12 Ways to Treat (and Avoid) Gel Polish Lifting

18 Nov.,2022

 

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We've all been there: You spend ages working out exactly which gel nail polish color will go with your wardrobe but then just a few days later, you take a look down at your keyboard ready to marvel at your fine fingertips, and notice that something isn't right. Right there, at the tip of your forefinger, your gel has started to peel. Nightmare.

First, you'll go through a phase of denial, pretending that everything is fine, but then a huge wave of utter disappointment comes crashing over you when you realize it won't be long before the rest of your nails follow suit and start flaking. And if you're anything like us, stage three is full of temptation to pick, peel, and bite the polish back down to the bare nail. And if you didn't know already, that isn't a great idea. We spoke to nail experts about how to stop gel nails from peeling in the first place.

Meet the Expert

  • Natalia Mercedes is a nail tech at Art Nail NYC.
  • Cherrie Snow is a nail expert and fashion manicurist.

Keep scrolling to find out how to protect your manicure and prevent polish from peeling.

What Is Gel Nail Polish?

Regular nail polish and gel nail polish have different chemical compositions. While regular nail polish can just be painted on, gel requires a little more care before application. "Most of the steps are similar to a regular manicure. However, removing natural oils and dehydrating the nail plate is required for a long-lasting gel manicure," says Mercedes. After each coat of polish, the gel is cured with an LED/UV light instead of just air-drying, making the manicure extra strong and sure to last at least two weeks.

Why Your Gel Polish Might Be Lifting

  • Cuticles were not prepped
  • Nails were not filed before the application
  • Too much moisture and oil on the nail plate
  • Insufficiently cure gel polish
  • Thick coats of gel polish were used
  • A base coat or top coat wasn't used
  • The free edges weren't capped
  • The nails are being exposed to harsh conditions

Treatments and Preventative Measures