Maintaining Healthy Natural Nails Beneath Gel Manicures

Gel manicures have become a popular choice for those seeking long-lasting, beautifully manicured nails. However, many clients are concerned about the potential impact of gel manicures on the health of their natural nails. In this guide, we'll explore how you can help your customers maintain healthy natural nails beneath gel manicures, ensuring that they can enjoy the beauty of gel nails without compromising their nail health.

LED nail lamp for gel nail polish

Understanding the Basics

Before we dive into the tips for maintaining healthy natural nails beneath gel manicures, it's essential to understand how gel nails work and what potential concerns exist.

How Gel Nails Work: Gel nails are created by applying a gel-based polish and then curing it under a UV or LED lamp. The curing process hardens the gel, resulting in a durable, glossy finish that can last for weeks.

Common Concerns: Some of the common concerns associated with gel manicures include nail thinning, brittleness, and other forms of damage to the natural nail if done incorrectly.

Gel nail polish in a range of gel colors

Nail Health Starts with Proper Preparation

One of the most critical aspects of maintaining healthy natural nails beneath gel manicures is proper nail preparation. Here are some essential steps to follow:

Moisturize Regularly: Hydrated nails are less likely to become brittle and damaged. It’s crucial that clients use a high-quality cuticle oil and hand cream daily to keep their nails and surrounding skin well-moisturized. Dehydrated nails will be more prone to lifting and therefore causing damage to the top layers of the natural nail.

Don’t Over-file:One of the most common causes of gel nail damage is over-filing during the nail prep stage. Whilst using a nail file to buff the surface, ensure you don’t file away too much of the natural nail, as this will thin the nails and can be extremely painful for the client.

Nail prep before a gel nails manicure

Use a Good Base Coat: When it comes to your preparation as a Nail Technician, applying a high-quality base coat is essential before the gel manicure. It not only enhances the durability of the gel polish but also acts as a protective barrier for the natural nails.

Practice Safe Gel Manicure Removal

The way you perform gel removals will significantly impact the health of your clients’ natural nails. Follow these steps for safe removal:

Avoid Peeling or Picking: Never peel off your clients' gel manicure, even if it’s lifting, as this can cause damage to the top layer of the natural nails. Instead, clip any lifted gel and then soak the rest of the product as usual. Also, remember to advise your client against picking at the nails themselves, no matter how tempting it may be!

Soak in Acetone: Always soak the nails in acetone for at least 15-20 minutes before attempting to remove the product. Once the gel has softened, use a blunt scraping tool to gently slide the product away from the nail plate. If there is some stubborn polish, keep soaking the nails until it comes off with ease.

A Gel Nail Break

In some cases, your client may need a break from their gel manicures. Whilst this is not a must, it is individual to each client. If you notice significant nail damage, then be sure to use your expertise and recommend that they take a break before their next gel nail set. Having a few weeks with natural nails will allow them to recover and strengthen.

Should you take a break from gel nails?

Protecting The Nails

Nail protection is crucial, especially if your clients have a lifestyle that exposes their hands to wear and tear:

Wear Gloves: Advise your clients to use gloves when doing housework, gardening, or working with harsh chemicals. This protects their nails from physical damage and chemical exposure.

Avoid Nail Biting: Warn your clients against the consequences of nail biting. It can lead to chipping and damage. If it’s something they struggle with, they can use a bitter-tasting nail product on top of their gel nails to deter the habit.

Stunning gel nails using Miss Dolla gel nail polish

Maintaining healthy natural nails beneath gel manicures is not only achievable but essential for long-term nail health. By following the tips and practices outlined in this guide and asking your clients to do the same, they can continue to enjoy the beauty of gel nails while ensuring that their natural nails remain strong and healthy. Remember, a little care goes a long way in preserving the health and beauty of the nails.