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UV Gel

January 30th, 2010


3467263970 b45ac86e9f UV GelUv Gel, or ultraviolet gel, is a common product used in the nail beauty industry.  Similar to acrylic, uv gel is a malleable material that a nail technician can use to form a false nail and then harden using an ultraviolet lamp.  This pre-mixed polymer and monomer gel is applied in thin coats and activated under a specialized light.

When applying UV Gel, it is imperative that you use thin coats.  As with nail polish, it is better to have 3 or 4 thin coats of Gel than 1 or 2 thick coats.  The main reason for this is that thinner layers are easier to cure under the ultraviolet light.  the more thoroughly the gel nails are cured, the less shrinkage will occur, and the less shrinkage of the gel, the more comfortable the client will be.  There will always be some shrinking when it comes to uv gels, but anything over 20% can actually injure the nail or the nail bed.  If you follow the curing times recommended by the product, and always use thin coats, you should be fine in doing your applications.

What is UV Gel Good For?

Just like with most other false nails, gel nails have the ability to strengthen nails, lengthen shorter nails and overall provide the beautiful look that you or your client are going for.

Many nail technicians have reported that UV gel is easier to apply and to work with than acrylics, and for nail art purposes many beginning nail techs will take gel nails as an intro to false nails.  Many also prefer to use uv gel nails for when they are doing airbrushed nail art because of the extra shine that the cured gel provides.  The gloss of gel nails puts them a step above many other cosmetic nails in many people’s opinion due to a more natural look.

gel nails tend to cure much faster (about 2 minutes a coat) than acrylic nails, and for this reason many clients prefer gels.  Acrylics tend to have a strong odor that ultraviolet gels do not, and for clients or technicians with sensitive noses, gel would be the obvious choice.

Some Drawbacks of UV Gel

Gel nails tend not to last as long as acrylic nails, and are also less durable.  The cost of gel nails generally is a little bit higher, and in terms of applying nails, it is necessary to have access to a specialized uv lamp.  Due to the extra smooth finish of gel nails, nail polish may not adhere as readily as it would to other surfaces, but if you work with colored nail gel or an airbrush, this may pose no problem at all.  Due to the nature of the curing monomer polymer mix, most gel nails are on for good, so they must be filed off fully before another set can be applied.  Soaking will not work in this case, and for some clients who are experimenting with cosmetic or false nails as opposed to natural nails, this may be a serious drawback.

Make sure to explain the pros and cons of gel nails when working with a client as it is very important for you to care for their nails first and foremost, and only then is it your job to make them look fabulous.  If you have the chance to take a nail training course on gel nails in your area, make sure to take it because it will give you a really great service to be able to provide to your clients.

Notes on UV gel Application

To start with your application of uv gel, you will want to perform a standard manicure to care for and treat the nails.  You will then want to prep the nails for artificial nails and apply a nail form the same way that you would with acrylic nails.

Next you want to scoop a small amount of gel onto your brush, keeping one side of the brush clean by wiping it on the side of the jar as you pull it out, similar to how you would take polish out of the bottle.  You want to apply the gel to the nail in a thin coat and make sure not to apply to much pressure or let the brush fan out while you apply your uv gel.  if you apply to much pressure, or don’t apply the gel evenly, it can cause problems in the curing process.  Focus on using the same good technique you learned while applying polish and you should be fine.  make sure there is no gel touching the skin at the edge of the nail bed, and if there is remove it with your cuticle stick.

Make sure to cure for the full length of time that your uv gel kit instructs you to and repeat the above steps until the nail is the desired size and shape (3 or 4 layers is normal).  Once you have finished with the uv cure for the final time it is time to use the cleaner that came in your kit to wipe off any uncured gel.  if there are any blemishes in your application, you can now put a thin layer on and re-cure the uv gel.

finally you will want to apply a sealer and the color of your choice.

Similar to uv gels, there are also non-uv gels out there, that use a chemical cure method, but they are less common.

Till Next Time

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