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Can someone tell me about gel nails?

(19 Posts)
Hassled Sun 25-Nov-12 14:51:42

As if to a very stupid child - I know nothing about this stuff.
Basically - I want nice nails but am too lazy to do much about it at home. They currently look shit. When they get too long I bite off the excess, and that's the extent of my regime.

So gel nails - basically fake nails over the top of my existing nails and a standard length? Is that right? What happens when my actual nails grow longer than the fake bits? How long do they last - if I get it done next week will they still be there at Christmas? How do you get them off? Does it feel weird?

emsyj Sun 25-Nov-12 15:41:34

You might get some informative answers from nail technicians if you post in the "Consumer Queries" section of salongeek - here:

I've only ever had acrylics (done with liquid & powder application). I quite liked them, but I'm too tight and too lazy to keep them up. They grow out with your real nail as your own nail grows, so you get a piece of nail coming up from the cuticle end and you an have them infilled after about 2 weeks to cover this bit up. Then when you want a new set, you have them soaked off in acetone and get a new lot applied. I imagine gels look and feel similar, but I'm not sure as not had them.

I got used to them quite quickly. You can have them done to any length you like.

If your own nails are of a length that you're happy with, you could consider having Shellac or Gelish, where a coat like nail polish is applied, then cured under a UV lamp so that it should last without chipping for about 2-3 weeks. Then you have it soaked off and can choose a new colour. You can get a French manicure design done with these types of manicure, which looks nice. They cannot add length to your nail though, but they protect your own nails so they might grow longer if you have regular treatments. Sounds as though your nails do grow, so you might like this option as it feels and looks just like wearing nail polish but without the maintenance.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 25-Nov-12 15:51:36

Lurkity lurk. My DM would like these for her birthday in a fortnight.

tharsheblows Sun 25-Nov-12 15:54:20

I had gel nails done a couple of months ago. They looked good, if a bit different than regular polish. They didn't have any drying time except for the quick cure under the UV light and they never chipped. But my nails grow fast so they didn't look great for long - polish grows up with the nail, so there was an unpolished bit at the bottom as soon as they started growing. I also managed to stain them eating curry (yes, yes, I'm messy, it was at home in front of the tv though, not sure if that makes it better or worse).

And you can't just take them off, they need to be soaked off. I did it myself by soaking them in acetone and then peeling / chipping off. Probably not recommended, except that I couldn't be bothered to go back in and pay for them to be taken off.

I know they work for some people - a friend of mine loves them and they look fab - but they don't work for me. If you want to get them done for Christmas, then do them the week before, but any earlier than that and you risk them growing up too much.

Earlybird Sun 25-Nov-12 16:02:51

My impression is you only do them if you intend to keep on doing them. Not a one-off sort of thing.

I think I am correct in saying that acrylic nails need to be 'touched up' about twice a month, and that gel nails can have a slightly longer gap in between (3 weeks). But, I think gels are more expensive than acrylic.

But, I could be wrong. smile Hopefully someone with real knowledge will post soon.

tharsheblows Sun 25-Nov-12 16:06:35

Hi Olivia! If you get her the gel nails, then get the removal, too and ask if she can put it towards a manicure if she wants to get them again.

I had the gel nail polish - I'm not sure if that's what you meant or if I used "gel nails" correctly - they weren't artificial nails.

MrsEddChina Sun 25-Nov-12 16:09:03

I had them for my wedding last year, had grown my own nails and wanted a professional finish on them. Looked lovely for about a week then the gel started cracking. After 2 weeks the cracking was really bad and as my nails grow quickly there was a fair amount of regrowth before we got back off our honeymoon. Soaked them off myself and they ruined my natural nails, only recently have they grown to what they were.

Not sure if this is normal or I was just unlucky but I would stick to acrylic or get gel done again ifmimwant to start my nails from scratch afterwards.

emsyj Sun 25-Nov-12 16:09:57

There is a difference between gel extensions and 2 week manicure type gel polish, which cannot add length to the nail. Here's some info from Sali Hughes about the gel manicure (non-lengthening, not extensions) type treatments:

Ruprekt Sun 25-Nov-12 16:10:35

I used to bite my nails until August of this year when I started having Shellac nails.

It is just a nail varnish which lasts 3 weeks with no chippings.

My nails have grown because I dont bite them anymore and I get loads of compliments about them for the first time in my life!!

