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The lazy womans guide to great skin - 1

There’s no better way to pamper yourself than with a nice, long manicure. Whether you give one to yourself or you sit back and relax as someone treats you with one, manicures have a way of distracting you from your everyday stress. Why not better the experience with a solid gel manicure?

What’s all the hype about gel manicures, you may ask? Here’s a nail manicure that lasts three weeks, gives you ultra-glossy, impossibly long nails, and takes about three minutes to dry with no risk of smudges. On top of it all, gel nails actually strengthen your brittle nails and lengthen short ones.

We spoke to Teresa Chen, owner of Glory salon in Mumbai, our go-to expert for this stylish trend. She’s in love with gel nails and can’t stop talking about how her fabulous customers come to her just for that. “Gels are long-lasting and they don’t smudge the moment you finish putting them on. The reason gel nails are so popular is because they can be used by just about anybody. They’re a boon for nail biters and women with short nails that chip away easily,” says Teresa.

Find out all the reasons to binge-buy gel nail polishes, with beauty stylist Teresa Chen.

The 101 On Gel Nail Polishes

“Somewhere in between regular nail polish and artificial acrylic nails, gel nail polishes have revolutionized the world of manicures. Thin layers of gel are applied to natural or artificial nails and cured under an ultraviolet light (or with a special gel activator) to create a high-gloss finish.” For a home manicure, you can try Ellement Co. Ell.E.D Express Nail Lamp-9W-Personal-Use. Already a hit in Asia and Eastern Europe because the non-yellowing, odorless, and chip free formula strengthens nails and provides the perfect base for funky and flirty designs.

Nail Art Possibilities

“Depending on the customer’s preference, French tips, painted designs, sparkles and other nail art are stuck on before the final top coat is applied. Exotic top jobs include marbling, a process where gelled nails are dipped into a small saucer of water containing swirls of different nail paints. The result: a curious fusion of nail polish, each finger looking different from the other,” Teresa explains.

She also offers nail piercings, much like nose and tongue rings. A tiny drill is used to drill a hole through the extended nail tip from which a tiny ring hangs. You can also go for rhinestones, glitters, & gothic spikes - yikes! You can do just about anything with your nails provided you keep them clean, says Teresa.

The best part? It’s all hassle-free for up to three weeks. “For about Rs. 2,500 you get beautiful, strong nails that are nearly shatter-proof.” For cute and quirky designs with gel nail paints, try Pippin Paris Stamping Nail Art Plate or SAVI Nail Art Tool Set.

Nail Health After Using Gel Polish

“The only precaution we advise is not getting food particles stuck under the nails to prevent infection,” says Teresa. Follow up sessions when the gel starts to loosen as the nail grows out involve filling-in the gel or filing nails down and getting creative all over again. Easy-peasy. Though, we recommend some handy nail care products like Paese Cosmetics Nail Nutrients Cuticle Care - Cuticle Milk 8, Kiko Milano Nail Polish Corrector Pen & Faces Canada Ultime Pro UV Top Coat Flash Dry & Colour Lock.

Popular Gel Nail Brands

“There’s no dearth of designs, colors and combinations,” Teresa adds. “While French tips and reverse manicures are always popular, collegians prefer eye popping neons and fluorescents and professionals prefer shorter nails in deeper wine and burgundy.”

A nail art maven, Teresa sticks to the reputed names and products including Sally Hansen, OPI, Ciaté London, and Artisan Gel Nail System. Our favorite products? Check out Deborah Gel Effect Nail Enamels, Ciaté London Gelology Paint Pot, Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, Lakmé Absolute Gel Stylist Nail Polish & Nykaa Salon Shine Gel Nail Lacquer.

Gel Nails vs Acrylic and Stick-ons

The reason gel nails score over acrylic or stick-ons is because they not only last longer, but also cause less damage to the nail bed. “Stick on nails are convenient and easy to use but the adhesive makes it easy for air pockets to form between the nail and the stick-on, increasing the risk of fungal infections.” Moreover they last just a week and the whole process of removing them regularly can get quite tedious and damaging. Acrylic nails are made of a combination of monomers (a powder) and polymers (a liquid). Combing the two creates acrylic that dries on the nail, dehydrating it. Teresa says besides feeling ‘heavy’, removing acrylics tends to damage the nail bed because some layers of the nail are lifted off as well. Gel nails, on the other hand, are a “boon for women who aren’t blessed with strong nails” says Teresa. They’re easy to apply and are hassle-free.

Now that you know all about gel nails, which colors and designs will you opt for?

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