Gel polish isn’t the enemy, a poor application and removal processes is!
Have you ever heard someone say, “I love gel polish because it lasts but it TOTALLY destroys my nails”? Maybe you’ve even been the person to say that. Listen, we get it. Nail techs aren’t taught in school how to properly use gel polish, and because of that… many of them simply don’t know the right or wrong way. Additionally, people are LAZY (yes, I said it) and even if the nail tech knows the correct way, she’s probably working in an assembly-line-type shop (you know, the ones I’ve described in previous posts) therefore she’s taking the easy way out and simultaneously damaging your nails! Yay! Just kidding. Gel polish has to be one of the most misunderstood products in the nail industry and today I’ll share the right way it should be applied, as well as debunk some other gel polish myths… like, did you know that Shellac is the same thing as gel polish? It just happened to be one of the first (and therefore most well-known) brands! Not to put too heavy an emphasis on this point but its like how people often refer to “facial tissue” as “kleenex” but in reality Kleenex is a brand of facial tissues. Okay, you get it.
The consensus seems to be that the actual removal of the gel polish (not necessarily the gel polish itself) is where clients become increasingly worried of the damage done to their nails. Let me depict what one typically experiences when heading into other nail shops:
Use of a drill to remove gel polish even though this should ONLY be done on fake nails; the drill used on natural nails roughs them up which then causes the gel polish to seep into the damaged nail plate once reapplied making it even more difficult to remove next time and usually stains the nail in the process
Perhaps I’m stating the obvious but the first bullet point happens because either 1) a lack of knowledge, 2) a lack of care, or 3) trying to speed up the process and being too lazy to follow the proper steps which take a bit more time… ANY ONE OF THESE REASONS IS UNACCEPTABLE
Nails/fingers are submerged and soaked in a bowl of acetone (I don’t know about you but the ridiculous desert scape that is my fingers after this process lets me know it is probably not good for you... highly unrecommended if that's a thing)
Nail tech then scrapes the crap out of your nails (ouch!) trying to remove the gel polish
The end. Your nails are now trashed.
Side note: you too can ruin your nails in the gel polish removal process before you even enter the shop as you may feel the urge to peel off the gel because perhaps it is fun or the gel becomes annoying or whatever the reason may be… but please stop! This habit is also terrible for your nails!
If you’ve never seen gel polish removed in the manner I’ve listed below… perhaps you’re going to the wrong nail shop… The CORRECT way to remove gel polish:
Lightly buff off the top coat to break the seal (notice, no use of a drill), but careful to not file too much and hit the client’s nail plate
Place acetone soaked cotton balls onto the nails then wrap in foil; this process helps to break down the gel making it easy to come off without damaging the nails
That’s it. Easy right?
Now I should clear something up however, just because your nails might look damaged once the foil is removed, they aren’t! If the steps were properly followed, the only thing you may notice is dryness in both your cuticles and nails and they simply need to be rehydrated by your nail tech during your manicure/while prepping your nails.
So how should your nails be properly prepped for gel polish you ask?
Lightly buff the nail plate to smooth any imperfections
Clean up the cuticles
Dehydrate the nail plate of any oils to create a clean canvas for the gel polish
“And just out of curiosity, what’s the process of applying the gel polish?”
ALWAYS use a gel base coat; there’s products that claim to be all-in-one base coat, color, and top coat… and that’s just not true
Apply two layers of gel color
Apply gel top coat
Now I did mention earlier that after removing gel polish your nails should look great just like they did before having gel polish. BUT, if your nails were already weak and brittle you really can’t expect a miracle when the gel polish is removed. However, we have a solution. We suggest using an IBX strengthening treatment (offered here at Charme Studio.) I’m not a scientist so explaining HOW this process actually happens is not my strong suit, but I’ve used it a ton and know it works and here’s what I’m told it does: it actually fuses all of the nail’s imperfections together creating a perfect canvas for the gel polish to adhere to! If you want to read more, click here. We particularly like to use it with gel polish because the gel acts as another barrier to protect the nails therefore clients see natural growth. Though we suggest using IBX at least once per month because it works SO well, for best results get it at every visit.
“I think I’m sold, but there’s so many brands to choose from… does it matter which one I pick?” Actually, yes it does matter. At Charme Studio we try all of the products on ourselves before using on our clients; that means for gel polish we test the application process, wear time, and removal process. We want to be able to stand behind everything we carry 120%! Lechat Perfect Match is our all-time favorite gel polish brand. Not only is the application always smooth and we rarely see bubbling, they also have matching regular polish for the toes (unless you prefer gel polish on hands and feet.) Our next favorite gel polish is Gelish which also is easily applied with little to no imperfections. Both brands have comparable wear times and an easy removal process. In other shops clients need to be careful that the techs aren’t using cheap brands that tend to bubble, have a short wear time, and are difficult to remove.
At Charme we have over 500 colors of gel polish and know you’ll absolutely love it when it is both applied and removed correctly. We pride ourselves in being able to recreate the fun artistic nail designs you can find on Pinterest! So, next time you’re in the mood for lasting nail art, bring in a photo and we will see what we can do! And if you prefer something a little more simple, we would be happy to simply provide a gel polish manicure done right!