How Long Do Gel Nails Last? Plus Tips to Preserve Your Manicure

Jul. 27
 Gel manicures last for two to three weeks depending on the quality of the application and aftercare. Discover how to keep your manicure flawless for longer.
Gel polish is the superhero of nail polishes: resistant to chips, flakes, and dulling.
Still, it isn’t invulnerable—and you may found yours looking rough well before the two to three weeks are up. We discuss how to get the most of your gel manicure and keep your nails on-point. 
What Is a Gel Manicure?
Let’s cover the basics before we talk about techniques. How is gel polish different from regular polish?
Well, your standard polish is the cosmetic equivalent of paint. The gel variety cures under light to create a solid finish.
Unfortunately, you can’t mimic the same effect with an extra layer or two of topcoat. Gel polish has a unique chemical composition that makes it quick-drying and durable.
It bonds to your nails—which is why picking at it the same way you would your usual varnish is unwise.
How to Make a Gel Manicure Last Longer: 9 Simple Hacks
Whether you’re a regular at your local mani-pedi place or have your own equipment at home, we can help. Here’s how to make gel polish last longer:1. Preparation is Everything 
Manicures are like building a house—you need a strong foundation. Brittle, damaged, or otherwise weakened nails aren’t an ideal base. 
Invest in a nail strengthener such as OPI Envy Nail Strengthener to toughen them up.
2. Correct Application Matters
Look out for warning signs that the application isn’t going smoothly, like an uneven surface or bubbles. If you notice this happening during your manicure, don’t ignore it.
3. UV Light is Essential 
Yes, we know—staring off into space with your fingers drying under UV light is excruciatingly boring.
However, sneaking out early will cost you your gel manicure lifespan. The light is what triggers the reaction that bonds the polish to your nails, so be patient. 
4. Get a Guarantee 
Consider trying out a new nail salon if yours doesn’t offer a guarantee. Seriously—some businesses will fix flaws in your manicure within a set period of time, free of charge! 
5. Don’t Pick or Peel 
You can’t complain about how long gel nails last if you’re self-sabotaging. Plus, as we touched on earlier, you’re weakening your nails if you pick at them. 
Instead, use a nail file to buff out the damage. If there’s a strip of polish lifting off, trim it and follow up with buffing.
6. Protect with Products
An extra layer of top coat can’t hurt—consider a high-gloss option such as OPI Top Coat. 
You can also moisturize your gels with nail oil to prevent dryness and cracking. Consider a product like Bee Naturals Cuticle and Nail Oil.
7. Avoid Super-Hot Showers and Baths
If you prefer your showers or baths sauna-steamy, we have some bad news. Hot water could be the culprit behind your short-lasting gel nails.
You can still enjoy your long soaks in the bath, but keep your hands out of the water!
8. Hide Growth with Glitter
Fast-growing nails are both a blessing and a curse. If you’re tired of seeing unsightly growth after a week or two, wield glitter polish to conceal it. 
Be warned that glitter can be as difficult to remove as gel polish. Sally Hansen Mega Strength Here to Stay Wild Card should work with most colors.
9. Get Gloves On when Cleaning
Unless you’re living the jet-set lifestyle, you probably have to clean stuff around your house at least every so often. 
Treat yourself to a stylish pair of rubber gloves. You won’t get that gross tacky feeling of rubber sticking to your nails.
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