Oli Antunes from Wild Life Origin gives us the lowdown on gel nails.
1. What exactly are gel nails?
Much like acrylics, gel nails are artificial nails where a gel substance made of liquid and powder, is applied on top of a nail tip thats glued on the natural nail bed, extending the nail and making it look natural.
2. What's the difference between gels and acrylics?
Acrylics have been around since the seventies and they still remain the more popular artificial nails as they are very strong. The difference is acrylics are made with an acrylic liquid and powder. It sets quickly and still remains the strongest and longest lasting artificial nail. Gels are also made with liquid and powder combination but when set they resemble a more natural look and are flexible more like a natural nail. In the end, its a personal preference of which technology more suits you. Both have pros and cons. Acrylics tend to be cheaper still yet stronger and longer lasting. Gel nails are more natural looking and probably safer and more gentle on the natural nail. Although, gel nails still require a UV lamp to cure, so some people may shy away for that reason.
3. And what's the difference between hard and soft gels?
Hard gels are the traditional strong gel which I explained above and the soft gels are applied with a Gel Polish - for example polishes commonly known as Shellac, OPI Gel, Gelish etc... If you want extension in your nails, you would go for the hard gels, as they are harder and don't chip.
4. How do you apply them?
Hard gels are applied like acrylics and gel polishes are applied like conventional nail laquer, except both require UV or LED light to cure.
5. How long do they last?
Gel artificial nails should last at least 3-4 weeks. Gel polishes should last 10 days to 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the regrowth of the natural nail will make it look worn, even if they don't start to chip or lift on the free edges.
6. Do they have to be removed professionally?
Gel nails have to be filed off, like acrylics and gel polish is soaked in acetone and gently lifted from the nail.
7. What are the benefits of having gels?
They are generally more realistic than acrylics as they are thinner. They are more flexible and safer as they are non-toxic.
8. For those who don't do gels, do you have any advice on strengthening nails?
The best advice I can give for strengthening nails is to massage cuticle oil on the cuticles and nail bed as many times during the day as possible or as you can remember. The oil nourishes the nail and makes it more flexible, therefore less prone to chipping or breaking. If you don't have cuticle oil on hand, you can use coconut oil, rosehip oil or argan oil.
Imagery from SuTurno