Two weeks ago, I decided to give in and try my first gel manicure at my local nail salon. Ever since I had interned at StyleCaster, heard rave reviews and watched a fellow intern try a home kit, I’d been dying to get one.
For the most part, I was pleased. However, my manicurist was right when he said it depends on how much you use your hands. Meaning, I probably should not have had this done to my nails when my job required me to organize shelves plus I was packing to go back to school.
Gel or shellac manicures are supposed to last two to three weeks. Unlike regular nail polish, the gel/shellac is set using a UV light. The greatest part about this is that your nails look perfectly polished without waiting to dry them under cold air. But, if you’re a nurse or medical receptionist like myself, this won’t work for you.
After having my gel manicure on for five days, I noticed that some of the polish looked like it was starting to lift. After doing some research online, I came to the conclusion that my manicure was either not set correctly or it was starting to get ruined from all of the packing and organizing I was doing. Luckily, I had a regular polish color that matched the gel, so I quickly touched it up.
It has now been exactly two weeks and just like my manicurist back home said, it finally started to wear away. I just got my second gel manicure so my nails will stay in shape for my busy week that’s ahead along with the first week of school.
To try a gel manicure, Sally Hansen has an at-home kit that I have yet to try does not require any UV light. The kit that was used at my internship was SensatioNail and is available at most drug stores for $60. If you don’t want to do this yourself, local salons tend to charge of $25 to $50. Mine was $25 at home while here in Manhattan, I’m noticing that most salons charge around $30 plus tax (because NYC has a tax for everything!).
Getting this type of manicure does not mean you’re getting fake nails and doesn’t do much damage to your own nails. Don’t get these manicures too often, though, because you are exposing your skin to UV rays and in order to remove the nail polish, you need to soak your nails in acetone then file the polish off of the nail (not fun). I read on a website that putting sunblock on your hands before going is a good idea to protect your skin.
To find a local salon, check Yelp! to find reviews and locations. The salon I went to was Fresh Spa on 15th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. They seemed to have had the best reviews on Yelp when looking for places in the area. My manicurist gave me a perfect manicure, meaning there wasn’t any color on the sponge when she removed the excess material to dry them. The manicure ended up costing me about $30 but I was very satisfied.