Choosing a manicure you’ll still love to see on your fingertips two weeks post-appointment comes with a laundry list of choices: funky nail design or solid color? Round or squoval nail shape? And the most fraught manicure choice of them all: shellac nails vs. a gel manicure?
Shellac nails and gel nails are crowd favorites for semi-permanent manicures. They’re both used by top nail artists and they’re both known for low-chip, long-lasting quality. But there’s a few minute differences that make shellac nails a better fit for some manicure lovers out there. Allow us to clear up the differences between shellac nails and gel nails—so you have one less thing to decide ahead of your next manicure.
Where shellac nails lost a half-point for chipping, they earn extra points back for a breezy removal process. Shellac nails can be removed with by a manicurist within five to fifteen minutes—without scraping, thanks to a special acetone-based remover made specifically for shellac polishes.
Gel nails aren’t known for stress-free removal. Peeling off a gel manicure can do serious damage to the surface of your nails—so it’s more common to have gel nails removed at the salon via a good, long acetone soak and scrupulous filing.
If you can’t make it into the salon for a professional removal, there are some at-home hacks for taking off a gel manicure. These DIY strategies, however, lose to shellac nails in a polish removal race.
As someone who can’t grow out their nails without breaking at least two of them along the way, I get jealous whenever I notice someone’s long, perfect, almond or square-shaped nails.
While some people are blessed with naturally strong nails, the ones I long for are often credited to the magic of acrylics. This faux nail method is ideal for those of us who want long nails, but can’t or maintain their ideal nail length or shape on their own. However, they’re not exactly effortless: Getting acrylic nails comes with a price tag, and the upkeep does, too. Additionally, acrylics can damage your nails if they’re done wrong.
When you’re getting a full set of acrylics, the nail technician will usually put on tips, or use nail forms to achieve a more natural look. It’s safe to get acrylics as often as you wish, but research nail technicians in your area so that you’re sure you go to someone who is properly trained and experienced in applying them.
“Acrylics should be removed by soaking each nail in acetone until the acrylic is soft enough to remove gently, iIt is best to have a professional remove them to avoid damage to your nail bed.”Ritha Marks
That was just the beginning of a massive popularity explosion. Within a few months, everyone I knew was extolling the virtues of gel — how long it lasts, how it resists chipping, how it stays beautiful through the rigors of even the most extreme polish-punishing scenarios. But like every seemingly too-good-to-be-true beauty craze (remember Brazilian blowouts?), the creeping discussions of the downsides were inevitable. People were worried the arduous removal process could damage the nail bed, were concerned over the UV polish-curing lights contributing to skin cancer and complained about the hassle of having to go to a salon for gel instead of quicker, cheaper DIY options.
One of the big question marks that drove some gel fans away was the fact that early gel formulas used UV lamps to cure and harden the gel into its magical shell-like state. In an age when tanning beds are fast going the way of the dodo, the idea of giving your fingertips a concentrated dose of UV light was a skin-care nut’s nightmare. Some argued that the added UV exposure was minor for the average salon-goer; others said that any amount of fingertip tanning was a health risk. The debate helped inspire the nail industry to move away from classic UV lamps toward faster-curing LED — but that switch may have been more of a matter of re-branding than a major technology revolution.
Removal has always been a sticking point on gel manis (quite literally speaking). Modern gels, known as soak-off gels, are typically removed via a soak in 100-percent acetone, whereas older versions required files to bare the nail. Unfortunately, some salons give the two formulations the same treatment, utilizing files and other tools to speed the removal of soak-off gels.
Fun fact: The skin on our feet can be up to 20 times thicker than anywhere else. To keep feet healthy and looking good, you need to follow three key steps, starting with the removal of any hard or dry skin.
To remove hard skin at home without any faff, try the Scholl Velvet Smooth Electronic Foot Care System. The extra coarse roller head removes hard skin that can build up as we pound the pavements, leaving your skin satisfyingly smooth.
Next step? Exfoliation. The Foot Care System also comes with a dry skin exfoliation brush, so you can then gently remove any remaining dry skin cells on your feet. If you follow this three-step routine at least every two weeks, you should stop any hard skin reappearing. Hey, flawless feet.
A gel pedicure is very similar—if not identical—to a gel manicure. “The basic outline is cutting the nails, lightly soaking the feet, cutting the cuticles, thorough cleaning, a callus treatment, a scrub and massage, followed by one base coat layer, two layers of color, and a top coat layer,” Amy Ling Lin, the founder of Sunday’s Nail Studio, says. After every layer of gel polish on the toenails, the feet are placed under a LED light for 30 seconds, or 60 to 90 seconds after the topcoat, she explains.
