I've always been slightly obsessed with my fingernails and have spent a king's ransom in manicures over the years. I love how clean and - well, polished - my hands look after a professional manicure. I recently tried the new Gel Manicures that are becoming all the rage.
A gel manicure is a type of manicure that uses gel to bind the synthetic fingernails to the natural nails. Unlike acrylic nails, another option for manicures, gel nails are stronger and less likely to chip. Gel can also be applied over natural nails. A gel manicure is often preferred over an acrylic one because gel nails are odorless. Gel nails do not consist of the same acid as acrylic nails. Additionally, a gel manicure tends to look more realistic, as the gel nails are more flexible and bond naturally to the real nail. Gel nails do not need lift, polish or backfills. These fingernails stay shiny and last longer than acrylic nails.
What is great about Gel Manicures is A) The polish lasts for about 2 weeks and looks fresh the entire time, B) Your nails are like kryptonite, with no chips or tears or splits, and C) Because the polish is dried with UV lights you are totally dry after the last bake under the UV. No dry time, no smudges, just beautiful, rock hard nails as you exit the salon. Gel Nails hold up to any household chore you can throw at them: laundry, dishes, cleaning, manual labor... The problem with gel manicures is A) They are expensive, B) You can only get the gel off in a salon after drowning your nails in chemicals for about 20+ minutes, and C) After 2 weeks and a long chemical soak, your nails look weak and unhealthy, almost compelling you to get another Gel Manicure to cover up nasty ragged mess left behind.
Most nail salons in the Boston and Metro area now offer gel manicures, but you may want to call ahead and make sure that your favorite salon offers it, and that one of their nail technicians has been taught how to properly apply the gel. OPI and CND Shellac offer a wide selection of gel colors (personally I think the darker shades look better if you're going gel.)
I liked my experience with Gel Nails, and will probably get another one in a few weeks once I am done with the seasonal ritual of spring cleaning, which negates the purpose of a manicure in the first place, but all in all, I think I'll stick to natural nails and traditional manicures. They just seem healthier, and better for your nails in the long run.
Have you tried Gel Manicures? How was your experience? Leave us a comment and tell us about it...