Rosa Sun 25-Nov-12 16:13:29

HAve had them twice and unless you plan on keeping having them don't as when you eventually take them off they ruin the nail bed...Thsi might not be the same for all brands but the 2 I have tried certainly did/ do. When I had them regularly for about 18 mths I loved them . Removed them when dd1 was born and it took ages before they returned to normal.
Just had gel taken off and nice nail lady decided to give me some nail stregth stuff between doing the nails as mine were so weak. Its been 2/3 weeks and they are still weak and keep breaking and cracking.
I am going to try Shellac next time as have heard is much better and damages your nails less.... I do like a good looking nail.....

tharsheblows Sun 25-Nov-12 16:21:45

Thanks emsyj - the gel nail polish that Sali Hughes mentioned is what I had. Mine only looked good for a little over a week though before the growing out became a bit weird looking.

Hassled Sun 25-Nov-12 16:23:03

Many, many thanks - it sounds like a decent manicure and then Shellac is the way to go. I don't like the sound of them growing up with my nails and then faffing about with infill - my whole motivation is not to have to faff about at all.

cutemariawatson Thu 25-Sep-14 11:43:06

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

sweetheart Thu 25-Sep-14 11:57:21

I have had gel nails done several times - various different brands. They pain the varnish on the same as usual but cure it under a UV lamp which makes it set immediately - no wet nails, hooray!

You should get them soaked off properly otherwise you do run the risk of damaging your nails underneath.

Gel nail varnish is not for making your nails longer - just a varnish that lasts longer without chipping. As your nails grown there will be visible re-growth at the bed of the nail.

I brought my own kit from Boots called Sensationail. It was on offer when I got it for £45 and for nearly as much as a salon charges you can do your own nails several times.

Fabulassie Thu 25-Sep-14 12:55:31

Hello Zombie Thread!

I got gel nails a few months ago but the salons I was going to filed them off. DON'T LET THEM DO THAT. It will mess up your nails. They have to be soaked off (usually with little aluminium envelopes on your fingertips.)

I was so turned off by the whole experience (even though they can be soaked off) that I have gone back to regular nail polish. I go to a very good salon where I bought a bottle of the colour I wanted. I can touch them up myself and go back when my cuticles need professional attention, again. About as frequently as gel nails, I guess, only cheaper and I feel more in control of them.

selinapaus Mon 22-Jun-15 23:32:56

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MrsTattoo Tue 23-Jun-15 02:15:56

Hi hassled grin

I am a gel nail tech so hopefully can shed some light.

You can have 3 different types of gel nails/extentions.

1 - gel polish (any colour/design) painted on as normal to your natural nail, cured by a UV light - usually 2/3mins per coat of paint. This is good for helping your nails grow out, if you like shorter nails or if you want them to look as natural as possible. Depending on how quick your nails grow these can last upto 6 weeks without chipping/looking worn but would recommend redoing every 3weeks to keep them looking smart.

2 - false tips (plastic) are stuck to your natural nail and then cut and filed to your chosen length and shape then built up with a uv gel and painted with uv polish. This process takes a little while longer as you are adding the tips unlike directly onto natural nail.

3 - No fake tips stuck to your nail but length added by building a false nail from the uv gel instead. Follewed again by uv polish in any colour/design of your choice.

Any of these options will 'grow out' as your natural nail grows but is no different to how your nails would look wearing normal polish and growing.

I generally do my clients every 4 weeks, some of them every 2-3 if their nails grow quick. I do my own anywhere between every 2-5 weeks depending.

If you decide you no longer want the polish all you have to do is gently buff/fule the polish to take the shine off, dunk a cotton wool ball in some acetone, place it over the nail, use a small square of foil and wrap it over your finger tip as tight as possible to hold the wool in place, leave for 10minutes and then wipe away the polish. If it doesnt come off after that time just repeat the process until it is removed.

If good quality products are used, a primer and no files/drills it really should not affect your natural nails strength that much.

I would suggest looking on google/instagram/pintrest for UV nail art to get some ideas of what is possible - most of my clients are always coming to me with new design ideas.

Sorry for the essay, but hope it helps! grin

tellmemore1982 Tue 23-Jun-15 04:29:06

I have very little time for treatments as have 3mo and 3yo.

Had gel nails done as a treat thinking they would be low maintenance way of having nice nails for longer.

They lasted a week before the re growth looked awful (I used to get weekly manicures) and then I had to sit there for a bloody hour whilst they tried to take them off again. An hour of precious me time away from young kids just to have my nail surfaces wrecked as they tried to get the awful stuff off.

Will never have them again. Buy a decent quick dry top coat, always buff before painting, seal ends, paint at bedtime. That's my plan now.

RavioliOnToast Tue 23-Jun-15 06:29:04

I applied gel extensions on myself (self taught) and a gel colour too, I've got a nude colour called 'rosie anna' on, this means I can paint over it if I fancy with normal polish and then remove with acetone free Polish remover and voila my nails are still done. I did this as a bit of a pick me up as I've felt like shit for the last few months and wanted to feel a bit better about myself (which having my nails done always seems to do) I like em.

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