On one foggy October morning, I could hear the eerie sound of a faint rip in fabric. Upon looking down I realized… it was a chipped nail ripping my pillowcase! Did I mention that I got a gel manicure about 4 days before this incident? KILL. ME. NOW. I have been iffy on gel manicures since this point, but that just sent me over the edge. Isn’t the entire point of the gel manicure to stay intact for at least a week? Isn’t the entire point of putting your hands in and out of a UV machine so that you don’t have chips? This gel manicure trend has been replacing nail polish since 2009 and until this year, I’ve kept quiet about my indecisiveness for quite some time. By far, the cons of the gel manicure totally outweigh the benefits – if there ARE really any benefits. Here we go!
1. They say its ‘safe’ and not as damaging to your nails as acrylic. LIES! Manicurists still have to grind down your nail to get the right texture for the gel to stick better. Grinding down until your nail is raw— which doesn’t take much by a hand or electric file— can cause weak, brittle nails that will allow the chemicals to seep in and potentially cause nerve damage. What chemicals you say? Some of the gel nail polishes contain a chemical called methyl acrylate which doesn’t really get along with your skin. This chemical can cause contact dermatitis or an allergic skin reaction where a rash may develop along with annoying itching throughout the day. Because we are always touching our faces, this rash can spread to our eyelids or other places. Already spend $40 on that gel manicure? How about an extra $10 for some cortisone cream to go along with your sexy rash. One more thing on chemicals, remember that one linked to cancer called butylated hydroxyanisol or BHA? Yup, that one is found in some gel polishes too.
2. The removal process is horrible. Since when have you ever had to soak wrap your nails in pure acetone and foil for 20 minutes with regular nail polish? To remove gel polish, the nail salon will help you soak your nails in acetone for a while or they can grind it off (most manicurists are not able to be so delicate to grind off only the gel part – chances are they will get your actual nail during this at least 6 times). Acetone is an extremely drying chemical on your nails, not to mention it can wreak havoc on your delicate skin. After repeated removal processes your nails can become very brittle and even start peeling. All it took was once for me and my nails have never been in a worse condition. If you’re not an acetone fan, you can always start peeling them off. Once you do that, take a look at the underside of the gel polish and see what you find. The top of your natural nails you say? OH that’s strange, I wonder how that happened. (See #1 for nail filing)
3. Because the removal process is horrendous and you can’t do it yourself unless you have access to pure acetone, you’re stuck with not only the color you picked but the grown out look on your digits for a few weeks. Need to change your polish color for an important event? (Shakes head up and down yes) March right on over to the same nail salon for another gel application where you can get even weaker nail beds. Acetone, 10 minutes later, file down a little more, feel the pain, another 10 minutes of UV light exposure on your hands and VOILA! You have a new nail color that you’re stuck with for another few weeks. By that way, that’ll be another $40 plus tip. Not to mention, they may chip if you aren’t careful.
I’m on to you gel polish….
From this moment forward, I’m saying no to gel manicures. I’m also re-uniting with my massive collection of nail polish and asking them for forgiveness while I nurse my poor nails back to health. I do hope for your sake though that I’m not the only one that sees through these deceptive manicures.