Are gel manicures REALLY ALL that?

I am the worst when it comes to my nails. If I’m not biting them down then I am slowly picking away at the polish or re-painting them.

Then, one evening, at six o’clock when I was cleaning the kitchen and their was nothing else on TV to keep me entertained for my task, I found myself watching Xposé, the Irish entertainment and fashion show, which airs on TV 3 and 3e. They were discussing this amazing manicure miracle called Gelish (I have NEVER gotten a manicure) and the report said that the manicure would last for 2 weeks. I was like, ‘Ok, this is interesting.’ Then I thought back. I had heard about gel nail polishes before. Mary Rambin had posted here and this is (basically a rundown) of what she wrote:

What I’ve found is that it’s not the brand of polish that matters, but who tends to your cuticles and how they apply the polish.

After getting a few gel manicures I started to think, “this can’t be good for my nails.”

Source:, “Which Brand of Gel Nail Polish is the Best? And is it really the best thing for you?”

With this post in the back of my head (dried using UV light and stripped by soaking your hands in acetone!?), I kind of dismissed the thing. I’d just work harder at not picking at my polish.

Writing this, I came across a post from Dr. Susan Taylor on the Huffington Post calledThe Skinny on Gel Nail Polish, where she outlined her issues with the service:

  • Some of the gel nail polishes contain a chemical called methyl acrylate which can cause an allergic skin reaction, called contact dermatitis. Wherever the chemical comes into contact with the skin, a rash may develop. Because we inadvertently touch our eyes throughout the day, the rash can also involve our eyelids. The rash from methyl acrylate is usually red, itchy, bumpy and uncomfortable. It may last a week or two. Removing the polish and treating the skin with a cortisone cream will clear the rash.
  • The chemical, butylated hydroxyanisol (BHA), which is considered a cancer-causing agent, is found in some gel nail polishes. Although we do not know exactly how much exposure you would need for cancer to develop, it’s important to be aware of this connection. Not all polishes contain this chemical, so check the ingredient list.
  • Gel nail polish is set or cured with ultraviolet light. Think of the light as baking the polish into the nails. The problem is that ultraviolet light is essentially sunlight and sunlight causes skin cancer. If you are exposed to ultraviolet light for four to eight minutes every two weeks when you have a gel manicure, that can add up to significant exposure. To avoid potential skin cancers on your fingers or hands, I suggest that you apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to directly your hands and fingers after you wash your hands midway through the manicure. Then wear tightly woven cotton gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off. Another alternative is to find a manicurist that uses LED (light emitting diode) light to set the gel polish. We don’t think that this type of light will cause skin cancer.
  • To remove gel polish, your nails are soaked in or wrapped in acetone. Acetone is a very drying chemical and will cause your nail to become brittle and peel after repeated use. Massaging a moisturizer into you nails several times each day will help to combat the dryness.
  • As with acrylic nails, the surface of your nail is usually abraded or roughed with an emery board, before gel polish is applied. This will weaken your nail and lead to breakage and the possibility of infection.Source: Huffington Post

Her solution:

To maintain healthy nails, my compromise is to get gel polish manicures at certain strategic times like before going on vacation, during the Christmas Holiday and on special occasions. I guess that means I’m back to getting manicures three or four times per year.

Source: Above

This is coming from a dermatologist so I’ll take her for her word.


Downtown Red

At some point around this time (I cannot for the life of me remember if it was before or after… Time isn’t entirely my forte at the moment) I had purchased TWO gel based nail polishes. What I’ve been wearing (and my favourite of the two) is called DOWNTOWN RED.

MY solution (from a non-dermatologist, regular gal):

  1. I use RUB RUB RUB shower scrub from LUSHas a hand scrub to make my hands super soft. I pay close attention to my nails and cuticles.
  2. After drying my hands i use Body Shop Hemp hand cream, which is just pure divinity!
  3. I put on 1 coat of nail strengthening clear nail polish as a base coat. Wait for it to dry. Apply gel nail varnish. *wait for it to dry* To maintain the gel nail varnish, I apply a coat of clear nail varnish on top of that

For me this is going to be a fool proof way of NOT chipping my nails.

I am 99.9% sure that the maybelline polish is gel based but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. If anyone knows definitively about the colour show, please let me know 🙂

1 thought on “Are gel manicures REALLY ALL that?

  1. Pingback: Visa tiesa apie gelinius lakus - NAGAVITA

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