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All You Need To Know Before Getting Your First Set Of Gel Extensions

Image: Unsplash

There are only a few things more gratifying than waving your nail-clad hands in the air while you rant about how rough your week was.

For many women, getting your nails done isn’t just something you do to stay trendy. It is a ritual and a very important aspect of self-care. Getting a manicure and fixing your nails should definitely be on the list of the top 10 most satisfying things.

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But many times, the joy is short-lived when the nails start to break, pop off one after the other, or worse still when you take them off and your natural nail looks like you’ve been working at the factory.

If you are looking for long-lasting nails that are dynamic and do not ruin your natural nail structure, the answer is Gel Extensions!

Here is all you need to know before you make an appointment with your nail technician.

What are Gel Extensions?
Nail gel extensions involve building a layer of hard gel on top of your natural nail and curing it with UV light. Technically speaking, gel extensions are a hybrid between press-on nails and acrylic nails. They have the tenacity and durability of acrylic nails and they are as safe and easy to remove as press-on nails. It is almost too good to be true.

Nails. | Image: Glamour

Pros vs Cons
Gel extensions are generally an upgrade from acrylic nails. Let’s go into what exactly makes them better than other options.

  • They are built from pre-made gel nail tip as opposed to applying harsh chemicals and powders to your nail.
  • They are shaped with a sticker instead of plastic, so they feel lighter and more flexible
  • They can be totally removed by soaking; there is no need for aggressive buffing that destroys nail structure
  • It doesn’t require filling, so application is much faster
  • They are safer for you and your nail tech because they do not contain harsh chemicals such as methyl methacrylate, toluene and acetonitrile

Nonetheless, gel extensions come with their own share of disadvantages

  • They are relatively expensive, ranging from 6,000 to 15,000 naira, depending on a number of factors. The more the nail art and add-ons, the higher the cost.
  • If removed carelessly, they may cause an equal amount of damage to your nails.
  • It is difficult to fix gel extensions on very short, bitten nails.
  • If used too frequently, gel extensions may cause thinning of your nails over time.

How To Use
Gel nail extensions can either come as pre-shaped sets, or your nail technician can decide to build them from scratch. Generally, the following steps are followed to achieve a flawless gel nail.

  • First, the nail is prepped by filing gently, cleaning under the nails and pushing the cuticle back
  • If a pre-shaped set is used, the nail is further prepped with a bonder and a primer to allow the false nail stick.
  • Next, a layer of gel is applied and cured under UV light for 60 seconds.
  • Select a false nail with a matching size as yours from the set, coat it from underneath with another layer of gel, then press onto the finger for a few seconds.
  • Place under the UV light for another 60 seconds.
  • Your nails are now ready for polish and nail art!

How long should they last?
Typically, gel nail extensions last 4-6weeks. This period may be shortened by activity. This means that the more you use the nails, the more damage they will incur. It is important to protect your nails from substances like alcohol and acetone, which will gradually weaken the nail.
For best outcomes, clean your nails frequently, and go for manicures once every two weeks.

How To Take Them Off
Unlike acrylic nails that take long to take off, and require buffing and a lot of filing, removing gel nails is a lot easier and faster.
To remove gel nails, first file them down to a few millimetres above natural nail length. Then, soak them in acetone, covered up with a film wrap for 15 minutes.
Since the gel has a more flexible structure than the plastic that supports acrylic nails, they come off completely when soaked in acetone.
With gel extensions, the only price for beauty is what it should be; your banknotes.

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