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UV Gel Nails
UV Gel Nails
For years, I envied women with beautiful nails but I was afraid of acrylic nails. I'd heard all of the bad things about it, and instead suffered with manicures that chipped a day or two later. That, or I attempted to do my own nails, which was akin to having a three year old do one's nails. It was U-G-L-Y. However, I work with clients now, and couldn't suffer having hands I sat on all day. UV Gel Nails are a newer technique which has gotten pretty popular in salons. As someone who was afraid of acrylics, I was thrilled when I heard it was pretty healthy for your nails. So, I decided to try it.
Although there are many methods for creating a beautiful UV Gel nail, there are of course some basics. The first time one sits for gel nails, if your nails are short, they'll likely apply and glue false nails to your nails if they're too short. Afterwards, they'll cut them down with a unique false nail cutter. After this has happened, they will begin to apply the UV Gel. This is usually in a small compact jar that looks akin to a skin creme jar. The basic colors are clear and pink. With what looks like a small paintbrush or eyeshadow application brush, the gel will be dropped onto the farthest part of your nail and circled around as if one's pouring ice cream into a cone. The gel is then spread from that area onto the whole nail and painted on, one finger at a time. After a finger is "painted" with gel, it is then put into a mini UV oven to bake the gel.
Now, if this sounds like it hurts, unfortunately it often does. However, all salons offer something to deal with the pain, although they all have different options. The first salon I tried recommended that I "push" the nails against the bottom of the UV oven to reduce the pain. I'm not sure how or why this worked, but it did. The second salon I've been to offered a little fan to cool my nails if it heated up too much. After the gel has been applied, should the client decide upon a french nail, which is the most popular look, there are several options for applying it. Three of the ways I've seen are to spray paint the white on, and then gel over it; dremel-shave the tip, apply white gel to the area and then bake it on, or pain on a white tip, much like a normal french manicure. The options are dependent upon the methods of the salon. None are right or better than another, just different options.
So now you're saying, I've gotten my first UV Gel nails done, it's great, now what? One of most appealing aspects of UV Gels are how long they last, which is usually four to five weeks. For the busy woman on the go who needs to look her best at all times, this is fabulous. But what happens when they start looking a little less than fabulous? The nail will grow forward, the gel will get a little cloudy on the sides and if you wait too long, the gel nail or the false nail underneath might pop off. Yes, this hurts. Imagine being in the dark for 5 weeks and suddenly facing the light. Although the newly grown in nail is healthy, the covered nail is much like an 18 year old off to college - used to being overprotected and suddenly vulnerable now. I'd highly recommend getting to your salon before this happens, although no one will notice if you pop the nail and/or the gel top back on with Krazy Glue. Trust me on this one! Now, if your nails are popping off before three and a half weeks, you need to go back and have it fixed or possibly consider another salon.
Now, when you need to go back, you will be getting what's known as refills. Unless you choose to get an entirely new redo of your nails, you will get refills from here on in. Refills are cheaper than the original, usually by about half, although the price varies depending upon where you go. Now, when you get refills, what will happen is that any nails that have popped off will have the rest of the gel removed, usually using nail clippers, scissors, or a false nail to get under the gel. I'd like to lie and say it doesn't hurt, but it's not the best feeling. However, it doesn't last long, and rarely does this to happen unless a nail has fallen off, or likely will soon. What usually happens is that your manicurist will utilize an electrical file, which is actually a dremel drill (yes, a tool your boyfriend or husband knows a bit about, and one you can operate with these nails without worry!) to lower the level of the gel closer to the actual nail so that s/he can paint on the new gel without having a bilevel look. The dremel drill is also useful for shortening the nails if they've grown too long, although I've seen actual nail files used to shorten them as well as file down the gel on top as well.
Although it is a refill, the time for the work will be about the same: 45 minutes to an hour. Often, the white of the french manicure will be shaved off as well so that the manicurist has a clean slate to work with. After the gel bed has been shaved down, the manicurist will then go ahead and apply much of the same technique as the first time around, painting on gel, baking it on, and then if chosen, applying her or his method of the french nail.
I briefly touched upon cost above, but let me go into it a little bit more. The first time you get UV Gel nails, there will be an initial cost which will be higher than anytime afterwards, unless you choose to fully remove your nails and start over again. I did this once after a rather poor job from a previous salon left me thoroughly unhappy with my nails. It's also suggested after 6 or so months if your nails grow very slowly (such as for older women) to do this just to give the nails a bit of breathability. Your refills will likely cost a bit more than half of the original cost. Although the cost seems a bit high, I tend to break it down over the weeks, and it costs a bit less per week than if I were to get a basic manicure every week. That is the cost of just the basic manicure - remember, there's the cost of tip as well, not to mention the time spent every week to get that basic manicure! Therefore, I find the price to constantly have gorgeous nails workable. Please remember to tip your manicurist at least 20%. When you've gone through this experience, you'll see that she or he has definitely earned it!
I enjoy having nails that are beautiful, easy to maintain, stand up to hard work, and get noticed, and not for all the wrong reasons! If you're considering getting UV Gels, this former hand-sitter highly recommends it! Good luck and comment and let me know about your experiences with UV Gel nails please!