How Long does Gel Nail Polish Last?

How Long does Gel Nail Polish Last?

Have you heard about gel manicures and aren’t sure if they are right for you? Gel manicures are one of the most sought after manicures across many salons and for a good reason.

In fact, these reasons include the following:

  • They last longer - Gel nail manicures last longer than traditional polishes, so their upkeep isn’t as consistent as a regular polish.
  • Quick application - Because gel nail polish is cured with a UV/LED lamp, you can cut down your salon or at home nail manicure times to go about your day instead of waiting around for other polishes to dry.
  • Cuts down on maintenance - With gel polish’s ability to stay hardened and virtually chip-free, as long as you take care of them, you don’t have to go to the salon as often to get them maintained, thus saving you time and money in the long run.

In addition to their ability to last longer, dry quickly, and cut down on your nail maintenance costs, you can also dress them up like you would with traditional polish. So if you are worried that you can’t create art and designs for gel polish the same way you would with traditional polish, we’re here to tell you that you definitely can.

You can create all the nail art you’d like on your gel nails just as you would with your traditional polish. If you’re wondering exactly how long they will last, we’ve got those answers and more below. 

What Is Gel Nail Polish?

If you are new to trying out gel nail polish, let us explain exactly what it is so you have a better understanding of why it's such a great and long-lasting polish to have.

Gel nail polish is created and used through the following:

  • Gel polish is made up of acrylic monomers and oligomers, which bond together when placed under a UV/LED light.
  • The process of using UV/LED light is called curing, which turns the liquid gel polish into the hard coating, which is also chemical resistant.
  • You can also use an UV light, which will take about two minutes to harden.
  • LED light is thought to be the best method because it only takes 5 to 45 seconds to harden. 

Because of the gel polish’s ability to harden so quickly under the UVLED light and its ability to last as long as it does, it is the preferred method of polish. 

How Long It Typically Lasts

Generally, gel polish can last up to 14 days without needing any additional application. Therefore, this is about two weeks in total, where your gel nails will be in the best shape possible. 

Although your gel polish may still look great after the two weeks, you do need to be mindful that you run the risk of adverse effects of  nail health if you decide to keep wearing them longer than the recommended period.

You would need to redo your gel polish after two weeks because when you have gel polish on your nails, the polish will continue to cure or harden in any UV exposure or direct sunlight, which we all know is constantly around us.

The longer you keep your polish on, the longer it cures, making it that much harder to remove when you are ready for a new gel color or design. The best thing you can do for your nails is to go to your manicurist after the two weeks since it was first applied so that they can safely and gently remove the polish without damaging the nail.

If you decide to try the removal process yourself incorrectly, be aware of the following that could happen to your nail:

  • The nail becomes brittle - By taking the gel nail off yourself, you risk pulling off part of your natural nail that has attached to the gel polish, which means it will leave your natural nail very weak.
  • Your natural nails will become unsightly - When you remove the gel polish improperly, either by not following the proper steps or not going to a manicurist, it can cause your natural nail to look flaked, cracked, and all-around unhealthy. 

Even though you may think that you can remove the gel nail yourself and cover it back up with polish, your natural nail will still be too weak and will need a chance to either grow back to its natural form or you will need a manicurist to help with the recovery of a healthy nail. 

Don’t Remove It Yourself

As we stated earlier, it is hugely advised that you not take removing your gel nails into your own hands unless you have the proper tools and instruction, as tempting as it may be.

We all have the itch to do it, especially if you are tired of your gel polish color choice or design and want to take it off for a new one. But we are here to tell you to leave that itch unscratched.

In addition to what we mentioned earlier about trying to take gel polish off yourself, here are a few other situations or circumstances that could happen to your nails if you attempt this yourself:

  • Makes your nails susceptible to peeling - When you remove the gel nail polish yourself, you are stripping away layers of nails, which can make them break and tear easily.
  • You could injure yourself - By removing the gel nail polish, since it is very strong and attached to your nail, you could risk pulling off part of your natural nail, which could result in cuts, tears, and bleeding. 
  • Peeling gel polish weakens your nails over time - If you have been peeling off your gel nail polish yourself for a while now, you have probably noticed that your nails are very weak. If you are continuously peeling your gel nail polish off yourself, you will weaken your nails over time, and this can last to permanent nail damage if you continue to do so.

We know that picking at your nails can sometimes be an alluring or habit-forming thing for some people. However, we always advise against picking your nails in general, especially with gel nail polish, because it can leave lasting effects on your natural nails.

Instead, schedule an appointment with your manicurist so that they can properly remove and restore your gel nails so you can continue to enjoy them and your natural nails for a long time. 

Ways To Make Gel Last Longer

Now that you are aware of why you shouldn’t remove gel nail polish on your own, let's discuss ways to make your polish last as long as possible. The following are some recommendations on how you can keep your gel nail polish looking as great as the day that they were first applied to your nails:

  • Be sure to cap the free edge with the gel polish.  This step will help with peeling of the polish. 
  • Make sure you have a top coat on your gel nail polish - Most manicurists will do this as the last steps of your gel manicure, but if they miss this step, be sure you ask that they add this. If you are attempting to put on gel polish yourself, definitely invest in an excellent top gloss coat to put over your gel nails once the polish has hardened. 
  • Push back those cuticles - Before you or your manicurist begins the gel manicure, be sure you are pushing your cuticles back so that gel polish does not get on them. 
  • Apply cuticle oil often - To avoid your gel polish from cracking or becoming dehydrated over time, apply some nail oil all over the gel polish to keep it moisturized. 

As we said earlier, it is always recommended that you have your gel polish removed every 14 days. If you want to maintain your gel polish look until then or you can’t schedule a gel manicure, try these tips instead to maintain your gel polish in the meantime. 

Gel Nails Are The Way to Go

There is a reason why gel polish is the way to go, and it’s because not only do they look great, but they last longer than traditional polish. In fact, they can last up to 14 days without noticeable wear and tear, and that makes them even more noteworthy and a nail salon favorite. 

And although it may be tempting, it is strongly advised that you not remove gel polish when it starts to grow out as it can damage and strip the nail, which can lead to a weakened nail over time. You can also use a couple of tips and tricks to maintain and prolong the aesthetic of your gel polish; however, it is always advised that you get another gel manicure once the two weeks are up.