Yesterday I received the following email from a colleague here at Allure:
__”This weekend I was at the salon getting my hair done and the woman shampooing my hair said she always gets a gel topcoat on her manicures—JUST the topcoat is the gel. She said that way you don’t have the limited color selection of gels, it doesn’t take any longer than a reg manicure + drying time, and it comes off easily, just a little filing (not the crazy removal process when you have color + topcoat in gel form).” __
My first thought was, Wow, what a smart trick! But the more I thought about it, the more this technique seemed too good to be true (not to mention that the safety of gel manicures is still debatable, until further research is available). So I emailed manicurist Elle to get to the bottom of it. Here’s what she said: “It doesn’t always work, and you need a lot of patience to get it right. With a regular manicure, your drying time at the salon is about 20 minutes, but it actually takes 24 hours for the solvents in regular polish to fully dry. If the solvents aren’t fully dry, then putting on a gel topcoat is going to seal in wet polish. Or the topcoat could just slip right off.”
Elle did say that you could go back to the salon the next day to get the clear gel cured on top of your polish (not exactly a practical solution), or use an at-home gel kit (but we’ve never tried this). And in terms of removal, yes, it will be easier to take off and less damaging to your nails because it’s just regular nail polish on top of the natural nail, and you won’t need to soak them in pure acetone (which is extremely drying). But really, Elle wrote, there’s no guarantee that this technique will work. “You may be lucky, but if you don’t do it correctly, you don’t get the benefits.”
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