As you might already know, I recently got my very first gel manicure so that I wouldn't have to worry about scraggly nails while I was in Italy on my honeymoon for 11 days. Oh yes, we took a nice long vacay and I just knew a regular manicure wouldn't hold up.
Having heard so much of the hype behind gel manicures, I decided to give it a shot. Afterall, they boasted results that lasted 14 days. I thought, "Perfect, I won't have to pack nail polish and remover. I won't have to worry about broken nails." You see, if I don't have a nice coat of polish on my nails, they just break. And they always break nice and low, where it hurts. So, I had to have a manicure, but I wanted to be low maintenence.
Well, here's what I learned. I would have just been better off simply giving myself a regular manicure, but instead of sporting some color, I should've applied clear polish. That way any chips could easily be fixed with an extra coat, I could keep my nails from breaking, and I wouldn't have deal with a sloppy manicure that couldn't be removed easily.
Here's the deal. Gel manicures may stay on your nails for 14 days. The polish may be difficult to get off, thus prolonging the mani, but it won't look good the whole time. For the cost, I don't think its worth it. Within a week, my manicure looked sloppy - there were cracks in the polish and I got my first chip. That's right, a chip. For $30, I would expect my manicure to look nice for longer than seven days. By the ninth day, I had more chips and the regrowth looked awful, unkempt even.
Then, it costs another $10 or so to have the polish removed. Granted, you could do it at home. But if you end up with my luck (no amount of soaking would get the polish melted so that it would easily peel off), I ended up having to buff it off, leaving me with the same damage on my nails as if I'd had to remove acrylics. Perhaps I did something wrong in the removal process. But I simply didn't see much pay off to my gel manicure.
Will it last, yes. But, in my opinion, not nearly as long as they boast. Fourteen days is too long to wear the same manicure anyway. If you have to get it redone every week to tame regrowth and keep the actual polish looking fresh, the cost seems to outweigh the benefit.
Check out the pictures of how my polish held up (click on the photo for a larger view):
My first chip happened after seven days (second photo above). However, my polish had already started to develop cracks. They looked like spider veins under the polish. The camera didn't pick it up too well, but in person, I could see them. In the third and fourth pictures, you can see what looks like shadows on some of the nails. In person, they looked like sidewalk cracks. It was along those cracks that my polish would chip.
As you can see from the last photo, there are cracks (on the ring finger you can see some shadows those are cracks), and ugly regrowth. While they don't look as bad in photos, in person, it looked pretty bad.
Here's a closer view of the cracks. They might still be difficult to see, and in the photo just look like a shadow. In person it was a different story. As I mentioned, they essentially looked like spider veins in my polish.
So that's that my dear readers. I just didn't feel it was worth while. I'd rather have to change my polish more often and have it look fresh, then have to subject my nails to a gel manicure again. If my regular manicure cracks, it's easy for me to remove the polish and not have my hands look sloppy. With the gel mani, it's a process to remove it and if you don't do it right, you'll damage your nails. Or you have to pay someone do to it correctly for you (which means my sloppy manicure has to wait until I have time to go to the nail salon).
It simply wasn't for me. Incidentally, I stopped taking photos of my nails after day nine. But, by the plane ride home, I had significant chips, and the "cracking" looked so bad, it looked like I had dirt stuck under the polish.
Has anyone had a similar experience? How about a better one? Please share.