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Whether you’re a beauty novice or a confirmed fashionista, this topic is for consulting Mumsnetters on all things style-related. Plus, check out our Swears By page for the inside track on the next Mumsnet must-have.


(14 Posts)
TeaOneSugar Wed 06-Jul-11 20:18:03

can someone explain gel nails to me please?

I'm thinking of having a set before we go on holiday, I've had acrylics before but only once years ago and they didn't last long enough to get into maintenance.

How long should they last before I need to get infills? and then how often will I have to have them replaced?

Will I be able to change the polish myself or will I need have them done at the nail bar everytime?

MissFoodie Thu 07-Jul-11 12:48:04

the infill will depend on how fast your nails grow - I do mine every 2 weeks as they grow quite fast, but I managed to get away with 3 weeks with a clear french as you couldn't see the difference between the gel and the new nail.
you can remove at home but not re do.
They are def worth it for me as a normal mani only lasts 3-4 days before chipping, but I use a keyboard all day...!

sedgiebaby Thu 07-Jul-11 13:11:46

I've had extensions, gel/acrylic/fiber glass in the past but due to the time/expense/concerns about hygiene and nail damage, I've come to the conclusion that the nicest is definitely shortish, oval shape brightly coloured (natural) nails. If you use a fast dry top coat (nails inc caviar 45 second or seche vite) polish changes are really fast to do yourself.

If you just want a manicure that looks great and really last and does not have the nail damage or maintenance that extensions can require what about this as a suggestion, I've not tried it but it sounds really interesting:

MissFoodie Thu 07-Jul-11 14:50:28

that is gel............!

EveryonesJealousOfGingers Thu 07-Jul-11 15:02:43

MissFoodie I don't think that is the same as normal gel nails.

sedgie it sounds fab! The thickness of gel nails gets a bit grim after a while and mine were wrecked after I had them soaked off. But my nails are really weak and crap and the only times I have ever had long nails were when I had gels, and also weirdly for the first 3 months of DDs life. Just when I wanted long nails confused

fglitter Thu 07-Jul-11 15:49:38

Just had shellac nails for first time...amazing. Lasted nearly three weeks (I am v clumsy and there was just a tiny amount of wear to tips). Lovely range of colours and v glossy finish.

CND/shellac isn't the same as gel nails, it's not a layer like acrylic/gel but a polish painted onto nails that is alternated with layers of clear shellac polish that is activated with a UV light to harden. Takes a while to do but well worth it.

My nails have never been so strong - they usually chip really easily. It seems to have given them the chance to grow without the usual chips etc. Would definitely recommend. Just taken mine off but booked in to have them redone before Aug hols.

MissFoodie Thu 07-Jul-11 16:14:23

Shellac is the same as Cal Gel et al - is brilliant
I've had it for a year and never had any damage to my nails, have also removed myself when needed!

MABS Thu 07-Jul-11 16:35:39

love Shellac, really great

nokissymum Thu 07-Jul-11 16:46:32

Do they do this "shellac" at all nail salons ? Never seen it at mine.

TeaOneSugar Thu 07-Jul-11 17:31:28

Thanks for all your replies, I don't think the nail bar near work does shellac, or at least they don't call it that, it's just "Gel powder" or "acryllic".

sedgiebaby tbh my nails at the moment are exactly that short, square and brightly coloured and I have to say they do look lovely and I've had lots of compliments today. It was only £10 for a manicure and polish, so I'm tempted to stick with it and not get into the whole thing.

But then again a colleague came in today with lovely long french polished gel nails and I was envy.

Someone else however, has just had gel nails taken off and they've totally wrecked her natural nail.

decisions, decisions, decisions.

MissFoodie Fri 08-Jul-11 16:49:37

Sedgie, that is NOT gel and yes, anything that involves something being mixed with powder will wreck your nails!

The gel is available by other brands, check out: if you can't find Shellac then try CalGel, Magnetic or BioGel. OPI also do one, cant remember the name though, but either way, ensure it is a gel they paint on and cure under UV, nothing else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ENormaSnob Fri 08-Jul-11 18:27:35

I have had quite a few sets of nails on.

Gel looks nice but doesn't last as well as acrylic ime.

Both wreck your own nails for a while though.

MissFoodie Fri 08-Jul-11 19:14:05

I disagree - yes acrylics are the most hard wearing but I'm on a computer all day long and my gels last up to 3 weeks without any chips.
And more importantly, they DO NOT damage nails like acrylic, I have had mine for over a year, full time, and soaked them off a few times in between infills and my nails were perfect underneath. I even went a few days without varnish before having gel reapplied.
If they are applied properly and the brand is reputable, they should not damage your nails.

fglitter Fri 08-Jul-11 20:49:15

Shellac isn't that widespread but people do it - I had a local mobile beautician do mine. Cost £18 for manicure with shellac. Think you can get french mani for a little more.

You should be able to find someone who does it if you google for your local area. Is also known as CND/gel polish and other descriptions... Might be worth a try for the short term if you're not sure whether to go with gels? If my nails are anything to go by it will help them to grow.

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