Which Manicure is the Healthiest?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question – it all depends on the quality of product, salon and how you take care of your nails. However, any manicure treatment can become harmful if picked at or not properly removed afterwards.
Standard nail polishes can usually be safely applied by someone trained, although soaking may cause damage to both nails and cuticles.
Acrylic nails are an iconic classic and provide both length and durability. Made up of liquid and powder applications that can be sculpted using UV lights, acrylic manicures can also be reshaped or painted as needed unlike their gel counterparts which damage natural nails over time.
As long as clients with acrylic nails come into our salon regularly to have them filled and are careful when performing chores such as typing or washing dishes, their nails should last approximately three weeks and up to several months before needing removal. It is important to remember that they do require upkeep; most people come every two to three weeks for refills to prevent lifting or chipping of the nails.
Damage to natural nails may result from using acrylics incorrectly (e.g. without soaking), using them too long, or not properly disposing of them (via removal methods like soaking). Also using acetone polish remover incorrectly could leave nails weak and vulnerable to breakage.
Shellac manicures have become one of the most sought-after choices, given their two week lifespan and quick drying time. But are these treatments actually good for your nails?
CND, the brand behind shellac polishes, claims that shellac manicures are safe for natural nails if applied and removed properly. Shellac polish contains micro tunnels which enable acetone to soak through and dissolve the product during removal; making shellac much less damaging on nails than other gel nail polishes.
Shellac can cause great harm to nails if removed early through picking or peeling, according to Huber-Millet. In order to have professional removal performed on you, she advises scheduling an appointment with a nail technician and using an orange-wood stick or nail file with acetone before using an orangewood stick or file to gently take off your polish. Afterward, Huber-Millet suggests moisturizing hands with hydrating hand cream after the process has concluded to maintain healthy and strong nails afterward.
Dip powder nails offer an alternative to both traditional acrylics and gels, providing more color choices without needing UV lights to cure. Lasting up to three weeks, this healthy manicure option requires nail techs following proper hygiene protocols to avoid bacteria contamination of nails and skin, according to Schoon.
Dip powder manicures have the disadvantage of being more difficult to remove than other nail enhancement methods, often necessitating longer soak times and more aggressive removal processes. This may lead to dehydration of nails leading to brittleness and breaks.
A healthy dip powder manicure requires taking steps at least once every month to rest your nails and give them time to breathe between dip powder manicures. If you notice significant brittleness, talk with your dermatologist about strengthening treatments available over-the-counter or via prescription. In addition, regular maintenance visits with professionals should also help your nails look and feel their best; regular check-ins help prevent lifting and chipping as well as allow the time for them to recuperate between dip powder manicures.
As their name implies, gel manicures are cured using LED or UV lights for extended wear. “Gels may be the ideal option for those looking to extend the longevity of their manicure,” according to Martin.
But while gel manicures remain popular and widely utilized, they do have potential drawbacks. According to 2023 research, small UV lamps used for curing gel polish may pose similar skin cancer risks as tanning beds.
Removal can also be detrimental to nails. Many nail salons rely on quick removal methods that include foil wrapping the nails in water with an acetone soak; this method dries out and brittles natural nails,” according to Dr. Adigun. Additionally, picking or peeling off polish can do further damage. “Using thick moisturizers like cuticle oil after receiving a manicure may help minimize post-manicure brittleness,” according to Dr. Ranasinghe.