With their ultra glossy finish it’s easy to see why gel nails are in high demand
While gel nails may have been around for some time, they have become increasingly popular in the last few years. So much so that nail varnish brands have either developed their own gel systems or have formulated varnishes that mimic the gel look.
What are Gel Nails?
Traditional gel nails are created by applying layers of gel polish, and placing them under a UV light to cure (set, harden) the gel. Using standard nail varnish clearly doesn’t involve UV light, and whilst that may make the process safer* it’s more difficult to achieve the high shine look.
Why consider alternatives to Gel Nails?
Gel Nails raised some health concerns because of the use of UV light. During the manicure, your hands are placed under the UV light several times to cure your nails. Consistent exposure to UV light has been linked to skin cancer. I’M NOT SAYING THAT GEL NAILS WILL GIVE YOU CANCER. However, placing your hands under a UV light does expose your skin to UV radiation, and whilst the risk of getting cancer may be low, “it’s not insignificant” according to The Skin Cancer Foundation.
A number of at-home gel systems are available to buy so that you can do them yourself. However, many advise having them done at a salon (especially for the removal process) to ensure that there is little damage caused to your natural nails underneath.
Gel manicures can last up to 3 weeks. For a lot of people that’s a blessing, but for some *cough cough* like me who like to change their manicure often, it restricts your ability to change the colour whenever you want.
MODELS OWN HYPER GEL
Models Own have just launched their Hyper Gels which claim to copy the gel look in an instant. The new shades are bang on trend for Spring and Summer in cutesy pastel colours. See reviews from Get Fit Get Fabulous and My Life My Blog Zane
SEVENTEEN GEL COLOUR
Seventeen can be overlooked at times, but I’ve always been a huge fan of their shades. Available in 15 colours and modestly priced, Seventeen now has its own gel range. To see if Seventeen Gel Colour is for you, check out this review by Cherry Lemon’s Beauty Blog.
BARRY M GELLY HI SHINE
This is my personal favourite, with a wide range of colours to choose from including fashion and staple colours. Barry M was one of the first on the high street to give an alternative to gel nails that is convincing and wearable. You can see my experience with Gelly Hi Shines in the colours Lychee and Prickly Pear
NAILS INC GEL EFFECT POLISH
The Gel Effect range from Nails Inc contains a slighter smaller number of shades, but they include a good mix of seasonal and functional colours. It claims to give a “flawless application with no streaks or dragging”, which is essential to getting that glossed over look. See how it performed in this review from Curve Happens
Can Nail Polish alternatives Match up to Gel Nails?
In terms of longevity, the answer is no. Gel nails can last up to 3 weeks. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a nail polish that could match that (on your fingernails). But, depending on the brand, they can replicate the same finish as gel nails. Although I’ve not personally tried gel nails, I have seen them in up close in the the flesh and carefully inspected them (the girls are always troopers!) and there was no visual difference between gel nail polish and gel nails set under a UV lamp.
Stay posted for my tips on how to cheat a gel manicure.
Do you like the look of gel nails? Have you tried any of these alternative gel nail polishes?