OMG, a girly post on Reach Financial Independence! Gentlemen, we will see you next time
In the middle of my little Guatemalan jungle, I rarely get manicures, and the few times I did I ended up frustrated because my jungle lifestyle doesn’t help keep impeccable manicures more than a couple of hours. There is the dirt when you work in the garden, the animals you have to feed, all the stuff you have to carry… So when my friends came to visit with shiny gel manicures, I was intrigued. They paid 25 euros ($35) in Paris to get them, which put into perspective my not so good $3 local manicure.
My French gel nails still looking good after 10 days.
What is a gel manicure?
It is a manicure with a special nail polish that is dried under a UV lamp. The polish coat dries super fast and is so strong you can do pretty much anything with your hands without damaging it.
Are gel manicures worth the cost?
Usually a manicure costs $15, and a gel one $25-$45. While you can ruin a normal manicure as soon as you get out of the salon by reaching for your car keys at the bottom of your purse, you can use your hands normally from the start with gel nails.
Your gel manicure will last for up to 4 weeks, with a minimum of 2 weeks, compared to 4-5 days, best case scenario for a normal manicure to go without chipping. So yes, it is worth the extra cost, especially as you don’t have to go back to the salon and lose another half hour of your life getting pretty.
That said, once your nails start to grow, say after 2 weeks, it is not so nice to look at your gel nails, except if you have the same color at home to do a touch up. I did the French manicure so it doesn’t show that much, for the nails are the same color as the gel as they grow back. If you do a flashy pink, it will be more obvious that your gel manicure is getting old, even though the polish stays impeccable.
Here in Guatemala, a gel manicure cost me $8.50 in on of the fanciest salons of Guatemala City, I have seen offers on Facebook for as low as $4.50, and I imagine even smaller salons in poorer neighborhoods who don’t have a FB page may charge $3.50 or less. A normal manicure cost $3 in my nearest town and $5 with a lady that imports some O.P.I polish that lasts longer. It is still worth going for the gel polish if you want to keep your nails neat for longer periods.
You pay to get your gel nails removed
The gel manicure has to be soaked off at the salon for a fee. Last time I just removed it myself with a lot of acetone, but apparently most polish removers in the US or Europe don’t have acetone anymore. My friends paid about 8 euros ($10) to get it removed.
If you did a shiny pink and want to switch to French, you will have to scrap it off well for the pink not to show, and it can damage your nails.
You can do a gel manicure at home
You can buy the UV machine off Amazon for $50-$200, and the special polish. If the salon near you charges $45 or more, it is well worth investing in a machine. You need to get the hang of it, but it isn’t much more complicated than doing a normal manicure. If you put gel on your skin, when drying the coat will peel easily so you need to stay on the nail only, which is not so easy when you do the transparent coat of the French.
Gel nails are not the best for your health
According to the New York Post, you shouldn’t abuse gel manicures as the repeated exposure to UV lamp could cause skin cancer. I did it for weddings and occasions but usually don’t wear polish at all. When you take the gel manicure off, your nails are quite dry, like they haven’t breathed in three weeks. Doctors say if you have a nail problem underneath the coat, you won’t see it for a few weeks as it worsens underneath the gel.
So while I liked the experience, I won’t do it more than once every quarter or so, to make sure I keep healthy nails. There you go, I never though I’d be able to write 800 words on manicures!