What Is A Gel Manicure? Full Procedure, Pros, and Cons

Jaxon Wilder

Updated on:

what is a gel manicure

If you love experimenting with your nails, then you must be curious to know about gel manicures. In today’s post, you’ll get to know what is a gel manicure, its application and removal process, benefits, drawbacks, and more.

What Is A Gel Manicure?

A gel manicure is a chip-resistant manicure done by using gel nail polish. In this manicure, the UV-curing method is used to harden the gel nail polish. The final result of this manicure will give you strong, glossy, durable nails! The color payoff of gel polish is more intense on the nails. Also, gel polish maintains its color for weeks without fading and yellowing.

A basic gel manicure requires 30 to 60 minutes approximately to complete. However, the final time will vary depending on the nail condition, design, and the nail expert.

After knowing what is a gel manicure, you must be curious to know the lasting power of gel manicures.

Also Read : How Long Does A Manicure Take and How Often Should You Do It?

How Long Can A Gel Manicure Last?

Generally, a gel manicure can stay chip-free for up to two to three weeks. The staying power of gel nails depends on how you treat and take care of your hands post-manicure. Thus, gel manicures are best for those who can’t visit nail salons frequently.

If you’re thinking of getting a gel manicure, let’s have a look at how this manicure is done.

Also Read : What Is A Dry Manicure? Is It Good For Your Nails?

Gel Manicure Full Procedure

Gel manicures should always done by a well-trained nail tech and at a reputed nail salon. Here is the step-by-step procedure for gel manicures.

  1. The expert will remove previously applied nail polish from your nails.
  2. Next, nail trimming, grooming, shaping, and nail bed buffing will be done.
  3. A thin layer of cuticle cream or oil is now applied to the nails.
  4. With a cuticle pusher and trimmer, the expert will gently push and trim your cuticles.
  5. Your nails are now cleaned and dehydrated by using nail cleansing pads.
  6. A layer of base coat is applied on your nails and cured under a UV light for 30-60 sec.
  7. Next, a layer of colored gel polish is then applied and cured in the same way.
  8. The expert will apply two coats of gel polish to get an opaque color.
  9. Now, a layer of top coat is applied and cured to get a glossy finish.
  10. A good layer of moisturizer and cuticle cream is applied to your hands and nails for nourishment.

The final results will give you long-lasting shiny nails! You can also check out these ideas for gel nails.

Apart from learning what is a gel manicure, there are some advantages of gel manicures you must know. 

Gel Manicure Pros

As you know the biggest advantage of gel manicures is long-lasting results. Below, I have listed other pros of getting gel manicures.

  • Gel polish won’t fade easily like regular nail polish.
  • Gel nail polish is more durable and flexible to use.
  • Your nails are less prone to breakage and remain healthy. 
  • You no longer have to worry about drying time and nail polish smudging.
  • Instead of air drying, UV or LED lamp is used to cure nails.
  • It’s very easy to remove gel nail polish by using acetone wraps.

In short, a gel manicure is a great option for those who are impatient! 

Before trying any new beauty treatment, it’s also important to be aware of its potential side effects. Keep on reading if you want to know the disadvantages of gel manicures.

Gel Manicure Cons

Here, I have given the list of cons of gel manicures.

  • Sometimes, gel nail polish can be harsh on natural nails.
  • Frequently doing gel manicures can weaken your nails by making them thin.
  • Gel polish removal makes your nails dry and brittle.
  • The UV light used to cure the gel polish can damage your skin.
  • Cost-wise, a gel manicure is more expensive than a regular manicure.
  • This manicure is not suitable for dry and weak nails as it can damage the nails even more.

Remember your nails won’t be damaged if you apply and remove gel manicures by nail experts.

Luckily, there are a few quick hacks that’ll make your gel manicure last longer without damaging your nails. Keep on reading if you want to increase the lifespan of your gel manicure.

Tips To Maintain Gel Manicure

You can use these tips to make your gel manicure last longer and prevent it from peeling.

  • Ask the expert to apply a good 2- 3 coats of gel polish for longer wear.
  • Ensure that each base coat, gel coat, and top coat is cured properly under a UV light.
  • Frequently moisturize your cuticles with cuticle oil or cream.
  • Avoid filing your nails at home as it can lift and peel the polish.
  • Minimize exposing your nails to water as it can lift the edges of your gel polish.

Your gel manicure can easily last more than three weeks and up to four weeks with proper care. You can also check out this video to make your gel nails last longer.

Gel Manicure Removal Process

When the gel nail polish starts peeling, it’s time to remove the polish from your nails. Here is the step-by-step procedure for removing the gel manicure.

  1. The expert will file your gel nails to remove the shine.
  2. Your nails are now soaked in the acetone solution for 10 min roughly.
  3. Leftover polish residue will be then scraped away by using a cuticle pusher.
  4. Cuticle oil and hand cream are applied all over your nails and hands respectively. 

Alternatively, the expert may also wrap your nails in acetone-soaked cotton balls and secure them with aluminum foil. 

Gel Manicure Cost

A gel manicure can cost you between $10 and $15 approx depending on where it is done. Typically, gel manicures will cost different in different cities, states, and nail salons. Make sure you don’t visit a cheap nail salon to save a few bucks! 

Gel Manicure Vs Acrylic Manicure

You can easily tell the difference between a gel manicure vs acrylic manicure by looking at its application. In a gel manicure, the gel polish is applied just like regular nail polish. In an Acrylic manicure, a gummy paste (a combination of liquid monomer & powder polymer) is applied over your nails with a brush. 

Gel Manicure Vs Shellac Manicure

The main difference between a Shellac manicure vs a gel manicure is the type of nail polish used. Gel manicures use true gel polish, while Shellac manicure uses a special nail polish (a mixture of gel and regular polish). 


I hope now you have understood what is a gel manicure. Gel manicures offer long-lasting glossy nails that require low maintenance. This manicure lasts longer because it is cured with a UV or LED light. Thus, you can now take your nail game to the next level by getting gel nails!


How Often Can I Do Gel Manicure?

You must wait for at least two to three weeks before getting another gel manicure. This waiting time is important for your nail health as gel manicures often make your nails thin and weak.

Who Should Avoid Getting Gel Manicure?

You must avoid getting gel manicures if your nails are damaged and your skin is allergic to gel polish and UV exposure.

How Much Does It Cost To Apply and Remove Gel Manicure?

It can cost you around $10 and $15 approx to apply gel manicures. You have to pay up to $10-20$ extra to remove gel manicures.

How Much Time Will It Take To Apply and Remove Gel Manicure?

To apply a gel manicure, approximately 30 to 60 minutes are enough. And 10 to 15 minutes are enough to remove your gel manicure.