Beauty

4 reasons to try a soak-off gel manicure

©iStockphoto.com/Valua Vitaly Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Valua Vitaly

Beauty

4 reasons to try a soak-off gel manicure

If you've ever treated yourself to a manicure you know the post-appointment golden rule: Avoid smudging your nails at all costs! So if your phone is wedged into the bottom of your purse, it's staying there. Even if your freshly painted nails make it home intact, you're bound to start seeing chips in a few days.

Soak-off gel manicures involve using a special kind of nail polish that gets cured by an ultraviolet (UV) or LED light after application, which helps eliminate imperfections that quickly begin to show with regular nail polish. The special polish is removed by dipping your fingers into a bowl of acetone.

The number of salons offering soak-off gel manicures is growing quickly -- and do-it-yourself kits are even available at drugstores for the adventurous. Whether you're tired of settling for lacklustre nails or are just curious about the buzz, here are four reasons you should try a soak-off gel manicure.

1. Long-lasting results
Even if you regularly get a manicure done from the most skilled nail technician, it may not be long before chips mar your nails and the polish loses its shine.

This polish's claim to fame is the chip-free finish that generally lasts two to three weeks. Wear and tear won't affect your tips because once dried under a UV or LED light, the gel polish hardens, forming a glue-like bond to your nails.

To ensure your manicure lasts its full lifetime Danielle Candido, a nail technician for Red Carpet manicure, suggests wearing rubber gloves when doing housework or using harsh cleaning products.

Similar to acrylic nails, gel-polished nails keep their shine until the colour is removed and are less damaging to your natural nails. But gel manicures are more budget-friendly because you don't need  frequent visits to the salon for touch ups like you do to maintain the look of acrylic nails.

2. Mistakes are easy to fix

Regular nail polish starts to dry as soon as the first coat goes on, so if you don't have a steady hand, you're racing the clock to remove any unwanted colour.

Gel polishes don't start drying until you place your hand under the UV or LED light. So whether you're using a DIY kit at home or having your nails done at a salon, you can simply wipe away mistakes at any time during the application process.

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3. An instant finish
Waiting for your tips to completely dry before carrying on with the rest of your day can often result in your new manicure getting smudged from even the simplest tasks like grabbing your debit card from your wallet.

With extra prep like cleaning your nails, applying a base coat, a top coat and multiple coats of colour (including drying time under the light), the entire gel polish process takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

"Gel polish is less invasive to the nail plate than regular nail polish," explains Candido, which is what makes the extra steps necessary. The process takes about 10 minutes longer than the average manicure, but once your nails are dried under the lamp, no further drying time is needed.

4. More drying options

When gel polish first appeared in salons, only UV-cured formulas were available. Now there are options available for women who are concerned about the risks of UV lamps, but who still long for a resilient manicure. On the salon side, OPI Gelcolor launched earlier this year. It uses an UV-LED light that dries nails faster, with less lamp exposure.

Red Carpet Manicure's DIY kit, and other similar kits, include a pure LED light that extends the use of the light by five or more years and cures the gel faster, Candido explains.

Now that you know about the benefits of soak-off gel manicures, you're ready to enjoy stunning nails that last for weeks.

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4 reasons to try a soak-off gel manicure

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