Gel Nails on a woman's hand positioned in a pose

FAQs About Gel Nail Polish: Everything You Need to Know

Gel nail polish has revolutionised the world of manicures, offering longer-lasting, more durable, and glossier finishes. But with new innovations come questions—lots of them. If you're curious about gel nails or considering making the switch from traditional polish, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we'll answer the most frequently asked questions about gel nail polish.

What Is Gel Nail Polish?

The Basics of Gel Nails Explained

Gel nail polish is a type of nail lacquer formulated to last longer than traditional nail polish. Unlike regular polish that air dries, gel polish cures under a UV or LED light, creating a hard, glossy coat that is more resistant to chipping. The result is a high-shine finish that can last two weeks or more with proper care.

You can find more information on what gel polish is in this blog post.

Why Choose Gel Nail Polish?

Advantages Over Traditional Polish

Many choose gel nail polish for its longevity and durability. It's particularly appealing to those with busy lifestyles or jobs that are tough on their hands. Its resistance to chipping means your nails look freshly done for longer, reducing the frequency of your manicure appointments.

How Do You Apply Gel Nail Polish?

Step-by-Step Application Process

Applying gel polish is a multi-step process that usually starts with cleaning and prepping the nail. A base coat is applied and cured, followed by the gel colour, which is also cured under a light. Finally, a top coat is added and cured for a long-lasting, glossy finish. It's a meticulous process that requires precision and patience.

We covered the application process of gel nail polish in a previous article.

Can Gel Nail Polish Damage Your Nails?

Slightly confused woman looking upwards

Debunking Myths About Nail Damage

There's a common concern that gel nails can damage the natural nail, but this is typically only the case if the gel is removed incorrectly. Peeling off gel polish can strip away layers of the nail, making it weak and brittle. The key to preventing damage is proper removal by a professional who will gently soak off the polish without harming the nail bed.

How Do You Remove Gel Nail Polish?

Safe Removal Techniques

The removal process for gel polish involves soaking the nails in acetone and gently scraping the polish away once it's loosened. This should be done by a professional to minimise the risk of damage. It's also important to give your nails a break between gel manicures to allow them to recover.

Is UV Exposure During Gel Manicures Safe?

Understanding the Risks of UV Lamps

While there is some concern about UV exposure from the lamps used to cure gel polish, the amount of UV exposure is quite small. However, you can minimise risks by applying sunscreen to your hands before a gel manicure.

Can You Do Gel Nails at Home?

Tips for DIY Gel Manicures

It's possible to do gel nails at home with the right equipment and a bit of practice. You'll need a UV or LED lamp, gel polish, and a steady hand. While at-home kits are convenient, for the best results and to avoid potential damage to your nails, it's recommended to have gel manicures done by a professional.

How Long Does Gel Nail Polish Last?

Expectations for Gel Polish Longevity

Typically, gel nail polish can last up to two weeks without chipping or peeling. Some may find it lasts even longer with proper nail care, such as wearing gloves while doing household chores and using cuticle oil to keep nails hydrated.

Can Gel Nail Polish Be Used on Acrylics?

Combining Gel Polish with Other Nail Enhancements

Yes, gel nail polish can be used over acrylic nails. In fact, many people opt for this combination to enjoy the strength of acrylics with the long-lasting shine of gel polish.

What Are the Latest Trends in Gel Nail Polish?

Trendy woman holding gel nail polishes in her hands to showcase them

Keeping Up with Nail Fashion

Trends in gel nail polish include a range of colours from bold neons to subtle pastels, as well as nail art featuring glitter, rhinestones, and even textured effects. The beauty of gel polish is that it offers a perfect canvas for intricate designs that last.

Are There Any Alternatives to Gel Nail Polish?

Exploring Other Long-Wear Options

For those looking for alternatives to gel polish, there are other long-wear nail polish formulas on the market. These don't require UV light to cure and can be easier to remove. However, they may not offer the same durability and shine as gel polish.

Can Gel Nail Polish Be Allergenic?

Understanding the Potential for Allergic Reactions

Like any beauty product, there's a potential for an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, though it's rare. If you experience redness, itching, or swelling around your nails after a gel manicure, consult a professional.

How to Care for Your Nails After Gel Polish?

Post-Manicure Nail Care Tips

After removing gel polish, it's important to hydrate your nails. Use cuticle oil and hand cream regularly, and consider taking a break from polish altogether to let your nails breathe. A professional nail technician can provide more personalised advice based on your nail's condition.

What Is the Cost of Gel Nail Polish Manicures?

Budgeting for Gel Manicures

Gel manicures tend to be pricier than traditional ones due to the specialised products and the time involved in the process. Prices can vary widely depending on the salon's location, the technician's expertise, and the complexity of the manicure.


Gel nail polish offers a stunning, long-lasting finish that can withstand the rigours of daily life. With proper application and removal, it's a safe and fashionable choice for those looking to up their nail game. Remember to care for your nails before and after gel applications to maintain their health and keep them looking their best.