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Professional treatments available from Nail Technicians

Gel manicure - glossy, shiny, strong nails that last for 2 - 3 weeks - no chipping or peeling

gel overlays

Gel nails -  strong and glossy nails
Gel overlays have become very popular, as instead of your usual manicure polish lasting a few days, a semi-permanent gel nail varnish can last 2-3 weeks before showing any signs of wear and tear.

The gel also helps with weak, peeling nails - protecting and strengthening the natural nail in the process. Gel nails can also really help nailbiters to grow their nails. The end result is a professional glossy nail covering that lasts for up to 3 weeks. The gel overlay manicures are set using a UV light. You can choose a colour varnish, clear or french manicure gel polish.

The application of gel overlays should be done by professional nail technicians to ensure maximum durability and nail protection.

There are several gel overlay brands offered by salons and nail technicians, including:

Bio Sculpture, Shellac

Gel manicure

Make sure that you moisturise your nails and cuticles well, a couple of weeks before you have your gels applied, to ensure your nails are in good condition. The gel overlays are far more likely to last longer if your nails are healthy and moisturised.

1. Your nail technician will shape and buff your nails first, then cleanse and apply a product that makes sure there is no surface oil on the nail.

2. Then a specially designed clear bonding base coat to hold the gel is used, and dried under a UV light for 10 seconds. This cures the gel and bonds it onto the nail.

3. Next a coat of the gel nail polish is applied and once again dried under the UV light for 30 seconds ( the time differs according to which brand of gels or UV light is used).

4. The colour is repeated 2-3 times, and is each time dried under the light to seal it.

5. The process is finished and sealed with a clear coat of high shine topcoat gel, and again dried under the UV light.

6. The gel nails are dry and able to be touched straight away. They are wiped with an alcohol wipe to reveal the glossy shine.

Nails after applying gels7. A nourishing oil (such as Solar Oil) can now be wiped onto your nail and cuticles to moisturise and condition. You should do this daily at home to keep your nails conditioned whilst you have your gels on. It will help prevent the gels from lifting.

Another advantage to gel overlays is that you can paint your own varnish at home over the gel product, if you want a change of colour, and this can be removed (using a non-acetone remover) and your glossy gel overlays will remain intact underneath.

After 2-3 weeks as the natural nail grows you will probably find your overlays start to lift. This is time to go to your nail technician to get your gels soaked off, or you can buy a soak-off kit to use at home.

How to remove gel polish at home

Simply follow our step-by-step guide on removing gels at home:

You will need pure acetone, non-lint cotton pads and tin foil to lift the gels.

  • Wrap an acetone soaked non-lint cotton pad onto your nail and wrap with tin foil and leave for 5 minutes. Check whether the gel is lifting from the nail, and if not leave it soaking for another 5 minutes. The shorter the time the better as acetone is very drying to the nail, so you want to avoid unnecessary soaking.

  • Once the wrap is removed you should be able to gently push the gel off using an orange wood stick.

  • You can soak your nails directly in acetone, by placing the liquid in a bowl, but it will put more of your nail in contact with the acetone than using the wraps, so is likely to be more drying.

  • Wash acetone off in warm soapy water, then rinse.

  • Condition your nails and cuticles by soaking in warm olive oil for 10 minutes after removing the gel polish.

Video showing nail gels manicure and gels soak off

Health concerns about UV lamps

The popularity of gel overlay manicures has brought the regular use of UV lights into the news. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology suggested that long-term use of ultra-violet lights could increase the risks of skin cancer. The nail industry has defended the use of UV lights saying that the levels are so low that there is no risk. However, it's always better to be safe:

  • Ask for LED lights instead of the UV, these emit much less UV radiation
  • Lather your hands in a sunblock cream (50 SPF) before the manicure. Nail UV lights emit UV-A, so use a broad spectrum sun cream that protects against UVA and UVB
  • Wear dark coloured leather, suede or indigo denim gloves (these fabrics are known to block uv rays) with the fingers cut off to reveal your nails. This will protect the skin on your hands and fingers whilst your nails are under the UV light

Nail Art Nail Art

This is an area of nail care where the Nail Technician can really use their imagination and creativity to produce stunning effects for their client. Courses on Nail Art will teach the latest techniques, such as: designs using gems, glitter, transfers, marbling, striping, dotting, layering, foils, embedding lace and gems in acrylic, stickers and freehand painting.

Nail Art Course (opens in a new window)

Nail art has become popular with celebrities, so many clients will wish to experience the range of designs now available for that special occasion or just for a different daytime look.

If the designs are particularly intricate the technician may well charge per nail.

Nail Art ideas (opens in a new window)

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