If you’re a busy mom, manicure maintenance isn’t always at the top of your list. Enter gel nails – a great way to get “perfect 10 nails” that really last without the damaging effects of acrylics.
We sat down with an expert to get the scoop on gel manicures. Fawn Dixon is the owner of CHI Nail Bar in Beverly Hills and the brand new KI Nail Bar in Little Tokyo. With celeb clients like Paris Hilton, Penelope Cruz and Jessica Alba, her spas are “the” spot for those in the know. So who better to fill us in on this new trend for your fingertips?
What Are Gel Nails?
Gel manicures are a relatively new thing – in fact, some salons may not even know how to do them yet. Here’s how it works: a special type of gel polish is applied to the nails and then cured under a UV or LED light. This hardens the polish into a glossy coat that’s super durable and resists chipping.
Unlike acrylics, you don’t have to drill or file down your natural nails. Gel nails are also odorless and don’t require the same harsh chemicals to apply. So you end up with a manicure that stays chip-free and shiny for up to four weeks. And best of all, they dry instantly!
Moms Love Low Maintenance
Dixon is a mom herself (she has two boys under six) and as a business owner, she knows how hard it can be to find time to get your nails done. This is why gel nails are especially good for moms – they can withstand normal wear and tear much better than a regular manicure.
Here are some things we heard from real moms who were getting their nails done at CHI Nail Bar:
“When I don’t have my nails painted nicely, I’m terrible – I pick them and bite them. So I get gel nails because they last four weeks and I’m not tempted, which means my nails stay looking good.”
“Before I started getting gel nails, I would never get manicures, because the next day I would ruin them. Gel nails are great because they’re not high maintenance. You can do anything with them. You can wash the dishes, whatever. You’re not afraid to get down and dirty… because they just last.”
“I like them better than acrylic because I always feel like acrylic get in the way of stuff, but these don’t. It’s because acrylics are extensions of your nails and these just are your natural nails.”
When It Comes To Quality, You Get What You Pay For
You’ve probably heard the saying before, but it’s especially true when it comes to nail salons. If you want a gel manicure done right, it’s probably better to find a high-quality salon. Since they last much longer than regular polish, just consider it an investment!
Safety – Always ask the spa or salon how they clean their instruments, because we’ve heard some real horror stories. You definitely want to find one with good hygiene practices – for example, some places will use an autoclave (the same thing used by dentists) to sterilize their equipment.
Color - When it comes to gel nail polish, the color selection all depends on the salon. Cheaper places usually have only 20 or 40 colors, while an upscale spa like CHI Nail Bar has hundreds.
” People will come in and say, ‘Oh my God, there are so many colors!'” said Dixon.
Getting Them Off: The Removal Process
So what do you do when you’re ready to say goodbye to your gel manicure? Well, it’s slightly more complicated than regular nail polish, but not much so.
There are two ways to remove gel polish. You soak your nails in acetone(nail polish remover) for about 10 to 20 minutes, which dissolves the gel and makes it easy to peel off. Or you can soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on your nails, then wrap each finger in foil. After about 15 minutes, the gel should peel right off.
Want to see some celebrity gel manicures? Visit CHI Nail Bar’s Lookbook!