5 Things You Need to Know Before Getting Gel Nail Polish

I was clueless about the miracle that was Gel nail polish until about two months ago, when I started planning for our annual company Christmas party. It was also very fortunate for me to find that a local salon near my place offers a promo for an ORLY Gel Mani-Pedi for only Php 600. Normally, other salons offer it at Php 600 for a gel mani, or a gel pedi, but never both. I couldn’t pass up on the chance to finally try it out, and so I did!

For those asking which salon this was, it’s called Cre8 Salon. It has a number of branches in Metro Manila, and they usually offer store-wide promos. I didn’t enjoy the cleaning process very much, a bit painful, but that’s a review for another time. For now, let me just share these five essential information you need to know before you try out Gel Manicures.

Gel manicures seem like the best thing ever since sliced bread, but they’re not perfect. However, before I go into the flaws of gel nail polish, allow me to share with you what I loved about it. I’m a big klutz, and I have been, on several occasion, ruined my manicure even before the nail technician has had a chance to finish them. Regular nail polish lasts a few good days on me before they chip, but sometimes, just a few hours at most before dents and marks form on the surface. With gel nail polish though, it’s totally different. Two weeks pass, and not a dent or scratch on the surface. It is, as they say, practically bullet-proof.

But when things are too good to be true, they probably are. Here are just some of the things I’ve discovered through my first-hand experience and research on gel nail polish:

1. They’re expensive to maintain. I was lucky I spotted the promo, but they can get expensive to maintain as compared to regular nail polish. Even the removal process is quite costly! At the same salon where I got my gel mani-pedi, they charge 150 for hands and an extra 150 for the toes for gel polish removal. That’s almost half of what they charged me for the gel mani-pedi service! However, if you’re having it replaced with fresh gel polish, they will only charge Php 100 for both hands and feet. Since it can burn a hole in your wallet pretty quickly, it might be best to reserve gel polish for special occasions.

Service Rates of gel nail polish as offered by top nail salons in Metro Manila:

  1. Beauty and Butter: Gel Mani (700), Gel Pedi (900), Gel Polish Removal (200)
  2. Mich and Myl Nails: Gel Mani (780), Gel Pedi (820), Gel Removal (350)
  3. Nail Tropics: Gel Mani (650), Gel Pedi (680), Gel Mani-Pedi (1300), Gel Removal (200/ 350 both)
  4. I Do Nails: Gel Mani (700), Gel Pedi (750), Gel Mani-Pedi (1400), Gel Removal (200/ 350 both)
  5. St. Nails: Gel Mani (600), Gel Pedi (750), Gel Mani-Pedi (1300), Gel Removal (200)

2. UV Gel Lamps can be dangerous for your skin. While it has not yet been conclusively proven that UV causes cancer, anyone who has cancer in the family must be more cautious around the use of UV lights. We can’t rally tell for sure if the UV lamps in salons are safe. It has also been shown that UV rays can cause premature skin aging — think wrinkles, increased dryness, among other signs. Ask for the LED option to err on the safe side.

3. Most of the time, nail techs forget to talk about nail care at home (which is a must, BTW). Gel polish can be extremely drying to the nail beds, so utmost importance is required to maintain the health of your nails. Regular application of Vitamin E or Apricot oil can do wonders in keeping your nails strong and healthy.

4. Removing gel nail polish can be a bitch. Aside from the fact that just removing them costs money, the whole removal process is also a pain. It can damage your nail beds and skin around it when done improperly and harshly. I’ve also thought about DIY removal at home, but locally, I can’t find a gel polish remover. It’s not as common as acetone, it seems. When all else fails, don’t ever resort to peeling them off. Take it from me because I’ve done it and I regret it. Chipping off the nail polish manually causes tons of damage to the surface of your nails. Since the polish bonds a little too well with the surface of the nails, parts of your nail can peel off along with it should you attempt to peel the polish. It’s not a very pretty sight, believe me.

From IG: @laura_nails_studio

5. You need to give your nails time to recover before having another round of gel mani. Allow your nails to repair and rehydrate, so be willing to go au naturale for a week or two.

With all these things to consider, I can honestly say that I’ll still be getting gel mani-pedis in the near future! How about you? Do you still prefer gel nail polish over the regular nail polish? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with me in the Comments section below!-HANA

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