Is there anything worse than leaving the salon after a fresh manicure and immediately smudging your polish as you brush the hair out of your face? That's probably why gel manicures are so popular right now. The polish gets sealed by UV light and for about Rs. 2,500 you get beautiful, strong nails that are virtually shatter-proof. So what's not to love? We spoke to gel nail czarina Teresa Chen, owner of Mumbai-based Glory salon about the dos and don'ts gel lovers should keep in mind. "The reason gel nails are so popular is because they can be used by just about anybody. Especially a boon for nail biters and women with short nails that chip easily," says Teresa. Here are some simple rules to stave off common post-gel woes.
Keep them hydrated
Though gel manicures have a bad rap about causing brittle nails, actually all polish is severely dehydrating to nail beds, so keeping nails properly hydrated should be a number one priority, says Teresa. "Nails are made up of layers of keratin that can split and peel when exposed to water, air and chemicals." The night before a gel session, soak your nails in Vitamin E oil, and repeat the day you have the manicure removed. Also it's a good idea to use a cuticle cream daily. Nykaa recommends Richfeel Vitamin E++ Skin Oil and H2O+ Unscented Hand And Nail Cream.
Keep them short
Let's face it, never ending talons look best on soap queens. Back in the real world it's sensible to keep your own nails filed short when using gel. Why? "Because gel polish softens nails making them thinner and prone to breakage. Longer nails can also end up with food particles stuck underneath, a common cause for nail infections," says Chen.
Slather on sunscreen
Enough said about UV rays given off by drying lamps upping your risk of skin cancer. There isn't enough conclusive proof for that but UV rays DO cause premature photo-aging of skin, pigmentation and wrinkles. If you're so meticulous about sun protecting your face then why not do the same for your hands? "It's a good idea to apply sunscreen evenly from fingers to elbows for 20 minutes before your appointment," says Teresa. Nykaa suggests Nivea Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF 30.
Top it off
It's a good idea to add a top coat to your gel manicure every few days to keep it looking fresh and glossy. More often if you use work with your hands a lot. Besides, sealing your nails with a top coat can reduce the risk of cracks or chips. Nykaa suggests L'oreal Paris Color Riche Les Vernis Top Coats Collection.
Don't ever, ever peel!
No matter how much you want to, resist the temptation to peel off your gel manicure when it starts chipping. Instead, gently buff off the peeling section and apply a top coat. If nails look particularly rough, try applying a strengthening formula like Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener. It might also be a good idea to start taking a supplement like Wow Biotin Healthy Hair & Strong Nails (60 Capsules) daily. Then make an appointment with your manicurist to fix it quick!