There’s a reason why gel nail polish is a popular manicure of choice – it’s virtually indestructible, glossy, and offered at every nail salon. Gel polishes grasp the nail tighter than traditional nail polish and are strong enough to stand up to daily wear and tear. Nowadays, you can easily make your own gel manicure using gel nail kits that you can buy online. This has made gel polishes and gel manicures really accessible.
And when your nails grow out, you don’t need to go to the salon to have your gel manicure filled or refreshed. You can do it at home. After one to two weeks, your gel manicure is still looking shiny and chip-free. Except that you most likely have the nail equivalent of “roots.” Your nails grow out, and there’s an obvious area lacking gel polish. It’s not cute. But it doesn’t mean you have to soak off your gel manicure completely and start over.
If your nails are still in relatively good condition with minimal chips, there’s an easy way to refresh them without removing them and starting all over from scratch.
Refreshing your Gel Manicure
1. Prepare your nails first.
- The first thing to do when filling in or refreshing your nails is to prepare them for better results instead of just adding more product to the unfilled portion of your nails. Here’s how you can prepare your nails:
- If you’re using a UV lamp, apply sunscreen to your hands first. If you’re using LED, skip it.
- Your nails will probably be longer if it’s been a week or two since your original application. File or trim your nails to the desired length and shape using a 180-grit file.
- Gently push the cuticles back using a cuticle pusher.
- Gently buff off the top coat of your gel nails using a file. Try to remove all the shine and blend the line where the gel meets the nail until it’s flush. Make sure you’re holding your file parallel to the nail and take care that you’re only filling the gel and not your actual nail.
- Use a buffer to go around the cuticle area to remove all the shine from the natural nail. This process is done because the gel won’t stick to a shiny surface.
- Remove the dust and oil with an alcohol-soaked lint-free wipe. You may want to do this twice to ensure all oils are gone.
2. Apply gel product to the nails as you normally would.
- Apply your gel cuticle to the entire nail. Carefully seal the edges first. Get as close to the cuticle as possible but take care not to touch it.
- Cure it for a minute under a UV lamp. Make sure you follow the recommended curing time under your chosen lamp.
- Use a clean, dry, lint-free wipe to remove the tacky layer. The nails should now look glossy.
- Apply the desired number of coats of your nail gel polish to the entire nail. Depending on the color, you need two to three coats, and curing times may vary on the brand you choose. Remember that gels will be sticky and will have a tacky layer after the colored gel has cured. This is normal, so don’t touch or remove the tacky layer just yet.
- Apply a sealer and cure it for two to three minutes under a UV lamp.
- Using an alcohol-soaked, lint-free wipe, remove the tacky layer after the sealer has cured.
3. Repeat the procedure on the other hand, and you’re done.
Tips to Keep Nail Manicure Longer
Now that you know how to refresh your gel nail manicure, you may also want to make sure that it lasts as long as it possibly can. Here are some tips on how to keep make your nail manicure last longer:
1. Always follow curing times.
Gels may appear as if they are hard and glossy when you’ve cured them for as little as half the time the manufacturers suggested. In order for the gel nail polish to remain long-lasting and chip-free, they need to be cured for at least 90% for optimal longevity and durability. Don’t be tempted to finish curing very early – be patient to get the best results.
2. Position hands properly under the lamp.
Make sure your hands are positioned correctly under your curing lamp. Your fingers must lay totally flat under the curing lamp without bending and cramping up to maximize the full capacity of the curing process.
3. Keep your nail surface clean.
Before you start your manicure, make sure your hands are scrupulously clean before you start. Any bits of dirt and debris can find their way into your gel polish, which may cause chipping. Wash your hands before a manicure, and make sure your nails have a smooth surface. Remove any flakes of skin and any old polish. As you paint your gel polish, make sure you correct any drips or flakes.
4. Don’t pick or peel your original gel manicure.
When you have your gel manicure on, avoid the temptation to pick on or peel any of your original gel manicures. Nails that have been abused in this way will struggle to bond with the gel polish, which may result in a manicure that chips and doesn’t last the usual length of time a gel polish should.
5. Avoid negative habits.
Keep your nails and hands healthy by keeping away from bad habits like picking, peeling, or using your nails as tools. We’ve all used them to pick at something we shouldn’t, but if you’re wearing a gel manicure – or any manicure for that matter – you really need to avoid doing that to ensure the long life of your lovely and glossy manicure.
6. Avoid using gel manicures on peeling nails.
Make sure your nails are in good health before having a gel manicure. Gel polish can only beautify and not fix any problems that you may have with your nails.