|Posted on January 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM|
Here’s a question from one of my readers:
“I went to get my nails done the other day and they offered me ‘forever polish’ that they insisted would never chip. I told them I didn’t want ‘fake’ nails, and they promised that it was just polish, so I agreed. They put it on like polish and then I had to put my nails in a little light for a few minutes. Then they told me I had to come back to get the polish taken off, because nail polish remover wouldn’t work. What did they put on me, and is it going to damage my nails?”
They put gel nail polish on you. This is one of the hottest trends in nails right now, and while it will not chip as quickly as regular polish, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s “forever”. You should get about 2-3 weeks out of it, depending on the color used (darker colors need to be changed more frequently because of re-growth around the cuticle. Light colors are less noticeable as they grow out). This gel polish will also make your nails harder while it on, as it is technically a very thin nail enhancement.
Here’s what it is:
Gel is traditionally used to create nail enhancements. It is basically the same idea as acrylic, but the liquid and power are pre-mixed to create a perfect ratio every time. It is a gooey jelly like substance that is brushed on the nail. It remains this pliable jelly-like consistency until it is cured. A UV light (that’s what you put your hand in) is used to cure the gel into a hard shell. Gel can be applied over a tip, with a form, or to the natural nail. The gel polish is just a very thin, colored layer of this gel.
Technically, they did apply an enhancement to your nails, and they absolutely should have explained what they were using before applying it. Especially since you specified that you did not want any enhancements. However, gel is gentler to natural nails than acrylic, and as long as you take care of the gel, and it was applied correctly, it should not damage your nails. I think Gel Polish is a great option, especially for people who are hard on their nails. I’ve actually considered adding it to Pamper Parties Pittsburgh’s list of services.
To Prevent Damage from Gel Polish:
- DO NOT pick or tear the gel off. It is not polish. It is chemically bonded to your nail plate, and if you rip it off, it will remove layers of your natural nail.
- Did the nail technician file the surface of your nail with an electric file? This is not necessary for the application of ANY nail enhancement. If you go somewhere that does this, STOP going and find a new salon, preferably one that does all their filing by hand, as it is much more difficult to injure a nail with a hand file. If the tech did use an electric file on your nail plate, I suggest getting a Hair, Skin, and Nail vitamin now to try and salvage your nail’s strength. Once the Gel Polish is (properly) removed, use a strengthening base coat for a while to add protection until they heal.
- As long as the place you went seems legit, I would just go back there to have the Gel Polish removed. If they try to use an electric file to remove it, please request that they use a hand file and block buffer or acetone instead. If you’re having more Gel Polish applied, removal should be included in the cost of the service. If not, and you don’t want to pay a removal fee you can remove the Gel Polish at home. Most gel does not soak off with nail polish remover, but pure acetone (either professional grade from Sally’s or real acetone from the hardware store) may remove it. Use a rough nail file to go over the entire surface of the enhancement, and then soak 10 cotton balls in the acetone, place saturated cotton balls on your nails and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Leave nail wrapped like this for about 15 minutes. When you remove the wraps, your gel polish should slide right off. Not only does this method keep the harsh chemicals from damaging your skin, but also the foil traps body heat and acts as a catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction between the gel and the acetone, which causes the breakdown in the product. A block buffer will also take the gel off, but this will be a lot more work.
Now that you know the basics, you can decide for yourself whether Gel Polish is for you or not, but I definitely recommend it!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great weekend!
Categories: Hand, Foot, and Nail Care