Posted: Jan 27, 2013 5:30 PM
 
More and more moms are jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to gel manicures. How can you resist that long-wearing, instantly-dry polish that’s perfect for our busy lifestyles? But there are some downsides to the process, too. Get the full story before you book an appointment.

Gel manicures may be the hottest nail trend — and it's no wonder. Moms don't have a lot of spare time to fool around with chipped manicures or wait for polish to dry. With so many amazing colors available, what's not to love? We've got the lowdown on what's up with gel manicures.

Gel or shellac?

Regular manicures look great at the salon — and begin to chip and fade almost as soon as you reach for your keys to leave. Gel polishes go on like regular nail polish, but are made with a longer-lasting formula that dries to a hard, shiny finish under a special UV light. Your nails maintain the same shine and remain chip-free for two weeks or more.

Shellac is a brand name for a gel polish made by CND they call Power Polish, which is essentially a combination of regular nail polish and UV-cured polish. Both gel and shellac use the UV light to cure and harden the polish, and both give you long-lasting color and shine — with no chips for several weeks. Due to the potentially harmful UV rays, you should always apply sunscreen to your hands before putting them under the light.

Removal

While the application of gel or shellac polish is easy and relatively quick, the removal process is a bit more difficult. Acetone is required to remove the hard layers, which can peel away the top layer of your nails when removed. CND has created acetone wraps to remove shellac polish, to prevent having to soak your entire fingertips in acetone. Acetone can be very drying and irritating to your skin. Problems often result when women aren't able to get into the salon to have the gel removed and wind up peeling layers off at home. Nails become brittle and weak, and there can be damage to the nail bed.

Why moms love them

Moms use their hands all day, and are brutal on a regular manicure. Having a manicure that lasts at least two weeks and still looks great is a huge bonus for busy moms. Having freshly-painted nails always helps you feel more put together — who wouldn't love that?

One mom's experience

For me, the removal process wasn't worth those gorgeous nails!

AllParenting writer Katie Kavulla was excited about her first gel manicure — but soon found out it wasn't her thing. "I was obsessed with my first gel manicure. As a mom who doesn't often paint her nails because they get roughed up too easily, I was thrilled that I could walk out the door of the salon with dry nails and my manicure lasted nearly three weeks before it started to chip," she shares. "However, I'll admit that I wasn't thrilled about the way that it was removed. My nails were soaked in acetone for 30 minutes before the technician used an orange stick to scrape my nails. It was painful and horrifying and my nails looked and felt awful afterwards — like there was an entire layer missing." Katie has friends who have had the same procedure, and some have said it wasn't that bad. She adds, "For me, the removal process wasn't worth those gorgeous nails!"

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What do you think? Do you love your gel manicure?

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Kori Ellis January 27, 2013
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I have had both and I love the results. My experience with removing gel wasn't as horrifying as Katie's was, but it was pretty bad. The Shellac removal isn't as difficult.
Michelle Maffei January 23, 2013
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I was just pondering this today: to gel or not to gel? Thanks for giving me my answer!