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Which brand of gel nail polish is the best? And is it really the best thing for you?

February 12th, 2013 6 Comments

As a girl who can’t keep a manicure for longer than 4 days, I was really excited about gel with its promise of no-chipping for two weeks!

My first experience with gel polish ended the day after I had it applied when it all peeled off.  You can understand I was a cynic for a while.  However, as the market grew, I figured I should give it another shot at a new salon.  I lucked into having a very meticulous esthetician (Traci at Trina’s Nail Salon in Buckhead) give me a fabulous manicure that lasted the two weeks the gel polish promises!  Since then, I’ve been a gel junkie and have tried all the brands with a couple different girls at Trina’s salon.

So far I’ve tried: Shellac, Gellish, Voss, and OPI.  I’ve heard about:  Akzentz, Bio Sculpture Color Gel, CalGel, Dashing Diva Gelife, IBD, the list goes on. For  more on brands, go here.

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.

Your cuticles must be pushed and cut back as far as possible.  When they grow back to the edge of the polish, they push against it, causing the polish to peel up.  Also, if the polish is applied over your cuticles, your mani doesn’t stand a chance.  So you’ve got to run the gamut of estheticians before you find the right one.  Then choose your polish on color not brand.

Wait, there’s more.

After getting a few gel manicures I started to think, “this can’t be good for my nails.”  Kind of like the hair extensions that made my hair thick and beautiful…until I took them out.  In a gel manicure, they buff off the enamel of the nail, apply chemicals to replace it, and then bake it dry almost instantly with UV light.  Ugh.  If you want to read about the effects of the chemicals, click here.  It seems the one we need to look out for is BHA,  butylated hydroxyanisol, which is a “cancer-causing agent.”  The UV light is pretty self-explanatory.

I never get to the part where I have to soak it off, which dries out your nail bed.  I find peeling it off to be a great distraction while sitting in horrific Atlanta traffic.  (I’m sure that’s bad for your nail bed too.)  I let my nails rest a week before returning to Trina’s for more gel.  It’s really the only thing that has ever worked for my nails.  I’m thinking about wearing finger-less gloves from now on to protect my hands.  As for the BHA, I’m just hoping it gets fried in the baking process.

And you?  Now that you know the facts, will you continue to get gel manicures.  Leave your comments below!

 

 

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  • Birdy

    I love gel polish, especially when the winter is so brutal on my nails in Montreal. I agree, you need an excellent esthetician – I had a terrible gloopy thumb experience when on vacation. I have found that Gelish lasted the longest for me, but I think it really is the care they take at the salon.

    • Jessinabella

      I’m from Montreal too! And I feel the exact way as you. I went to a salon and I don’t know why but they didn’t push my cuticles back so it all lifted, lucky im nail tech savy I fixed it st home. Now I bought my own set of relish and love it so much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/colleenmcarlton Colleen Carlton

    I LOVE gel manis, only I cannot find the dedicate hour to have them done. So I bought a kit by Mally and I buy most polish from one of the daily email sale companies and now do them myself at home when the kids are napping or during any BRAVO show. I do not like soaking my hands in remover so I have found if I apply the product pretty thick, I can peel them off (w/teeth of course) in one clean motion and do not mess up my nail bed.

  • Ryan Rotellini

    Best gel nail polish is NaiLuv hands down. I bought it from Chrislie.com

  • Arina Danel

    I purchased my first Nailuv kit from Costco and have fallen in love ever since. Their colors are amazing and the quality of their gel polish is solid.

  • dyani g

    You don’t have to buff the top of the gel polish when using Shellac :)