Gel Nails: A Complete Guide to Gel Manicures
It is time to treat yourself. When everything in your world feels crazy and overwhelming, sometimes all you can do is take care of yourself. Doing good in the world starts with being good to yourself.
It can be hard to pamper ourselves. The market is so saturated with thousands of ways to help us relax. From spa days to new products, or even Gwenyth Paltrow-level experiences seem out of reach.
Sometimes, we need to go back to basics. That’s why we recommend a simple yet luxurious way to pamper and spoil yourself this week — a gel manicure.
What’s the Deal With Gel Manicures?
We are so glad you asked.
A gel manicure is a regular manicure but uses gel-based polish that has to be hardened via UV or LED lights. Like how in a salon, when the manicurist places your nails under a lamp to solidify them — that’s the same process for gel.
Unlike most “treat yourself” items like a face mask or a new outfit, gel manicures are something that can boost your confidence for a more substantial amount of time.
That’s because gel manicures are like regular nail manicures, except their formula allows them to last and not chip way longer than regular nail polish. By using gel, your mani-pedis can last from two to four weeks. That’s a good deal.
How Does It Work?
So here’s the thing: gel manicures use a gel-based polish. This polish is applied to the nails and then “cured” with a LED or UV light. The process of “curing” is when this light is used to lock in and harden the nails. This part of the process is why they are so much more durable than other nail options you can find in your salon or online.
Gel nails look the same as regular nail polish, except they pop more and are glossier. Whether you think they look different or not, gel manicures can't be beaten in terms of how sturdy and long-lasting they are.
So, Where Can I Get a Gel Manicure?
These days, not everyone feels comfortable going to a salon. Covid-wise and financially, sometimes staying at home and treating yourself to a home manicure can feel like the safer and wiser choice.
The main risk with going to a nail salon is your proximity to other people. The CDC recommends maintaining a six feet distance and wearing masks to avoid contracting Covid-19.
While you can undoubtedly wear masks at most salons, the possibility of sitting six feet away isn't going to happen. It just wouldn’t work in a busy, crowded salon. Also, nail salons have poor ventilation and so many shared surfaces that it would be hard to avoid the germs on your hands and in the air.
If you are someone at high risk for Covid, it is recommended you avoid nail salons and most in-person self-care spots (so sorry) until it feels safer out there in the world.
You can get a gel manicure at most nail salons, but these days you can also do your own gel nails at home. Of these options, “semi-cured” gel nail strips are the best.
What Does a “Semi-Cured” Gel Nail Strip Mean?
“Semi-cured” means that the process of hardening the gel is more than halfway completed. These days, you can purchase gel nail strips that are already semi-cured. You can apply them to your nails and use an at-home gel lamp to finish the job. Professionals should beware: you can do it too.
A semi-cured nail gel strip is a soft, nail-sized gel with a solid but fluid, movable consistency. This almost jelly-like consistency occurs because the strips are 60% cured. This form can easily be molded to suit any size or shape of a nail. Once cured under the UV lamp, it will harden to a durable 100% and last for up to 14 days. That’s two whole weeks of durability.
So, What’s the Difference Between Semi-Cured Gel Nails and Salon-Style Gel Nails?
Like semi-cured gel nails, salon-style gel nails must be cured under a UV or LED lamp to finish solidifying. Both of these nails are durable and long-lasting. At home, semi-cured gel nails last up to two weeks, while salon-style gel nails can last up to four weeks.
The potential extra two weeks definitely come with a higher price tag. Getting your nails done at a salon can range anywhere from 35-100 dollars, and that’s not even with the 20% tip. Semi-cured nail gels feel more accessible as their prices mostly are between 10-15 dollars for an entire pack of nails.
Ultimately, at-home semi-cured gel nails and gel nails you can get at the salon are very similar in formula and strength. The main differences come down to price, comfortability, and what makes you feel the best. Remember, this is all about self-care.
How Do I Apply Gel Nails at Home?
If you’ve taken the plunge and decided Semi-Cured Gel Nail Strips might be the right choice for you, here’s how to apply them:
Buy Some Strips
Find the strips that suit your mood or style. ohora has many options, including the latest nail trends. They have a whole range of nails, from more simple gel nail colors and nail art to full-blown rhinestone, bling-bling moments.
Don’t forget to get a UV or LED nail lamp to cure the gel. You can get a free gel lamp from ohora with any first nail purchase. Just sign up at ohora.com.
Put The Strips on Your Nail
Now it’s time to find the right strips for each nail. Each gel nail kit includes nail strips of different sizes, so your nails get the perfect fit.
The strips will show you which side should face the cuticle and which side should go on top. Press the strips onto your nails, starting at the nail bed. Smooth them out while applying even pressure.
Remove Any Excess Strip
Use a nail file to remove any extra length or excess gel. Your ohora gel manicure kit should have one included. Or you can also rub your nail across a hard surface to remove any of that extra gel nail polish you don’t need on your nails.
Then, it is essential to smooth your nails out along the edges. With ohora, you are provided all the necessities of a starter kit, including a tiny wooden stick you can use to adhere the gel strip more evenly to your nail. These are similar to the metal ones a nail tech would use in a salon.
It is time to feel like a professional. Once your nails are all applied and the excess has been removed, you can place your nails under the ohora Gel Lamp. Make sure to set up your ohora gel lamp according to the directions.
The length of time you leave your nails under the light will depend on the specific product you have purchased. For example, if your nails have any gems or other 3D art, curing your nails will take more time than a more simple manicure design. Usually, curing two to three times delivers the best results.
One Final Smooth
After curing your nails until they are sufficiently hardened, you can use your smoothing tool to do one final pass on your nails, and there — you are done.
Having your nails done can be a super mood booster. Enjoy your nails by snapping a picture and posting it online. Show them off to your friends. They will be so ‘gelish’ and gush over the amazing nail polish colors and the incredible nail art that looks like your own nail artist did it.
Use lotion, cuticle oil, and sunscreen on your hands to keep them soft, healthy, and smooth. Good hand skincare will keep your skin tone even and enhance the look of your nails for a super boost of confidence.
How Important Is Self-Care?
Self-care is vital. Scientists know that taking time to take care of yourself
leads to better relationships with others and less stress in your own life. Having solitude in your life helps you better understand yourself, prioritize what is important, and reflect on your life. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of others.
Other ways to take care of yourself include taking a bath, watching your favorite movie, or getting some takeout that nourishes the soul. Thai food, anyone?
Ultimately, you need to know you deserve to be loved and taken care of by your best friend, yourself.
Go Forth And Gel
A gel mani or pedi is an excellent investment in yourself. Whether you are a budget-conscious, go-getter, or someone who loves to be pampered by others at a salon, you will not regret choosing semi-cured gel nails over other nail treatments like acrylic nails or even salon nail lacquers.
DIY semi-cured nails take less time than a visit to the salon, and they are simpler than putting on nail polish at home. There is no need to worry about top coats, base coats, smudges, or acetone polish remover to fix messy mistakes.
Treat yourself and your natural nails this week. Not only will you enjoy ohora’s salon-quality gel nails, but it will boost your confidence and be effective self-care that will radiate into all aspects of your life.
Semi-cure gel nails are popular for a reason. They are unbeatable. Try them, and we know you’ll agree.