There is something satisfying and beautiful about perfectly painted, chip-free nails. The ever trending gel and acrylic manicures seem to be the magical solution to all chipped manicure hurdles, but sadly, they eventually show signs of wear and tear after some time.
However, there are essential tips and tricks for making your gel or acrylic manicure last and ensure you’ll get the most out of them. Preventing your coated nails from growing and potentially chipping is inevitable but the good thing is you do get to control how much effort you put into upkeep if you maintain it well.
Gel and acrylic nails consume a lot of time during installation and they definitely require more upkeep than a regular polish manicure and will make your nails look exquisite and classy. Good maintenance of your newly beautified nails not only makes your manicured nails last longer but also maintains the health of your real nails, especially if you are too busy for doing regular manicures.
Before you learn how to sustain your beautiful nail art, its important to understand the differences between acrylic and gel nails because they vary in terms of application, comfort, durability, after-effects, and removal process.
Gel vs Acrylic nails
Acrylic and gel nails are enhanced artificial nails done in place of natural nails for protective purposes and a better appearance. Acrylic nail is a mixture of liquid and powder which are combined in your presence and shaped on top of your nails with a special brush. Each nail is painted with a base coat, nail polish color, and topcoat and then your nails are fan-dried. Gel nails usually provide a more glossy and natural look where your nails are polished with a coat of gel nail polish and cured under an ultra-violet lamp for a few minutes.
Appearance and durability-Gel nails tend to appear more natural and glossy as compared to acrylics. Acrylic nails, on the other hand, have a very solid build and look. They last longer if correctly applied and with properly cared for than the natural-looking gel nails. Gel polish can also be used directly or with nail extensions on your nail bed with the help of a primer while acrylic application involves molding extensions on top of your natural nails.
Application differences-Most gel applications involve curing under a UV lamp or some are cured with the help of a gel activator and do not require UV-light drying. The process takes longer than the acrylic application.
Removal processes-They both require professional help during removal for better results. Both are soaked off with cotton-filled acetone under an aluminum foil which dissolves them away in a short period. To keep your acrylic set looking good, you’ll have to retouch your nails after every few weeks. Once your acrylic nails are removed, you will have to wait for the damaged nails to grow out to get your nails back in shape. Gel nails can also be removed from home easily.
Comfort and flexibility-Some people dislike acrylic nails because of its stiffness and uneasiness that follows to the cuticle. Gel nails, on the other hand, take the shape of the nails and are more comfortable and flexible unless coated on top of acrylics. Acrylic nails also look thicker than gel nails any stress or pressure applied to them can hurt your natural nails.
Installation prices-Depending on your location, your nail technician will give you the prices of either gel and acrylic installation services. In Kenya, acrylics application generally cost more than gel nails.
After effects-In as much gel nails can be prone to peeling, they are known for their flexibility than acrylic nails and they won’t damage your natural nails. Acrylics are more challenging to remove without damaging your nail beds.
If you are a lover of natural nails, gel nails are a great way to go. They are also a great choice to help prevent your nails from getting damaged. If you are trying to avoid cracking or peeling from gel nail polish, acrylic nails will fit your beauty needs. It is, however, important to note that if either gel or acrylic nails are incorrectly applied, you run the risk of getting damaged nails overtime.
Hacks for Making Gel or Acrylic manicure last longer
Get the services from a good nail technician
The key to real-looking, long-lasting acrylics, and gel manicure is finding an experienced nail technician with excellent client referrals. Fish out information or client ratings about a nail technician’s work and the beauty spa you will be visiting.
Does his or her work fit your style and can they execute what you are looking for in your nail service? If your answer to these questions is yes, check the nail technician’s portfolio on Instagram or Facebook, and through this, you will be able to gauge their level of work and customer reviews.
A nail tech with great service and nail art will produce long-lasting acrylic or gel nails because they use quality products and tools designed for manicure and pedicure services.
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning
Protecting your hands and nails with rubber gloves when cleaning ensures less wear and tear on your nails when doing your routine household hygiene. The corrosive chemicals in certain cleaning products can weaken your beautiful gel and acrylic coating. Invest in protective rubber or silicone gloves if do regular household cleaning to prevent early damage.
Schedule for regular fills if you are an acrylic person
If you are a fan of acrylics, then you should commit yourself to regular fills. Make sure to schedule manicure appointments with your favorite nail technician every two to three weeks, depending on how your nail grows and your nail artist’s recommendation. If your nails grow out faster, you need regular nail appointments for filling. If you accidentally break your acrylic nails, please do not glue it back on yourself as it can cause bacteria or moisture to be trapped and build up under the enhancement.
Going longer than two weeks without filling in your acrylics will grow your natural nails out, making them easier to damage. Failing to keep up with your routine fills, will force your technician to break off your acrylics and start from scratch. This damages your nails in the long run.
Regularly moisturize your hands
Another useful tip is to apply nail oil or a good moisturizer regularly to keep the gel nails and acrylics hydrated to avoid chipping and cracking. Always remember to keep your entire hands and nails moisturized to lengthen the life of your artificial nails. Apply oil generously to your cuticles and nails to keep them soft and healthy and also keep your hands and fingers moisturized to prevent your nails from drying out and chipping off. Dry nails become flaky and cause the polish to come off prematurely. Apply cuticle oil regularly by brushing it on your cuticles and your skin around it to keep your nails moisturized.
Add a transparent or glitter top-coat nail polish
For your gel manicure, always top up with a transparent topcoat from a reputable brand. This prevents your polish from chipping and also acts as a barrier between your nails and external factors like water, chemicals, and friction from certain surfaces. Brushing a few coats of glitter polish on your nails will also extend the life of your gel manicure.
Avoid very hot water
A hot steamy shower may provide a relaxing feeling to your body but also has an effect on your artificial nail enhancements. Exposing your gel or acrylic nails to hot water for long periods of time either through showers or cleaning eventually lifts off the top coating of your gel or acrylic nails and it comes off or weakens your nails.
Avoid putting pressure or stress on your acrylic nails
If you opt to beautify your nails with acrylics, avoid putting stress or pressure on the nails by the use of your fingers as this may lead to breaking or cracking of the nail’s tips. Use your fingers carefully when going about your daily activities to prevent damage to your nail bed. Also, avoid actions that can damage the edge of the polish, scraping sticky labels off of surfaces and opening metallic cans.
Do not pick on your gel polish
The habit of picking and chewing your manicured nails is a sure way to land you back at your technician’s nail bar. The more you pick your polish, the thinner your nails become. If you notice any problems like cracking, peeling or chipping consult your technician for corrections on the problematic areas.
These tips will help you maintain your gel or acrylic nails for close to one month. It will also save you the time ,money, and energy of regularly visiting your favorite nail spa for a retouch and a new manicure altogether. Put them into practice and your nail art will be as good as new until you make a new appointment.