Pros and Cons of Gel Manicures

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Nails have become as important to a finished look as any hair and make-up routine. Your ten digits are crucial to looking fabulous. With this in mind, gel manicures have become all the rage. While the finished look is flawless, are they worth the extra bucks that you spend compared to a regular manicure (or better yet, doing your nails yourself)? After getting my first gel manicure this week, here are the pros and cons I’ve discovered of this nail craze.

The Process

Pro: Gel polish works differently from regular nail polish, using a UV lamp to dry layer by layer rather than an air dry at the end. By the time you’re done getting them done, your nails are perfectly dry and ready for you to touch everything. There’s no torturous time sitting and wondering if they’re dry yet, or trying to text without smudging. For those who rarely even get out of the nail salon without a chip, the quick dry process is a major plus for the gel mani.

Con: To get the results a gel manicure has to offer, the process of getting your nails done is longer than usual. The multiple layers is a careful process, and if you’re getting nail art than the intricate detail takes much more time than a solid color. Taking them off also requires a soaking process which can take ten to thirty minutes, longer than just a quick swipe of nail polish remover. If you’re looking for fast, gel is not the way to go.

The Effects

Pro: Although you may be sitting at the nail salon longer than usual for a gel manicure, you won’t have to go back as quickly. Gel manicures can last up to two to three weeks without chipping. A regular manicure can chip anytime, and usually starts to look messy in less than a week. Spending the time in one sitting means having perfect hands for a longer time with no worries or fuss.

Con: A gel manicure requires putting your hands under a UV lamp for a few five second intervals during the manicure in order for the gel to harden into the indestructible no-chip mani. Although this is a very short amount of time, any skin exposure to UV rays is a risk for skin cancer. Doing this once in a while will most likely not be a problem, but frequent gel manis could seriously increase your risk of melanoma.

The Results

gel nails, nails, nail art, gel manicure, manicure
My gel manicure with blue gradient sparkles!

Pro: With gel manicures, your options are endless. Your nails will look perfect for a long time, and you can get much more creative than with a regular manicure. At salons that specialize in nail art, any design you can think of is possible. You can also experiment with sparkles, mixing colors, and even textured nails. It’s a great way to get creative with your style. Plus, you are always looking at your hands, so why not have pretty ones that make you smile?

Con: Obviously, the number one downfall of a gel manicure is the money you’ll spend. A regular gel manicure can be anywhere from $25 to $75, and with nail art at a speciality salon the prices can go even higher. Compare that to some salons that will do a regular mani/pedi for $30, or buying a bottle of nail polish at the drug store for $8 and doing them yourself, and you’ll question whether your savings are better spent elsewhere.

So is it worth it? My conclusion: yes, but only under certain circumstances. For day to day beauty, I would definitely stick with a regular manicure. But for special occasions, the creativity that comes with a gel manicure is definitely worth it. The price is also worthwhile when you need your nails to look flawless for a longer time, such as for a long vacation or an especially busy month ahead. Happy manicuring!

Are you into gel manicures? Tweet us @missmillmag to show us your favorite manis!

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