Gel polish is a revolutionary product that has taken the nail industry by storm in recent years. It is a kind of nail polish that is cured under a UV lamp, leaving nails looking shiny, strong, and chip-resistant. The science behind gel polish is fascinating, and it is important to understand how it works to achieve the perfect nails. This article delves into the history of gel polish, the composition of the product, the application process, and how to remove it safely.
The History of Gel Polish
The first gel polish product hit the market in the early 1980s, but it was not until the early 2000s that it became popular in the United States. CND created the Shellac brand of gel polish in 2010, which was a game-changer for the nail industry. It was the first brand to offer a long-lasting, chip-resistant nail polish that did not require acrylic or GEL nail enhancement. The popularity of gel polish has increased exponentially since the introduction of Shellac.
The Composition of Gel Polish
Gel polish is a mixture of gel and traditional nail polish. It is thicker than regular nail polish but thinner than gel nail products. The major components of gel polish are:
- Polyurethane acrylate oligomer: This provides the elasticity and thickness of the gel polish.
- Methacrylic acid: This is a type of acid that helps the gel polish to adhere to the nail.
- Polyethylene glycol dimethacrylate: This contributes to the rigidity of the gel polish.
- Pigment: This is the color that gives the gel polish its distinctive shade.
- UV or LED photoinitiator: This is what enables the gel polish to cure and harden under a UV or LED lamp.
The Science behind Gel Polish Application
Applying gel polish can be a bit complicated, and it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The basic steps are:
Step 1: Prep the Nails
The nails should be clean and dry before applying gel polish. Remove any old nail polish, use a nail file to shape your nails, and push back your cuticles. It is also essential to use a nail dehydrator, which helps to remove any oils or moisture from the nails.
Step 2: Apply a Base Coat
The base coat is essential as it helps the gel polish adhere to the nail. Apply a thin layer of base coat and cure it under the UV or LED lamp for the recommended time.
Step 3: Apply the Gel Polish
Apply one thin layer of gel polish and cure it under the UV or LED lamp for the recommended time. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired opacity.
Step 4: Apply a Top Coat
The top coat seals in the gel polish, adds shine, and makes the nail polish chip-resistant. Apply a thin layer of top coat and cure it under the UV or LED lamp for the recommended time.
Step 5: Remove the Sticky Layer
After curing the top coat, there is usually a thin, sticky layer on the nails. Use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to remove this layer and reveal the shiny, chip-resistant nails.
Tips for Removing Gel Polish
Gel polish is designed to last for up to two weeks, but it can be challenging to remove. Follow these steps to safely remove gel polish:
Step 1: Buff the Top Layer
Use a buffer to remove the shiny surface of the gel polish. Be gentle and avoid buffing the natural nail.
Step 2: Soak the Nails
Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on the nail. Wrap the nail in aluminum foil and leave it for a few minutes. This will help the gel polish to loosen and make it easier to remove.
Step 3: Remove the Gel Polish
Use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick to gently remove the gel polish from the nail. Be careful not to damage the natural nail.
FAQs about Gel Polish
- What is the difference between traditional nail polish and gel polish?
- How long does gel polish last?
- Can you repair gel polish at home?
- What happens if you leave gel polish on for too long?
- Can you remove gel polish at home?
- Can you apply gel polish to weak or damaged nails?
- Is gel polish safe for pregnant women?
What is the difference between traditional nail polish and gel polish?
Traditional nail polish can chip and peel within a few days, whereas gel polish can last up to two weeks. Gel polish is cured under a UV or LED lamp, which makes it hard and chip-resistant.
How long does gel polish last?
Gel polish usually lasts up to two weeks, but this depends on the brand, the quality of the application, and how well the nails are prepped before application.
Can you repair gel polish at home?
You can repair gel polish at home by applying another layer of gel polish or using a gel polish repair kit. However, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional nail technician for best results.
What happens if you leave gel polish on for too long?
If you leave gel polish on for too long, it can damage your natural nails. The gel polish can peel away, taking a layer of the nail plate with it.
Can you remove gel polish at home?
It is possible to remove gel polish at home, but it is recommended to go to a professional nail technician. They have specialized tools and techniques to remove gel polish without damaging the nails.
Can you apply gel polish to weak or damaged nails?
It is not recommended to apply gel polish to weak or damaged nails. Gel polish requires a strong, healthy nail plate to adhere to, and if the nails are weak or damaged, the gel polish can peel away.
Is gel polish safe for pregnant women?
Gel polish is generally considered safe for pregnant women. However, it is recommended to talk to a doctor first before using any type of chemical on the body.
Gel polish has become a popular choice for those who want long-lasting, chip-resistant nails without the added bulk of acrylic or GEL nail enhancements. Understanding how gel polish works is essential to achieve the perfect nails. From the composition of the product to the application process and the safe removal of the gel polish, this article has provided a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about gel polish.