6 Tips For A Longer Lasting Gel Manicure

If you love a manicure that stands the test of time but often find that your nail polish chips or wears away at the edges,gel nails are going to be the new love of your life! 

Gel nails have been around since the 1980s, however at that time they were a bit trickier to use easily as it took a few years to get the formula and the UV lamps to behave properly together. Due to this, they disappeared from the nail scene for almost a decade, their reputation in ruins, before emerging as the phenomenon we know and love today.

Gel nails are so accessible today, withUV lamps available on Amazon for as little as £12! 

Despite gel nail polish having a much different formula to the standard nail polishes you can grab from high street stores, they look and are applied in very similar ways which can lead new users to try and approach it in the same way they approach regular nail polish. This will be okay in some regards, but it won’t yield any kind of longevity in your results which, afterall, is the whole point of gel nails in the first place! So, how do you make gel nails last longer? It’s pretty much all in the pretreatment… 

gel nails, how to make gel nails last longer

Tip 1: Cuticles 

Pushing back your cuticles is paramount to great longevity as they can and will cause your gel nail polish to lift sooner or later, which in turn is likely to cause you to want to pick at the polish, but this can lead to damaged nails as well as you obviously having lost at least one tenth of your manicure (assuming you have all fingers and thumbs accounted for!) This can be done with buffing, or you may want to justpush back the cuticles, and nip off the excess to keep your nail beds looking lovely and tidy. (be careful not to take off too much skin when using nippers as you don’t want to break your skin, this is really uncomfortable to say the least, but can also cause adverse or even allergic reactions if the nail polish gets into the wound)

Tip 2: Gently buff the nails

Take a fine grit nail file or abuffer tool and gently buff the shiny layer on your nails - you’re not going too deep here as you don’t want to make your nails thin, all you’re doing is removing the shine, and any leftover cuticle so that the base coat has more surface area to cling onto, and is less peelable. 

Tip 3: Apply acetone or nail primer

Once you’ve buffed your nails, take a cotton pad with some acetone and just cleanse the nails with it before you start your application. This ensures the nail bed is completely free from oils, dust and dirt that can prevent the gel from getting a good bond and a smooth finish. Nail Primeris applied in the same way as your gel polish - just brush it onto the nails before you start and it will help with your retention.

Tip 4: Apply thinner layers

You might want to go in with THICK layers but this is counterproductive for a couple of reasons. First, the UV light has to be able to penetrate the whole layer of gel nail polish and layers that are too thick hamper the light’s ability to do this, meaning that the gel closer to the nail is unable to cure properly, which results in poor retention. Secondly, if you’ve ever applied too thick of a layer of gel, you’ll be familiar with the strange little ridges you can get at the sides of your nails which are a result of your gel moving downwards before they have a chance to properly cure. Thinner layers are better, for paler shades you might just need to apply a 3rd coat of colour. 

gel nails, gel nail polish, how to make gel nails last longer

Tip 5: Check the instructions

Different companies use different formulas for UV gel polish, so just double check the timing needed to cure yours - it can range from 15 seconds up to 2 minutes, so it’s well worth checking so that you don’t end up with under processed nail polish! 

Tip 6: Try to avoid very hot water for a few hours afterwards

The heat from the water and the steam can cause lifting, so just avoid it for a few hours afterwards to keep your nails looking super fresh for even longer! 


Check out the full Miss Dolla range of gel nail colours and live your best nail life!

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