Gel manicures are arguably one of the most exciting beauty innovations of the last few years–a mani that lasts for two solid weeks without chipping and doesn’t require any dry time seems downright miraculous. The technology is even popping up in do-it-yourself versions now–at-home gel mani kits are one of the reasons the nail care sector is having double digit growth this year according to WWD. But after we personally had some disastrous experiences with both the salon and at-home versions of gel manicures, we had to investigate further.
Not to be Debbie Downers here, but let’s forget the stunning, shiny long-lasting finish of these manis for a second (I mean, Michelle Obama’s trendsetting blue grey gel mani at the DNC looked fantastic) and talk about the dark–and horribly dried out–underbelly of gels. While these manicures look undeniably amazing, the UV exposure needed to set the gel and the potential damage to your nail beds are two big factors that can’t be ignored. We chatted with a nail expert and a dermatologist for their take.
First up: What about the UV exposure?