have gel nail polish removed by a professional at a salon. Here's how it's done:
Gel nail polish removal takes a longer than traditional nail enamel. Here are the step-by-step gel polish removal instructions we recommend to our salon partners and essie nail technicians:
1. Thoroughly saturate an absorbent pad with acetone nail polish remover and place on nail.
2. Wrap nail in aluminum foil snugly. A secure fit is essential for thorough removal. Let soak for 15 minutes.
3. Gently lift foil and check if polish has lifted away from the nail. If not, re-wrap and soak another 5 minutes.
4. Gently massage the foil at top of nail and pull foil wrap away from nail. When gel has lifted from nail, carefully remove any gel excess on nail with an orangewood stick (from cuticle to tip).
5. Rub nail with a lint-free nail pad soaked in polish remover to remove any residue.
6. Re-hydrate nails & cuticles with apricot cuticle oil.
(If you're looking for more detail about removal, check out our essie•gel 101 article.)
DON'T get a gel manicure if your nails are damaged
As fabulously fashionable as gel nail manicures are, they're a no-no if your nails are damaged in any way. If your nail beds are split, flaking or cracked, it's best to wait for a gel manicure until your nails are at their best, so they look perfect. If you need to ""polish up"" for an occasion, treat yourself to a traditional essie manicure using essie millionails. Formulated with iron and amino acids, essie millionails is the perfect nail primer until they're nursed back to health.
DON'T cure your essie•gel nails under a UV lamp
essie•gel nail color technology is only LED compatible. In fact, we designed the essie•gel lamp especially to cure your gel nail manicure to perfection. With a 360-degree interior mirror finish, it was designed for fast, comfortable 5-finger curing with pre-determined finger recesses, hand sensor activation, and nine targeted LED lights. In a pinch, an LED lamp that is compatible with the essie•gel system might do the trick. But whatever you do, do not accept a UV lamp as a substitute. If you're not sure which lamp your salon is using, just ask.
DON'T use traditional essie nail polish to fill in gel manicures
If your gel nail color is growing out so much that you feel the desire to fill-in, it's probably been 14 days, and you should have it removed. Additionally, traditional essie nail color and essie•gel nail polish are made with different technologies—so they're different texturally. So generally, we don't recommend it–you'll just have to treat yourself to a fresh and lovely new mani.
Love this article? Want to learn more about gel nail polish? Well then, head on over to Tips and Tricks on How to Make Gel Nail Polish Last Longer, or find even more articles here.
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