I love nail polish 😬 But when it comes to tasks like moving, my nails can take quite a beating.
Day to day I wear regular nail polish (no gel, no acrylic). It chips within a few days and I repaint them. It’s not a headache to me, and it makes me really focus on my overall nail health. I make sure to always wear a base coat and moisturize often. This honestly is the secret to keeping your nails healthy. You don’t need fancy products.
When Im on vacation, or moving, my nails encounter more potential danger than they do in my day to day life. Pushing my hands into boxes, having my hands submerged in water for long periods of time, and not having time to maintain my nails can create many problems for my manicure. To protect my nails from breaks, I like to use soak off gel polish during these times. The gel is strong and my nails are less likely to break underneath. The other great thing is soak off gel will last up to 2 weeks, so while Im moving or on vacation I don’t need to worry about touchups.
Soak off gel is not dangerous to your nails if you use it correctly. I do the gel manicure myself as I have yet to see a spa that doesn’t soak or file my natural nails (omg this is so bad for your nails). Basic guidelines to follow:
- Don’t ‘rough up’ your nails before applying the gel. Lots of companies suggest doing this, but this is damaging your nail! The gel will stick just fine without doing this.
- Don’t soak your hands in water or do a gel mani after having a bath/shower. Your nails should be FULLY dry before starting.
- Clean your nail with 100% pure acetone before applying your gel base. This will remove any oils on your nails so the gel sticks better.
- Leaving a small gap between your cuticles and your gel will result in a longer lasting manicure. If the gel gets on your cuticle, it could cause lifting of the polish.
- If the gel gets onto your skin, remove it before curing the gel.
- To remove the gel, rough up the top layer of the gel with a file (be sure not to file your nail or your skin). Soak a cotton pad in acetone, wrap it around the nail, and hold it in place with a piece of tin foil. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and the pad and use an orange stick (not metal) to push the gel off your nail.
- Don’t peel the gel off your nail. When you do this, it pulls the top layer of your nail with it.
There are a lot of brands for at home gel manicures and I don’t really have a preference. The color selections are still quite limited, and the bottle are quite expensive ($15+ per bottle). A few weeks ago, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart and I saw a product from Sensationail that looked interesting.
The product is called Sensationail Polish to Gel. The idea is, you can take any regular polish that you have at home and turn it into a soak off gel polish! I had to try it. I purchased just the Polish to Gel bottle as I already had a LED lamp to cure the gel.
If you’ve done a gel mani before, these steps are fairly simple:
- Prep your nails: remove any old polish, file nails to desired length, push cuticles, clean off any oil with acetone.
- Add 10 drops of the Polish to Gel and 10 drops of the regular polish of your choice to the small container provided. Mix VERY well.
- Apply a gel base coat, cure according to the bottles directions.
- Using a brush (I just cleaned one from an empty polish bottle) apply 2-3 thin layers of the polish and gel mixture. Cure for 30 seconds between each layer.
- Apply a gel top coat, cure according to the bottles directions.
- Wipe your nails with a gel cleanser or rubbing alcohol to remove the tacky layer.
And tada 🎉 Gel nails from your regular polish.
The gel leaves my nails quite hard so the aren’t broken easily. I’ve had these on for a week now and there is no chipping in the polish. They are growing out a bit, but nothing too bad, I will probably try to wear these for another 5 days or so. Now I don’t feel like I am going to break my nails every time I go to open a moving box!