Dry & Brittle & Cracked, Oh My!
Getting the gel off is a real bitch–it requires 10+ minutes of soaking in 100% acetone, either in a bowl or individually wrapped with foil. The gel is then scraped off after it softens. The condition of your nails afterwards is nothing short of horrifying. (And so is the price–in NYC a lot of nail salons charge you a whopping $10 just to remove gel polish.) Dhani, Nora and I have all failed at gel removal–Nora once tried an at-home gel system that even a nail salon couldn’t soak off. They had to resort to filing it off, which led to weakened nails that kept breaking for weeks. Mine are still peeling weeks after I got a gel mani before going to London for fashion week last month. Our intern, Zanele, actually bled after her gel started peeling, snagged on something and ripped her nails. She then had to stick her sore, bloody stumps (exaggeration by me) into pure acetone to get the gel off. Owwww.
Dry, brittle nails post gel is not an uncommon complaint apparently. Jin Soon Choi, an expert manicurist and designer fave who just launched her own line of nail polishes, isn’t a huge fan of gels. “I don’t like the fact that they dry out the nail bed tremendously which, over time, makes your nails very brittle which makes them break off easily,” she told us.
However, she acknowledges that the durability is definitely a plus. Both she and Dr. Waldorf recommend saving gels for vacations or special occasions. And to prevent your nails from becoming a total mess, Choi told us, “Be sure to moisturize your nails and cuticles with Vitamin E oil constantly while you have gel on your nail.” To protect from the harsh, stripping effect of the pure acetone, use cuticle oil first to protect skin, then soak your tips afterwards in a bowl of vitamin E oil or coconut oil for some quick rehydration.
Any gel manicure horror stories or are you their biggest fan?