Which Manicure is Most Damaging to Nails?
When it comes to manicures, there is an array of treatments available – but which is least damaging for your nails?
Regular nail polish can damage natural nails over time. The ingredients contained within polishes may damage keratin layers and leave your natural nails thin and brittle; leading to splits or breaks as well as discolorations of their natural hue.
1. Soft Gel Polish
Soft gel manicures tend to be one of the least damaging options available, as it relies on LED light curing and can be removed using regular nail polish remover. Soft gel products combine an acrylic base and regular polish, providing strength and flexibility that traditional acrylics do not.
However, improper removal can still damage nails. Reynosa warns: “roughing up your natural nails using too-rough file files; forcing off product instead of soaking; overbuffing natural nails instead of over buffing; picking at manicure; these behaviors all pose risks,” according to Reynosa.
Dip Powder manicures offer another alternative that does not rely on UV or LED light curing to secure their cuticle-strengthening benefits. While less durable than Gel manicures, they’re less damaging to nails if the salon offers an acetone-based soak-off process and you refrain from picking or peeling at your nails while they’re on.
Acrylic nails are composed of monomer and powder that’s applied to your nails using molds and air drying, before being cured under UV light to give a uniform shine and lasting up to two weeks of protection from chipping or breakage.
Acrylic nails can be harmful if worn beyond their lifespan or without regular maintenance fills, so to reduce damage caused by acrylics it is wise to only wear them for short durations and always apply cuticle oil while wearing them.
Shellac is a hybrid nail product/polish hybrid, created through curing with UV lamps to deliver a glossy high-gloss finish for up to two weeks of wear. If not removed correctly (by soaking and filing) however, this can result in damage to nails.
3. Nail Wraps or Stickers
As long as they’re applied correctly, nail wraps or stickers offer a safe manicure alternative that lasts much longer than gel polish. According to Falcone, ensure your nails are clean and dry before using acetone to size the wraps specifically to your nail shape before pressing onto them and sealing with top coat for lasting wear.
Nail stickers offer a quick, hassle-free manicure on-the-go without needing a base coat or UV light. Simply stick on one sticker, or purchase a kit containing larger pre-cut pieces to make application (and removal) simpler.
Just like acrylics, press-ons prevent your nail from breathing properly and can lead to serious damage if removed improperly (which requires filing and soaking in acetone). However, unlike an easy application such as press-ons or adhesive nails.
4. Press-On Nails
Press-on nails are one of the least damaging manicures available, with quick application and removal processes that don’t require drying time or removal processes like acrylics do. Simply soak your fingers in warm soapy water until the nails lift off easily!
Elle suggests trimming, filing down and pushing back cuticles before applying a press-on manicure for optimal adhesion and adhesion. Furthermore, she advises wiping natural nails down with rubbing alcohol prior to application to remove any residue and ensure optimal adhesion.
Once your press-ons are in place, Sunday Beauty suggests using either cuticle oil or acetone to remove them instead of ripping them off as this can damage the nails. Furthermore, use nourishing cuticle oil and hand cream afterwards for skin rejuvenation.
5. Airbrush Manicure
Nail art trends continue to thrive, offering you endless ways to express yourself with unique manicures that showcase your personality. Unfortunately, some options can damage nails if applied improperly or left on for too long – and can even potentially result in infection!
There are various non-damaging manicures that will accommodate any style or budget, including soft gel polish, press-on nails and airbrush manicures.
Airbrush manicures involve creating designs on each nail with air-drying waterproof paint for a one-of-a-kind manicure experience. Nail technicians can add embellishments such as crystals or use nail pens to create works of nail art with their designs and this manicure lasts up to three weeks when protected with clear topcoats.