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Are gel manicures safe for your nails?

By Charlotte Painter, November 17 2020

This question is the oldest one in the book, I suppose it’s the same as asking “is it safe to dye your hair?”


I guess these are answers that vary from person to person, to facts, to preferences. Personally, I’m yet to have a bad experience with gel nails.


So, what’s the difference between gel and normal nail varnish? 


Regular nail polish has its benefits: it’s less heavy on the nail; it doesn’t cost as much  and you can do it from the comfort of your home. The main issue people have with regular polish is that it doesn’t last long as a gel manicure would. 


Whether you’re someone who loves to treat themselves, loves the finish of gel polish or just doesn’t want to have to think about their nails for the next 2 weeks, then gel nails are the ones for you. 

After all, why pay top-notch, if your nails are going to chip in minutes?


 Are gel manicures safe?                                                   

There isn’t a clear definition to whether gel nails are safe. It more often than not depends on how you use them. For instance, if your nail bed and cuticles aren’t dried properly before the gel application, then, not only will the polish not last as long, but it means that the extra moisture stays under the gel polish which has potential to cause infection. 

Another thing would be ensuring you take off the gel polish correctly. Many people start picking it off instead of getting it professionally removed; however, this damages and weakens your natural nail. It’s best to return after a couple of weeks and have a nail technician remove them for you. 

A gel manicure is in no way bad for your nails, but I do recommend having a break  every 6 weeks to let the natural nail breathe. 

Different types of gel


Before posing the question, it’s important to be sure you know what gel you are talking about. Essentially, there are 3 types of gels that you can get on your nails: hard gel, soft gel and regular gel polish. 

Hard gel: 

Hard gel is more durable and adds extra length to your nails. It requires to be professionally applied and taken off by a nail technician, but lasts a fairly long time. Hard gel is very similar to acrylic nails; however, they’re just a bit less damaging. 

Soft gel: 

Soft gel can be soaked off by acetone. As such, it creates a form of long-lasting, professionally, always-glossy nails which are considered less heavy on the nail.  It lasts about 2-3 weeks and helps add shape to your natural nails, especially if they’re on the shorter side. 

Gel polish:

Gel nail polishes are the most common. It’s easily applied like a regular polish to your natural nails and gets cured under UV lights or LED which takes about 30 seconds. Due to the quick drying of this polish, it has become a lot more popular than a classic manicure, lasting about 2 weeks. 

Constantly having polish on your nails can be bothersome to your natural nail which is why technicians always recommend having a break every now and then to let them breathe. But what’s beauty and confidence without a little colour on your nail and why wouldn’t you want to make it last with a gel manicure?


Knowing when to take a break: 

Healthy nails usually have white tips, pink-ish nail beds and noticeable cuticles. They feel durable and polish doesn’t chip as easily. If you notice that your nails are feeling weaker, they’re chipping more and are discoloured, then it’s time to take a break. 

If you don’t like having completely bare nails – trust me, I get it – then add a clear base coat on your nails for that extra shine. You can even buy ones that have a strengthener within them to help take care of your nails. 

Charlotte Painter

Charlotte Painter

Charlotte graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a degree in Fashion design. She has since covered all things beauty and fashion on various social and blog platforms.


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