Just like any pedicure, your feet are treated before polish is painted on the nails. However, thanks to the LED light, you don’t have to worry about waiting for your nails to dry.
Pedicures are usually a little more pricey than a manicure. At Sunday’s Nail Studio, a 60-minute gel pedicure costs $70. The price of a pedicure really depends on your location, what’s included, and your technician’s skill level, but you can expect the treatment to fall in the $40 to $80 range.
“There’s just less wear and tear on your toes, even if you’re on your feet all day.”Gretha Suns
Professionals often cover the nails in an acetone-soaked cotton ball and aluminum foil. After the foil is removed, the gel should then slide off. Any remaining polish is usually gently filed off the nail bed.
Few things are more personal—and yet, also universal—than nail polish. Everyone has something that calls to them, whether it be a classic (Topless and Barefoot, Big Apple Red), a color all over Instagram (slime green), or a dark and moody hue (navy, deep wine) that’s as sophisticated as it is cool. More times than not though, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for the same old bottle every time you set foot in a salon. Sure, having a signature is great, but why not branch out? The best place to start: Going with the most popular nail colors of the moment.
Looking to the runways is a great indicator for fresh color inspiration, but if you want to know the top-trending shades right this minute, there’s no better place to look than the salons across the country. We checked out local hot spots from Seattle to Boston, in search of most popular nail colors going into 2020. Take a cue from this list the next time you book an appointment.
“Gel nail polish is set or cured with ultraviolet light. Think of the light as baking the polish into the nails. The problem is that ultraviolet light is essentially sunlight and sunlight causes skin cancer” Dr Susan Taylor. WWWOOWW, that’s all I gotta say. Let’s get serious for a moment, they are claiming they are like small tanning beds? New research shows this is a crock. There is no research what-so-ever that shows correlation between the two women’s skin cancer on their hands and UV light from nail salons. The bulbs used in UV nail lamps contain special internal filters that remove almost all UVB which means they are less damaging then natural sunlight. The amount it exposes you to is the equivalent to spending 17-26 extra SECONDS outside a day between nail appointments. Test results show that UVA exposure for client skin is equivalent to spending an extra 1.5 to 2.7 minutes in sunlight each day between salon visits. Those tests are from what an AVERAGE person spends outside a day. Personally, I’m well over the average daily sun exposure and I bet if you looked it up you are too.
So there has been a lot of hype lately about gel polish and all the horrible things it does to your nails and then there are the people who rant and rave about them. Due to this I have decided to do a page on both aspects of Gel polish.I read article after article on gel polish and I have to tell you some of them are a complete joke. I feel like some of them were written just to get a rise out of people. I will tell you I do get gel manicures, that doesn’t mean my opinion is biased, it just means I read both sides and made an informed decision. That is not saying my opinion is right, it’s just mine.All that being said, just like with anything in life the bad comes with the good, but it doesn’t always outweigh it. To be bluntly honest I think they only reason people believe all his hype is because they are naive on the subject, they read about chemicals, damage, light, cancer, and instantly go “OMG this must be bad, I’ll never get a gel manicure.” That’s kinda like when the mechanic gets you to buy car parts you don’t need because he knows your not fully versed on
If you’re a nail polish freak like me, your collection is always growing, maybe even to massive proportions. Even if you have every single shade that has ever existed—what does it matter if you can’t find the color you’re looking for among the chaos?
The mere thought of trying to organize the avalanche of bottles all over your floor or in your vanity drawer might seem overwhelming, but have no fear! We have five ideas for making your beloved collection more user-friendly, so you can have your favorite Cult Nails Lacquer right there and ready at a moment’s notice.
Salon Wall Rack
You know those handy clear acrylic polish racks you see at professional nail salons? You can buy them on Amazon. Some might think such a solution is out of place in a humble abode, but not me! This is how I organize my personal mani collection. I like wall-mounted racks because they don’t take up floor space, or much space at all. They’re easy to assemble, and it’s fun to pretend like you have your own personal in-house spa! Maybe next I’ll get one of those Nagel-esque decals on my window.
A two or three-tiered dessert tray is a cute, distinctive way to display your polishes. You can find these at any store that sells kitchen goods, on Amazon, and you might also be able to score one at a garage sale or a thrift store. We highly encourage customizing a second-hand tray with spray paint, glitter(!), or decoupage.
Vintage Train Case
If you prefer your polishes to stay out of the way, a vintage train case can be a fun option. Thrift stores and flea markets are both great sources, and you can also find them on Etsy. And bonus: your collection will be instantly portable!